Marketing a SaaS (software as a service) company presents some unique challenges. Since you’re providing a service over time (ideally a long period) and likely operating on annual or monthly contracts, customer retention is more important (and often more difficult) that it is for other businesses.
For a SaaS marketing strategy to work, you can’t just focus on constantly acquiring as many new customers as possible. You have to hold on to the ones you have by maintaining a high level of customer engagement. Here are some simple techniques to help you out.
Be active on social media
Any technology or software company would be considered a bit suspect if they didn’t have some sort of social media presence. It’s especially important for SaaS companies, whose audiences want to be plugged into the latest developments in their field—and to understand how your software is improving and adapting to fit their needs.
Don’t just create a Facebook page out of a vague sense of obligation and only update it when you have a major announcement to make. Instead, take a close look at the platforms your customers are using (whether that’s Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest) and the type of content they’re engaged with. Work to provide them with regular content closely related to your company’s brand.
Social media is also a great place to handle customer service questions or ask for feedback. Consider running a poll or asking your followers questions about the type of features they’d like to see implemented. Audiences feel more engaged when they know that their opinions are being listened to.
Create video tutorials
One of the roadblocks of SaaS marketing is that you’re selling a software-based service, not a physical product that people can see or feel. Creating a video that demonstrates your software in action is one way to get around this roadblock. Video tutorials are especially valuable for this purpose because they provide a very clear, immediate benefit: educating your customers.
A customer who doesn’t understand how to use your product isn’t going to stay a customer for very long. Blog posts and other written tutorials are one way to teach them, but for many people, video is a much more engaging format.
Start by considering what your audience is most interested in learning (for example, a process in your software that is particularly complicated and difficult for new users to understand). Use screen capture software and narration to create a clear, concise explanation that viewers can easily understand. Wherever possible, try to connect with the audience on an emotional level.
Start a loyalty program
Loyalty programs are an excellent way to help retain customers, and there are a few different ways to do it. You could set up a points-based system, where clients can unlock more rewards the longer they use your service. Take advantage of gamification by connecting the loyalty program to an app or website so that users can track their progress.
Loyalty program rewards don’t need to be excessively expensive—they just need a personal touch. Try to choose rewards that are closely related to your brand. If an obvious connection doesn’t exist, create one. For instance, if you’re handing out free gift cards to your best customers, try packaging them in branded gift card holders featuring your company’s logo and personalized with the recipient’s name. It’s little touches like these that help customers feel you truly care about their business.
Gather and respond to customer feedback
Start by tracking Net Promoter Score–“the one number you need to grow.” This loyalty metric is something the whole company can rally around, and the qualitative feedback you receive from customers will provide guidance on how to improve your NPS. Be sure to respond to customers that take the time to answer your survey. Letting them know you are listening and taking action on their feedback will keep them engaged.
Net Promoter Score surveys will identify your most loyal customers. Turn them into brand advocates by asking customers to provide a testimonial or write a review of your product online. This process can be easily automated.
Distribute an email newsletter
Creating an email newsletter allows you to stay in constant contact with your clients, even if they lack a social media presence. Think of your newsletter as an extension of the sort of content you would post on social media or your blog. It shouldn’t just be full of advertisements declaring how great your software is. It should provide your audience with valuable, informative content.
Be sure to include a strong call to action in your email correspondence so you can guide readers to your next desired action—whether it’s to visit your website or follow you on Twitter.
Personalize as much as you can
Dealing with customers on a personal, intimate level allows you to engage with them emotionally. This is why personalized marketing is so important.
Whenever possible (whether it’s over the phone, in your newsletter, or through snail mail), address your client by name. Even just using words like “you” and “your” will often get you better results.
You can incorporate personalization into your blog, as well. Use the reader’s viewing history to suggest articles they may find interesting. If they’re reading a lot of posts about how they can use your software to improve sales, for instance, you can ensure that they see links to your other sales-related articles in prominent positions.
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