If you're the founder of (or marketer for) a SaaS business—well, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that SaaS sales are predicted to grow by more than 21% in the next 4 years. The bad news is that, despite that growth arc, more than 90% of SaaS startups fail within 3 years of their founding.
Squaring that circle can be a bit perplexing, but what it clearly means is that while many SaaS companies fail, those which succeed win big. So, what's the difference between the winners and the losers? What do the former do well and the latter do not so well?
WHY DO SO MANY SAAS STARTUPS FAIL?
Every SaaS business is different, of course, which means that those which barely make it out of the starting gates fail for a variety of reasons. Among the more typical reasons for early SaaS failure are the following 4:
- Their products aren't a good fit for the market: when SaaS businesses don't effectively communicate with prospective customers during the startup phase, they lose valuable opportunities to improve the software they sell, and to ensure that customers want what they have to offer.
- They don't have enough cashflow: simply stated, some entrepreneurs are so set on their software succeeding that they spend too much at the start, or they spend too much on the wrong things.
- They have weak leadership: good leaders know how to hire the right people, and they know how to delegate authority, letting managers do what they do best. When they try to do everything themselves or refuse to delegate effectively, they tend to fail.
- They don't market their products effectively: even when you have a quality product, sufficient cashflow and are an effective manager, you're not going to get very far without a smart marketing strategy.
ARE THERE BEST PRACTICE DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR SAAS?
There are—and doing them correctly can spell the difference between a thriving SaaS business and one that hits the skids. That said, here are 4 smart marketing strategies that can take your SaaS business to the next level:
1. LEVERAGE THE POWER OF CONTENT MARKETING
If you were shopping for CRM software for your business, would you rather be taken to a webpage with row after row of products and descriptions—or an article, "How to get the best customized CRM for your business without overspending.?" That's the essence of content marketing—it gives prospective customers valuable content that answers their questions and helps them solve their problems. When you "gate" that content—offering it in exchange for contact information (like an email address)—you supercharge your lead generation efforts, filling the top of your sales funnel and dramatically increasing sales opportunities.
2. OFFER FREE PRODUCT TRIALS
Product trials are a great way to boost leads (and gain valuable marketing insights) in any industry, but they're especially well suited to the SaaS industry whose products are more complex and niche oriented. One note of caution: don't begin your product trial strategy until your software is customer ready—you don't want an army of naysayers posting negative reviews and telling colleagues that your product doesn't live up to its hype.
3. OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE
That means many things. It means in the first place that your site needs to be mobile-friendly—many prospective customers will first see your business on a mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet. If you don't have a responsive site, you'll lose a lot of sales opportunities.
Second, it means good search engine optimization (SEO) practices. You need to work with someone who thoroughly understands your industry and is proficient in both on-page SEO (things like using the right keywords and posting valuable content) and off-page SEO (things like building high-quality links to your site).
4. BUILD A SMART GOOGLE ADS STRATEGY
First, let's debunk a common pay-per-click (PPC) advertising myth—the one that says people don't like and don't click on sponsored ads. The truth is, only 7% of internet searchers in a recent survey said they had a negative view of PPC ads. The bottom line is that PPC ads have a great return on investment (ROI), generating on average twice the revenue it costs to run them.
Of course, some PPC strategies are more effective than others, which means to work for your business, you need to do them right. That includes using the right keywords and ad copy, sending prospective buyers to effective landing pages and always A/B testing your ads for optimal results, among other tactics.
These best practice digital marketing strategies can make your SaaS business one of the winners and help you achieve your principal business objectives, but they can also be complicated to execute and confusing. Fortunately, there are experienced, reliable digital marketing agencies who can give you the advice and guidance you need to succeed.
To learn more about the ways our digital marketing services can help your SaaS business increase lead generation, boost conversions, polish your brand and increase sales, contact us today.
Not ready to talk? Then download our guide for greater insight into LeadGen for SaaS: "How SAAS Founders can Generate High Revenue from LinkedIn"