Do you have a strong software as a service (SaaS) marketing strategy?
In this post, I'll explain how you can create one. With no physical presence and ever-growing competition, marketing a SaaS platform isn’t easy. The estimated SaaS global revenue is expected to cross $13 billion by 2021 from $99 billion in 2020. The SaaS industry is growing and it’s growing fast. If you own a SaaS company, you need to have a robust marketing strategy to stand out from the crowd and reach your target audience.
SaaS, however, is the preferred choice for leading businesses. Around 73% of businesses plan to completely switch their business to SaaS by 2020 and 93% of CIOs are planning to shift their business to cloud:
With the right SaaS marketing strategy, you can grow your company effectively because your potential customers are ready to buy. The market for SaaS platforms is gigantic whether it be B2B (e.g. HubSpot) or B2C (e.g Netflix). You only need the right marketing technique and an appropriate mindset.
The following list of the best SaaS marketing strategy examples will help you kickstart your marketing campaign. Take ideas, get inspiration and motivation, and learn from the following SaaS marketing examples and apply them to your software company.
1. FutureFuel: 0 - 100K+ Monthly Visitors in 6 Months
FutureFuel moved to 0 - 100K monthly visitors in 6 months with a powerful SEO strategy. It publishes high-quality content to generate organic traffic. An employee benefit directory was created that started driving more than 40K monthly visitors after 3 months.
The content published is ranking for several high competition keywords like student loan grants, employee appreciation, HCM software, and others. It acquired more than 500 quality backlinks which helped achieve 60K+ organic traffic from Google:
Here is how the traffic doubled in less than a month:
FutureFuel is all set to reach 200K+ monthly organic visitors in a year. With quality content, natural backlinks, and a perfect content marketing strategy, this SaaS company is a perfect example.
Here is what you can learn from this SaaS marketing strategy:
- Content marketing works when done right.
- High-quality content with natural backlinks can rank your SaaS website quickly.
- You can reach 100K+ monthly visitors with the right marketing approach.
2. Lumen5: 25K - 220K Monthly Visitors in 11 Months
Lumen5 increased its traffic from 25,000 per month to 220,000+ monthly visitors in just 11 months. My team published 30 in-depth blog posts to drive organic traffic to their blog and created 27 landing pages to acquire leads. More than 200 backlinks were acquired to these blog posts and landing pages that helped increase organic traffic to 100K+:
Lumen5 also partnered with Canva by ranking for some of the top keywords like Canva for Work, Canva Pro, and Canva Pricing. A blog post by Lumen5 achieved featured snippet on Google for Canva Pro keyword:
This post drives more than 2K monthly visitors from search engines. So why Lumen5 ranked for these keywords? It’s to get partnered with Canva. Since Canva and Lumen5 work in similar ways (Canva for images and Lumen5 for videos), these two SaaS companies make a perfect match.
After getting decent traffic for some top Canva keywords, Lumen5 contact Canva and get partnered with them. Now they have added CTAs in the blog post that sends highly targeted traffic to Canva.
The major findings and learning outcomes of this SaaS marketing strategy include:
- Acquiring backlinks always pays off. SEO is essential for driving organic traffic.
- One quality blog post is better than a hundred low-quality blog posts. Lumen5 is getting 100K+ organic visitors from 30 blog posts. Quality matters when it comes to content marketing.
- Partnerships with other businesses and SaaS companies can improve your SaaS company’s awareness and help you increase revenue.
3. Squibler: SaaS Company Built in 6 Months
Squibler is a SaaS company that helps writers in writing, managing, and organizing their work. Josh Fechter and Dhaval founded Squibler and in 8 months, it started getting 4500 new users every month with 45K+ monthly visitors.
They realized that their potential customers are more interested in templates and tools that help them in writing. They created templates for different writing categories like novel writing, screenwriting, etc. With dedicated landing pages, Squibler started getting traffic. Next, they published more than 100 articles on the Squibler blog and acquired more than 100 backlinks for pillar content.
This was all done in 8 months and the numbers starting to climb.
This doesn’t end here. Squibler also acquired a viral writing app The Most Dangerous Writing App. The app acquired a lot of backlinks which Josh and Dhaval pointed to Squibler.
After adding a 301 redirect to the app, Squibler’s domain rating jumped to 66 from 18 in 6-months. The app’s 45K+ monthly users used Squibler and their feedback helped Josh and Dhaval improve their SaaS product.
Here is what this SaaS marketing strategy example shows us:
- Creating a SaaS company doesn’t need a lot of time if you know what you have to do, how you have to do it, and when you (and your team) are dedicated and committed.
- Quality content with relevant backlinks will win the day for your SaaS company.
- Don’t hesitate to acquire other apps, businesses, and SaaS companies. The acquisition provides your SaaS business with a quick boost. However, do your homework before acquiring a business and be clear with your acquisition goals.
4. Dropbox: From 100,000 to 4,000,000 Users in 15 Months
This one is old but one of the most cited and effective SaaS marketing examples that has inspired hundreds of SaaS marketers. Dropbox grew by 3900% with a simple referral program that is copied from PayPal. From 100K users in 2008, Dropbox jumped to 4 million users in December 2009 and to more than 500 million users in 2016.
Dropbox started with $30K and it’s a $12 billion SaaS product today. Thanks to its referral program that resulted in the exponential growth of the company.
