SaaS Marketing After COVID-19: Crucial Strategies for Sustained Growth
Over 70% of businesses in the U.S. report a significant decrease in sales because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has caused an economic downturn that we haven’t seen for a long time, and the repercussions of its impact will likely be felt for many years to come.
But even though the predictions for the economy may seem bleak, and a more viable solution to the pandemic is still months, if not years, away, SaaS companies must find a way to move forward and drive sales, even if that will be more difficult than ever before.
After all, even though many businesses are struggling, SaaS companies still provide essential services to their clients that not only help make day-to-day operations easier but have a positive impact on their bottom line as well.
Website builders are a good example. Due to the pandemic, the number of people online has increased significantly.
Because of that, many SaaS companies are taking a hopeful and proactive approach during the crisis, and those that will be able to make the proper adjustments to their marketing strategy might make it to the other side stronger and more prosperous than ever before.
But how will SaaS marketing change in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? And how to promote your product now that your audience might have different priorities?
Let’s dive deep into the most effective marketing methods you should use in the coming months and years to ensure that you never run out of new leads and growth opportunities.
Focus on Your Current Customers
With sales stagnating across all industries, closing new customers will become more challenging than ever before. Therefore, while you should by no means suspend your marketing efforts, you should also make sure that you provide extra attention to your current customers and ensure that they feel heard and valued.
You can be sure that the vast majority of your clients are already scrambling to figure out how to get through this crisis, and that usually means looking at every expense and trying to figure out if it can be cut.
Therefore, your job is to get in front of the potential scenario of them canceling their subscription and make sure that a representative from your company reaches out and offers guidance, listens to their needs, and provides possible solutions that would allow you to continue to work together.
Remember, even though most companies will be looking for ways to save money, expenses that are deemed too important or too valuable won’t be touched.
Therefore, your primary goal as a SaaS services provider should be to emphasize the value that you can create, showing that your service has a positive impact on your client’s bottom line.
If needed, don’t be afraid to offer extra perks, discounts, or even additional features, just to keep clients on board, as maintaining a low churn rate will be one of the critical factors in how well you’ll be able to weather the storm.
Take Advantage of Cheap Ads
Even though the current economic situation might make marketing more challenging, there are actually opportunities that have become available because of it as well. Namely, since many companies are turning to organic marketing approaches, the cost of paid ads has dropped significantly, making this an ideal time to go all-in on Facebook and Google Ads marketing.
One of the first expenses that many businesses cut is their marketing budget, and that is a logical approach, to an extent. It’s true that paid campaigns might not work as well because the typical buyers are more cautious about spending, so the conversion rate and performance numbers won’t be the same as before.
However, since so many businesses are stopping their ad spend at once, that has caused a significant enough price drop to make savvy marketers reconsider this approach.
In some markets, you may be able to run your ads at a much lower cost than just a few months ago, which means that if you have a solid pitch, you can still expect your ads to be profitable and bring you a steady stream of new leads that you can work with.
What’s more, since the ads are more affordable, that also means that you can allow yourself to branch out into niches or methods that you haven’t tried before, potentially discovering new opportunities that could drive sales even though other companies might be seeing profits tumble.
Take Advantage of Cheap Keywords
For businesses who usually operate with very targeted advertising spend in a niche which is highly competitive, now is the time to seek and understand all the possible new keywords and phrases that potential customers use when searching for your product or service online. For example; why not give some budget to a ‘broad match’ advertising campaign that will help you discover new search terms or extend your advertising hours outside the times that you already target. Only now, during an economic downturn, is it possible to potentially grow your sales without spending huge budgets!
Matt Janaway, MarketingLabs
Another reason why amping up your advertising efforts makes sense is the fact that such a large percentage of the world population is stuck at home for most of the day. Facebook has seen a tremendous surge in traffic in all demographics groups, so you can be sure that there are plenty of people who you could get in front of.
However, if you want to make the most out of the opportunity, don’t just unpause your current campaigns. Sure, you should still use what’s working, but take the time to tweak your existing ads, as well as ad new ones based on what you believe your audience is the most likely to respond to.
Become a Thought Leader
Most companies haven’t had to deal with a similar crisis ever before, so the decision-makers are struggling with trying to figure out the best way to move forward. Spending is being cut across a range of industries, and there is no clear path or best practice businesses can rely on.
Because of that, those that can provide solutions and guidance can quickly amass a large following and become thought leaders in their industry.
However, these roles are not reserved for some select group of “experts,” and there are no dues that need to be paid before you earn a right to express your opinion on how to move forward.
If you’ve been successfully operating in your industry, chances are that you already have plenty of insights about how your market functions, and how it’s likely to react to the COVID-19 crisis, both short term and long term.
