In our last blog post, we discussed five steps that SaaS companies should take when creating their marketing plan for 2018. Now it’s time to take a deep dive into specific tactics that should be included in that plan. With 2018 only a month away, use these tips to execute a marketing strategy that empowers your SaaS company to grow:
1. Targeting & Segmentation
During the process of establishing product-market fit for your SaaS offering, you likely gained a deep understanding of your audience. If you haven’t already, make sure you document that insight in the form of buyer personas. Many companies have them, but few have created personas that actually provide actionable insight. The best personas speak to the problem your buyer is trying to solve.
B2B technology companies should not just know who their buyer is, but where they are, online. Understanding your own business will help you understand where your clients are online. If you help implement CRMs, then where are your ideal clients? They may be on CRM blogs and forums, but they are more likely searching and engaging with other CRM users. Focus your persona-building around the specific problem you are solving and then hone in on the buyers in need of that solution.
Understanding your buyer’s problems will be the basis of your marketing strategy and tactics moving forward. After you have fleshed out your buyer personas, you can begin to segment your marketing efforts for better results. While the channels that make the most sense for your business will require some testing, segmentation according to buyer persona has the potential to lower the cost of acquiring new leads.
2. Content Marketing
This one is no surprise. You already know that inbound marketing is essential for SaaS companies. You’ve likely been putting out content for a while and recognize that creating new blog posts, videos, ebooks or other content pieces is a major source of new traffic and leads. Many people find that scaling content efforts to support a high-growth phase is markedly more difficult than getting your initial content strategy off the ground. However, we know from research and firsthand experience that a strong content strategy that drives your inbound funnel will be key for long-term success. In your marketing plan, define the key topics and content types you need to invest in for 2018 and how they relate to your overall business objectives.
Examine all the content you’ve created, from blog posts and podcasts to white papers, videos, and webinars. Look at content type, topic, and any success metrics and start to look for patterns. Do you lack “rich content” such as videos or infographics? Are there topics missing? Do you have a lot of content for one buyer persona while neglecting others? Are you are producing content for every stage of the buying cycle? Based on these findings, draw up a list of goals for future content creation. You can read more about building a bank of B2B content ideas in our recent post.
For content to be successful, your creation and distribution strategy must be detailed, consistent, and unique to break through the constant stream of content that inundates your target audience every day. Most importantly, you must create content that offers meaningful insights that immediately convey your expertise and ability to help. From there, businesses have to place that content in key areas (aside from just their site) to ensure that their content will be seen by their target audience. That leads us to the next tactic: SEO and SEM.
3. SEO and SEM
What Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) really do for SaaS companies at this stage is help get that messaging in front of the right people at the right time, for the right reasons. Search campaigns, combined with other digital marketing efforts and channels (such as paid and organic social), can improve reach and frequency of your content, which increases user awareness. You can use Google AdWords and Display networks to support branding initiatives, content you’ve shared or published off-site, and gather data about your interested audiences. With that information you can see how audiences engaged with your content along keywords and demographics. Armed with that insight, you can refine you future posts, blogs, and marketing strategies.
In B2B SEO, what matters most is the message and where the message is
delivered. Business decision-makers are busy changing the world, so their time is limited. It could even be that they assign the task of finding the right partner to their assistant, Project Manager, or team lead. As such, that first impression really matters — and may be limited to three seconds (whether that happens on your site, on LinkedIn, on their favorite industry news/blog site, or elsewhere).
You should also leverage content syndication and partnerships to tap into markets, industries, and audiences that their regular efforts don’t reach. Content syndication isn’t just copying your content to other websites or reciprocal backlinking, it’s genuine sharing of your content or a synopsis that leads engaged readers to discovering you. Similarly, doing things like guest posts and contributing to others’ blogs and publications build backlinks that contribute to your overall SEO/SEM efforts.
4. Paid Content Promotion and Remarketing
In addition to organic efforts, millions of people still click on search engine ads each day — especially since ads are displayed in Google search results at the top and bottom of valuable user searches. Paid advertising can be incredibly successful for SaaS companies. It serves to amplify your content as well as capture prospects who may not have converted on their first website visit through retargeting and Pay-per-click (PPC).
PPC delivers targeted traffic to your website and you can increase or reduce spend based on your business needs as they change throughout the year. Whether your key conversion metric is a resource download, form submission, or demo signup, you can significantly increase conversions by re-engaging people that left your website through remarketing. Remarketing tracks your website visitors and then shows them “display ads” as they visit other sites around the web, allowing you to serve ads to expand your reach while establishing trust and familiarity with website visitors.
Display and remarketing work great in branding as well as keeping potential clients engaged. Like any other marketing effort, it works best when combined with other marketing platforms. Tying display to search campaigns increases brand awareness and overall effectiveness. Ensuring the display campaigns run in conjunction with email drops improves the likelihood of engagement, and linking remarketing lists to an ad group in a campaign provides high visibility to users who have already interacted with you.
5. Persona-Specific Nurturing Campaigns
When someone submits a form on your website, don’t let that be the last they hear from you. Forrester Research found that companies excelling at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads, at a 33% lower cost. Effective lead nurturing needs to be made a priority throughout the buyer’s decision-making journey, from the top of the funnel to post-demo. As your SaaS company grows and your inbound marketing engine continues to produce leads, you will need to rely on marketing automation in order to nurture those leads into customers.
Consider optimizing your forms and landing pages to let users provide information that will help you determine which content to send them. Use automated email workflows to create conversion journeys for each of your buyer personas to ensure that they are receiving the most relevant information to their business needs and stage in the funnel. These nurturing campaigns also give you the opportunity to reinforce your value proposition and provide the lead with valuable ways to engage with you further.
SaaS companies can leverage these tactics to achieve their marketing objectives for 2018 — but as always, we recommend you continuously test and optimize to see what will produce the best results for your business. In the meantime, shoot us a message. We’re happy to help craft your SaaS marketing plan.