Users are asked to get free storage space by inviting their friends to Dropbox. It has a tiered referral program that clearly shows the progress, how much free space a user has received so far. Its referral program is super-simple and transparent. This is what makes it easier for users to continue using it.
Here are a few major characteristics of Dropbox’s referral program:
- Users get an increase in storage space with each referral
- Benefits of referral program are clearly mentioned (e.g. how much free space users will get)
- The referral program is embedded in the onboarding process
- Users know their referral status
- Inviting friends is easy and straight-forward. Users can invite their friends with a single click.
There are several key findings from the Dropbox referral marketing strategy:
- Keep your SaaS referral program simple and transparent.
- Reward users with what they value most.
- Promote your referral right from day one.
5. GrooveHQ: 358% Increase in Free Trial Sign Ups
GrooveHQ increased its free trial sign up by 358% and revenue by 25% by tweaking its pricing page. SaaS companies often suffer from pricing dilemma. If you are stuck between freemium, pay-as-you-go, or flexible pricing models for your SaaS company, this SaaS company’s findings will help you.
GrooveHQ was looking for a perfect pricing model that will boost conversions and revenue. It tried multiple pricing models and finally found a winner. The super-slim pricing worked for GrooveHQ:
This pricing model increased revenue by 25%. This was achieved after running several A/B tests and tweaking pricing page and pricing plans.
And it didn’t stop here. They moved a step further and added a comparison chart that further increased conversion rate by 16%:
Alex did a lot of hard work in coming up with a pricing model for GrooveHQ that converted so well.
There are several learning outcomes form this SaaS digital marketing strategy:
- Conversion rate optimization should be the core focus of your SaaS company as it helps you find what works best for your software.
- There is no right or wrong pricing model for a SaaS company. You need to find your company’s pricing model by experimentation.
- A price comparison chart that justifies your pricing (be it low or high) is one of the best ways to increase conversions.
6. Mention: Reduced Churn by 22%
Churn is a common issue with SaaS vendors especially when customer acquisition is difficult and expensive. New customers use the software and stop using it after a certain time period for any reason. Mention was facing a similar kind of issue and it started collecting data as to why users churn.
Mentioned segmented its users based on their membership. It prioritized customer requests from most valuable users who were more likely to stick with the tool. The support tickets were assigned to the appropriate team, so all the tickets are replied promptly:
The support team started responding to support tickets in batches every four hours. This streamlined their customer support team and increase response time.
Data also revealed that free trial users were more likely to switch to a paid plan. Mention, therefore, focused on free trial users more than users who were on the free plan. Mention sent emails with case studies and success stories to its free trial users:
The customers on premium plans received Pro Tips like this:
A MasterClass webinar was conducted to show users (both free and paid) the potential of what Mention is capable of.
These tactics to engage users helped Mention reduce churn by 22% in less than 3 months. The goal was to reduce churn by 20% in 3-months. Mention achieved its goal well before 3 months – a huge success.
There are several inspirational learnings for SaaS companies from Mention’s churn reduction strategy:
- You need to show users what your software is capable of and how they can use it to solve their problem. Don’t expect that users will spend the time to explore your app. You have to show them.
- Identify the most valuable users and offer them with superior customer service. Focus on loyal customers and make sure they don’t leave your company.
- Use multiple digital marketing channels to connect with your users such as email, webinar, etc.
7. Buffer: 0 – 1.5 Million Monthly Blog Readers
Buffer is a popular social media scheduling app that has been around for several years. The software company started its blog in January 2011 with zero readers and reached a million monthly readers in March 2015 and crossed 1.5 million monthly sessions in May 2017.
Reaching a million monthly readers for a SaaS company is indeed a great achievement that’s inspiring for other SaaS vendors. Buffer focused on 3-step blog growth system:
Audience: Understand your audience and figure out what type of content they prefer reading. This calls for intensive keyword research and planning.
Cadence: Buffer realized the need for editorial cadence in early 2017 and since then they have focused on publishing consistently and planning ahead. They use Trello to keep communication at a single place which helps create content ahead of time.
Promotion: Perhaps the most important step in the process. Buffer uses 4 types of blog promotion strategies: Repurpose blog posts, engage with subscribers by sending awesome newsletters regularly, focus on long-term traffic by targeting popular keywords, and creating catchy headlines.
This simple 3-step system helped Buffer reach 1.5 million monthly blog readers. Inspiring, right?
Here are the major learning outcomes of this SaaS marketing tactic example:
- Set goals and stick with them. It took Buffer almost 6 years to reach its goal of 1.5 million monthly readers.
- Create an internal blogging system or a process to produce awesome content for your readers. You can copy the Buffer’s 3-step system and use it.
- Publish content that’s relevant to your software. Buffer publishes blog posts that are related to social media marketing or its primary users. Irrelevant blog content won’t work as readers will not convert. The idea is to convert readers into customers, else, 1.5 million readers won’t be of much help.
Marketing your SaaS company will become simple if you will stick with the proven ways. The examples and case studies discussed in this article show you the possibilities and growth avenues. You don’t have to copy these SaaS marketing strategies (you can if you want to) but what’s more important than copying a marketing strategy is understanding it.
Why it was successful? What didn't work and why?
And if you want to copy it, ask yourself:
Does this SaaS marketing strategy align with my business model?
Make your SaaS company the next example. Do you have the resources to do it? If not, get in touch with us here.