SAAS Website Design E-Book

Best Conversion Tools for SaaS Websites

Software as a service (SaaS) companies handle just about every business function, from CRM and ERP to project management and accounting, to name only a few. While they are extremely popular and beneficial to organizations of all sizes, SaaS products can’t sell themselves. Plus, the competition out there can be fierce.

Traditional channels, like direct mail, conferences and trade shows only reach relatively small audiences, but advancements in digital marketing, SEO, and targeted pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns provide a tremendous opportunity for B2B SaaS companies to sell directly online or drive qualified leads to their inside sales teams. Now, software companies can reach a highly-targeted mass audience that consists of people looking for your product and reducing the average cost per lead.

The length of a SaaS sales cycle varies. If your software is complex, you’re selling to new markets, or you’re targeting enterprise-level businesses it usually takes longer for prospects to make buying decisions. For this reason, you need to maintain a robust sales pipeline. But how do you keep prospects moving towards the ultimate end goal of closing the sale? By using the best conversion tools!

Whether you own a startup or you’ve been selling web-based software solutions for years, it’s imperative to have solid marketing strategies in place that utilize the best conversion tools for the technology industry.

This article begins by reviewing the different stages customers go through when making purchasing decisions. We’ll explain how you can optimize the customer’s journey as they maneuver the “buying funnel” (a.k.a. sales funnel or purchase funnel). Then we’ll outline the conversion tools that work best at each stage of the journey, including nurturing leads, communicating features and benefits, demonstrating capabilities, and converting prospects into customers.

Now let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1:  The Buying Funnel

Chapter 2:  Explainer & Interview Videos

Chapter 3:  Product Tours

Chapter 4:  Demos & Trials

Chapter 5:  Webinars

Chapter 6:  Ebooks & White Papers

Conclusion:  Key Takeaways

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Chapter 1

Creating A SAAS Buying Funnel

Before we explain the marketing and conversion tools that we think work best for software companies, let’s examine the buying funnel, define what conversions are, and suggest marketing actions that align with the stages prospects are in when making purchasing decisions.

 

What is the Buying Funnel?

Also referred to as the sales funnel, marketing funnel or purchase funnel, it’s the process of acquiring customers. The funnel outlines typical stages a buyer goes through during the purchasing process, from initial awareness to becoming a loyal, repeat customer.

There are 6 stages in the funnel and prospects can enter at any point. Not everyone starts at the beginning or moves through the stages in any specific order. In fact, some prospects may skip stages entirely or move backwards to a previous stage.

The reason it’s a funnel is because you will lose potential customers along the way, like in this marketing funnel example that helps visualize a customer’s journey.

 

Why you need to understand the buying funnel.

The importance of understanding where consumers are within the buyer’s journey and the funnel cannot be stressed enough. With this understanding, you can put marketing strategies in place to help engage, educate, and convert leads into customers at any point in the buying process. You can also maximize the value you bring at each stage by providing the right marketing initiatives and increase conversion with appropriate calls to action.

6 Stages of the Funnel

 

1 – Awareness

This is where the customer’s journey usually starts and is the widest part of the funnel, at the top. At this initial stage, people are aware that they have a pain, or problem, and they are aware that your software may be a potential solution.

Maybe they discovered your software by watching a video on Facebook or YouTube, or by doing an online search. These people, or leads, are just beginning to get information and may visit your website to get a general understanding of who you are and what you offer.

The awareness stage attracts new leads, helps launch a new product or promote a new feature on an existing product.

 

2 – Engagement

Now that leads are aware of your software, the goal of this stage is to pique their interest and make them want to learn more. Once you get them “on the hook,” make sure you keep their attention by creating a deeper level of engagement.

Leads in the engagement stage may do additional research to gather more detailed, product-specific information, and even check out some of your competitors as they evaluate and compare their options.

The engagement stage encourages leads to consider your software as a way to solve their problem, turning them into qualified leads.

 

3 – Conversion

A conversion does not necessarily mean a purchase. Sure, that’s the ultimate goal; but a conversion can be any action you want a prospect to take, from clicking a call to action (CTA) button and submitting a form to providing an email address to sign up for a newsletter. Choosing the right action at the right time can help improve your website’s conversion rate.

