How to Shore Up the Holes in Your SaaS Lead Generation Strategy
Your product is a fresh take on how to solve a problem that others seem to have overlooked. Where there are cracks in the industry, your Software as a Service (SaaS) product covers these holes.
With the market research and competitor analysis out of the way, you’re sure that no one else has anything as exceptional as your product to offer.
You feel ready to take on the world.
You launch your SaaS product, hoping subscriptions start snowballing.
Until they don’t.
Cue awkward cricket sounds.
Many SaaS owners struggle with their lead generation approach. Although the beta testing phase may have gone well and you have your minimal viable product (MVP) sorted, having a high quality product alone doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the leads you need to be successful.
During that initial phase of testing and refining, the audience will give you valuable feedback to help you figure out if the product solves the problem you intended to fix.
Yet, once your product is launched, how do you get people to start using it?
Gaining Momentum Through SaaS Lead Generation
Despite your best efforts, it feels like your marketing campaigns are not reaching your target audience. You’re not sure how, but your leads seem to slip through the cracks.
SaaS owners often try multiple strategies simultaneously with varying results. They try different approaches such as partnering with influencers to talk about their product, or paying too much for Google Ads.
Although having such a wide variety of marketing channels may initially attract a lot of visitors, this “spray and pray” approach can do more harm than good.
If your visitors remain anonymous by ignoring your call-to-actions (CTAs), your efforts and resources are wasted.
Anonymous visitors are the bane of any marketing strategy. How do you figure out which marketing channel is the most effective in generating leads?
There are several marketing strategies designed to convert more people into subscribers. Depending on your selected strategy, you may see dividends immediately.
Paid ads can bear fruit straight away, while a content-driven approach takes longer.
As a general rule, when you are trying to establish a solid lead generation strategy you should expect that the first few attempts will often end in failure.
This is a normal process as you learn the ropes.
A healthy lead generation strategy will consist of two to three main marketing channels.
Start nurturing one channel and learning how to systemize it. Once you’ve got the SOPs down to a T, you can then delegate the task to someone else and repeat the process with another channel.
You might be wondering which marketing channels and tips you should test to see whether it’s a sustainable long-term approach to generate leads. Ideally, you’re aiming to have a balance in your leads between quality and quantity.
We’ll cover some tried-and-tested strategies to help you avoid creating a leaky SaaS lead generation vehicle, and instead find/keep quality leads who turn into subscribers.
The term ‘content marketing’ has gathered momentum over the past few years and is often used interchangeably with ‘inbound marketing.’
Veteran marketer Seth Godin once said that “content marketing is the only marketing left.”
A good content marketing strategy centers around producing quality content for the audience and provides value at every step of the marketing funnel.
To know which topics to create, it’s imperative to know the buyer’s journey for your product. You can effectively tailor your marketing when you can identify the steps that customers take as they become aware of the problem, aware of your solution, and commit to using your product in response to your CTAs.
This is a long-term strategy that can help to develop a loyal customer base over time.
SaaS owners can leverage content as a means to educate customers about their product in terms of how it helps solve their problems, as well as how to use it.
We suggest you start by creating a content marketing strategy and begin mapping out the types of content that address pain points at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
The articles should be evergreen and address a targeted audience.
You can create content in a variety of mediums that are suitable for your audience. For example, you might find videos and webinars have more engagement when compared to articles.
A good content marketing strategy builds trust. From there, you can increase engagement with the product, increase brand awareness, and help with customer retention.
Landing pages are also known as money or capture pages since the content potentially converts visitors into customers.
However, there is no catch-all formula to create a good landing page.
Your landing page should be optimized for readers depending on where they are currently at in the buyer’s journey.
If potential customers land at the money page from paid ads, but are higher up the funnel and still exploring options, they may be deterred from exploring your product any further.
Optimized landing pages with compelling CTAs keep potential customers moving through the marketing funnel.
Your goal should be to keep leads engaged by providing gated content such as e-books, free trials, and webinars in exchange for contact information.
Provide Free Trials/Freemium Plans
In today’s market, SaaS is becoming synonymous with “free trials.”
While many entrepreneurs offer SaaS freemium pricing plans, this may not be the best move for you.
As with all lead generation strategies, this strategy should be tested to see if it’s a viable and sustainable option for your product.
You could offer a free trial period or a freemium pricing plan.
The latter allows users to access the most basic features of the software, although the product has limited utility.
This option might be attractive to some business owners, because once a user signs up, they’re already in the buyer’s funnel.
As their usage and business grows, you can grow with freemium customers simply by upgrading their plan to give them access to more features and storage.
However, you are at risk of having a lot of free users in your subscriber pool with little revenue actually coming in.
You may consider offering a free trial instead of an indefinite free plan under certain circumstances.
A free trial gives users a chance to familiarize themselves with the product features and understand its benefits. Once the trial period ends, they will be more likely to subscribe if it has helped them with their tasks and they’re comfortable using it.
If you offer a trial period, make sure that someone can become proficient with using the product during the allotted time period by thoroughly testing a user’s journey. Otherwise, users may be left frustrated with the learning curve and find it difficult to fully appreciate your product.
