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Where Should SaaS Marketers Invest Their Budget for the Biggest Returns?

SaaS marketers need decent attribution which will require a level of initial development.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions like video conferencing and project management systems are booming – courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen many workers have normal office access restricted or removed altogether. SaaS firms are building on the momentum they’ve been gifted, but their marketers need to invest their budgets prudently to realize the biggest returns. Here, I have explained where SaaS marketers should concentrate their efforts.

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Websites and Content

Perhaps the biggest problem many SaaS firms have is that they’re not communicating to their customers through their websites well enough.

Many are missing out on the opportunity to communicate even the most basic of things such as: saying exactly what their offering is, what sort of problems they solve and what the benefits to the customer are from using the platform. This leads to a relatively high client churn rate because customers come in thinking they’re buying A when they’re actually buying B and sadly they don’t realize it until it’s too late. This results in customers leaving the software company dissatisfied, reducing revenue intake, and running the risk of publicizing negative views to those who will listen.

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One thing you may notice with software websites is that the content is not written for the customers by marketing teams, but for those working in the company by technicians. By this I mean it is jargon-heavy and difficult for customers to understand, focusing on the countless features that companies like to boast about, without actually addressing the needs of the customers or the ways in which the product helps them i.e. their reasons for purchasing in the first place.

The role of the website has moved from being an information source to becoming a member of the sales team. This does not mean sharing information galore about the business’ ten-year history or the development of the product from this stage to that – customers don’t particularly care about that – but selling the software platform instead.

Talk about the benefits, share positive customer experiences and make it easy (and obvious) for inquiries to be made.

Hubspot is an example of a good SaaS website.

The homepage clearly says – CRM platform – so immediately visitors know what it is. It addresses what problems it’s solving, and what the benefits are to the user. The terms they use are simplistic, so no in-depth knowledge or understanding of CRM systems is required.

As for content, SaaS firms need to make sure they are offering material that their customers want to read – like coming up with original research which can benefit their readers – for instance, “using a SaaS platform enhances productivity by 20 percent .” This kind of content tends to position SaaS firms ‘front-of-mind’ with their customers, and that’s a great place to be, because customers will think of you first when ready to make a purchase.

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Identify trends to boost engagement

In terms of addressing trends, one thing SaaS firms should be doing is using Google Trends more and the associated free tool – ‘Google Ads Keyword Planner’. Trends display the search volume of different queries over time,  graphically and geographically. Also, looking at Google Ads Keyword Planner will highlight exactly what people are searching for. Marketers can see instantly what new keywords have entered the market, allowing them to react quicker than others.

Something we also need to stop doing, is thinking we’re the people creating the language that people use. We need to recognize what people are actually looking for – because that nets viable sales leads. Surveys – paid or otherwise – are great sources for identifying trends, and you can also dig up other firms’ research or surveys as well – a good source of seeing what the competition is looking at.

To get inside customers’ heads and understand exactly what they want, testing is a fantastic tactic. For example, testing one landing page against another, using different descriptions and playing with alternative Call-to-Actions will identify which generate better rates of conversion.

 How to implement full-funnel optimization to increase conversion rates

SaaS marketers need decent attribution which will require a level of initial development. There are many ways of doing this, but they’ll need to connect their CRM system with their ad platforms – Google Ads – or whatever it may be. This allows them to see – “oh, this lead came in at this time on Google Analytics”, and then checking for a match on the CRM system to see if it became a decent sale.

Ultimately everything points towards generating sales leads – so marketers need to track anything they’d consider a viable lead – whether it’s a download, a form-fill, or a phone call. Profit is the end goal here, so if the marketer is choosing to run an awareness campaign, it’s important to recognize that there’ll be a different KPI for that stage of the funnel. It could be click-through rates or page impressions, but what SaaS marketers need to be better aware of, is which activity falls into which stage of the funnel.

For example –“This is top-of-funnel activity, so we need to focus on just impressions – it’s middle-of-the-funnel activity, we need to focus on click-through rates – it’s bottom of the funnel activity so let’s look at conversion rates.” Ultimately, looking at the entire funnel holistically is key for a good ROI.

Why pay-per-click (PPC) needs to focus on value-based bidding to generate the biggest profits

This can all depend on the type of PPC activity.

If it’s Search, then content will be shown to those who have a high intent to purchase or find a solution. This audience sits nearer the bottom of the funnel, with the marketer looking for ROI and profit.

If it’s a LinkedIn ad segmented for a specific audience – say operation managers and heads of IT and interested in software and technology – that’s probably going to be a more top-of-funnel activity resulting in the marketer looking for click-through rates and impressions. The important thing is to identify what that value is at what specific stage of the funnel.

The final point is getting the balance right between new acquisitions and customer retention. Ultimately it’s about ROI and profit, so marketers need to concentrate on the sweet spot. Is it being generated by new customers or are current customers providing the majority?

They should focus most of their budget towards the best ROI, but they should direct a tranche of their budget into parts of the business that aren’t working so well to try to iteratively improve ROI in those areas.

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