Examples of Conversions:

  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Download a white paper
  • Watch a video
  • Join a webinar
  • View a demo
  • Try a trial
  • Schedule a consultation
  • Submit a form
  • Contact us
  • Buy now
  • Call

Making sure the conversion is right is detrimental to success. According to the 3 Point Conversion Rule, a successful conversion needs to be aligned with the prospect’s level of commitment.

For example: If a prospect who has just started researching various software options (a low level of commitment) is reading information on your website and the only conversion you provide is “Schedule an Appointment,” you could turn the prospect off and lose a potential sale because the conversion does not match the commitment.

 

Conversion Examples for Low, Medium and High Commitment:

Low Commitment Conversions. Prospects are somewhat looking and not yet ready to buy. Suggested Conversions: “Sign Up for a Newsletter” or “Download a White paper.”

Medium Commitment Conversions. Prospects are comparing and assessing options. Suggested Conversions: “Join Our Webinar” or “Watch a Demo.”

High Commitment Conversions. Prospects are interested and ready to buy, but need more info before choosing a software. Suggested Conversions: “Contact Us for an Appointment” or “Get a Free 7 Day Trial.”

4 – Nurturing

Once a prospect has converted, whether by signing up for a newsletter or downloading a white paper, it’s time to start the nurturing process. So, how do you nurture without being too aggressive and annoying? Well, that takes some finesse.

During the nurturing stage you want to offer educational information that’s not too salesy and demonstrate your product’s value. Remember, the goal is to keep prospects interested in what you have to offer so they continue to move down the funnel towards making a purchase and becoming a customer.

Be persistent and stay top of mind, but make sure you wait an appropriate amount of time in between “touches.” It’s all about delivering the right message at the right time. Maybe send out an email announcing an upcoming webinar or free trial offer. Whatever the conversion may be, just make sure you’re telling prospects what they should do next.

 

5 – Closing

The sales process ends in either a win or loss. During the closing stage, you want to try and create a sense of urgency. Unfortunately, this can be difficult in the B2B SaaS market. Let’s face it, the world will not end if a prospect waits another month – or even year – before making a software purchase.

One way to help close a sale is to offer a free, limited-time trial offer so prospects can get a feel for how your software works. You could also offer a discount code that expires to entice prospects to act now. In addition, the purchasing process should be as easy as possible. If you sell directly online, make sure your credit card checkout transactions are secure and reliable.

 

6 – Upselling

Congratulations on closing the sale and adding another customer to your list. Yay you! Now you need to make sure you keep your customers happy so they stay loyal and don’t leave you for a competitor.

Satisfied customers help maintain existing revenue and drive new revenue through word of mouth referrals and brand advocacy. From writing online reviews and testimonials to sharing social media posts, having better customer relationships drives revenue.

Especially in the technology industry, it’s imperative to stay current or even ahead of the trend when it comes to new software solutions. In the upselling stage, promote new features and software upgrades to existing customers to encourage them to make a series of purchases.

 

Marketing Actions Based on the Buying Funnel Stages

We’ve already established that the buying funnel is not actually linear, and is instead meant to help you understand the stages a prospect may go through when making a purchasing decision. This understanding helps determine which marketing initiatives, or actions, are the most effective at each stage. Since a prospect can enter the funnel at any stage, marketing actions can occur before or after the different stages of the buying funnel as well.

 

Examples of Marketing Actions:

  • Explainer and Interview Videos
  • Product Tours
  • Trials, Demos and Signups
  • Webinars
  • Downloads

 

Marketing Actions and the Funnel

Marketing Action: You create short, exciting videos about your software and share them via social media to create Awareness.

Marketing Action: You provide additional media, like more detailed videos on specific features of the software or customer testimonials, on your website to further educate prospects on the software to create Engagement.

Marketing Action: You offer newsletters, white papers, and demos or trials of the software to entice a Conversion.

Marketing Action: You follow up with prospects, outlining the next steps, moving them through conversions and Nurturing the leads.

Marketing Action: After Closing a sale, you thank the customer for their purchase and continue to provide quality customer service and valuable resources to keep them happy and create loyalty..

Marketing Action: You keep in touch with existing customers (the low hanging fruit), keeping them informed of new features and upgrades by Upselling.

