SaaS, or Software-as-a-Service, is a distribution model for software where the developer/cloud provider develops applications and makes them available to the end-users on the internet. Instead of installing and maintaining the software, the user can easily access it from the internet.
Marketing channels are those pathways companies resort to telling potential customers about their products and services. Even though traditional methods of marketing exist, this era of digitalization has brought about a change in the way products are marketed. For SaaS companies, digital marketing channels are the most promising.
Choosing the right marketing channel for your company is not an easy task. If you are putting out the same message across different marketing channels with the hopes that one of them might stick, then you are wasting your time and investment. For any SaaS marketing strategy, it is best to test out different ways of reaching the marketing on each individual channel.
There are many SaaS marketing channels that are common for most companies. However, it is not necessary that what works for Company A will also work for Company B. Testing and targeting is the only way you can understand the needs of your user base. An essential step to doing this is understanding buyer personas.
For SaaS products, there are a series of payments that have to be done instead of just one. Additionally, companies dealing with SaaS have to constantly convince the audience that their service is still worth it. Finally, SaaS offerings do not come in a physical form and work entirely in the cloud format. Therefore, marketing channels become all the more critical for SaaS, as it helps in promoting software as a service.
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There are numerous marketing channels, techniques, tools, and strategies that SaaS companies can consider. But it is not necessary to implement all of the following marketing strategies. Instead, select a few that align with your business’ growth and other metrics and steadily build on them.
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is where affiliates earn bucks in the form of commission for every product or service of yours that they promote. In addition, custom links can be created for the people acting on behalf of your business. The links can help determine the leads and sales they have brought to your business, based on which commission can be paid.
For SaaS, affiliate marketing offers the following benefits:
- Better reach as affiliates brings your products and services to the audience’s attention.
- More opportunities to combine with other complimenting SaaS companies, where both can earn extra bucks by referring new customers.
The catch here is that affiliate marketing doesn’t cater to every SaaS-based company, especially not those in their nascent stage. However, for established and experience SaaS companies, affiliate marketing can create an additional revenue stream and diversify income.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing is currently the rage in the global market, mainly for SaaS. This marketing channel can be understood as the marketing where helpful resources are shared to attract the right audience. These content sources eventually build the trust of your audience, making them customers from visitors.
For SaaS companies, it is not difficult to create an entire marketing strategy based on content marketing. This content can be in the form of blog posts, infographics, or podcasts. You can also combine written, visual and audio formats to create content.
Here are some marketing strategies that you can implement within your content marketing channel:
- Leverage employee expertise in SaaS content for optimum results and higher engagement.
- Make the content about the customer as it helps earn the prospect’s trust.
- Study customer data to get deeper insights into your audience’s desires, needs, and pain points.
- Segment email audiences as it can help you in creating personalized content.
- Define your customers’ problems and make an easy-to-follow guide to help resolve their problems.
- Portray your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) in the form of content.
In the short term, content marketing channels can help in generating more sales or leads for the business. In the longer run, content marketing can boost the percent of organic traffic to your website, cutting down the customer acquisition cost. The flexibility of this marketing channel is what makes it a must-nail channel for SaaS.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is where businesses send emails to their potential leads and customers present on the mailing list. The purpose of this marketing channel is to update customers about products and other happenings in the company. This form of email is done at scale rather than sending emails individually to the people on the mailing list.
Email marketing channels are economical for SaaS companies, especially for startups. Moreover, emails can be further personalized and cater to the needs of those interested. Even though the misconception of email methods ending remains, it remains a popular marketing channel at the core of the overall marketing plan.
4. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is on its way to becoming the next big thing in the marketing world. Companies partner with famous faces, also known as influencers, to promote their products and services. This marketing channel is also portrayed as a paid partnership/sponsorship where the influencers either share images or their reviews on the product.
Although influencer marketing works better for consumer goods, a few benefits exist for SaaS products. Even though there is no tangible product to show, people can be influenced through testimonials, videos, and service reviews. It is important to note that this marketing channel is a supplementary marketing strategy and cannot be a core strategy.
5. PPC Marketing
PPC, or Pay Per Click Marketing, is an advertising model where you have to pay a fee every time someone clicks on your advertisement. In other words, it is a technique to buy more traffic to your website. The best-known methods of PPC marketing are search engine advertising and social media advertising.
This marketing channel can be expensive, but it can build brand awareness and boost website traffic if used appropriately. However, PPC marketing is a crowded market where companies run advertisements bidding on the most competitive keywords. For SaaS companies, this marketing promises an increased volume of traffic that doesn’t come from organic search alone. As more companies adopt this marketing channel, there has been a significant drop in organic content.
6. Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing is where websites are promoted through search engines like Google. While Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is needed for content creation and organic traffic, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) uses paid advertising to secure a position at the top of the search results.
Most SaaS companies benefit from SEM, meaning their website will appear quickly in search results. However, the best outcomes of SEM can be reaped when it is integrated with other long-term marketing tactics.
7. Social Media Marketing
Having a social media presence has become a must for businesses. Social media marketing is where social media channels are used to promote the products and services businesses have to offer. To ensure that the posts reach a larger audience, a company can combine organic search with paid advertising.
Since there are so many users of social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, it is understood that social media is a potential marketing channel for SaaS businesses. Therefore, establishing a virtual presence is crucial to making your company look legitimate and reputable.
8. Video Marketing
Video marketing is another branch of content marketing. It is also the most promising form of content marketing. Videos tend to get more views and engagements than regular posts ever do. Therefore, adding video marketing to your marketing mix is always preferable.
Furthermore, video marketing should never be underestimated if your marketing strategy focuses more on the content side. With mobile optimization, videos are more accessible than ever. Depending on your equipment, it can also be cost-efficient.
9. Podcast Marketing
Although audio content is considered archaic, it has become into the spotlight again in the form of podcasts. It is believable to assume that not everyone has the time to read newsletters, watch videos or check out the social media of companies they are interested in. For such people, podcasting can be considered an ideal option.
The covid era brought about a change in the way people consumed content, and podcasts were not left behind. The most avid podcast listeners can listen to seven podcasts, on average, within a week. Here are some reasons why they make a great marketing channel for SaaS:
- Attracts new leads in a more authentic manner.
- A convenient method of consuming content on the go.
- Boosts credibility in the industry.
- Builds bonds with subject matter experts and influencers in the same market.
- Creates a strong community and loyal user base over time.
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A healthy and sustainable SaaS marketing plan will produce guaranteed outcomes from different marketing channels. However, executing all SaaS marketing channels can be challenging. Make sure to have a team that believes in your vision for your SaaS company and makes the best return on investment on each marketing channel.