Software as a service (SaaS) is the future of the software business model. It can completely outpace traditional software business and implementations. The public cloud’s adoption is increasing every year.
The market for SaaS business applications should total $94.9 billion by 2022— up from $44.4 billion in 2017— at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4% from 2017 to 2022.
However, starting a SaaS is only a small step in this process. The big leap is launching and marketing it. You need a real, planned strategy to market your SaaS and gain traction in its early stages. The strategy you adopt completely depends on your product and target groups.
There’s a lot of tools available for SaaS marketing. What tool you choose will depend on your budget and target customers. In this article, we will discuss 6 must-have tools for your SaaS to kick start the marketing activities.
Marketing your SaaS Product: Inbound Marketing and Digital Outreach
The main methods of customer acquisition for the normal, mid-segment market are inbound marketing and digital outreach through social media—but there’s a large enterprise market involving face to face meetings and high ticket sales as well.
This is unlike conventional sales; you need to have a different toolset. One that can effectively capture, nurture, and close a lead by various marketing automation techniques:
- Lead capturing
- Lead nurturing
- Drip Campaigns
Your tools should support the automated capturing of leads and segment them based on their behavior and activities on your site.
Digital Outreach VS Inbound Marketing
You can’t completely depend on inbound marketing to generate leads. It requires so much effort and investment initially. It’s a lot of work to generate high traffic that converts them into prospects and customers.
So, it’s always better to have an email outreach strategy or social media outreach strategy to generate leads. This involves identifying the target groups in social media communities and directly reaching them through personalized messages. Another way is to collect emails from outreach tools like SparkToro and use them to send personalized messages to your target groups.
Essential tools for marketing your SaaS product
1. Feedback management
Feedback is important in products, especially in SaaS. It helps in connecting with customers and involving them in the product development process. It is a great way to market your product in the early stages. It not only helps in improving your product but most of the customers will have a feel of owning the product and refer it to their colleagues.
There are a lot of platforms out there to manage feedback and upvoting your product features.
Product Board: It is a commercial closed source product with tonnes of features for product roadmap management with a dedicated customer feedback portal. You can collect feedback from customers and upvoting the features for prioritization of development.
Canny.io: Canny is another feedback tool with all necessary features like upvoting, commenting, and user feedback for the features and roadmaps. You can also set the priorities of the features and change it based on user voting.
Trello: Trello is a handy product from Atlassian for managing the roadmap and getting feedback. It is not a dedicated feedback management platform. But it can be used to manage roadmap and getting user feedback.
There are a lot more products in the market which you can get by simply searching google.
2. Landing page builder
Landing pages are so important to convert your website visitors into leads. A landing page is a typical page where the focus is a conversion with a call to action. Customers are advised to take action once they see the product.
Many people will confuse a landing page with a home page. They can be different. It is where your prospect will land first from a campaign or a search engine. It should have proper and precise goals in converting the visitor to take an action without much distraction.
Webflow: Web flow is a complete website builder.What makes it different is the ability to export the design and code to HTML, which you can use it anywhere.You can host your website completely in the web flow itself.Web flow is ideal for designers who want to build landing pages with clean and minimal coding.
Unbounce: Unbounce is a dedicated landing page builder. You can design a distraction-free conversion focussed landing page for high conversions. They have many pre-made templates or you can create one using their drag and drop features.
Mailchimp Landing Page Builder: Mailchimp is an email marketing platform with contact management. They recently launched their landing page builder solution which is fully for creating landing pages dedicated to marketing campaigns. One of the key advantages is the seamless integrations with their forms, the leads are captured automatically and segmented in mail chimp itself without the need for a third-party platform.
3. Outreach tools
Outreach tools are used for identifying your target groups and collect their profiles for directly reaching them through social media or emails. I recommend going for personalized messages instead of campaigns. Personalized messages will create more value than a generic campaign.
SparcToro: SparcToro is a market research and audience intelligence platform used for identifying influencers and profiles of your interest from various channels like LinkedIn, Twitter. You can use keywords for your search to identify profiles that are matching your search criteria.
PitchBox: With PitchBox you can Find targeted opportunities in your niche, including contact information, website URL, social media profiles, and more. Further, you can manage outreach campaigns with your contacts using their predefined templates. They have an automated follow-up feature for increasing the closure.
4. Marketing CRM
SaaS marketing is completely different from a traditional sales approach. As the lead generation is inbound in most cases, the CRM platform should be capable of automated lead capturing, live chat, contact management, segmentation, lead nurturing, and campaign management.
Intercom: Intercom is a fully featured marketing CRM that is ideal for the SaaS business. The only drawback is its pricing which is quite higher when compared it its counterparts. It has almost all the features required for full-blown marketing automation with contact management, segmentation, and behavior triggered marketing campaigns.
Crisp: Relatively a new player with almost all the features required for a SaaS business. It has a live chat, knowledge base, and CRM module with contact management, automated campaigns, and lead nurturing modules. The major advantage of crisp is its flat pricing. Unlike its counterparts, they don’t charge for the number of users or number of contacts.
5. Referral management system
Airbnb in 2010, had 47,000 customers and in 2015, the number of their customers grew to 17,000,000. This means they grew by 353 times the customers over five years. That couldn’t have been possible without a referral program.
Referrals are important in any business, so as in SaaS. Dropbox skyrocketed its sales using a referral system in its initial days. Again and again, the stats show that customers who come in through referral are more likely to purchase and have higher LTV and engagement. When referred by a friend, people are 4x more likely to make a purchase.
ReferralCandy: ReferralCandy is an affordable referral management platform designed for SaaS and eCommerce businesses. With ReferralCandy you need not ask your customers to share codes with their friends, you simply configure the app and launch.
InviteReferrals: InviteReferrals is a powerful and yet simple to integrate referral software that helps to grow your business and acquire new customers through Referral Marketing. It provides integrations out of the box with platforms like Mailchimp, zapier, Shopify, etc.
6. Social media management platform
Social media is an important channel for lead generation. So, you need to have a solid strategy for social media marketing. You will find it extremely difficult to manage multiple profiles simultaneously.
There are numerous social media management platforms that help in scheduling content, analyze their performance, and engage with the audience in real-time.
Buffer: Buffer helps in managing your social media content scheduling, engaging, and analyzing with multiple social profiles in a single place.
Hoot Suite: Hootsuite is similar to buffer, but targeting larger organizations and enterprises.It has also an advertisement management feature that helps in managing your advertisement.
There are tons of tools available in the market, I mentioned my tried and tested ones here. Every tool has its pros and cons, choosing a tool depends on your budget, target market, and product domain. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment for the readers.