The next several chapters outline each marketing action in detail and explain their importance.

Zach Bulygo, NeilPatel.com

“So when you hear people say “widen the funnel,” you now know what they are referring to. They want to cast a larger net by advertising to new audiences, increasing their brand awareness, adding inbound marketing, etc. in order to drive more people to their site”

Chapter 2

Explainer Videos and Interview Videos

Videos work well in the first stage of the buying funnel to create awareness and can play a critical role in your content marketing efforts. Why? Because videos convert.

Videos…

…attract and keep people’s attention
…help promote a new product or service
…explain things better
…are easy to share via social media

Explainer Videos vs Interview Videos

Explainer videos are a dynamic and fun way to create awareness and explain your software, while interview videos let you use tone of voice and facial expressions to build trust.

Explainer Videos

Animated explainer videos have become a de facto industry standard. While they perform well at any stage of the buying process, explainer videos are a great way to create awareness to those prospects just entering the buying funnel. Here are 17 examples of fabulous explainer videos to check out.

 

Entertain and Inform

In a previous video, we discussed how to leverage explainer videos in your Saas marketing strategy by making sure they are entertaining and informative.

 

Work Both Ends of the Funnel

A short, entertaining, explainer video can hook new prospects by sharing features, benefits, value props, and problems your software solves. It can also work at the other end of the funnel by providing valuable information to highly-qualified leads close to making a buying decision.

 

Explainer Video Best Practices

Here are some best practices to consider when making an explainer video.

Length
Explainer videos should last about ninety seconds or less, as viewers have short attention spans.

Script
Explainer videos usually follow a “problem-fix-outcome” model. They provide a quick explanation about the general features and benefits of the software and how they help customers solve their pain points.

Style
The visual style is usually animation, but explainer videos can also be created using screen recordings. Animation can range from motion graphics to cartoons, and the voice over should reflect the tone of your brand.

Note: If using screen recordings to create a video, it’s imperative that the video is done well to avoid it looking too amateur or cheap. Remember, all the marketing content you create is a reflection of your company, products, and services. If your videos look cheap, people may assume your software is cheap as well.

 

Benefits of Using an Agency When Making an Explainer Video

As with anything else, you usually get what you pay for. That’s why choosing the right video partner is crucial to video marketing success.

What Prospects Hear
It’s best to work with a professional who can write a script that keeps the integrity of your brand intact; one that captures the persona, tone, language and voice of your brand.

What Prospects See
The animation should also capture the right “feeling;” for example, is your company culture youthful or corporate?

 

Explainer Videos and Stages of the Buying Funnel

Explainer videos are primarily used to create awareness, but can be useful at almost any stage in the buying funnel.

Nurturing
Send to a list of qualified leads who have made at least one conversion

Closing
Send to prospects ready to make a decision, but need a nudge

Upselling
Send to existing customers about new features or upgrades

 

Micro Videos

Another option is to create one high-level explainer video that provides a general overview and three to four shorter “micro” videos (about 45 seconds long) that highlight individual features of the software.

 

Benefits of Micro Videos

Micro videos can easily be sent to current customers to upsell them on new features or upgrades or as another promotional tool.

For example, if you have existing customers still using an old version of your software and you want to move them over to an upgraded version, sending customers a short explainer video is a great way to show them the benefits of why they should upgrade.

Interview Videos

Interview videos fall somewhere between the engagement and conversion stages of the buying funnel, as they create validation. These videos are usually interviews with team members or customers talking about the benefits of the software.

 

The Power of Interview Videos

Interview videos are different from explainer videos because they are made using people and not animation. When prospects see your face and hear your voice, it assures them that you are a real person and evokes a sense of trust.

 

How professional do you want to come across?

If you want the visual, the sound, and the message to match your brand, don’t cut corners by trying to create an interview video yourself. Just because other people use their smartphones to make videos doesn’t mean you should. Viewers can tell if a video is low quality and may translate that feeling to your software.

 

Avoid Scripts

Unlike explainer videos, interview videos should not be scripted. Why? When reading from a script, a person’s words don’t sound as real. Unscripted interviews come across as more authentic.

