October 12, 2021

9 Practical Growth Marketing Strategies for SaaS Startups

Spoiler alert—it begins and ends with creating an excellent product and customer experience.

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Growing a SaaS brand is equal parts exciting and daunting, so we’ve put together 9 practical and actionable growth marketing tips.

1: Let your product drive your marketing

Ensuring the quality of your product or service should come above all else.

In fact, you should view your product as the ultimate marketing tool.

A great product or service will receive rave reviews and word-of-mouth advertising, while a not-so-great product will receive terrible reviews and word-of-mouth warnings.

Prioritize customer experience in your product design and consider removing any barriers that discourage customers from trying your product.

One blatant barrier is cost.

People tend to be risk-averse and may be afraid to try a new product if they have to pay for it before knowing it's right for them.

To bypass this common fear, consider adopting a freemium model that allows customers to experience the main features of your service at no charge—then give them the option to upgrade for a more premium experience with enhanced features.

Letting the customer “test drive” your product creates an environment where they're likely to convince themselves—and their colleagues—the cost to upgrade is worth it.

Want to learn more? Check out this great resource from productled.org for more information on Product Led Growth.


2: Get organized and make a plan

There are few things more overwhelming than an unwieldy, multi-faceted marketing plan that exists only in your head.

As soon as you put pen to paper—or font to document—you’ll instantly become more effective at executing your marketing strategy.

Start by researching your competition (more on this later) and jotting down your marketing initiative’s big ticket items: goal, target market, and channels.

Once you’ve gotten those components down, you’re ready to start filling in your marketing plan with the juicy details that make or break a successful campaign—ad concepts, copy, budget, KPIs, funnel breakdown, and anything else you and your team need to effectively execute your marketing plan.

3: Scope out the competition

We recommend creating a list of your competitors and engaging in a little bit of good old-fashioned cyberstalking.

Scroll through their socials to see how they approach marketing their product or service, paying special attention to which of their tactics might be applicable for your own efforts.

We're not suggesting you directly copy them, of course, but consider how you can put your own twist on their successful concepts.

One of the best ways to creep on your competition is by using the Page Transparency feature on their Facebook business page. This powerful tool displays every ad run by any given account, letting you view past and present marketing efforts of your competitors at a glance.

Keep up-to-date on their new campaigns by subscribing, turning on notifications, and signing up for newsletters, waiting lists, and anything else that might help inspire advertising ideas for your product.

This way, you'll always have a steady stream of inspiration deposited directly into your inbox.

facebook-page-transparency-digital-marketing-tips
View the ad library on a competitor's Facebook page to see what they are currently running


4: Get to know your audience

To engage your audience, you must know your audience.

You may already have a general idea of your product’s target market—still, it’s a good idea to try and segment your audience into more specific groups.

One way to do this is through this common buyer persona exercise, in which a brand profiles their ideal customer types and breaks them into categories.

It's imperative to consider each persona's individual pain points and how your product provides a solution.

Keep in mind, you are not the only brand trying to build, engage, or understand an audience.

Social media platforms regularly collect data on their users and break them into groups with similar interests and demographics.

Tapping into these lookalike audiences for your paid ads allows you to extend your campaign reach and get your product in front of large groups of potential new customers similar to your existing customer base.


5: Choose the best channel for paid ads

While it may be tempting to take a shotgun approach, it’s really best to narrow your sights on one, maybe two, channels when delving into paid advertising for the first time.

Of course, you’ll eventually want to have a wider presence, but, remember, you can always add in other channels later after you have a reliable acquisition funnel in place.

Once you've determined the best channel for your initial growth efforts, focus on creating the best content for your target market.

Unclear which channel will be the best for your brand?

Try running a few small test campaigns on your industry’s top advertising platforms to determine the best place to start marketing your product or service.


6: Test, test, and test again

Speaking of test campaigns… be prepared to do a lot of testing when you first start running paid advertising for your brand.

While your research will lead to a plan that looks good on paper, it’s not always easy to go from strategy to execution.

This is why creating a comprehensive test plan is key to optimizing your acquisition strategy and scaling your marketing.

To get started with your test plan, think of high-level questions you want to answer and work your way down from there.

Examples of the types of questions you’ll want to answer include:

  • Do I have product market fit?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What kind of targeting leads to the best results?
  • What is my most effective value prop?
  • What creative assets perform best?

With each answer, your marketing will improve as you gain a firmer understanding of the most effective ways to engage your target market.


7: Remember customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition

Your marketing strategy should revolve just as much around creating and keeping loyal customers as it does acquiring new ones.

Why?

Existing customers already have an investment in your company, and they’re more likely to make a purchase, forgive mistakes, and become brand evangelists.

If you've adopted a Product Led Growth approach for your marketing—which we highly recommend—then you’re likely already familiar with the flywheel.

The flywheel model prioritizes the customer instead of the sale, taking the customer on a journey from an evaluator to a regular user to, most importantly, a brand champion.

Creating brand champions leverages the most cost-effective marketing strategy there is: word-of-mouth.

By keeping your current customers happy and engaged, they’re highly likely to tell their friends and colleagues about your product and bring you new customers organically.

8: Write content like a storyteller

Part of branding is telling a great story.

Consumers have high expectations for brand content these days.

They like feeling part of something and supporting brands whose stories they connect with most.

To capitalize on this idea, you need to whittle your core story down to a short, simple, yet compelling anecdote they can easily share.

Remember, people consume content in different ways, so be sure and diversify your content to convey your story in all kinds of different ways—videos, photos, graphics, and text.


9: Turn your audience into a community

Now that you've created a loyal fan base, continue stoking the flames of engagement by connecting that fan base and cultivating a community around your brand.

The most obvious place to transform your audience into a community, and bring new customers into the fold, is on social media.

Post often; encourage your audience to comment; and make it a priority to respond when they do engage.

Your audience will appreciate you taking the time to reply or even just like their post, and they'll be encouraged to engage with future posts.

You’ll want to connect with your audience on a more personal turf as well: their inbox.

Believe it or not, people like getting emails from their favorite brands—provided they signed up to receive them—and it’s a really inexpensive, easy, and effective way for you to nurture your audience.

Send newsletters, make announcements, and be sure to always link your socials to make it extra easy for them to like, share, and comment.


Final thoughts...

Remember, if your product is the best it can be, it is the single best marketing tool you have.

All you have to do is continue getting that product into the hands of your target audience and letting them help you spread the word through word of mouth.

Of course, strategies like this one are much easier said than done.

If you find yourself in need of a marketing partner to reach your growth goals, shoot us a message—we’d be thrilled to learn more about your brand and explore how we can help.

Written by
Hannah Peritore
9 Practical Growth Marketing Strategies for SaaS Startups
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