7 Key SaaS Growth Strategies
If you are in the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry, having actionable plans to drive growth is a must. Customers aren't just going to appear; marketing teams need to proactively reach them in creative ways. In the current marketing landscape, brands have a near limitless number of ways to reach potential customers. Picking the right ones and developing a successful strategy for business growth is incredibly important.
Finding the right customer acquisition strategy in such a crowded market will be an ongoing process that will require attention to detail and a willingness to adapt. All companies will have their own pathways to finding the right marketing strategy, and it is going to be different for every business. If you want to reach your growth goals, you’ll need an extensive lead generation and conversion strategy that covers a wide variety of areas.
Developing your growth strategy will help your business take off and position your brand for long-term success. Here are seven different SaaS growth strategies that will help software companies improve their sales process, acquire customers, and build a stronger brand.
1. Influencer Marketing Widens Social Media Reach
Social media is an absolutely critical area for businesses to orient their marketing efforts towards. Social media has helped democratize advertising by creating a more level playing field where brands can reach a limitless number of consumers without spending their entire marketing budget. One of the most cost-effective and viable forms of social media outreach is influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing allows businesses to utilize the platform and relationship with their followers that social media content creators have developed. It is a way for brands to post marketing content from accounts with large followings and established consumer trust. Moreover, this is an important mechanism to bypass ad fatigue.
Ad fatigue is when customers grow tired of the advertising content they see from companies. According to HubSpot, ad fatigue contributes to decreased engagement with marketing content and reduced clickthrough rates. Influencer marketing bypasses this by providing advertisements from the social media creators that the user is already following.
For SaaS companies, influencer marketing allows them to market towards a desired niche. Businesses can promote through influencers who specialize in creating content for a certain cohort. Influencer campaigns are targeted and trackable, and companies can refine their campaigns over time for the best results.
Influencer marketing has been a part of many successful businesses' growth strategies because it enables companies to reach their target market cost-effectively. Companies can choose to utilize micro-influencers with both a combination of lower followings and costs and spread their budget over a larger number of influencers or aim for influencers with the highest possible followings.
Influencer marketing is customizable to businesses' needs and budgetary constraints and can produce a massive ROI (Return on Investment) if utilized effectively. It is a growth strategy that SaaS companies should be targeting, as the customer acquisition cost is low, and the potential for natively reaching a large group of potential buyers is high.
2. Live Events Bring Back Face-to-Face
Not all growth strategies are entirely dependent on digital efforts. While many SaaS companies prioritize digital marketing, considering what they sell is typically virtual, there is a hybrid way to build a customer base that a good marketing and sales team should look towards. Live events are a form of customer outreach that businesses can modify to align with a digital strategy. They constitute a pivotal way for companies to interact with current customers and help create new ones.
Live events can be conducted in-person or through virtual means, and they are a rising form of content marketing that advertisers are utilizing frequently. According to data from Aventri, in a survey of marketers, 31% believe that event marketing is the most effective marketing channel. The same report showed that 79% of US marketers generate sales using event marketing.
There are many ways to have a live event. It can be a product demonstration, a panel discussion, a leadership presentation. Businesses can host the event in-person, through a platform, or combine the two. What’s important is that it feels more authentic and personable than other forms of marketing. The fact that it is happening live adds a more interactive element to proceedings, and it is a great way to engage with target buyers and current customers.
Many growth strategies can be overly reliant on automation, analytics, and digitalization. Event marketing is a more personal way to reach your customer base, and 91% of B2B marketers are investing in it right now. Live events are a great way to have more human interactions with leads, old and new, and showcase your product and team.
3. Free Trials Spark Interest in Service
In the SaaS industry, your product isn’t tangible. Potential users can get a sense of your product from marketing content on social media or your website, but they can’t have a higher-level understanding of the software until they experience it first-hand. Many leads will be unwilling to dive into becoming paying customers without having experienced the software themselves. This is an area where free trials can help businesses.
Trial user conversion rates are dependent on the type of trial and whether the business offering it is a B2B or B2C company. The primary types of free trials are opt-in, when customers can choose whether to continue the use of the product after the trial ends, and opt-out, where the customer inputs a payment card before the trial starts and the trial renews at the end of the allotted period. There are also limited trials, which provide only some of the product's features, and unlimited trials, where the customer has the entire range of features.
According to User Pilot, the average SaaS opt-in trial has a conversion rate of 25%, while the average opt-out trial has a 60% conversion rate. However, it is easier for businesses to attract sign-ups for an opt-in trial, as it requires less of customers.
Free trials are a valuable sales tool because they give potential buyers insight into your product's value. They offer something of value for free for a limited period, making it a minimal commitment with high-upside for leads. Free trials are marketing tactics that have a high conversion rate and a mutual benefit for both businesses and target customers. Businesses can use these trials to show their value and appeal to tech buyers who are unlikely to purchase the new software without experiencing it for themselves.
4. Video Marketing is the Medium Consumers Prefer
Video content is a marketing medium all businesses should be prioritizing. Short and long-form video content are valuable formats that allow companies to communicate key messages in a manner that many consumers prefer. Video marketing is a growth strategy that can be used across marketing channels to hold attention, generate clicks, and get marketing messages across more effectively.
Video content appeals to potential customers in a way that they prefer. According to a comprehensive survey by HubSpot, 54% of consumers want to see marketing videos from brands more than any other form of content. The goal of marketing outreach should be to achieve organic growth entirely by tailoring the experience to your targeted buyers’ preferences and purchasing habits, and video marketing achieves this.