 

Benefits of Using an Agency When Making an Interview Video

As with explainer videos, when it comes to interview videos, you get what you paid for. Here are some advantages of using a professional to help create a great interview video.

Professionals can:

  • Identify and prioritize key talking points
  • Build the right questions into the interviews
  • Assign the right points for each person to discuss
  • Create professionally edited, high-quality videos

Todd Johnson, Managing Director @ Avatar New York

“Deciding to change a website’s layout is one of the most important considerations during a redesign. Layout changes inevitably require changes to other layers, which may not have been anticipated before the changes occurred.”

Chapter 3

Product Tours

Software is often a complex product that’s almost impossible to sell without showing people how it works. Saas product tours are effective tools you can use to help prospects learn more about your software.

 

Benefits of Product Tours

Product tours are great for the second stage of the buying funnel, which is engagement. At this stage, prospects are already aware of the software and now you need to effectively explain the features and benefits.

 

Explain and Engage

Product tours provide in-depth explanations of features and benefits and should include visuals of your software in action using text, graphics, screenshots or video. The goal is to get prospects interested and excited with what your products have to offer.

 

Create Validation

Many prospects won’t gain trust before seeing (at least) screenshots of the software’s features and functionality. It’s a type of validation. Letting prospects “try” the software can increase conversion.

 

Increase Sales

If someone doesn’t understand what your software does or the benefits it provides, they probably aren’t going to buy it. Here’s more info on how to use a product tour to highlight your software.

 

Measurable ROI

Use analytics to track user behavior such as click throughs to the tour, the most viewed sections, where people drop off, and how many watch all way through. If analytics show that prospects are only looking at half of the features in the tour, reduce, reorganize and revise for improvement.

 

Product Tours – Best Practices

In a previous video, we discussed the importance for software companies to incorporate product tours into their sales cycle. Here are some best practices to be mindful of when creating a tour.

 

Length is based on complexity.

Product tours usually last 2 to 10 minutes, depending on the complexity of the software.

  • If your goal is to encourage engagement, the tour needs to be short or people will lose interest and drop off.
  • A longer product tour works best when you are deep in the closing stage, as these prospects have a higher level of commitment and are close to making a decision.
  • If the software is particularly complex or you want to highlight certain features, consider making several short videos.

 

Don’t overwhelm; scale back.

Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what to omit in order to keep the tour at a reasonable length. Are there 20 great features you want to mention? Try to reduce it to the top 10, as too many can be overwhelming.

 

Good graphics are a must.

Make sure your product tour consists of quality shots of the software product and enough information for prospects to make a decision. – screenshots or illustrated versions.

 

Include a call to action (CTA).

After watching a product tour, what should prospects do next? If you want them to get a demo or trial of the software, provide a strong and simple call to action such as, “Sign up for a Demo” or “Get a Trial.”

Advantages of Self-Guided Product Tours

Works Well

Regular video tours can be attention-grabbing, creative and informative. A major drawback, however, is prospects are forced to listen to the entire tour in the order it was created.

 

Works Better

Self-guided or interactive tours, on the other hand, increase user engagement because prospects have the freedom to explore the software in their own way, allowing them to skip ahead to sections that are most important to them.

 

Kicks Major Butt

Interactivity provides a wide range of ways to show valuable information. Take advantage of cool features by enabling prospects to hover over sections to activate pop-up blurbs that provide even more information.

 

Make it a Combo

A hybrid tour allows prospects to click through different sections of a product tour without having total control of their experience. It’s more interactive than a regular video, letting people choose, click and view screenshots at their own pace as they learn the details of the software.

Zach Bulygo, NeilPatel.com

“MOST companies are too caught up in the “business as usual syndrome”, and they rarely take a second to stop and think about really focusing on conversion optimization.”

Chapter 4

Demos, Trials, and Freemiums for SAAS

As prospects move further down the buying funnel, there are useful tools that can help them along, including demos, trials, and freemiums.

 

Demos

Product demos usually work well in the third stage of the buying funnel, conversion. At this stage, prospects are aware of the software, maybe from watching an explainer video, and may have also completed a product tour, so they know the software’s features match their needs.

Now, you need to convince prospects to take a step further.

 

How do software product demos work?

