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  • Writer's pictureYogesh Jain

What is SaaS Marketing & How it differs from traditional marketing?

Updated: Mar 27

Marketing is hard. But unlike marketing a physical product, you’re selling something that is intangible and constantly changing. SaaS marketing is challenging and is critically different from every other type of conventional marketing there is. 

In this article, we point out some of these differences and how you can make the most of these SaaS marketing advantages. Let’s get started!

How are sales funnels different in SaaS companies? 

SaaS companies use a different and more specialized funnel called the AAARRR funnel that focuses on the entire lifecycle of the lead and on what happens after they have made the initial purchase. On the other hand, the traditional marketing funnel is highly acquisition-focused. 

SaaS marketing vs traditional markeitng funnel

Image source: Intelus

The AAARRR funnel focuses not only on generating leads but also on retaining and monetizing that customer after they have completed the first purchase. 

Giving away free stuff or free trials

Free trials have become a widely accepted strategy for SaaS marketing. There are many types of free models you can offer like trial-to-paid, trial with credit card information, 90-day free trial, trial version for a limited period, etc. Allowing customers to explore your product for free as a part of a trial plan enables them to get a taste of what value your product offers. 

Check out this home page for Zendesk offering free trials for all of its plans. 

Saas Marketing meaning and example - Zendesk model

Zendesk offers free trials for all of its plans.

Slack enables its users to create workspaces and add as many users as required for free. 

SaaS marketing by Slack

Try Slack for free with some limitations

Short sales cycle and long-term customers 

SaaS sales cycle is relatively short, but customers are long term. The cycle is relatively short because that is the nature of the industry. Users will visit your website, play around for a bit, read some reviews, and do some research. There is no requirement for road trips to protracted negotiations, meetings, and demos, as it can all be done online. 

The success of SaaS marketing is keeping your customers. Research by Bain & Co suggested that a 5% increase in your customer retention can increase your profitability by 75%. 

Your greatest asset is your content

SaaS companies are working harder than ever to show thought leadership and build their credibility by offering free information through articles, podcasts, interviews, reviews, ebooks, guides, etc. This enables SaaS companies to market their value, expertise and assist potential customers in getting to know your brand. When a customer notices that you’re providing innovative insights and solutions to their problems, it is extremely persuasive. 

HubSpot is one such brand that turns up on the first page of Google results for any marketing topic. Through publishing high-quality articles, HubSpot showcases its deep industry knowledge, which reflects the brand and the quality of its marketing activities. 

Importance of content in SaaS Marketing

HubSpot is the second result when searching for email marketing

Building recognition on social media

Social media marketing is not that different from SaaS. Social media can help build brand recognition and visibility. It is also important that we place together SEO, social, and content plans. There are lots of outstanding examples of SaaS companies that have nailed their social media marketing. But the one that tops the list is Zendesk, and it’s a crazy marketing ploy. 

saas growth jacking

Zendesk Alternative

Zendesk noticed people were using the keyword ‘Zendesk Alternatives’ to find other platforms. So the SaaS company invented a fake alternative music band, Zendesk Alternative, and created videos, lyrics, websites, and social media accounts. The fake site converted at a 95% higher rate than the main website. 

Selling a service 

Software as a Service (SaaS) clearly states that, other than the software being flawless and powerful, the service needs to be upheld as the paragon of virtues. You should therefore make it easy for customers to get in touch with you through multiple channels of support like live chat, social media, emails, and forums. Customer support is essential to the long-term success of your SaaS. 

A classic example that is evergreen is that of FreshBooks. The SaaS company sends cakes to its loyal customers. 

saas marketing

Bryan Dort and his cake from Freshbooks. Image credit: Bryan Dort

selling through content for SaaS marketing book side banner

The two fundamental essential elements to a SaaS marketing strategy are creating and maintaining an amazing service and providing exceptional customer support. 

Unlike traditional marketing, SaaS marketing relies heavily on developers, support teams, and marketers working closely. Having a great product will help generate word-of-mouth, and there is no better way to sell your SaaS! 

What SaaS marketing strategies do you have in place? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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