It’s an inescapable truth: the marketing world is changing. While SaaS used to be a fringe specialty in the marketing realm, it has become the priority of many marketing professionals. SaaS marketing is now a multi-billion dollar industry estimated to grow even more in the coming years.
Increasingly, companies are beginning to create services entirely based online, and they need marketers to help them achieve their goals. While old marketing used to be entirely focused on creating opportunities for companies to sell their products, SaaS marketers now create the opportunity, sale, and retainment, all in one package.
But how are marketers and SaaS working together, and why are they such a good fit for each other? Find out the reasons why marketers and SaaS are a match made in heaven below.
What Is SaaS?
SaaS, the shorthand for “software as a service,” is essentially the concept of software that is bought, maintained, and engaged with through the internet. No longer is software a physical product that can be purchased in a store.
Typically, the product is some sort of cloud-based application that users interact with to reach other users and companies. Whether the software is used to complete work projects, organize employees, or enhance the services they provide, it doesn’t matter.
The core concept is that SaaS removes the physical element of a traditional product, replacing it with an entirely online user experience. However, the goal of SaaS is to retain customers for years at a time, very different from the average buyer/seller relationship.
Why Does SaaS Need Marketing?
Every product needs marketing to survive in a competitive space, and SaaS is no different. It’s one of the most competitive spaces out there. Customers cycle through various SaaS products based on the changing needs of their company, meaning SaaS companies have to fight to remain relevant to their customers.
This is where SaaS marketing comes into play. Marketers continuously advertise changes to the product and added benefits to customers, even when they’ve already purchased access to the software. While users might enjoy the product, they need a constant stream of reminders of why the software is good for them, and why they should continue using it.
However, the nature of SaaS as an online or network-driven service has fundamentally changed the relationship between the product and the marketer. Since SaaS intends to retain their customers for years at a time, marketers need to have a detailed strategy that continuously markets the product so that customers want to renew their subscriptions.
Methods and Strategies Marketers Use for SaaS
Marketing agencies and professionals employ several strategies to help retain user subscriptions for SaaS. While many of these tend to overlap with traditional marketing strategies, some may seem counterintuitive to how someone might try to sell a physical product.
One method marketers might use to gather information for a SaaS marketing strategy is known as web scraping. This involves “scraping,” or collecting, a website’s underlying data. This data is what informs the display headers on the website’s pages, meaning it’s incredibly valuable information that isn’t readily available to the average person.
Marketers use web scraping to examine the underlying data sets that can help point them in the right direction to take their marketing efforts. For example, a SaaS company might offer a platform for real estate brokers to connect with potential buyers. By web scraping real estate listing data, marketers might be able to find brokers’ information and market the SaaS to them directly.
There are several web scraping services available online that you could use to collect information that would be impossible to gather otherwise.. Alternatively, you could follow a simple tutorial and build one of these efficient tools yourself. Marketers often use web scraping to help them develop their SaaS marketing strategy, making it much easier to target the people who would most likely want to use the cloud-based application.
Free Trial Periods
Since SaaS isn’t a physical product, marketers had to come up with a unique method that allowed customers to decide if the software was right for them. While customers can test out a physical product like a new car in real life, they weren’t able to do the same with a cloud-based application.
Marketers developed free trial periods as a way to solve this issue and bridge the trust gap between the SaaS company and prospective clients. Customers are given full access to the product for a limited time, allowing them to test out the software’s capabilities in real-time.
SaaS marketing generally uses this free trial period in the hopes that users become dependent on the technology in that short time, typically around two weeks. This can lead them to buy the full product and turn into long-term customers of the company.
Free trial periods are a significant shift from traditional marketing techniques. A hardware store wouldn’t let their customers take home a chainsaw for two weeks for free, so why would software be any different? It took SaaS marketers to see the potential for this counterintuitive practice to turn into profits and then make it the norm for the industry as a whole.
Traditional marketing techniques would dictate that companies need to create engaging content about their products. SaaS marketing, on the other hand, puts forward a contradictory way of thinking about this.
SaaS companies need marketers to create content about things other than their products. Through articles and blog posts about relevant statistics and topics that potential customers might be interested in, SaaS can garner interest for their product in the process.
An example of this might be an email marketing company posting statistical trends in email campaigns for different industries. A potential customer might click through the content simply because it deals with their industry. After they’re already reading, the SaaS email marketing company plugs their product, increasing the likelihood that a person might enter a trial period.
Marketing seemingly unrelated products, like work desks, for example, are another way for SaaS marketers to reach a new customer base. Those users who might be interested in a physical product might also need a virtual one, so it pays for SaaS to market in nontraditional digital spaces as well.
This sort of round-about marketing logic follows users’ typical internet surfing habits. By engaging potential customers through their interests relevant to the SaaS, the company can then garner interest in their product.
SaaS marketing was at the forefront of the content as an advertising trend, and it remains one of the best ways that companies can reach potential customers about their cloud computing solutions.
Customer Service as Marketing
Any respectable SaaS has a noticeable online presence, including both social media and website coding programmes that generate traffic to their product pages. However, that also means that their customer service infrastructure is entirely based online as well.
SaaS marketing utilizes traditional customer service roles as a way to engage with their customer base and generate further investment in their software. When customers are satisfied with online responses to their questions about the product, they are more likely to continue renewing their subscription packages.
SaaS marketers recognized early on that excellent online customer service directly equates to product sales. The best way to enhance SaaS marketing through customer service is by giving customers a fast, meaningful, and problem-solving experience with representatives.
Innovations as Marketing
One way in which SaaS marketing is remarkably similar to classical marketing is that it’s beneficial for the company to advertise innovations in their technology. Giving customers regular updates on new product developments or improvements in user experience is one of the best ways to enact a good SaaS marketing strategy.
Sharing innovations in technology is especially important for SaaS marketing because customers are aware that there are new advancements in this industry every day. To keep up with the hypothetical competition, companies need to guarantee their customers that they are constantly updating and improving how their technology works.
SaaS marketers are uniquely equipped to deal with this sort of marketing strategy because their industry is constantly changing as well. Marketing as a whole looks almost nothing like it did 50 years ago, so SaaS marketers know that they are going to have to adapt to changes as well.
Why Stop With SaaS: PaaS and IaaS
Services-based industries are not the only industries benefiting and growing within the cloud revolution. Platforms, databases, cloud infrastructure, dashboards, and many more user-facing tools are being transformed into services because of the capabilities of cloud computing.
Platform as a service (PaaS) is another type of cloud computing offering. In this case the service being provided comes in the form of a platform, upon which customers (who are effectively users) can operate or develop business processes and applications. cloud application development platforms such as Google App Engine or Heroku.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the third and last commonly recognized form, and functions exactly the same as the other two. It provides virtual cloud-based computing resources. This includes cloud infrastructure and servers such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
PaaS and IaaS both have the same advantages to marketers as SaaS – so why not also put them to use within marketing and expand the scope of your cloud-based operations!
In conclusion, marketers are generally the only way SaaS companies can reach potential customers. By implementing new and exciting marketing strategies specifically tailored for SaaS, marketers can drive SaaS company outreach and potential profits.
Without marketing, SaaS would have no method of contacting their customer base, renewing membership fees, or enlisting new customers. The SaaS product to customer pipeline is driven by marketers, and that isn’t slated to change anytime soon.
Christoph is a code-loving father of two beautiful children. He is a full-stack developer and a committed team member at Zenscrape.com – a subsidiary of saas. industries. When he isn’t building software, Christoph can be found spending time with his family or training for his next marathon.