Software product demos usually use pre-filled data to replicate a user’s experience. This allows prospects to experience the software at a level that’s pretty close to a trial without signing up for anything or paying any money.

 

Best practices for software product demos.

A software product demo shouldn’t be only about the company and the software itself. A demo should focus on the prospects and their pains. How? Showcase the value and features of the software by translating them into benefits.

 

Benefits of Product Demos

Whether a salesperson walks a prospect through a demo or the prospect is left to explore on their own, demos let people try software on a more in-depth level to get a better understanding of how it works.

 

No Cost and No Obligation

Software demos are an easy way to demonstrate value without requiring prospects to make an upfront payment. Watch this video about using software demos in your marketing strategy to get more information.

Try it Before You Buy It

A demo is like a model home. It’s pre-filled with data and laid out perfectly so prospects get a good idea what it would be like to use the software with their own data and information.

 

Super Size and Customize

If you can tailor the demo to the individual prospect it’s even better. FInd out as much as you can before the demo. Are prospects currently using a competitor’s software product? If so, focus on features of your software that are superior.

 

Keep Prospects Moving

Once a prospect is done experiencing the software product demo, help them get to the next step by providing effective calls to action that move them to a trial or a purchase. Another option is to push them into an email campaign so you can follow up and nurture while they consider making a purchase.

Trials

Product trials are recommended in the closing stage of the buying funnel, right before prospects are ready to make a purchase. Different from a demo, people need to sign up for a trial before they can use it.

 

Benefits of Software Trials

A trial is a great way to let your software sell itself. Here’s a video on how to increase software sales using trials.

 

Self-Guided Education

Trials allow prospects to self-educate, which is more effective than when they just speak with a sales rep, giving them more time to make an informed decision.

 

Freedom to Roam

Trials allow prospects to play around as much as they want for a specified period of time, usually 7, 14 or 30 days.

 

Shorter Sales Cycle

Trials not only demonstrate the value of the software and improve the prospect’s experience, they can also shorten the sales cycle and reduce customer acquisition cost.

 

How long should a trial period last?

Consider your target audience and what’s best for your company. The number of days a trial should last depends on how long prospects need to effectively evaluate your software.

 

Short Trial Periods

One strategy of a short trial period is prospects have a smaller window to make a decision, like 7 to 10 days. The goal is to get them to make a decision faster and buy sooner.

Potential Pitfall: If the software is too complex to understand in a short time period it could be detrimental to sales, leaving prospects frustrated enough to look elsewhere.

Conclusion: If the software is simple enough to make a decision relatively quickly, keep the trial period short so a purchase can happen sooner, before the prospect forgets.

 

Long Trial Periods

Longer trial periods, like 30 day trials, give prospects more time to try out complex features and really understand the benefits as they relate to them.

Potential Pitfall: With a longer trial period, the final sale could be delayed.

Conclusion: Without enough time a prospect may get frustrated, so the more complicated the software, the longer the trial period should be.

 

Free Trials vs Paid Trials

Should you make prospects pay for a software trial, or should it be free? There are pros and cons to each option.

 

Free Software Trials

Free trials get more takers, while paid trials get more serious takers. Everyone wants something for free, right?

The problem is they may not really be interested. We discussed how to optimize free trials for your software company in a previous article.

 

Paid Software Trials

People who pay for a trial are definitely more qualified prospects since they already have some skin in the game. Paying for the trial is, essentially, your first sale to them and usually the hardest one to make.

 

Types of Paid Trials

Pay Upfront, Then Reimburse

If someone decides they are not interested after the trial and want their money back, make sure it’s easy for them to cancel and be reimbursed.

 

Get Credit Card Upfront

Asking for a credit card number upfront reduces your conversion rate, but you’ll have more serious prospects in your funnel.

 

Low Monthly Cost

Cost makes a difference. You’ll get more takers charging $15.00 a month versus $500.00 a month because it is a lower risk.

 

Freemiums

Freemiums provide access to part of a software product to prospects free of charge, without a time limit. But they have to pay to upgrade to better, more robust, premium, features. Freemiums are great for prospects at the end of the funnel to help drive them to the sale.

