It may cost more to get a new customer than to retain an old one, but that means very little when you're running a startup in a competitive SaaS environment. When your customer pool consists only of your closest friends and collaborators, lead generation must be your top priority.
The following six strategies combine low-cost digital marketing with growth-hacking to help companies like yours get on their feet and start growing their user base.
They are also used by some of the most successful SaaS brands, including Dropbox, Airbnb, Evernote, and Uber.
93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content.
Of course, the fact that you’re selling software as a service doesn’t mean that you’re selling it to other professionals. But, email is just as effective if your ideal buyer persona is an average consumer - in fact, 59% of B2C marketers cite email campaigns as their biggest source of ROI.
The point being, email marketing is always worth considering.
Though email can be a successful nurturing, retargeting, and retention tool as well, lead generation is where this strategy thrives. Being inexpensive and mostly automatic, email campaigns can help your business introduce itself, make a strong case for its product, and get qualified leads.
Stay focused on your click-through rates. Email gives you an opportunity to become a part of your lead’s daily ritual, but you’ll hardly be able to do so without engaging content and convincing CTAs.
Make it really personal too, as if your email is addressing an old and dear customer.
In other words, give your leads a sneak peek into how your customers are treated every day.
2. 10x Content
Today’s marketing heavily relies on content and lead generation is no exception.
If you need to attract new customers, you’ll hardly be able to avoid content marketing. And, even if you could, why would you? Not only is this strategy super effective, it also boasts benefits beyond lead generation. Content can always be repurposed for the purposes of retention.
Except for time and creativity, you don’t need much to create 10x content.
Of course, you need to know what your ideal buyer wants to get educated on, as well as whether they want to read about it or watch it in a video. Your choice of topic, writing style, and content form depends on your target audience alone, so start getting to know them better.
Other than that, 10x content must provide real value to the consumer. As a lead generation tool, it must be instantly engaging and shearable, with the potential to get reused in time. This calls for evergreen topics that allow you to establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
3. Pop Quizzes
Strictly speaking, email marketing campaigns are extremely effective for lead segmentation, nurturing, and customer conversion. Lead generation actually happens one step before, when interested consumers decide to subscribe to your email newsletter or drip campaign.
So how do you convince them to do so?
Businesses big and small, SaaS brands included, use the many different elements of their business websites for this. With these elements, you can grab the attention of your website visitors, boost their initial excitement, and nudge them into officially subscribing to your email list.
Usually, these elements are pop-up windows and content offers.
But some websites use lead quizzes instead, created using online assessment software. Quizzes are a great lead generation tool because they are more engaging than ordinary subscription forms, and just as revealing when it comes to leads’ personal info, intent, and consumer behavior.
Referral leads convert 30% better and have a 16% higher lifetime value than leads generated from other marketing channels. Given the fact that modern-day consumers trust their friends more than they trust traditional advertising, these numbers shouldn’t surprise us at all.
More precisely, 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know.
SaaS marketing and referral programs work extremely well together, with industry giants such as Uber and Dropbox proving the strategy to be highly effective. And depending on how you develop a referral strategy, it’s possible to get a lot of new leads without any investment.
For every new referral lead, for instance, you can hand out a discount to the responsible referrer. That way, your existing customers will be additionally incentivized to recommend your SaaS product to their friends. Also, referral leads are 4 times more likely to become referrers.
Challenged by the same trust crisis, marketers have developed various new marketing techniques that are way subtler than traditional ones. In content marketing, we have user-generated content, for example. But still, nothing beats the popularity of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing brings product recommendation to a whole other level.
With so many people turning to the people they know and trust for shopping guidance, the logical answer marketers found was social media influencers. Trusted by millions of followers, these people have the power and credibility to influence buying decisions.
Depending on your niche, you’ll certainly be able to find an influencer to present you in front of your audience. Depending on the audience, a single Instagram post is sometimes enough to convince thousands of potential customers into trying out a certain product or service.
Every second SaaS company is built on software freemiums.
This popular model is considered to be the single most effective lead generation strategy for SaaS businesses, but it comes with certain risks. If you offer a time-limited trial period for your software, you may lose more than you invest unless your product is exceptionally good.
For this model to work, your product needs to be so good that the user will want to buy it even though it can be used for free. Take a hint from Evernote - their note-taking app was free of charge for years before its users finally started paying for the great product.
But that’s already about customer conversion and retention.
In terms of lead generation, there’s not much that’s as effective as freemiums. You’ll get tons of subscribers and just as many reviews. Feedback, positive and negative alike, will help you improve and expand your product to the point where people will want to start paying for it.
Of course, you shouldn’t limit your creative potential. Nobody knows your audience better than you and you can use that insight to devise an approach that will attract your unique buyers. And, you can also incorporate a combination of these tried and tested techniques. Whatever the case, stay engaging and helpful and you’ll reap the benefits.