How is Inbound Marketing Different for SaaS Businesses?
For software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies where subscription models are often prevalent, inbound marketing isn’t just about customer sales. Customer retention is also hugely important as there's no point investing heavily to acquire a customer if you don't have the mechanics to keep them.
This places an emphasis on winning the right kind of prospects for your business through any inbound efforts you are making.
SaaS marketing requires a unique perspective on prospect and customer engagement. It’s a fundamentally different way of doing things and so it’s essential strategy, resourcing and objectives reflect this dynamic.
To drive demand for your SaaS offering, you’re going to need a carefully developed game plan that not only drives prospects to sign up, but also to engage with your product, convert, and then stick around long after the initial sale.
If content production is at the heart of your inbound marketing strategy, you can support every stage of the SaaS customer funnel. As a means of regularly engaging both your prospects and customers, your content can be the difference between long-term customer retention and regular customer churn. Yes, it really is that important!
‘As a means of regularly engaging both your prospects and customers, your content can be the difference between long-term customer retention and regular customer churn.’
With this in mind, you need to develop a two-pronged inbound content marketing strategy that delivers value to prospects and customers alike.
Develop Content That Delivers Value Beyond Sale
If you're using inbound marketing as a means of promoting traditional products and services, it's common to develop content that naturally nurtures prospects to a sales-ready state.
This content delivers value and subtly educates prospects on why a solution is worth the investment.
Inbound marketing for SaaS companies still uses this approach, but doesn’t stop at the sale - it continues even after the prospect becomes a customer.
As the nature of the customer relationship evolves, so too does the value of the content you deliver. When prospects become customers, their priorities change. They’re no longer looking for information to educate and justify their buying decision, but instead insight that can help them extract maximum value from their purchase.
This may take the form of something quick and easy like optimisation tips or more significant content, along the lines of fully fledged ‘How-to’ guides. Whatever the case, regular engagement is important as it emphasises the value customers are receiving from their SaaS purchase.
In addition, by sharing information that optimises the value derived from the purchase, customers are much more likely to stick around, as they’re enjoying greater returns from their investment.
Use SaaS Data to Guide Your Inbound Content Development
Your relationship with your customers will undoubtedly be a lot stronger than it will be with your prospects. In the SaaS model, your customers are your allies, and so it makes sense to work with them for the good of all involved. This can help guide content efforts.
Unlike prospects, you’re likely to have a significant amount of data on your customer’s challenges, activity and success. With this information, it becomes much easier to identify what value looks like and cater your inbound content efforts to align with the regular challenges customers are experiencing.
By using the behavioural data your application generates, you can guide content development, creating timely communications that deliver highly targeted value.
SAAS Inbound Marketing Drives Upsell
While inbound content aimed at customers is not primarily designed to initiate a sale, the opportunity remains to subtly pursue upsell opportunities.
Your customer-focused inbound content should not only educate on what they already have, but help them appreciate the wider landscape and add-ons available.
With that said, it’s important this is not the explicit objective and only referred to on occasion.
You don’t want your customers to think you’re only reaching out to extract more money from them.
Much like inbound content for your prospects, delivering value should come first, the opportunity for upsell should be a secondary benefit of regular communication, and nothing more.
Embrace the Power of SaaS Inbound Marketing
Remember, in the SaaS model, retention is revenue, and regular content can play a key role in delivering value and discouraging unnecessary customer churn.
The longer a customer stays with you, the more profit per customer you’re set to make, and so it makes sense to continue the conversation well after the initial sale.
‘Remember, in the SaaS model, retention is revenue, and regular content can play a key role in delivering value and discouraging unnecessary customer churn.’
Beyond retention, your content efforts also have the potential to raise average customer lifetime value by exposing them to new opportunities and services. This can significantly improve your relationships and drive ongoing prospecting conversations with your customers.
With the right inbound approach in your SaaS business, you’ll be able to not only drive demand and turn prospects into customers, but also keep those customers engaged for many years to come.