 

Benefits of Freemiums

A benefit for prospects is they get some amount of value over a long period of time – for free. The hope is they will love your software so much that they want more features, and are willing to pay for them. They are a great way to upsell to people already under the influence of your brand.

 

Freemium Pitfalls

Freemiums can also attract cheapskates who don’t want to part with their money and will only use the free features of your software.

Dom Nicastro, CMS Wire

Hastily selected WCM platforms will create plenty of adventure and excitement for you and your team. It just won’t be the sort of excitement you expected. The wrong CMS means your organization won’t realize the promise of return on investment (ROI) that justified the project in the first place

Chapter 5

Webinars for Software Marketing

Webinars work well for prospects in the middle of the buying funnel; they are aware of the software and are considering their options, but are not yet ready to buy.

 

Live Webinars vs Pre-Recorded Webinars

There is value in giving webinars, whether live or pre-recorded, but which type is best for you?

 

Live Webinars

During a live webinar, you present information electronically to an audience and talk to them in real-time.

 

Pros of Live Webinars

It’s always better to react in real-time, when their engagement level is high. With live webinars you get instant feedback, it’s easier to connect with your audience, and you can answer questions and address concerns on the spot.

Cons of Live Webinars

Since webinars are scheduled well in advance, you have to honor your commitment and present on the day and at the time promised. Also, you may have to give the webinar more than once, to different audiences, which can get a bit boring and repetitive.

 

Pre-recorded Webinars

Pre-recorded webinars are created in advance and the audience needs to login at a specified day and time to view it. This type of presentation generally works in the same way as a live one, except you’ve already recorded it so you don’t need to be present.

 

Pros of Pre-Recorded Webinars

A major advantage of pre-recorded webinars is you can take your time editing and perfecting your presentation as much as you like. Plus, you won’t experience the anxiety of talking to a live audience.

 

Cons of Pre-Recorded Webinars

Pre-recorded webinars cannot be modified while playing, so the presentation can’t change direction on the fly based on audience interaction. Also, there is no chance to interact and connect with the audience if no one is hosting live.

Best Practices When Creating a Webinar

Make it Irresistible

Take time and really think about not only your topic, but also the title and description of the webinar. After all, the first goal is to attract as many qualified leads as possible to watch it. The title needs to grab attention and the description should explain the amazing value viewers will receive.

 

Pick a Super Host

The webinar host should be a good speaker who is able to answer questions on the spot if the webinar is live. Typically the webinar host is someone who works for your software company, usually in the sales department.

 

Hire an Agency

Working with an agency can produce huge ROI. Because they have prior experience creating webinars, they can review your talking points, create your visuals with professionally designed slides, and promote and drive traffic to the webinar.

 

Always Follow Up

None of your efforts matter if you don’t follow up with audience members after a webinar. It’s best to contact attendees sooner than later while the information is still top of mind and tell them the next step to take. For example, offer a free demo or trial of the software.

 

Maybe you offer special pricing to webinar attendees or call them directly so they can ask questions.

 

What to Never (Ever) Do During a Webinar

When presenting information about your software, don’t be salesy or merely explain everything it does. A webinar is not meant to be a product tour or sales pitch.

 

Do This Instead

A webinar should create value and help solve the audience’s problems. For example, if you sell project management software, a 45 min webinar on the 10 Best Practices for Agencies to Use When Managing Projects (using your software of course) would be valuable to the audience. Here are 3 secrets to hosting a successful webinar from Forbes.com.

 

Steps to a Great Webinar

  1. Choose a topic – What would interest your audience and provide value?
  2. Write a killer headline and description – Get attention, then get people to register.
  3. Create a presentation – Use lots of visuals; images are better than text.
  4. Keep it Interesting – Change visuals often to keep short attention spans.
  5. Practice, practice, practice – If doing it live, record it so you can watch and listen.
  6. Choose the right day and time – Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays work best.
  7. Announce it – Send out emails; post on social media.
  8. Send reminders – Start reminding people the week beforehand.
  9. If the webinar is live – Login early and greet people as they log in.
  10. Don’t worry if you screw up – No one is expecting perfection.
  11. Deliver value – The audience should understand how the software can solve their pains.
  12. Make your offer – Yes, the goal is to sell the software, but make your offer gently.
  13. Q&A – If the webinar is live, answer questions from the audience.
  14. Follow up – Contact audience members. Thank them for joining, remind them of the offer and next steps, and help move them through the buying funnel.

