In this article we will examine how SaaS product marketing is different from regular digital marketing for a corporate website or a physical product. Some product developers think that their product is so unique and is serving a less-competitive niche market and it sells for itself. That’s an interesting point, except for the fact that it doesn’t take much time for the competition to create similar products and get into your small protected niche where you are the undisputed leader. Your product is no longer unique nor enjoys a monopoly over that small niche anymore. Another common pitfall is that a developer knows about his product so well, but his customers need some documentation and tutorials understand the product. Even if the product is highly intuitive with a well researched user interface, a SaaS product still needs to have sufficient documentation, case studies and how-to tutorials. And this makes digital marketing an inevitable part of promoting a SaaS product.
Every SaaS product team faces a few challenges:
- Finding its right audience and converting them
- Ensuring customer success and customer retention
- Constantly improving their product to meet customers’ growth requirements
- Growing SaaS business and beating the competition
Several SaaS developers try to do it themselves, wasting their precious time which can be spent on coding it better. Digital marketing can help them a lot with some of these activities, by providing valuable data for insights and analytics. It’s true that the SaaS product team is the best judge of their own product and knows their audience and user requirements. Without writing down those requirements of their target users or doing a market feasibility study, a SaaS team would never get to the development stage. But the finished product still needs to be presented well to the target audience. SaaS product marketing relies heavily on the content. Users need to know about how to use it and what benefits they are entitled to if they subscribe to the SaaS service. This doesn’t mean that the SaaS team has to divulge their secret sauce to everyone. That’s too far-fetched. They don’t need to share any secrets to anybody, but it helps to keep some documentation publicly available.
Let me briefly explain how digital marketing can help a SaaS product with those above challenges
Finding the right audience for the SaaS product:
You are a SaaS developer and you know who your audience is. You met some of them in person or at some events. Probably it’s their problems that prompted you to develop a solution hoping that they will find it acceptable. If these few acquaintances are enough to cover your development and maintenance costs, you are probably the most fortunate entrepreneur. But in many cases a product needs a lot more customers than your friends and acquaintances. SEO helps a lot in this area. Proper keyword research, competitor research and defining the buyer persona will get you closer to the right audience and you will be able to segment them as you like. You can identify your audience by their stage in the customer journey and put together a good content strategy for each stage. You can explore the different channels to find the most effective ones to reach your target audience. The possibilities are endless.
Ensuring customer success
This is mostly dependent on the capabilities of your product and the support you provide to your customers. However, there are a few things you can implement or automate here like demos, Q&A sessions, FAQs, documentation, user stories etc. Your tutorials and documentation should be organized in such a way that they are easily searchable and understandable. A user is investing his money in your SaaS product and spending his time learning it so he can make his business easier to manage. By creating exhaustive documentation that helps users to meet their business requirements, you can make sure that each user has sufficient information to solve his/her problems or make things better. Whether you publish the documentation publicly or not, you have to be very active in forums and Q&A sites. Users can find solutions to their problems easily, if your posts and documentation are optimized for search engines.You don’t want to answer the same question a hundred times, right? Better put the answer somewhere on the web so your users can find it easily. There are a lot of options like github, quora, stackoverflow etc. Do some SEO for such posts and your users are on their way to success!
Constantly improving the SaaS product offering
Again, this is a thing of concern to the development team. But how do they know that which parts of the products need improvement and which service needs to upgraded on a priority? Once you are into digital marketing, you keep getting a lot of data from your users’ actions and behavior. Then you analyze all that data and actions to find where you can improve things for your users. Once you are in the market, comparisons with similar products are inevitable. You will find your product’s strengths and weaknesses in comparison to other similar products. You will know a lot of things from your users’ feedback, searches, competitor research and trends. You can use such generally available data along with product analytics (if implemented) and auditing, to improve your product and position it as desired. You can make use of surveys and customer feedback mechanisms to assess the need for new features or improvements.
Growing the SaaS business
Once you began to create a few success stories and improve your product constantly, more users would want to try your product. While this is a happy development because you are on-boarding new customers every week and revenues are growing, it may not last forever. Some of these new users may have new requirements or your existing customers might be looking for new features or scalability. Your competitors might be trying to match your offerings and steal your customers away. It happens all the time to every business, we all do it. You need to pay attention to what customers are saying directly through their emails or chats, and indirectly through their actions and searches. Implementing new features and meeting new requirements are not the easiest things to do. It takes time, money and effort to make changes to a product. Alternatively, you can set the expectations correct. If your product seems to have certain limitations or your feature-set is more suitable for certain groups of users, you can set the record straight with digital marketing. There is no point in on-boarding users that you cannot retain. By making some simple adjustments to your SEO content strategy, you can focus on your niche market segment and avoid unnecessary overhead of engaging with customers that don’t fit your business model.
That’s how a SaaS company can use digital marketing to grow its business. I still haven’t discussed the nitty-gritty of the actual digital marketing process. It’s not possible to cover all that in a single post. So, please wait for my next post.