We couldn’t agree more to what Neil Patel said
“SaaS marketing is not for the faint of heart. It’s challenging. And it is critically different from virtually every other type of marketing that the world is aware of.”
The way in which individuals buy products and services these days has changed.
Your clients are no longer easily influenced by flashy advertisements but they actually spend over 57% of their time doing online research before they even get in touch with you.
This means that you probably need to focus on building up a lead generation strategy that will give them what they are looking for.
In this article, we’ve got together 10 SaaS Marketing Experts from across the globe who share their views and insights on how to get in new leads for your business and, eventually, convert them into customers.
#1 Mario Peshev
Chatbots work extremely well for creating engagement, retaining users, increasing viewability, and improving conversion rates through the lead generation process.
If email doesn’t work awfully well and PPC is falling behind, try moving everything to a single funnel asking for a Messenger log-in for your freebies, webinar sign-ups, or anything else you handle. Messenger open rates are really good and you can nurture your audience along the way.
Mario Peshev is the CEO of DevriX and a Business Advisor for SMEs. Over the past decade, Peshev has been building a distributed company serving large publishers, mid-sized enterprises, and growing startups across dozens of industries.You can connect with him on Twitter.
#2 Georgiana Laudi
When I work with a SaaS companies, generating leads isn’t typically the growth lever I’d look to pull first. More often it’s gathering customer insights to influence positioning, customer activation, engagement, retention, expansion… These are subscription businesses after all! If all of those are healthy though, and you have happy customers, here’s one thing you might want to experiment with: Reach out to your happiest customer and ask them to write a review about their experience on Capterra, G2crowd or the review sites where your best-fit customers are.
It’s easy to overlook the amount of value these reviews will yield over time. Not only with they help potential customers *discover* you, but they’ll help those who are already well into their *evaluation* of your solution, tip over the fence to buy. It’s one of those marketing strategies that has the potential to positively impact customers at every phase of your customer journey; Mobilizing your engaged and loyal customers to become one of the most effective drivers of growth.
Ali Harris, the Senior Product Marketing Manager, at Appcues did this recently. Ali set out to get 10 reviews in a quarter. Just by **asking** their happiest customers, he found that more than expected were happy to share their experience. With little effort Appcues received 30 reviews with just a couple of hours spent per week.
Georgiana is a SaaS marketing & growth advisor and the co-founder of Forget The Funnel. Find her at Twitter.
#3 Anthony Tran
One of the best ways to generate more leads for SaaS companies is to collaborate with influencers in the industry. Start by building a relationship with influencers and letting them try out your software for free. If the influencers like your product and they think it adds value to their audience, then then it could be a win-win for everyone. The influencer can promote your software as an affiliate, the audience gets a great product recommended by someone they know and trust, and your SaaS company will generate more leads and sales as a result.
Anthony Tran is the founder of Marketing Access Pass and AccessWP where he offers web design and WordPress support services. When not working, you can usually find Anthony consuming books about online marketing or watching NBA basketball games.. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.
#4 Lilia Stoyanov
Defining your buyer persona is the first important step. Who these people are? Which blogs do they read? What keywords do they use when searching for a SaaS solution like yours online? Transformify is a complex product consisting of HR Software which is a SaaS model and Freelance Platform which is a marketplace. Addressing the two buyer personas at the same time is extremely hard and it’s our Affiliate Marketing program that delivers the best results. The reasons are simple – our affiliates are paid a 20% recurring commission per sale which is a great way for bloggers and coupon sites to earn USD 150 000 in affiliate commission per month on average. They are insentivised to promote Transformify and find the most creative ways to do so. The affiliate program generates more leads than any other marketing channel. The second best performing channel is content marketing although it took years to build the audience of Transformify HR Blog. It was worth the effort as now this organic traffic generates leads and boosts brand awareness.
Lilia Stoyanov is a chief executive officer and angel investor at Transformify. A fintech and digital transformation expert, she is also a professor at Zigurat Business School and expert evaluator Horizon 2020 at the European Commission. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
#5 Jonathan Bentz
SEO is a strong marketing strategy for SaaS companies to generate more leads. But over the last few years, “historical optimization” tactics have become an incredibly valuable SEO play for companies in the SaaS niche.
To briefly summarize it, find an informational page published more than six months ago that converts and generates traffic from organic search.
Then refresh the content and re-publish it (at the same URL) with a more recent publication date.
There are a lot of ways to refresh and republish.
– You can completely rewrite sections that are no longer relevant. – If new research or insights have been collected by your company, you can add that information. – You can create shareable Infographics of important takeaways. – You can expand the depth of content on the page by incorporating text from similar pages on your site and then redirecting those thinner pages of content to your top-performing page.
But re-investing in your top-performing content through historical optimization is a great way to get long term value out of content that already produces for your company.
Skeptical? Totally understand. But it’s not just our clients at DOM that leverage this tactic. HubSpot has done extensive research on this, and Neil Patel shared late last year on his Marketing School podcast that his content team does historical optimization on as many as three posts per day.
Bonus: this tactic is also way less time intensive than creating a brand new piece of content or re-purposing in a different media format.
Jonathan Bentz is a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Direct Online Marketing. Jonathan is a 15-year SEO veteran and holds a Journalism Degree from West Virginia University. He contributes to Business.com, Business2Community.com, and G2. Jonathan sits on a board for a West Virginia program that aims to build the state’s first all-inclusive playground. You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.
#6 Justine Beauregard
The best way to grow a SaaS company is to have a clear message. What makes your offer unique has nothing to do with your pricing, model, or even in many cases the software itself. Anyone can replicate features. What you need is exceptional marketing copy and experienced salespeople who can convey the value of the offer consistently and with clarity.
