SaaS marketers spend a huge amount of time creating content. For most of them, such kinds of efforts are all about lead generation. According to a research by Content Marketing Statistics for 2016, around 85% of marketers put lead generation and sales at the top of their goals list for content marketing.
In order to stay competitive, SaaS businesses need to have a steady stream of leads, for which they need to have a good strategy in place. Here are the main important things that every SaaS marketer should know:
Creating a clear lead-to-conversion path
In general, the first thing that vendors pay attention to when creating a product website is the product. That seems natural, but it's not necessarily the smartest move. There are a lot of websites that just present the product features/benefits and put up a sign-up button, which they hope will be clicked by visitors. The problem is that this approach focuses on what vendors want to happen instead of what the customer wants.
Instead of limiting the website to the product features/benefits, you need to think about it as a lead generation channel. Try to take a closer look at your website and see if it includes these 5 elements, which can dramatically increase the number of your leads:
- Offers: Do your visitors get something valuable when visiting your website? Think of some offers that would motivate them to continue their journey with you. This can be product-centric offers like free trials/deals or value-centric like ebooks, whitepapers, studies, etc. Offers are excellent ways to capture visitor information and convert them into leads.
- Call to Action (CTA): On your website, there should be clear and relevant CTAs on almost every page. This is important to make sure that the visitor knows exactly what to do. CTAs should be in the form of verbs and buttons instead of links buried in text. In addition, you should also take into account that the color and shape of a CTA can have an effect on how many clicks it receives. Based on a HubSpot study of 93,000 CTAs during a year, it was found that targeted ones convert 42% more visitors than untargeted ones.
- Landing page: Each and every offer needs to have its own landing page, because these pages allow you to focus visitors’ attention on the details of the offer.
- Form: To capture visitors’ personal information and qualify them into leads, the right form should be in place. The form should be long enough to capture the most important information, but also short enough in order to not to make people feel that it’s taking too long to fill out.
- Thank you page: After a visitor signs up for the offer, a thank you page should be displayed, as a simple thank you can lay the ground for a personalized engagement with the future customer.
Providing valuable content
Besides offering different deals, promotions and product offers, you need to provide your visitors with valuable content. The reason is that according to Google/Millward Brown study, B2B buyers start their research with a generic search, which means that they are looking for valuable content and not specific products. So, those SaaS companies that have high-quality content tend to have higher lead capture rate.
Though content can take many forms, all of them share a common feature: they need to talk about topics that are interesting to buyers and not pitch for a direct sale. Here are some effective forms of content that can increase lead generation for SaaS companies:
- Blog: Your blog is the most important part of your SEO strategy. By targeting the right keywords, you can drive traffic to your website with minimum costs. Each blog post can become a great landing page for your website, where you can link back to your products and other landing pages. If you write blog posts consistently and target the right keywords, your blog will become a high performing SaaS lead generation tool. According to HubSpot, those companies that blog consistently have much more leads than those who don’t.
- Ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, surveys, reports, etc.: These are excellent ways to build a qualified lead base. Here are some steps in order to make the right use of such content material:
1. Create an ebook/whitepaper/study that is relevant and interesting for your visitors.
2. Offer it as a downloadable PDF in exchange for their name, email address or other information.
3. Add that email to your list in order to offer them more valuable content in the future.
4. Watch your leads’ habits. Do they open your emails? Do they ignore you? This information can be useful in adapting your strategy.
5. After they have started to pay attention to your product, close them with an incentivised offer.
Here are five more core principles of SaaS lead generation that are needed in order to give your marketing a much-needed boost:
1. Offer a variety of deals
Though all of your offers are related to your product, different people have varying levels of interest in your product. So, it is important to attract them with a variety of deals that match their interests. Here are some useful deal options:
- Free trial: The prospects who came across with your software for the first time, will definitely want to try it out in order to make sure that it’s the right fit for them. For such visitors, a free trial is the best option.
- Deals and discounts: Those free trial users who have stopped using the software because of the pricing issue may be interested in such deals. Discounts may attract some of them back to purchasing a paid plan.
- Bundles: This type of deals are for those prospects who demand a deal. If you cannot offer a price discount, a bundle can be a good alternative to increase the value of your offer.
2. Optimize the “About” page
Did you know that the “about” page is the second must-have for B2B companies to establish credibility based on the 2015 Web Usability Report by HuffKoMarketing? Just think about that for a moment - if you came across a SaaS vendor’s page for the first time, wouldn’t you want to know who they are and what you can expect from them? About pages should be filled with trust building elements in order to attract more leads. Here are some techniques for a better about page:
- Share your vision: Tell visitors about the reason you founded your company or developed your software.
- Create trust/credibility: If you have any awards, certificates, media mentions, successful results, testimonials or positive social media reviews, mention all of them!
- Show your staff: Show your visitors with whom they are going to cooperate and who the contact persons are.
3. Have a live chat
More and more SaaS companies are starting to use proactive live chat on their website and there is definitely a good reason for this. Here are the two main ways live chat can increase lead generation rates:
1. It demonstrates to visitors that your support is reliable. In SaaS industry, vendor reliability is a major factor when making a buying decision, so using a live chat app on your website can be considered as a sales demo of your capability.
2. It quickly captures visitor information. Many live chat apps require name and email address in order to get activated.
4. Push content on LinkedIn
The next point in our list of core principles for SaaS lead generation is posting content on LinkedIn. Many SaaS platforms operate in the B2B sector, and that is what LinkedIn is all about. Based on a HubSpot survey of 5000 small businesses, LinkedIn vastly outpaced competing social networks for lead generation. Make sure to publish the content on the platform instead of sharing it as an update.
After publishing content on LinkedIn however, your work is not over. You also need to include compelling CTAs that will draw potential customers from LinkedIn and bring them to your landing page.
5. Nurture your leads with CRM software
Once your lead generation strategy is in place and you begin converting visitors into leads, you will need a tool in order to manage relationships for you. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is what you need in this case. Here are the main ways CRM can be used by SaaS companies:
CRM is all about customer/lead relationships, because nurturing them is what makes a sales team more efficient. The detailed data that is provided by a CRM system helps SaaS companies to effectively retain strong relationships with their leads/future customers by analysing their needs, providing them with the right material/content, tracking conversations and building strong customer profiles. Each aspect of the system has a goal of building better relationships and creating more engagement with leads.
CRM is an effective tool for lead generation, because in this case:
- Follow-ups are automated
- There is no need to manually send emails
- Workflows are streamlined
- Email campaigns are easier to manage
- Leads can be scored (job role, location, email activity, web click behavior, etc.)
- The most valuable leads can be identified
So, here are the seven core principles of SaaS lead generation that just can’t be ignored. All of the strategies mentioned above could work for you, but what matters the most is how you implement them. Always keep in mind that besides developing a sales funnel that generates leads, you also need to create a proper strategy that will nurture those leads.
Do you have other principles in mind that you would like to share with us? Post them in the comments below. We would be happy to hear from you