You can choose several different marketing channels to implement a video content strategy with, one of which is your email outreach. Even just the mention of a video is helpful in email marketing. According to Deposit Photos, using the word “video” in the subject line of your email increases the open rate by 19%.
Video can also be used to spruce up landing pages and other top-of-the-funnel sales content. The same report by Deposit Photos detailed that video on landing pages can increase conversions by up to 80%. It is also a medium where prospective leads will retain the most information from your marketing. ExplainNinja details that viewers absorb 95% of the message when watching video compared to 10% when reading text.
SaaS companies can achieve profitable growth by implementing video into their marketing strategy. 73% of B2B marketers say video positively impacts marketing ROI, and it can be utilized in a wide variety of ways. Video is a more engaging way to reach your leads, and marketers can imbue it with more personality. Whether you are pushing social media video, email marketing content, or optimizing your landing page, video can help achieve more significant results.
5. Utilize Business Intelligence to Implement Changes
Staying agile and being able to adapt is the key to sustained growth. This will require being aware of all aspects of your outreach and tracking your growth metrics and sales efficiencies. Tracking, storing, and analyzing the data and analytics of your business is a practice known as business intelligence. It should shape several critical aspects of your operations, from your pricing strategy to how you implement your marketing campaigns.
According to Tech Jury, 90% of sales and marketing teams cite business intelligence as a crucial tool to help them get their job done effectively. Business intelligence platforms track and visualize data in marketing and sales to give insights into the impact of marketing content and customer behavior. You can learn what is working for your advertising campaigns and what needs to be changed from this information.
If you notice an overly high churn rate, low click throughs, and an overall lack of engagement with your marketing, it may be time to start asking why. To make better decisions regarding these growth indicators, business intelligence goes a long way. According to Impact, 56% of businesses that leverage analytics experience faster and more effective decision-making, and 51% of companies achieve better financial performance with the introduction of business intelligence.
Business intelligence can provide essential details on operational aspects of your business from pricing, sales, marketing, and beyond. Actionable, quantitative information can vastly improve how your company performs in many vital areas. The more insight into your business, the better you can tweak your methods to grow your SaaS company.
6. Invest in the Customer Experience
For every company, whether they are in the SaaS industry or not, the customer experience has to come first. Growth is achieved through negative churn, and to achieve negative churn, you must make sure that your customers are satisfied with every aspect of their experience.
The customer experience is reliant on more than just what your product provides. It also includes things like customer service and implementing customer feedback into your business operations. If you want your clients to continue their product usage, you need to make them feel heard and prioritized.
According to Forbes, 87% of business leaders say that the customer experience is their top growth engine, the highest of any growth area. This is ahead of marketing and sales in a lot of companies’ minds. To maintain growth, you've got to keep the customers you already have happy. Investing in the customer experience is an investment in the development of your business.
Investing in the customer experience can be done in several different ways. Many companies are hiring CXOs, or customer experience officers, to lead the way. According to the same report by Forbes, 90% of surveyed companies have a CXO or equivalent executive, up from 65% in 2017.
Companies can also shore up their customer service practices and give their clients as much opportunity as possible to share feedback and voice complaints. The more feedback you get from the clients you have, the better you can customize your offerings to suit what they’re looking for.
The Harvard Business Review indicates that 76% of executives believe improving the customer experience is a high or critical priority. Working to make this experience as good as possible will lead to an acceptable SaaS churn rate, and in turn, growth.
7. Have a Diverse Content Marketing Strategy that Creates Value
Content marketing is about creating content that brings customers to you due to their interest in what you’re creating. Companies around the world have adopted this strategy as a top-of-the-funnel form of inbound marketing. But rather than focusing entirely on one aspect of the content, such as ranking highly in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), businesses should focus on a diverse strategy that adds real value to leads.
Rather than investing only in social media content, blogs, videos, or any one format, businesses should also focus on creating a comprehensive strategy that utilizes a wide variety of different marketing channels to open themselves to the maximum possible number of customers.
We've discussed the importance of event marketing, how video marketing can attract additional attention, and how influencer marketing leads to an enhanced social media presence. Each of these constitutes a viable growth strategy, but the best results are achieved when stacked together.
If you want to increase the number of active users your software has through content marketing, utilizing every channel available to you makes a difference. According to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and can generate 3x as many leads. With a lower cost and a more democratic process, businesses gain the freedom to experiment and try new pathways to reach customers to see what works for them.
To carve out a high market share with content marketing, you need to add value to your customers. Clickbait pieces that are clearly just made to generate leads or improve SEO don't cut it anymore. There is so much content available to the average consumer that the only way to appeal to them is by making high-quality, well-thought-out pieces. While losing sight of SEO is bad practice, your content should be more than just targeted keywords.
There are numerous different growth strategies SaaS companies need to consider. What works best for one company might not work well for another; as a result, employing an extensive growth strategy will allow you to see what works for your business. Whether it's influencer marketing, live events, free trials, video marketing, business intelligence, or investing in the customer experience, an expansive strategy is the answer for most businesses.
Reduce your annual churn rate with a comprehensive growth strategy that utilizes several different forms of digital marketing to reach customers across channels. Whether you are focusing internally or externally, these seven key SaaS growth strategies can help you deliver the best ROI.