Marketing a software service isn’t the same as marketing a normal product. It’s not something physical that you can touch, feel, or smell. Not everyone will understand how it works in the first few seconds by intuition. But SaaS or not, growing and scaling a business comes along with some common obstacles. In this guide, we’ll go through the major challenges of SaaS marketing. I’ve also included some actionable steps for how you can overcome each of them.
What Are The Major Challenges of SaaS Marketing?
There are 7 common SaaS marketing challenges. As the industry is predicted to surpass $305 billion in revenue by the year 2026 (Valuates Reports), cutting through all the noise requires a bit more of a unique approach since competition will be high. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of potential for growth and success if you have a great product to offer in the marketplace. Anyhow, let’s get right into it.
1. Traffic and Demand Generation
There’s a strong chance that there are more established competitors who currently dominate in your niche. Although the SaaS market allows you to demonstrate a high flair of creativity by providing a unique solution tailored for a specific problem, that doesn’t mean you’re owed anything. The first barrier to entry is being found and getting in front of a crowd of about 14 billion customers.
In the middle of all the chaos, there are going to be low-hanging fruit opportunities. This means a goal or objective that’s easier to achieve. For example, creating SEO content on topics with lower keyword difficulty to rank and gain inbound leads. To speed up the process further, focus on fewer marketing channels before moving on to the next. When you’ve got the hang of one channel and you’re starting to generate a good amount of traffic, then move onto another and scale your growth from there. In particular, if you’re a startup or small business, focus on content marketing first before paid advertising.
2. Standing Out To Reach The Right Audiences
Even after the first challenge, this obstacle often occurs when you haven’t reached the right audience. While it’s satisfying to see the numbers go up, what matters more is the quality of traffic and demand you’re attracting. It’s not optimal to hope for the best after getting people’s attention. Aside from having to reach out at the right time in the sales cycle, it’s important to understand and diagnose each of your customer pain points, especially in the B2B sector.
Consider why your clientele should pay and stay with your software over another company. Everyone has a specific query or problem they’re looking to solve. However, we’d much rather invest in a solution that speaks to us specifically and caters to our most unique problems. With that in mind, here are two key things to examine:
- Your unique value proposition
- Your audience’s needs
Knowing what makes you the most unique to your competitors plays an important role in helping you stand out and reach the right people. Understand who your ideal customers are and serve them to the best of your ability. This type of clarity is what enables you to build trust and appeal directly to them.
3. Communicating Your Brand Values
Did you know that marketing campaigns that build an emotional connection perform nearly 50% better than a purely rational marketing campaign? That being said, software solutions are usually complex and require you to cover some technical jargon. So, not everyone will comprehend the values you’re trying to convey. Not only is it important to simplify the explanation of how your software can be fully utilized. But, to communicate to your audience in a way they resonate and feel a connection with. While the SaaS sales cycle can be short because consumers tend to be looking for an immediate solution, it can take longer for B2B audiences. Without communicating your brand values and empathizing with your consumers effectively, it’s difficult to build trust and a good relationship.
Notice how I said brand values – not software values. What that means is, helping your consumers align and get a good understanding of what your brand stands for. In other words, don’t focus on the features of your software. Focus on the benefits and mirror the language your audience speaks to develop a more authentic relationship, e.g. using common terminology. Ask yourself, why should your audience care and support your mission? Going back to what we’ve mentioned earlier, your SaaS marketing plan should include your customer demographics and psychographics. When your content sparks an emotional connection with people because you know what makes them tick, they’re more likely to be interested in your product or service offering.
4. Improving Customer Retention
Acquiring new customers isn’t easy. In fact, it’s 5x more expensive than if you were to retain an existing customer. Loyalty is a key factor to the lifeline of any business. For SaaS companies, one of the most important metrics to be looking out for are your customer churn rates. This means the rates at which your customers stop engaging with your product or service.
Here are a few recommended strategies to tackle this problem:
- Improve the user experience
- Develop scalable solutions (eliminate more problems and pain points)
- Make feedback and constructive criticism a priority
- Add more value in your marketing campaigns for customers
- Encourage customers to engage with your brand, e.g. re-engagement campaigns
With both B2B and B2C audiences, track every stage of the buyer’s journey. Each customer you lose is damaging to your revenue and success. On the flip side, there’s always something to learn from each time you lose a client.
5. Adapting To Industry Changes
In any industry (particularly SaaS), anticipate and be aware of the latest changes. This helps you stay relevant and ensure you’re on the right track. When you’re immune to adaptability, scaling your workflow and the way you operate won’t be smooth. Additionally, your credibility and value won’t be compelling if you’re focused on things that are outdated.
One way to overcome this hurdle is to identify what technology you could integrate to improve your collaboration and workflow processes. For instance, using AI solutions and machine learning for automation to simplify the management process. A good marketing software example of this could be a tool like HubSpot. As technology evolves, it means more options and opportunities. To stay ahead of the curve, do the following:
- Follow the latest news and industry trends
- Monitor your competitors
- Speak with your customers
6. Minimizing Customer Acquisition Costs
With software companies, customer acquisition costs can get hefty. This figure adds up from business expenses such as:
- Sales costs
- Marketing expenses
- Operational expenditure
- Development costs
Guaranteed, there are areas where you can cut down your expenses. For example, if you’re investing in paid advertising but haven’t got good ROI despite the amount of money you put into the project, it’s worth trying something else.
Shift your focus and approach. If a campaign hasn’t led to any good results for quite some time, your current plan before deciding to invest more money into it. Another way to reduce costs is by implementing automation and AI. HR and email marketing software are great examples of a tool that can speed up the entire process and improve management. Other solutions include:
- Retargeting your audience for higher quality leads
- Focusing on customer retention
- Optimizing existing strategies
7. Converting Leads Into Sales
Spending time on unqualified leads only exhausts your time and effort. Not everyone who enters your funnel is a qualified prospect. If someone enters the awareness stage of the buyer’s cycle and happens to come across your brand, it does not mean they are a certified lead. It depends on whether or not you’ve built a connection with them and if they’re actively engaging with your brand. However, for those at the bottom of your funnel who don’t convert, there are a few solutions and tactics you can implement.
When your marketing efforts aren’t helping you grow in revenue, re-evaluate your strategy. As mentioned though, what you shouldn’t do is spend too much time on unqualified prospects. There are other people out there with a higher level of interest where you should be spending more of your time. Nonetheless, try doing more of the following:
- A/B testing
- Use a nurturing campaign to develop a stronger relationship
- Customer segmentation and personalized campaigns
- Create better content that provides more value
- Incorporate social proof and testimonials, e.g. reviews and case studies
- Offer free trials
Cater to every stage of the funnel and understand in-depth your own SaaS sales cycle. This way, you know what appeals to your audience and how you can provide them with the answers they’re looking for. Don’t forget that it’s all about giving value!
It all starts with getting found by your audience. Developing a relationship with anyone is hard when they don’t know who you are. Realistically, it can take years and months before seeing significant growth. In any case, it’s achievable as long as you’re consistently providing the best value.