One of the problems that SaaS companies have that perhaps other technology companies, let alone businesses in other sectors, do not have is that what they sell is an intangible product. This product is probably not unique in the world either. That is, it is likely that another company has developed a similar technological solution to a problem presented by your potential customer, which may make it even more difficult to market.
They are likely to have a similar technological solution to a problem presented by your potential customer, which may make it even more difficult to market.
However, each development has a distinctive particularity, something that can make it different and ideal for the customer who buys it. And that is why they acquire it. But how do you conceptualise what makes it special, how do you convey this in a message through the different online channels, what steps or phases should you take into account to carry out a digital marketing strategy that will have the ROI you expect?
If you have a software that has some strong points that you can highlight, if you work so that your development does not become obsolete and so that your service is better every day, now is the best time to start a marketing project that can help you to market this or these intangible products that you offer by improving the visibility and positioning of your brand on the Internet. To do so, let’s start talking about the first step you should follow in your strategy:
1. Work on a branding that allows you to differentiate yourself
As the years go by and your brand consolidates in your sector, you will have had to reformulate your values and mission several times, and you will have had to redefine your services and products several times. This implies that it will have been necessary to refresh your brand over time. Why is this necessary?
For one thing, you will have had to refresh your brand over time.
On the one hand, technology brands have an indisputable trait, their developments need to be updated over time in line with new opportunities in the market. But on the other hand, and intimately linked to the above, because as time goes by and the sector changes, so do the needs and buying cycle of consumers.
If you think about it, you have to think about it.
If you think about it, where just a few years ago outbound or traditional marketing and sales tactics were sufficient, now they are not. Consumers compare, they look for answers to their questions on the Internet. To a greater or lesser extent, these changes will continue to happen, and it is necessary to evolve in order to avoid becoming an obsolete solution that is not aligned with the needs of potential buyers.
That is, both at the service/product level, as well as at the brand and image level, it will be necessary to update over time, taking into account market trends and consumer buying cycles. That’s why even at this point you should rethink reworking and refreshing your brand if you haven’t done so recently.
The first online marketing action in your strategy that you should consider is rebranding. But the truth is that this rebranding does not have to involve a radical change in image or ideology, but a self-criticism as to how up-to-date the brand is and how it could be improved to better align with customer needs and be modernised in terms of image and online approach. So, you can start with:
- Reconceptualise what you offer, make it even more understandable to the consumers you are targeting. Be clear about the differences and strengths of your software. And not only to be clear on a commercial level, but to be able to capture it in a document that serves as an internal guide to align the whole team, but that also serves to generate useful content, which brings us to the next point.
- Start to assess how you can communicate what you have defined through the different online channels. A style guide that consolidates the values of your brand is especially important when generating the different communications and content with and for your customers, both commercial and marketing.
- And yes, evaluate whether your current visual identity is aligned with the corporate image you want to convey, whether it can be improved, or whether the previous changes were the only ones you needed to make. In this case, and depending on the years of experience, you should also think about the current reputation of your brand, whether it is necessary to refresh it or give it a complete facelift that aligns with the preferences of your customers, which brings us to the next step:
2. Define well what type of customer you have and need.
We have often talked about the importance of developing customer profiles for a business, regardless of the sector. This is because without these profiles it is more complicated to think about how to structure a website, choose the right communication channels or the relevant content to create. And in general terms, it is more complex to implement any type of successful online marketing action.
Customer profiles allow us to have a clear focus on who we are making the content that will nurture each of the marketing strategies that allow us to better market your software. These profiles help us not to get sidetracked and to focus each campaign according to the brand’s objectives.
And just as important as defining these types of buyer profiles that you have today and that you know you could potentially reach, is to understand what their buying cycle is. Knowing how a consumer evolves from being a stranger to the business until they become a buyer and user of your software is essential to attract, convert and retain them.
And SaaS marketing this buying cycle is especially important because, generally, it is the consumers who purchase the product and service that are responsible for justifying an expenditure that can be considerable and useful to the prosperity of their own business. This means that buying cycles tend to lengthen and that there are many pain points or doubts that arise along the way and that can be solved with the next step:
Purchase cycles can also be lengthy.
3. Humanise and nourish the purchase cycle with content.
When helping your customers to move forward in their buying cycle, you must think not only about those marketing and sales strategies that will be useful for your company, but especially about the useful content that will nurture them, taking into account that this cycle can have the following structure:
Humanise and nurture the content of the buying cycle.