Kayli Kunkel, Digital Marketing Manager @ SparkReaction

“When you begin construction on your website redesign, start with content first. Consider the purchase path you want your audience to take. If your audience has evolved (which is likely!), consider evolving your messaging, too. This could require a complete overhaul of your navigation and site pages — and that’s OK!”

Chapter 6

SAAS E-Books & White Papers

Prospects in the early stages of the buying funnel may be looking for software, but not for anything in particular. They may have watched an explainer video they stumbled upon on Facebook and thought it looked interesting.

 

Benefits of Downloads

People want expert advice. One of the benefits of downloads, like white papers or e-books, is prospects can read them at their leisure with no time constraints.

 

What is a White paper?

In general, a white paper is an in-depth report that reveals problems and suggests solutions. White papers can educate, explain and promote your software to prospects in a non-salesy way. Shorter than an e-book, benefits of white papers include generating and nurturing leads.

 

Best Practices When Writing a Whitepaper

Create Value

Downloadable information should be valuable enough to encourage prospects to provide their contact information to access it. Consider your audience. What would they consider valuable or useful? What’s a common problem your target audience faces? Now, address this in a white paper.

 

Boost Conversions

An attention-grabbing title, tempting description and powerful featured image can make a big impact on conversions. The goal is to get your leads over this first hurdle. Then, turn them into prospects and convert them into customers.

 

Don’t be Aggressive

Make sure prospects know they won’t be hunted, hassled, or harangued if they provide their contact information. Offer peace of mind by promising to only send one follow up email.

 

Include CTAs

Tell prospects the next steps to take after reading the white paper by providing clear calls to action. Should they register for an upcoming webinar? Schedule a demo? Get a trial? You can also offer other resources for them to download next to keep them interested.

 

Follow Up

By making prospects provide contact information, like name and email, prior to making the download available, you can follow up with interested prospects and nurture the sale.

 

Note: Make sure it’s quick and easy for prospects to access your white paper. Don’t request too much information because long forms will only frustrate and annoy most people.

 

Download Examples:

  • White paper – shows prospects you are an expert in your industry.
  • E-book – info that can easily be read on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
  • Feature Guide – helps prospects learn more about your software.
  • Technical Case Study – proves you can help customers succeed.

 

What is an E-book?

An e-book is typically longer than a white paper and provides more in-depth information. Since they are in electronic format they are fast and easy to downloaded to a computer or mobile device, making them convenient to read at any time. E-books are portable, take up very little space and no trees are harmed when making them.

 

Types of Prospects

Influencer

Usually an IT Manager, an influencer prefers a longer, more technical white paper that includes industry-related jargon. He or she is interested in the details and nuances of the software.

Researcher

Maybe this is a VP in charge of the IT department. He or she isn’t the end user so minute details aren’t of any interest, but they still want general information about the software to make sure it’s a smart investment to make.

Decision Maker

Typically an executive, like the CEO, who is not involved in the researching or vetting process. This person relies on the influencer and researcher to do the legwork and then present their recommendations for final approval.

Qualaroo, Beginners Guide To CRO

“First, you are most likely paying for traffic to your site in one way or another, and a high conversion rate means a better return on that investment (ROI). It’s also much more cost-effective to convert a higher percentage of the visitors you already have than to attract more visitors.”

Conclusion

Key Takeaways

  1. There are 6 stages in the buying funnel, from product awareness to becoming a repeat customer, and prospects can enter or leave at any stage.
  2. Understanding how your customers move through the buying process provides insight into which marketing strategies work best at different stages.
  3. Having the right calls-to-action is crucial for conversions.
  4. Animated explainer videos are great for creating awareness while interview videos help build trust.
  1. Product tours, demos and trials encourage engagement by letting prospects “try” products before they buy.
  2. Webinars work well at any stage of the buying process to convert leads into prospects and prospects into customers.
  3. E-books and white papers provide in-depth product information that prospects can read at their convenience.
  4. SaaS marketing efforts can benefit from using these effective conversion tools. For more information contact the marketing pros at insivia today.

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