Despite its popularity and demand, data has shown that around 92% of SaaS startups fall short of growth and, as a result, experience a sudden death within the first 3 years of their launch.
Tough odds, right? No SaaS founder would want to put their business in the startup graveyard, yet many end up there.
The reason is that SaaSverse is entirely different from any other market, and this is true because of two reasons. Firstly, customers aren’t buying a tangible product, so it can be daunting to convince your target persona to make their product a vital part of their daily tasks (like Slack or zoom). Secondly, unlike physical products that you usually buy just once (e.g., an office table or a pair of jeans – for which the churn rate can be high), SaaS companies make money off of subscriptions that impact their MRR and ARR, which is why you need to examine metrics like your churn rate and customer retention rate and not just focus on customer acquisition.
This is why you need to curate and invest in a scalable and well-thought growth marketing strategy. Here’s a list of 5 awesome growth marketing strategies:
This blog will deep dive into the aforementioned effective growth marketing strategies for SaaS and some key takeaways from companies that nailed these strategies.
Growth Marketing Strategy #1: Demonstrate Authority With Content
When you build and leverage content to achieve your business goals, you are using a key growth marketing strategy – Content marketing. Anyone who has been in the SaaS domain has seen the power of content marketing up and close. The ultimate goal of content marketers is to attract, engage and convert website visitors into leads.
Although it might sound easy, many SaaS companies still struggle with content curation, especially when they have to build content for each stage of the buyer journey. What type of content will your audience engage with? Does your content have the right tone? What platforms should you distribute? For your content to have the right impact, you need to focus on a content marketing strategy that will help you stand out from the others in the market.
Take Hubspot, for example. Hubspot has grown immensely with its content marketing strategy. They have become a go-to platform for any marketing-related information. They offer a range of content, from educational blogs to customizable templates to courses for DIY. Here are the key takeaways from Hubspots’ Content marketing strategy:
Best Content Marketing Practices from Hubspot
- Collect contact information — Using captivating content to obtain visitor information is an effective strategy SaaS companies can implement. Just like HubSpot, they encourage blog subscriptions with popups and use gated content (ebooks, webinars, templates, etc.) to get customers’ information.
- Churning the right content — To stay competitive in the SaaS domain, you need to share relevant, high-quality, persona-driven content consistently, one that not only appeals to the search engine but also to the audience you’re targeting. Like Hubspot, they have all the range a marketer might need (and by all, I literally mean ALL), whether it’s a template for social media or it’s an ebook to understand email automation.
- Customer retention — Retaining a loyal customer requires less effort and sees more increase in profits, which is why that should be high on your priority list. For this, you can share content to ease their onboarding process, like FAQ pages, video tutorials, and constantly share updates with them through a newsletter.
- Alternate to – Your Competitor — With so many tools out there having almost the same features, it’s clever to use your high-ranking competitor and place your SaaS as an alternative. This will help you target an exceptionally high intent audience.
Content marketing is a great way to have better keyword rankings and get increased traffic and more conversions.
Growth Marketing Strategy #2: Deliver Value in Their Inbox With Email Marketing
With over 4 billion daily email users, email marketing is definitely not dead (as most people perceive it). In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), for every $1 spent on email marketing, you get a return of $36. Email marketing can help you drive user engagement, increase conversions and improve customer retention.
Take Kissmetrics, for example. This platform provides insights into their customer’s behavior tools to increase engagement, conversions, and retention.
Kissmetrics uses its own analytics tool to segment its audience and then leverages its vast content resources to target personas by sending relevant email campaigns. Again, the customers need to share their details (email, phone number, etc.) to access the guides, ebooks, or any other gated content.
Key Takeaways from Kissmetrics’ Email Marketing Strategy
- Be focused — When using email marketing, you need to ensure that your users are aware of a clear intention. Have a suitable design format and clear CTAs to draw the user’s attention.
- Segment your audience and personalize — Make sure that you’re sending the right content to the right audience. For this, you can get an in-depth understanding by monitoring user behavior.
- Use automation tools — Use AI-driven tools to send your beautifully crafted emails. If the receiver has been on your list long, you can use predictive analysis to send them a curated message at the right time.
Tweaking your email marketing strategy based on your data will boost your performance and ROI in toto.
Growth Marketing Strategy#3: Get Some Influencers On Board
Although referral marketing is a great way to get your brand recognized, word-of-mouth can become an unpredictable medium if your product lacks a viral coefficient. This is where influencer marketing comes in.
