“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits them and sells itself.”
Peter Drucker, American author, educator, and consultant
Digital marketing agencies usually write about what a company will receive after partnering with them or why a company should choose their services over another agency’s services. We have decided to change the format and understand whether you are ready to become one of our global customers. We hope our article will help you cut the clutter and scale your SaaS business to uncharted limits.
Let’s dive in!
#1 You Should Own a SaaS Company
SaaS (Software-as-a-service) is one of the main service models of cloud computing, alongside IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-service) and PaaS (Platform-as-a-service). SaaS companies provide remote access via browsers to an application/tool that facilitates the business life of its users and replaces manual processes with automation.
Their target audience varies from freelancers to CEOs depending on what problem that software addresses. Project management, customer relationship management, email automation, live chat are among the most popular software examples.
SaaS companies usually charge their users on a monthly or annual basis and offer different prices depending on user needs. The team of software engineers and testers is the main asset of any SaaS company - they develop, test and improve the product so the company can attract more and more interested users.
If this is the case for your company, then move to the next sections as Incredo is primarily specialized in working with companies from SaaS, Tech and Blockchain industries. See what comes next on our list!
#2 Your Company Should Have Growth Problems
SaaS life cycle stages… Startup, growth, and maturity... As you can see, a startup to growth and growth to maturity are the main stages you have to go through as a startup owner or CEO.
Imagine there's a professional and dedicated team behind you, your SaaS product totally fits the market needs, you have paying customers (great things, right?). You own what you have already achieved but is that all? What about moving your startup to the growth stage when you get more leads, customers, and revenue? (you should guarantee that subtle but exciting transition).
Word-of-mouth is definitely one of your company’s greatest strengths but relying solely on it can stack the odds against you. After all, word-of-mouth is an integral part of your strategy, not the whole strategy. Both in startup to growth and growth to maturity stages, it’s a must-do to monitor the competition in your niche, understand where you are and craft lead generation/customer acquisition strategies accordingly.
The positive side is that business growth can be measurable, predictable and scalable.
What’s the formula?
The right SaaS marketing agency + The right SaaS marketing strategy = Your SaaS business growth.
#3 You Should Have a Marketing Budget
How much percent of your gross revenue should you allocate to your marketing investments? The number starts from 10% and reaches up to 120% of a company’s gross revenue. Do you see the huge gap between the two?
You have to make a decision depending on three main factors: in which stage your business is now, what marketing goals you are eager to achieve and what’s the niche you are operating in.
Startups and companies in their growth stage usually spend more money on marketing and advertising as they don’t have many loyal customers, while established companies can cut down their advertising expenses as customer retention and word-of-mouth provide the majority of their annual revenue.
After understanding in which business stage your company is, move forward and estimate how much revenue you want to generate. If you predict to make $100.000 next year, then you should allocate at least $10.000 to your SaaS marketing. This is an approximate number and depends on the niche you operate in as well as your Customer Lifetime Value.
Your niche characteristics will help you understand how many competitors you have and who your potential buyers are. If the niche is highly competitive, then get ready to invest a little bit more.
#4 You Should Have a Viable Product
When your software is what we call viable, half of your marketing is already done. While making a viable product, you should care about the first and main principle: Problem-solution fit.
“Don't find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”
Seth Godin, author, and blogger
You read the quote by Seth Godin? Here is where your SaaS company’s journey begins. You should either provide a solution that no one has implemented before or offer the same solution in an advanced way (more optimized version or 3 tools in 1). Otherwise, you will end up following the “Me Too” principle where you are just the next company in the market and nothing makes you different.
First of all, have a look at your industry, dive into your niche market and see what similar products are introduced. Asking direct questions to your prospects is another essential step. Why think and guess what your customers will pay for if you can gather real data from real people and receive more accurate answers. And finally, figure out what’s your Unique selling proposition, why your prospects will choose you and not your competitors.
But that’s not the end. As Steve Jobs once said, “You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.” How to struggle with this? Keep asking questions, keep asking for feedback and keep improving your software. And you can make great improvements only if you have dedicated, qualified and experienced software engineers.
One last point. Don’t pour your energy into making products that have a potential for becoming old-fashioned and losing their value. Think long-term. The invention of the telephone back in 1876 was a boom but will you compare the features of Bell’s telephone with Nokia or Nokia with the iPhone?
#5 You Should Have Measurable Goals
What do we mean by that? You should understand (at least approximately, so we can help you finalize your ideas) what you are trying to achieve and formulate your goals in a SMART way. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. A good example of a well-defined goal is “to generate at least 120 free trials in 2 months and turn at least 10% of them into paying customers” or “decrease churn rate to at most 8% annually”.
For a SaaS startup, increasing brand awareness and generating leads via free giveaways may be a top priority. That’s because startups usually don’t have a large and loyal audience, so they need to put a lot of effort into nurturing their leads and building strong relations. A SaaS influencer may help you introduce your startup (and software) to the market and gain reliability faster.
For an established SaaS company expanding on social networks or developing effective customer retention programs may be among the primary goals.
As you can see, your goals mainly depend on the business stage you are in and your individual expectations.
#6 You Should Have Determination to Work with a Professional Digital Marketing Agency
“Outsourcing our marketing activities to a SaaS digital marketing agency with a proven track record will be the best choice for my company. Let the professionals do their job, and we will concentrate on improving our product.”
When this idea comes to your mind, you overcome the hardest part of the process - psychological readiness. Even when you have logical reasons not to hire a full-time digital marketing team, it’s important to feel that you have made the right decision. You may have doubts like “Is their marketing team professional?”, “Do they have all the resources to manage my project?”, “How am I going to communicate and keep in touch with them?”...
But then you arrive in more exact conclusions that outsourcing is always more affordable (especially if you outsource to Armenia) than hiring full-time specialists, communication is easier than never before and there are a number of ways to check this or that agency’s reliability.
First of all, you find their social media accounts and see how well they do. You have a look at case studies, read the testimonials and reviews, understand what kind of growth problems their previous customers have faced and how the agency has managed them. And finally, when the agency seems the right fit but some questions remain unanswered, you hit the Free Consultation button and let the sales representative do his job for you.
#7 - You Should Have Online Availability
Since you are reading these lines, we are almost 100% sure that you are connected to Wi-Fi or use your mobile internet.
Once we start working together, we will carry out our communication online because your SaaS company is probably located thousands of kilometers far from Yerevan. But it goes without saying how many means of communication we have at our disposal, from email and Slack messages to Skype calls and from Google Hangouts to Teamwork.
We will use Teamwork to set your project milestones, organize day-to-day tasks, meet deadlines and collaborate more efficiently. Google Hangouts and Skype are the main tools we will utilize to have face-to-face meetings with you and discuss our future steps to make your SaaS company stronger and your ROI higher. We’ll use Google Drive as a file storage system to share all documents with you and collaborate in real time. And if you need to jump on a quick discussion, you can just drop a line via email or shoot a message via Slack - we are always responsive.
Once we kick off our digital partnership, your project will be assigned to a qualified Project Manager. You can keep in touch whether directly with the Project manager or with one of his/her team members who will work on creating and implementing your SaaS company’s inbound marketing strategy.
We want to finish up our article by stating what you DON’T NEED to have before working with Incredo. If you haven’t set up a website, haven’t created an account on any social network or don’t have a blog section on your website yet, we will fill in all the gaps in the shortest time possible according to your business needs and goals.
Once you have put a check mark next to these 7 points, feel free to contact us for any question or schedule a free 40-minute consultation with one of our Business development specialists. It’s where your SaaS growth path will begin.