That is, having identified a buyer persona and their pain points during the buying process you need to think about what content can be useful to help them move forward. This will involve the implementation of different marketing and sales strategies to which you will have to commit yourself depending on the economic and human resources at your disposal:
3.1. Content marketing: website, blog and social networks
The website, your main channel, must have the appropriate content and structure. The pages where you provide information about your software and services should include practical and educational information, potentially in different formats (text, image and video), to help people understand what the solution is all about. However, on these pages the solution is found and the buying process begins with a previous research that allows users to assess how to solve the problem or need they are facing, for which it is often necessary to create educational articles through:
The Solution is found on these pages and the buying process begins with a previous research that allows users to assess how to solve the problem or need they are facing.
The blog, which can help your potential clients in their initial search phase, of recognition and consideration. Think about the reasons why they might buy your software. For example, if they search on “how to improve the profitability of their business”, perhaps your software helps indirectly by improving the organisation and efficiency of their work, in which case you should make content that makes them see all the ways in which they can improve, including that which will lead them to potentially purchase your solution.
Social networks are the channels par excellence for disseminating and diversifying content. For many technology businesses, networks such as Instagram are one of the biggest sources of traffic and conversion. However, for SaaS companies, other social platforms such as LinkedIn may be more useful for starting conversations, sharing content and researching the needs of potential customers.
Social media is a great place to start conversations, share content and research the needs of potential customers.
3.2. Positioning marketing: organic and paid acquisition.
Much linked to content marketing are those positioning strategies such as SEO and SEM. While SEO, i.e. search engine optimisation, focuses on improving the visibility of a website to get organic or natural traffic to click on the links in the search results, SEM or online advertising campaigns is the strategy in which you pay to appear in the top positions after a specific search.
SEO and SEM are both strategies in which you pay to appear in the top positions after a specific search.
Both strategies are relevant in search engine marketing to attract users to the website, and the structure of the pages and the hierarchy given to the content is determined according to these strategies. This is why they are linked to a content marketing strategy, which must work not only with the purpose of attracting more traffic, but also to attract the right traffic to be able to retain and convert:
3.3. Conversion marketing: communication and database
The chats, chatbots or forms on different pages and landind pages are nowadays the most important conversion tools. The former allow you to start conversations with unknown users and request contact information in order to be able to solve doubts and provide more information in a personalised or automated way. The latter generally respond to conversion paths in which something is offered in exchange: monthly information, a downloadable guide on a relevant topic, a demo, or participation in an informative event (seminar, webinar). These are the first step in obtaining data that must then be stored in systems such as the CRM that will allow us to carry out different marketing actions.
The CRM is essential when there is a database of contacts to work with, as it centralises important information. That is to say, this CRM is the one that allows you to have valuable information to carry out different marketing actions, but it is also the one in which you can include relevant data regarding the products that customers consume and their relationship with the brand. There are a myriad of properties that a CRM can include regarding the activity of contacts and their interactions and many of them can lead you to make important decisions in your strategy and to elaborate precise segmentations that guarantee the best conversion of your promotional campaigns.
email marketing campaigns are key to promoting products and services and nurturing content to those contacts who need to move forward in their buying process. However, each of these campaigns must be well executed and for this it is essential to carry out the appropriate segmentation and be clear about the objectives of each of the emails that are sent. It is not effective to send all emails to all contacts, nor expect them to perform more than one action with the emails. That is why, when it comes to sending some emails, automations can help:
The Send to all contacts
The marketing automation is one of the strategies that can get more profitability from the actions executed in marketing and sales. Automations or workflows, go beyond sending a weekly or monthly newsletter, as they are triggered after certain actions or depending on certain specific events, and allow relevant information to be sent at precise moments, i.e. when contacts really show an interest or need. That’s why automation can elevate any action you take by improving conversion and customer acquisition, who will need to continue to be delighted by loyalty strategies to keep them.
3.4. Loyalty marketing: customer retention
The LTV (life-time-value) of customers in the technology sector is one of the most important indicators of marketing and sales success. Generally, acquiring customers can come at a considerable cost in terms of investment in time and resources, which is why you must continue to work strategically to retain these customers for the long term.
Those values we mentioned at the beginning, and that useful information that helps potential customers move through the buying cycle, should be part of customer care and service so that customers are not abandoned once they have made their own investment in your product.
The content you create for your blog, the content you share in your emails and the channels you use to communicate are fundamental to establishing a foundation that will help you develop a loyalty strategy. In short, all this generated content is what allows you to humanise the marketing and sales processes and positions you as a brand that is there to provide the best technological solution for your customers.