Instead of reacting to what others are saying, you should encourage top members of your team to brainstorm ideas themselves and develop specific strategies that others could apply as well.
This is the perfect time to shift your focus to creating high-value, relevant, and informative content around a range of subjects, with a strong emphasis on dealing with issues arising because of the coronavirus.
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and think about some of the problems they are facing, and publish content that helps address those issues in a structured, logical, and calculated way.
You might find that your content marketing efforts will be magnified by the urgency that your audience is experiencing, which will help you garner more attention and break through into circles that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
And since you are able to provide relevant solutions at such uncertain times, that will also show prospective clients that your company can be trusted to deliver on its promises and make the necessary adjustments, no matter how the circumstances might change.
Dedicate Time to Proactive Outreach
The coronavirus will have a big impact on how companies and clients connect. For one thing, prospective clients seeking out SaaS solutions on their own will become less frequent, and in order to ensure that new clients keep signing up, businesses will need to take a proactive approach and reach out to prospects themselves.
Outreach techniques have been an integral part of marketing for startups for a long time, but now, even more established SaaS companies will need to roll up their sleeves and start pursuing clients that are a good fit for what they have to offer.
The good news is that even though outreach can be challenging, at least it’s one of the most affordable marketing techniques you can use. Therefore, even if you have to strip down your marketing budget to a minimum, you can always find someone on your team to track down prospective customers and put together cold email campaigns.
Cold email may be straightforward, and might not have a very high success rate at first, but as you gain more insights about your customers, you will start understanding how to position your offer in the post-coronavirus economic climate, and how to construct a value proposition that’s hard to say no to.
Your best customers are likely too busy to think about how to streamline various business processes, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be open to it if you provided a service that actually had a positive impact.
No matter the situation, if your product helps solve an urgent problem or helps your clients make more money, it will be an appealing offer, and you might find that many decision-makers will be willing to at least try out your service to see if you can deliver. And if your offer is legit, a foot in the door is usually all you need.
Give Leeway for Your Sales Team
The job of your sales team will become much harder once businesses start cutting budgets and restricting spending. Therefore, you can’t expect the same rules you would typically set to work just as they did before – the environment in which you will be trying to make sales is simply too different.
You might not be able to oversee each aspect of the sales process, or might not be able to set strict rules about what terms your team can accept in different situations. If you try to, you will likely see a significant drop in sales numbers, as your salespeople will struggle to get leads to accept your terms.
Instead, make the job of your team easier by providing them with leeway on what types of deals they can offer. Establish some basic ground rules, but allow the sales staff to make on-the-spot decisions about how to adjust your offer based on the needs of each individual prospect.
Make the payment terms more flexible by allowing new clients to pay for your services in installments, or offer extended free trials where people can make up the difference later on if they end up liking your services.
Rework your contracts and make them more friendly to companies that might not be able to make a big commitment. You could even include early exit clauses in case the circumstances changed well into the agreed length.
Another effective way to make the job of your sales team easier is to offer a few different types of payment structures.
For instance, you should implement flexible time- or use-based plans, with the price depending on how much the tool is used. For extra appeal, you could set up a low minimum usage so that the prospect would feel secure that they won’t be trapped into any commitments they can’t handle.
While you may not get as much from these clients as you would usually, and would need to take on some additional risk, it will be well worth it in the long run.
For one thing, you will build relationships that can last you for many years to come, even well after the COVID-19 crisis will have ended.
What’s more, the reputation that you earn for your policies will surely get a lot of attention in your market and will allow you to carve out a larger share of the user base, which will set you up for success in the future.
To sustain your marketing efforts, you will need to use every dollar in your budget in the most efficient way possible. And that will only be possible if you take the time to set up performance tracking mechanisms that will allow you to take advantage of opportunities and prioritize campaigns that are netting you the biggest returns.
One approach that can help is using a native advertising platform to buy, track, and scale your global advertising. This will help you to control your expenses, grow more quickly, and use your time more effectively.
Luckily, there are plenty of analytics tools for SaaS that allow you to monitor performance on your site and your other online platforms, gaining valuable insights about your audience and optimize performance across all areas of your marketing: SMM, video and email, SMS marketing services.
But you should also use the data that is available for identifying opportunities to get in front of your audience.
Namely, you should learn how to use Google Trends to boost your sales, as it’s an excellent tool that can show you what are some of the hottest and most relevant conversations happening in your market right now.
By tapping into the conversations that are already happening, you will make your content and marketing more relevant and expand your reach, which is crucial at a time where every new lead you can attract can make or break your business.
As mentioned before, the COVID-19 economic environment has got a lot of business owners struggling to move forward, so if you can tap into those worries and offer actionable solutions, you might see very positive results in the response that your campaigns can generate.