Updated in September 2023
At the beginning of every successful software or SaaS business is a brilliant idea. But getting to a working product – especially for early-stage companies – is only the first milestone. The next challenge lies in effectively promoting the product and acquiring those crucial first paying customers.
Before starting to promote your product, make sure you have the basics covered. Here is a short checklist to follow:
- Provide an accurate description of your product. Clearly communicate its features, benefits, and how it can solve users’ problems.
- Make screenshots available. Visuals can be incredibly persuasive. Include screenshots that showcase the user interface and key features of your software, giving potential customers a glimpse of what to expect.
- Offer a trial version of the software. Let your prospects experience its capabilities firsthand. This hands-on approach can significantly increase conversion rates.
- Create a comprehensive knowledge base to support your customers. A well-organized and informative knowledge base is an invaluable resource for supporting your customers. Address common questions, provide tutorials, and troubleshoot issues to improve the user experience.
- Be transparent about costs and system requirements. Transparency builds trust, and users appreciate knowing exactly what they are getting into.
- Collect user feedback and use it to improve. Continuously iterate based on insights from customers. This commitment to improvement not only boosts product quality but also shows your dedication to delivering value.
How you choose to promote your SaaS product depends a lot on which needs it is designed to satisfy, whether it’s B2B or B2C, and which audiences and markets you target. No matter what your product is, though, there are some effective tips and tricks that are easy to implement and will work for any SaaS business out there.
Build your content marketing game
However, don’t limit your content marketing can be a powerful ally in your strategy. Let’s say your software meets a very specific need, like subscription management for physical goods. Some potential users might have a basic idea of how to use your product, but it’s essential to guide your audience in understanding its functionality and why it’s indispensable. This is where content marketing steps into the spotlight as a crucial component of SaaS and software promotion. Look at Drift, the company that coined the term ‘conversational marketing.’ The company is constantly creating content to help people understand what its product does and why it’s better than competitors.
However, don’t limit your content marketing efforts to just blogging. The opportunities are vast and diverse. Think eBooks, datasheets, webinars, landing pages, infographics, video series, interviews, live videos, workshops, podcasts – there are so many options out there. The key is to identify the content formats that resonate most effectively with your specific audience.
Diversifying your content marketing approach not only engages your audience through various formats but also caters to different learning preferences. Some people prefer to read in-depth eBooks, while others may find video tutorials more appealing, so offering a range of content types ensures that you connect with a broader audience and effectively convey the value of your software.
Use content marketing to show people the value your product delivers to them and remember to keep it fresh and current. If you happen to own a blog that hasn’t seen an update since 2019, it’s high time to reevaluate your approach. Why? Because investing in top-notch content isn’t just essential; it’s the primary driver for boosting traffic to your online platforms, thereby elevating brand recognition and generating high-quality leads. This brings us to our next topic of your marketing strategy: the world of SEO.
Continuously optimize your search engine marketing
SEO is still a vital part of your software marketing strategy. According to the G2 2021 Software Buyer Behavior Report1, 86% of software buyers across segments use peer review sites when buying software. This means that your potential customers are searching online for the best software solutions for their needs, and you need to make sure that your product stands out from the competition. Here are some key strategies to optimize your software product for SEO:
- Have a link building strategy in place: Backlinks are like gold in the world of SEO, signaling Google to boost your web pages higher. The secret to more backlinks? Fantastic content that others want to link to.
- Keep it fresh: Make sure to continuously add high-quality content, optimized with targeted keywords, of course. Don’t forget to promote it through the right channels to reach your target audience effectively.
- Monitor your website metrics: Harness the power of tools like Google Analytics to gain insights into your online visitors. Discover where they come from, their behavior on your site, and which content or pages they find most appealing.
- Test various keywords: Don’t stick to a static set of keywords. Continuously optimize your SEO strategy by identifying the most relevant keywords for your business and audience, finding ways to outperform your competitors.
- Always improve: Optimize the speed, structure (site map, internal links, content pillars, etc.), and user experience (UX) of your website for better search results.
By incorporating these strategies, you’ll not only stand out from the crowd but also ascend the ranks in search engine results, making it easier for potential customers to discover your software products.
Paid ads are always a good idea
If you have the talent to reach the right people – and the budget, of course – advertising can work wonders for you. It’s important to experiment with ads on different platforms to get things started. Social media, display ads, ephemeral content, and videos on YouTube are just a few examples – pick the ones with the highest conversion rates.
