This is a guest post by Amy Bishop, Director of Digital Marketing & MarTech at ZirMed.
Software as a service (SaaS) organizations face some unique challenges as it pertains to digital marketing. Check out the tips below to refine your efforts and generate the maximum return.
All organizations have to worry about their reputation, let’s be honest. But when you operate entirely online, that’s also where people tend to do a lot of research and, for better or worse, leave their feedback. This is becoming more and more prevalent for organizations of all types and sizes but is especially important for online businesses.
Do most people check their gym’s reputation online before registering for a membership? Probably not.
But do people generally check out a software organization’s reputation before signing up for a recurring subscription? Most likely. It’s all part of the research process. In comparing options between alternatives, you can’t help but also notice the reviews. You might have a stellar marketing demand-generation program but your negative reviews could be deterring people from registering.
There is a whole host of ways that you can monitor, maintain, and improve your reputation without breaking the bank or your schedule. Here are a few tips:
- Make sure that you are practicing what you preach. It’s easy to accidentally over-promise in your marketing efforts, which leads to poor reviews.
- Keep an eye on your reputation across social channels and review sites, at a minimum. Try to respond to all grievances with some form of resolution. People don’t expect to see 100% 5-star reviews but they do expect that negative experiences brought forth by customers will be acknowledged (and hopefully rectified).
- Circle up with customer support to see if there might be a way to improve processes to circumvent negative reviews by resolving client issues.
- Take the feedback for what it is and try to use it to improve!
Your Cross-Channel Strategy & Customer Activation
SaaS leads aren’t always cheap, so it is important to ensure that there is a cross-channel strategy in place to help ensure that the juice is worth the squeeze.
I recommend diagramming your channels from top to bottom. Visualizing it can make it easier to spot gaps and opportunities. The most common gap that I’ve noticed with SaaS marketing strategies is that 99% focus on generating leads.
Often when marketers think of lead generation, we think of it as a low-funnel marketing technique. And in a sense, it is – but the funnel goes lower and our marketing efforts should, too. A lead doesn’t necessarily equate to an MQL. So that’s often where the gap occurs: there’s a strategy to capture leads but the strategy lacks a way to transform a lead into a lead worth talking to.
Moreover, even once someone has signed up – the best way to ensure customer retention is to ensure that the customer is actually using the software. There are plenty of customer success strategies that are typically manned by account managers and support but marketing can help, too. This is where activation strategies come into play.
The beauty of doing business online is that you accumulate a lot of data! Setting up email programs and marketing automation based upon certain events could be a cost-effective way to ensure that your cross-sell and upsell strategy is on point. There’s also an opportunity to use audiences and retargeting to support these efforts, as well.
Your Attribution Model
If you have a cross-channel marketing strategy, then you need an attribution methodology to match. There are a lot of considerations around attribution models (and admittedly none are perfect) but some of the most important concerns are that:
- You are consistently tracking all channels to ensure that they are captured in whichever tool that you use for your attribution model.
- You know when to use each model to evaluate program performance.
- There is a form of identity-stitching in place for anonymous-to-known visits as well as for cross-device tracking. Thankfully with SaaS platforms, this often takes care of itself when people log in. Otherwise, marketing automation platforms and some attribution platforms can help with this.
Understanding Your Return
As mentioned above, SaaS leads aren’t always cheap – so it is important to be able to understand the value. Ideally, the efforts should be measured by ROAS, ROI and revenue as opposed to cost-per-lead but to get a real sense of return, you have to account for the true value of the lead, which means understanding lifetime value.
Questions you might consider include:
- If your model is a freemium model, how often are free registrants converting to paid users?
- How long do most of your paid users stay on the platform?
- What is the potential for upsell and cross-sell?
- Do some users, based upon firmographics and demographics, tend to be more valuable than others?
What tips do you have for SaaS marketing? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments!
About the Author:
Amy has built and implemented multichannel digital strategies for a variety of companies spanning several industry verticals from start-ups and small businesses to Fortune 500 and global organizations. Her expertise includes e-commerce, lead generation, and localized site-to-store strategies. Amy is currently the Director of Digital Marketing & MarTech at ZirMed.