Focusing on the pain points of the end user is a great start, but also leading with a strong vision and mission for the company as a whole is critical. There needs to be a compelling story and reason for someone to take a next step, watch a demo, take a trial, or place an order right from the website.
Once you understand this, attracting quality leads and converting them into raving fans will become simpler and flow much easier.
Justine began her career as a small business marketer in 2008. Through intentional, value-added relationship building, she has scaled her own business up to 1800% YoY and has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs worldwide serve more people and achieve their marketing goals. Her work and expert opinions have been featured in major publications such as CIO.com, FitSmallBusiness.com, and Business2Community.com. She now leads a marketing community called Growth Mindset Marketers where she helps entrepreneurs grow using the same easy, fun, and effective marketing strategies she has used to grow her own business along with hundreds of others worldwide. You can connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
#7 Cody Slingerland
Publish long-form, SEO focused content. There are several ways to come up with great content ideas that will attract the type of customers you are looking for: you can talk with your sales team and see what types of questions customers ask, you can look at competitor blogs and analyze them in Ahrefs to see what keywords they rank for (that you could also target), or you can start with a seed keyword and look at Google related searches. Then, once you find a keyword/article idea, create the most complete guide on that topic you can. When done right, and with the right content promotion, you can rank your content in Google, attract new visitors to your website, and then direct them to your product pages or get them to signup to your newsletter and put them in a lead nurturing campaign.
Cody Slingerland is the CMO at Jawfish Digital, a content marketing and web design agency based in Raleigh, NC. Cody has worked with a number of SaaS companies including Instapage, Nutshell, Wonderflow, LeadBoxer, and more.
#8 Paul Stephenson
Capterra is often overlooked as a channel that can attract high intent trials or demos. Many SaaS founders and marketers are reluctant to pay to gain prominent positions in Capterra’s directories because the cost per lead can seem expensive. However, in my experience of managing paid Capterra accounts for SaaS clients I have found that Capterra leads are more cost effective to acquire than leads from Google search ads, and yet of comparable quality. In particular, there are plenty of opportunities to rank highly in countries outside the US for a fraction of the cost that fighting to appear as a top 5 directory listing in the US would cost you. Even if you are not wanting to pay for more prominent listings in Capterra, I would recommend reviewing your product description to be very specific about the type of customer you seek. This reduces the risk of attracting leads that you will only de-qualify later in the sales process. For example, one of my SaaS clients has an enterprise product that is optimized for 10,000+ customers so this is the first thing we mention in product description. This change alone has reduced the number of unsuitable leads from companies looking for a low cost startup solution.
Paul Stephenson is Founder & CEO of 47 Insights, a consultancy that specializes in helping US and Canadian SaaS founders and marketers to grow their companies through profitable digital marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter.
#9 Peter Cohen
There are lots of ways to generate leads and win customers for B2B SaaS solutions – too many for me to cover in a couple hundred words. Just look at the range of services a company like UnboundB2B offers.
So instead, let me share three ideas that you should avoid:
Don’t rely on a magic bullet. As much as you would hope that that “one perfect campaign” will solve all your customer acquisition needs, don’t count on it. Most B2B SaaS buyers need multiple touches through multiple channels at every step of a long and convoluted evaluation process before they actually buy anything.
Don’t start with tactics until you have a compelling message. You need a concise value proposition that explains who you’re selling to, what problem you solve for them, and why they should buy a solution from you. If the prospect doesn’t get crystal clear answers to those 3 questions, you’re wasting your time and money with tactics, no matter how well you execute them.
Don’t set it and forget it: Marketing tactics come in & out of fashion. Anybody remember “dimensional mailers,” a popular tactic nobody’s seen in 20 years? Rigorously test whatever lead generation tactics you’re using and don’t be afraid to abandon them if their impact wanes. As Tower of Power reminds us, “What is hip today may tomorrow be passé.”
I’m Peter Cohen, publisher of Practical Advice on SaaS Marketing and managing partner of SaaS Marketing Strategy Advisors. When you call, I’m the guy who picks up the phone. My advisory firm helps software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies to acquire customers. I provide practical recommendations to attract visibility and generate leads, convert leads into paying customers, and retain and up-sell existing customers. To get in touch, visit http://www.saasmarketingstrategy.com/.
#10 Vanhishikha Bhargava
The one strategy that most SaaS companies don’t pay attention to or experiment with as much, is co-marketing. Everybody’s going after integrations to share audiences but what about products that just simply complement yours and target the same audience – and not necessarily need an integration?
With the increasing cost per customer acquisition, one of the tactics that I have found to be working really well for lead generation, is co-marketing. With this tactic, you get access to a pre-qualified audience that is more likely to convert on your campaigns. So even simple co-marketing tasks like a blog exchange and newsletter feature exchange can serve as growth hacks for lead generation. I have seen an average conversion rate of about 13% on such campaigns!
Of course, for this tactic you need to be absolutely sure that the SaaS product you’re co-marketing with addresses a similar audience. So take your time listing them out and most importantly, make sure you do have some value to offer to them as well. We’re in the SaaS ecosystem together, why not work with one another better to grow?
Vanhishikha Bhargava is a B2B SaaS growth marketer. She’s worked with SaaS products enabled by the latest of technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive analytics and more. Her experience in content marketing, social media and conversational marketing is what sets her strategies apart in the domain. You’ll always find her lurking around on LinkedIn or trying to dissect strategies of successful SaaS companies on her blog. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook
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