Make sure the content you are promoting is top-notch. Develop creative ads, original or even funny videos, flawless landing pages, catchy banners and more – all your ads should speak for your product.
Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure that the content you’re promoting is nothing short of exceptional. However, always remember that the numbers will be your ultimate guide. They’ll reveal what’s working, what isn’t, and what needs tweaking, so keep a close watch on your campaign analytics.
Furthermore, don’t underestimate the power of A/B testing within each advertising channel. Experiment with variations in your ad copy, visuals, and targeting criteria to fine-tune your campaigns and discover what resonates most effectively with your target audience. By consistently analyzing the numbers and iterating your strategy, you can maximize the impact of your advertising efforts for your software and SaaS product.
Submit your product to software download sites
Increase your software’s visibility by submitting it to popular download sites and directories. The good news is that you can submit your product for listing even if it doesn’t have a downloadable package (that is, you can submit SaaS web- or cloud-based tools). Once listed, keep an eye on the traffic coming from review sites and prioritize the ones that are actually bringing in customers. Take the time to polish your profile on these platforms, actively engage with their community, and be ready to answer user questions.
One of the main advantages of submitting your software to download sites is obtaining more backlinks and increased link popularity, which will enhance your website’s page ranking and position in major search engines. It’s a win-win for higher visibility and customer acquisition.
Get your message out to the media
Start by crafting informative articles that provide value to your audience, then distribute them to a diverse array of news websites. Additionally, consistently issue press releases to keep your target audience well-informed about your software and SaaS product.
Take advantage of the many websites that offer PR services, including free publishing of press releases. If you’re having trouble getting results on your own, consider working with a PR agency specializing in SaaS. It can be a worthwhile investment, especially if you’re just starting out and your business is relatively unknown. Be selective when it comes to the topics of your press releases, however, since people might get bored with irrelevant information and lose interest in your software products.
There are numerous online platforms where you can publish articles related to your software. Set aside some budget for one or two paid contributor articles on high-profile publications. This is an effective way to gain exposure and establish yourself as a thought leader. Remember to maintain a professional tone in your articles and steer clear of overt self-promotion. Your primary goal should be to help readers solve a problem, not to aggressively promote your software and SaaS product.
Consider using review directories
If you’ve already built up a decent customer base and are confident that they’re happy with your product, showcasing your software or SaaS on review directories is an effective way to get the word out.
Recent statistics highlight the significant impact of online reviews from others about what they’ve chosen to buy in 2023. An impressive 78% of shoppers see reviews as the most important factor when deciding to make a purchase. Additionally, review websites offer a great way to get more links, boost website traffic, and build trust. This is especially beneficial when the review websites have strong online reputations. It’s an opportunity you shouldn’t overlook if you want to reach a larger audience.
Additionally, don’t overlook Product Hunt, an online community where people can submit various products, including software. These communities allow users to vote, comment, and express their likes and dislikes. However, remember that merely listing your product isn’t enough; be sure to encourage your satisfied customers to leave positive reviews to further boost your software’s reputation.
Furthermore, actively engage with users on these review platforms by related to your software and products. Demonstrating your commitment to addressing customer concerns and improving your software can help build trust and credibility in the eyes of potential customers.
Ask for referrals from your customers
Your existing customers can help you acquire new ones if you ask them to do so.
This approach isn’t just budget friendly; it’s also highly effective when incorporated into your strategy for successfully selling software.
Generating referrals from your customers starts with sparking meaningful conversations with them. This paves the way to turning them into advocates. However, it’s crucial to note that if your customers aren’t satisfied with your brand, they won’t be inclined to advocate for it. Therefore, before launching any customer referral program, ensure that your business consistently provides an outstanding customer experience, starting from the quality of your product, during the onboarding process, and extending to exceptional customer support.
As it turns out, word of mouth still works like a charm in a digital world, so make sure your customers speak well of your brand.
Consider implementing a structured referral program that rewards both your existing customers and the new ones they bring in. Incentives, such as discounts, exclusive offers, or even monetary rewards, can motivate your advocates to actively spread the word about your brand and drive new business your way.
Regularly engage with your customers through surveys, feedback forms, or personal outreach to gauge their satisfaction levels and identify areas for improvement. This proactive approach not only helps maintain a positive customer experience but also demonstrates your commitment to deliver value, making your customers even more inclined to become enthusiastic advocates.
