If you read only 1 list of SaaS marketing best practices today, this should be the one! 20 simple but very important tips to enhance your user acquisition, user retention and grow your business as a whole.
1. Avoid discounts
Discounts are deceiving: usually, companies try to get more users and clients. But at the end of the day, it can easily turn out that you brought in the wrong audience and they churn. Again: competing on prices is a very bad approach, compete on benefits instead! If you bring in a new customer based on your unique selling proposition but for the usual price, he will be more likely to stick with you for longer. The more they invest in your solution the more difficult is to leave you!
2. Build a growth engine into your product
Growth engines are varying product by product: for example in Slack you share the tool with your colleagues, in Pipedrive you and your invited company get a discount. You have to build some kind of virality into your product even if it doesn’t seem to be good for a B2B business. You might hear that “it doesn’t work in B2B” but I hope you don’t try to sell to companies but to individuals… and in this case, it doesn’t really matter whether you are in B2C or B2B.
3. Get into review sites
During the buying process, lots of people check reviews that are independent of you. Therefore they go to review sites and try to collect information. So it is important to “host your reviews” on your review sites too. For example on Capterra, G2crowd, or financesonline.com.
4. Shorten your free trial period
Maybe it seems contra-intuitive but a lot of time shortening your trial period increases conversion rate. It’s because there will be a bigger time pressure on your trial users. Scarcity is one of the most effective tools when it comes to sales!
5. Increase your prices
Prices are usually lower than they should be. Lots of companies think that it’s important to have low prices to make people even register. But that’s not true! People are looking at benefits and features first. If you can convince that your tool is able to kill the pain your prospect has, you’ve already won. But there can be exceptions: if you target companies or people on low-budget… But competing on prices can be very harmful.
6. Offer annual payment
Annual, pre-paid payment is usually cheaper than paying month-by-month and it is wise to offer this solution. It is a little bit cheaper as you get their trust for 1 whole year! And it is worth a lot to have a client with you for a year as they won’t churn until that time for sure which makes your numbers more predictable.
7. Have a good customer support
Yes, it sounds obvious but one of the most important things is your customer support. It is especially true if you have big competitors in your market: as they don’t have much time you will be even able to steal clients from them just by providing good customer support!
But be aware: the level of your customer support should be highly affected by your business model. If it is self-service, it is enough to have a chat and email combination, if it is transactional, you might go to telephone too and if it is enterprise level, it can be a one-to-one, live solution!
8. Charge for additional support
Additional support costs you time and therefore a lot of money. Installation fees and one-to-one consultations can be charged if you can help your client reach his desired outcome sooner. If you help a company implement your solution they pay for the time they save that would be required if they would have done it alone. Also, if you educate them how to get the most out of your product, you give them additional value for their business that can be charged!
9. Create a Buyer Converter product
The 9th of the SaaS marketing best practices is a very cool trick and stems in the Inverted Funnel Concept which says it’s great if you can use a Buyer Converter Product. This is a standalone feature of your product, it converts your leads into buyers offering low-ticket, very focused tools. These tools answer to highly specific pain points of your Buyer Personas. You can see these type of tools for free too but asking for few dollars could qualify your leads and frighten away freebie hunters.
10. Write free giveaways
Hooks such as ebooks, case studies and more will enhance your lead generation efforts. Not only you will be able to gather more contacts but you will be able to qualify them based on their interest!
11. Start paid marketing early
Most of the time it is good to start paid marketing. It will help you understand your market faster. Basically, you pay for the speed of getting the needed information. But naturally, it is true for every type of rule: there are exceptions. If you can build your growth engine early into your product, you might not need it. If you don’t know where to begin with paid ads, hire an agency. I recommend hiring a specialized marketing agency for SaaS companies.
12. Don’t lie about your product and never use hidden fees
Be honest: if your tool doesn’t know something, don’t offer it. Thank you captain obvious, ha? Also, it is important that you show your fees transparently. There is no more irritating than facing a surprise fee. People will pay it but will most likely to churn as they will be stressed. That’s not a brand that is loveable.
13. Use event-triggered emails for onboarding and retention
Behavior-based emails are important to send highly personalized, timely and highly targeted messages. Send your emails based on your users’ in-app activity to reach higher engagement! Also, congratulate your existing customers and give them loyalty rewards and similar messages when they achieve something. For example in Buffer, if your post gets a higher sharing rate than usual, the team sends you an automated email to congratulate!
14. Use the inverted funnel concept for user acquisition
Inverted funnel thinking is a framework that helps SaaS companies build their user acquisition processes from the “inside”: from the product point of view. If you would like to read about it in details, read the article on Inverted Funnel Thinking.
15. Integrate with lots of apps
Integrating with strategically important applications can be a very effective way of spreading the word about your SaaS software. But programming integrations for the sake of integrations don’t make sense: try to find out which are the most important apps that can give your users value. In addition, you can check your competitions’ integrations to have a better understanding of your strategy.
16. Email course for education
Email courses are great if you would like to educate and nurture your prospects. Usually, these are for free but if you feel that you can create so high perceived value, you can turn it to be a good buyer converter product and offer it for a low amount of fee.
The best things about these educational contents that not only you build trust but also get nurtured leads! In addition, you can cautiously get them to go into your software and take action with your tool – so you also give them a benefit focused, effective onboarding too!
17. Use “Powered by” for your free plan
“Empowered by” is mostly known the “must-have” virality agent for a specific level of service. For instance, you know that you can send newsletters for free with MailChimp if you let them insert that iconic Monkey into the footer of your emails.
This type of brand building and virality tool makes it easier but it is not usable in every industry.
18. Always follow-up and notify
We are facing a high volume of information day by day. As a result, we tend to forget things even if it is important for us. Maybe it sounds a little bit awkward but people will highly appreciate if you follow-up on them and help them remember!
19. Your sign-up form should be short and clear
If your sign-up form asks for more information than you would use, than just simply it. Why the heck you are asking for information that you don’t need?
You should also manage expectations: for example telling your prospects that after the free trial they will have to pay, the will have a free version, etc. Be concise but honest.
20. Send win-back campaigns for not converted trial users
Your active trial users are the best type of fuel, so get the most out of them! It is very important to try to get back your lost users to your trial. You can use remarketing and automated email campaigns too!