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Written by Sam Yadegar on Nov 17 , 2021

Because SaaS is no ordinary industry, an ordinary marketing plan just won’t cut it.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Ways SaaS marketing goals are unique
  • Tips for creating your SaaS buyer personas
  • How an omni-channel approach benefits SaaS brands
  • How SEO content factors in

By 2025, 85% of software used by businesses is expected to be cloud-based. So it should come as no surprise that the software-as-a-service (or SaaS) industry is a-boomin.’

But with rising popularity often comes increased competition, which means new companies cropping up to vie for your customer base.

Luckily, with a savvy SaaS marketing approach, you can use your resources to help your offering stand out, gain visibility, and be seen as the go-to solution. 

Let’s break down how to craft a comprehensive SaaS marketing plan.

saas brand meeting

While acquisition is important for all companies, SaaS brands must also focus on retention, monetization, and upselling. (Image via Unsplash)

SaaS marketing vs. traditional marketing

Of course, many of the tenets of creating a marketing plan are the same regardless of the industry, such as exploring paid search, SEO, and social media.

But once you get more granular, you’ve got to take industry-specific factors into account, including goals, budget, and your audience.

When it comes to SaaS marketing specifically, there are a few key nuances and differences worth noting. These include:

  • Customer base – SaaS customers are often decision-makers with a higher level of expertise than regular B2C customers
  • Product complexity – the product you’re selling may be complex, but the marketing message needs to be simple and digestible
  • Sales cycle – the sales cycle for SaaS products is generally longer than other industries
  • Pricing – pricing strategies for SaaS companies are often segmented or tiered, which is why many companies create a variety of buyer personas 

While acquisition is important for all companies, SaaS brands must also focus on retention, monetization, and upselling.

Ready to get your SaaS marketing plan on the books? Here’s where to start.

1. Create buyer personas

If your SaaS product has a few different versions (i.e. standard and deluxe additions), it’s wise to create several buyer personas. 

This way, you can create messaging that speaks to various segments, rather than trying to capture your entire audience’s attention with a single, more generic campaign. 

Along with the usual demographic information like buyer behavior, goals, and pain points, consider the following:

  • Their budget
  • Estimated CLV (customer lifetime value)
  • Approximate CAC (customer acquisition cost)
  • Which channels they gravitate to most
  • Product features that are important to them
  • Objections they are likely to have to buying the product
  • Their own job expectations and goals

You may not have access to all the above data immediately. But you can start by digging into your customer relationship management (CRM) tool to study the data you have on your existing audience, then make educated projections from there.

Pro tip: If you’re a smaller SaaS startup, start with just two or three ideal client personas to avoid overwhelming your team.

2. Get strategic on social media

About 92% of B2B buyers readily engage with companies that position themselves as industry thought leaders via social media. 

When it comes to the tech-savvy set who are in the market for a SaaS product, it’s usually a safe bet to assume that they’re on at least one social media platform.

That’s good news, since social media is a high-potential, budget-friendly channel for all stages of the long buying cycle. SaaS marketing is about convincing your audience to make an ideally long-term investment, so having a consistent, authentic social media presence can boost your brand authority. 

Paid and organic social media marketing tactics allow you to:

  • Grow your reach
  • Target highly specific buyer personas
  • Share various types of educational and entertaining content
  • Get direct access to your prospects
  • Let your SaaS brand’s personality shine
  • Build communities and refine customer retention strategies

3. Implement email marketing

When executed properly, email marketing is one of the strongest elements of a well-rounded SaaS marketing strategy. Email marketing can be instrumental for:

  • Onboarding
  • Upselling
  • Retention
  • Surveying
  • Check-ins
  • & more

Once the acquisition stage is over, email becomes one of the most important touchpoints in your customer relationship. Since about 50% of paying SaaS customers log in to their SaaS service less than once per month, staying top of mind via email can help increase CLV.

Email marketing comes in handy, especially since it’s highly automated. You can create drip campaigns for new customers to save time and money while developing effective retention strategies.

4. Consider paid search opportunities

While the buying cycle may be on the lengthier side, that doesn’t mean SaaS decision-makers aren’t also pressed for time. 

During the research phase of the SaaS buyer’s journey, they’re easy targets for paid marketing tactics. From PPC ads to social media advertising, allocating part of your budget for paid search can help get you in front of the right people at the right time. 

According to Search Engine Journal, an effective SaaS PPC campaign includes elements like:

  • Competitor keyword bidding
  • Cross-channel retargeting
  • Prospect list targeting
  • Account list targeting
  • Video view targeting
woman on laptop

Organic traffic is the largest traffic source for some of the biggest SaaS companies in the country. (Image via Pexels)

5. Prioritize quality content

Because of the technical nature of many SaaS products, content is a great way to help your audience understand exactly what you’re offering, along with how it’ll help improve their jobs and lives. 

It’s also a great opportunity to inform and educate your audience, which positions you as a thought leader and builds brand trust.

Content for your SaaS marketing strategy needs to be concise, up to date, and engaging. Since decision-makers don’t have much time to process content, focus on putting value into a smaller package.

Need help creating an SEO content strategy? Here’s a step-by-step guide.

6. Leverage SEO

Speaking of search engine optimization (SEO), it’s about more than content. Organic traffic is the largest traffic source for some of the biggest SaaS companies in the country, according to Flow SEO.

That’s why you need to build a solid SaaS SEO strategy that includes:

  • A content creation and revamping strategy 
  • A thoughtful keyword strategy (for each stage of the sales funnel)
  • Proper technical, off-page and on-page SEO
  • Quality backlinks
  • Direct competitor analysis

The takeaway

Thanks to its unique sales cycle, fast-changing technology, and ever-evolving customer needs, SaaS marketing requires a tailored strategy to be most effective.

With the right approach to your ideal client persona, keyword research, SEO, and paid efforts, you can create a thoughtful SaaS marketing plan that’ll help launch you towards — and even beyond — your business goals.

 

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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