This can happen if the product is complicated and needs that time period alone just to get to grips with it, let alone optimize their operations.
If a user finds your product is not able to provide results within the free trial period, they will be much less likely to subscribe.
Drip Campaigns—Right Place, Right Time
Like content marketing, email marketing targets readers with content that meets them according to where they are at in the buyer’s journey
However, the power of email marketing and drip campaigns is to deliver the most appropriate content at the right time to the correct audience. How a reader interacts with your product/content dictates the type of content you will want to provide through drip feeds.
If you are addressing someone who has discovered your product for the first time, you can provide them with articles and videos of what the problem is and how the product solves it, followed by case studies in varied mediums as social proof that the software does what it claims.
Finish off the drip campaign with a compelling CTA to encourage readers to subscribe to a plan, and sweeten the deal by highlighting a limited-time offer for first-time users.
Smart drip campaigns can maximize the potential of the humble email capture form.
Show Me The Money
Ease of use can be a make or break factor for many customers. For this reason, investing in product marketing can be invaluable.
These demonstrations can boost your lead generation by showing customers how to use the product with ease, as well as how flexible it can be in different situations.
Customer engagement is generally low when it requires booking a call or meeting with a sales rep for a product demonstration; however, you can instead leverage various platforms to deliver free marketing demos in a fraction of the time taken in a typical sales meeting.
Another benefit of product marketing is that you can repurpose the assets in multiple ways
For example, you might create a series of video tutorials on how to use the SaaS product for its intended purpose (e.g. saving shopping searches in one spreadsheet). While these videos may be initially uploaded for viewing on YouTube, you can also take the most useful parts of the videos and turn them into GIFs to be embedded in emails or articles.
A live demonstration is also a powerful tool, as you can potentially condense a lot of information in a short amount of time while addressing new customer concerns or questions that you might have overlooked in the pre-planned videos.
The organic interaction with the audience can help build trust.
Another type of demo you can build is the self-guided walkthrough.
If a potential customer doesn’t have the time to speak with someone, but has a few minutes to tinker with the product, having a guided tutorial with instructions on how to get started can be valuable in providing a baseline for using the SaaS product.
Integration with Other Popular Software
One way to measure a SaaS product’s ease of use is the level of integration it has with other popular SaaS products and is also often considered as part of one’s due diligence.
The advantage of cloud-based SaaS is the divorce from the need to update software on individual computers.
The developer updates the software in the cloud, and it continues to work as normal without disrupting your operations.
In order for a stack of SaaS products to synergize and work cohesively, they need to integrate seamlessly at the click of a button.
Make sure that these integrations are relevant to your niche. For example, it makes sense to have CRM software integration with accounting software.
Having this feature increases lead generation by improving your product’s impression on potential customers.
A proactive approach to generating more leads is to increase your product’s exposure through guest posting.
This is an effective way to provide value to a relevant audience while increasing your SaaS product’s exposure to readers who have never heard of your product.
Being featured on authority sites is a fantastic way to achieve the above.
By association, you leverage the company’s high domain ranking and receive exposure to their audience base. This is a savvy business tactic that even seasoned entrepreneurs employ.
In exchange for a guest post, you can offer a backlink on your site or let the recipient provide a guest post on your blog.
Half of the world is active on social media on one platform or another.
Despite this fact, it might come as a surprise that some business owners are social media shy.
When used correctly, social media marketing can drive lead generation through positive interactions. Like content marketing, it’s another way to build trust with your audience.
Content on these platforms can range from soft CTAs through pictures or posts, or serve as educational content in GIFs, images, or videos.
In addition to thinking about the type of content you publish, it’s important to target the right audience. Different demographics tend to use different platforms making this an important factor to consider when you determine where to set up a social media presence.
LinkedIn is well-known for being a place where professionals and entrepreneurs hang out.
The language and type of posts featured here are fairly formal and geared toward the corporate world. You can create content that targets individuals who are most likely to use your product.
For organic leads, you could turn to Quora. This platform is essentially an open forum where anyone can ask questions about anything.
You can build up a reputation as a thought leader by providing in-depth quality answers based on your experience. Through increased engagement, you generate curiosity about your brand and product.
If you like blogging or sharing your thoughts, Twitter can be an effective place for networking.
In just 240 characters, you can highlight a new feature of your SaaS product or give your take on a change in the industry via a retweet.
If you establish a presence across several social media platforms, it’s important to maintain a consistent image across all the channels.
Part of The Bigger Picture
The key to effective lead generation is to be highly targeted from the beginning.
With your brand’s mission statement in the forefront, ask yourself how your marketing strategy helps to achieve that goal.
Keeping your mission in focus helps align your SaaS lead generation approach with your overall goals.
Some of these tactics aren’t exactly innovative, but they have stood the test of time because they work. What makes these tactics successful is patience and careful planning.
It takes time before the strategy will yield the desired results for your business. Remembering to keep the customer at the heart of your marketing campaigns is key.
Use this inspiration to plug the holes in your current lead generation strategy. When implemented correctly, you’ll improve the quantity and quality of your leads.
Start experimenting and adjust along the way to determine if that marketing channel is the right one on which to promote your product.
Time to start tinkering.