Don’t neglect email marketing
Despite what you may have heard about email becoming obsolete, the statistics show that active email accounts are expected to hit 5.6 billion this year and 59% of consumers say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions. While email is evolving, it remains a channel you can’t afford to overlook.
An effective way to stay in touch with your customers, prospects, and partners is through a newsletter. Create customized campaigns for each audience you’re targeting, and make sure your contact list is always accurate and up to date. You should also consider using eep email and other marketing tactics in sync with how customers actually use and interact with your brand, product, or service.
Also, when it comes to email marketing, personalizing is key. Tailor your newsletters to the unique interests and needs of each segment and deliver content and offers that resonate with them. This not only increases the relevance of your emails, but also fosters stronger relationships with your audience, increasing engagement and ultimately driving conversions.
Give affiliate marketing a chance
Have you ever considered using affiliate marketing for software advertising? Affiliates can promote and sell your software products on their own websites, in exchange for a small commission on every sale. The beauty of this strategy is that you only pay when you see actual results. Compensation can be based on various actions such as visits, registrations, customers, or sales. To get started, look for a well-established affiliate network, preferably one that specializes in software and SaaS promotion, and you’re ready to go!
Moreover, when partnering with affiliates, provide them with the necessary tools and resources, such as promotional materials and tracking links, to help them effectively market your software. Great communication and collaboration with your affiliates can result in a mutually beneficial relationship where both parties see increased revenue and success.
Don’t forget to regularly analyze and optimize your affiliate marketing efforts. Keep an eye on the performance of different affiliates, offers, and strategies to identify what’s working best and refine your approach over time for maximum impact.
Ride the wave of influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a trend that’s here to stay. The good news is that this kind of marketing is just as effective for B2B as it is for B2C, if it’s done right. This approach not only builds your credibility, but also brings in new customers for your software and SaaS product. The key to making influencer marketing work is choosing the right people to work with and knowing how to approach them.
When searching for influencers, don’t base your decision solely on the number of followers they have. Instead, focus on determining whether their audience aligns with your product’s target demographic. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to ask them directly. It’s better to confirm upfront that your efforts will resonate with the people you’re trying to reach. Also, remember that engagement rates are more important than the sheer number of followers, so partnering with micro-influencers can often provide a better return on investment than costly celebrity endorsement campaigns.
By using influencer marketing, you can significantly increase your brand’s visibility and conversions – as long as you don’t come across as being too sales driven. When working with your chosen influencers, always prioritize the creation of high-quality content; this collaboration cannot be overstated.
Building real relationships with influencers is critical. Think of collaborations as partnerships, not just transactions. When influencers truly believe in your product or service, their endorsements become more authentic and compelling, ultimately driving better results for your brand.
Finally, be sure to measure the impact of your influencer marketing campaigns by tracking key performance metrics such as engagement rates, website traffic, and conversions. Use these insights to refine your strategies and continually improve the effectiveness of your influencer partnerships.
For software and SaaS businesses targeting global markets, localized marketing is key. This means tailoring your marketing campaigns, content, and advertising to suit specific regions and languages. By doing so, your message can resonate more effectively with diverse audiences, you can connect on a personal level, and you can demonstrate that your software is genuinely relevant and accessible worldwide. This approach can significantly expand your reach and user base in various regions, enhancing your software’s global appeal.
Moreover, localizing marketing efforts involve not only translating content but also considering cultural nuances, market preferences, and regional trends. Adapting your approach can help you establish a stronger connection with international audiences, building trust and loyalty in different markets. Ultimately, successful localized marketing can lead to increased adoption and acceptance of your software on a global scale.
Pack your bags and attend industry events
We’ve put together the list for you, so you don’t have to go searching.
Attending software and technology-related events is a good way to get your brand out there. Whether it’s conferences, dinners, tradeshows, or product launches, these gatherings offer excellent opportunities to stay on top of industry trends, increase awareness of your company, and potentially generate leads. Once you have enough budget, you can also sponsor events and gain significant exposure through speaking sessions or keynote addresses.
To sum up
To successfully market your software and SaaS company, it’s important to find the right mix of tactics and strategies for your unique business. I strongly recommend exploring all these methods because every company is different. It takes creativity and patience to find the best formula for your growth.
For more insights and strategies to help your SaaS business thrive, check out the expert sessions recorded during our recent CommerceNow ’23. Whether you’re a CEO, a payments manager, a tech enthusiast, or a growth hacker, CommerceNow 2023 is the go-to resource for seeking inspiration and strategies to drive growth.