To promote SaaS products, you need to alter the traditional marketing approach (as it’s not a physical product); for successful influencer marketing, you need to find industry leaders and influencers in your SaaS niche who can validate your product claims. Additionally, you need to find the right fit for your product, and your marketing goal since this will impact the type of influencer you need to onboard (micro-influencers – with a market share of 91% in 2021 or macro-influencers).
Take Canva, for example.
This graphic design software, founded in 2013, saw exponential growth when the former Apple Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki joined forces with them, saying, “Canva democratizes design. You don’t get many chances to democratize an industry, so I seized the opportunity to work for Canva.”
Learnings from Canva for Influencer Marketing
- The goal behind your strategy — Have a fixed primary goal, whether it’s building brand awareness, attracting a new audience, or lead generation
- Find the right people — Influencers are more than a high-follower count; find experts with solid backgrounds and experience in the industry.
- Observe what influencers are promoting before you pitch your brand
- Recommendations from reliable sources are crucial for SaaS companies. Connect with people with notable projects in their portfolios, just like Canva did. When they found that the famous marketing influencer Guy Kawaski loved their graphic designing platform, they got him on board with the brands’ Chief Evangelist.
With the increasing popularity of social media, influencer marketing (projected to expand to a $15 billion industry in 2023) is here to stay, and that too for a long time. Influencer marketing is a tremendous growth strategy as it helps you get you to help you grow your following, make sales, or simply get the word out.
Growth Marketing Strategy#4: Partner With Companies With the Same Target
Another collaborative growth strategy, Co-marketing, works great for small SaaS companies. SaaS companies team up with other SaaS startups with a similar target audience for this strategy. If you and your partner have great products that share the same audience and business goals without conflict of interest, you will have a win-win situation.
Take the example of this social bookmarking service – Pocket that allows you to store, share and discover web bookmarks; created The Productivity Pack with Dropbox, Evernote, and LastPass. Together they reached out to the same audience and offered them compelling benefits, which eventually helped them boost their sign-ups.
Key Takeaways from Pocket’s Co-marketing Strategy
- Find the right company — Collaborate with brands with the same target audience and end goals but a different product, one that can benefit your target persona.
- They have a good reputation — Partner with a SaaS company with a good market reputation and have the right amount of leads.
- Analyze the results — Keep an eye on the crucial metrics such as lead-to-customer conversion, MQLs, lead quality, etc. This will help you understand whether it is worth partnering up with them again.
This growth marketing strategy is great when you’re looking to reach out to your audience and is viewed as a testimonial of good brand leadership. In fact, 34% of marketers say co-marketing is the most effective way to increase an email subscriber list.
Growth Marketing Strategy#5: Leverage SaaS Review Sites For Recognition
With over 94% of customers patronizing a brand with positive reviews and 88% placing their trust in user reviews as much as personal recommendations, having social proof online is another growth marketing strategy you can implement. And it’s not just customers, but Google also has started to prefer product reviews with its product reviews update that rolled out in April 2021. Your social reviews can be anywhere – search engines, social media, or review sites, places your target persona can find and compare you with your competitors.
Have you ever seen Slack reviews? If you go ahead and check on G2, you will find that they have over 25K reviews, both written and video testimonials.
And it’s not just G2 Crowd; they have reviews on other platforms as well. You need to add this strategy to your overall growth plan as potential customers are looking at these sites for solutions they can use and compare various software before making a buying decision.
Best Practices for Social Proof from Slack
- SaaS review sites can be beneficial for users when it comes to checking out your product, comparing it with the others in the market, and more. Here are a bunch of review sites that you can check out:
- Even if the reviews are negative, you can turn these into an advantage with good online reputation management skills.
- From a user’s perspective, things can appear opaque, so try to be friendly and guide.
- If someone raises an issue on social media or any review platform, take responsibility and try to help.
Although some of these sites have premium plans that help you get noticed, nothing can drive in more users and high-quality traffic than genuine reviews of happy customers with your product.
Developing a growth marketing strategy has its own unique challenges, and although your niche and product play a significant role here, the fundamental approach remains the same. Implementing strategies is tremendous, but you must also monitor the results to ensure that you’re relevant and be ready to tweak them along the way.
If you’re a SaaS company on the lookout for a proven partner, let’s have a quick strategy call to help you drive hockey stick growth.