Your marketing plan as a SaaS vendor needs to factor in two ongoing tectonic-shifting developments in B2B. First, as the SaaS industry continues to grow–IDC predicts it will be a $50.8B enterprise–more B2B companies are entering the market, putting more crunch in your niche. Second, buyers are doing more online research today before they contact you, which renders the traditional sales-led prospecting less effective. In fact, 57% of the sales process has already been completed before you talk to prospects according to a 2014 study by CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council.
Today, the need for a focused, consistent, multi-tiered online marketing strategy is critical to your ability to grow a company. You need to be present at different levels of customer engagement, from lead generation to product discovery to product usage and to repeat business. Here are ten online marketing ideas for business that guarantee you got the entire span of the customer engagement process covered.
Buyers’ product discovery starts in the same way B2C customers look for products: search. These two tactics will help you to capture leads early in the game.
Search engine optimization or SEO is a technique of ensuring your digital content appears in the top pages of search engine results page (SERP), when customers search for certain keywords that are relevant to your product. There are varying degrees of implementing SEO and they constantly change due to newer search algorithms, but the general practices, such as link-building and keyword targeting, remain intact. It’s recommended that you get an SEO expert because these techniques are time-consuming and require a different set of skills. You can start with the basics and gradually move on to the more complex tactics.
Use long-tail keywords – Use specific phrases to optimize because people generally search for an exact phrase, rather than general terms. For instance, target phrase “accounting software for small business” will give you more quality leads than “accounting software.”
Publish quality content regularly – Google prefers quality for quantity, which means the more content you publish and the more frequently you do this, the more SEO points your website earns. That’s why many companies maintain an active corporate blog, which you, too, should.
Build relationships with top and relevant sites – Share your content with these sites and ask for backlinks. You can also guest blog for other sites and, in exchange, you get a backlink. On the average, the more backlinks you have from top and relevant sites, the more Google thinks you must be important, and it is likely to give you more SEO points for that.
Use social sharing buttons in your content – Get people to share your content in top social media networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Between two quality articles, search engines view content that’s shared by many people as more important or relevant.
Optimize your images – Optimize your images for search by using “filename + alt text + size” format, using a keyword-targeted filename, and keeping the size low for maximum load speed.
A Bright Local survey in 2014 reported that 85% of users read up to 10 reviews prior to making a purchase. In the SaaS industry, buyers often use software review sites as the initial lead to research for the right product. With too many products in the market, visiting each of these websites is simply inefficient and time-consuming. On the other hand, review sites allow buyers to find all products under one roof and compare them feature by feature. You need to pay closer attention to review sites, where buyers are at that critical moment: thinking which software to buy.
However, because most of your competitors are also on such review sites, being present in the crowd isn’t enough. To stand out, consider using some of the marketing tools being offered by these sites. For example, here at FinancesOnline, you can use the following lead generation tools:
After seeing you on a search results page or review site, buyers are led to your landing page, whether it’s your homepage, product tour page, free trial page, or a sales page. At first glance of your website buyers will either trust you or move on to their next best option. Within this brief time window you need to:
Leading buyers to your website is just half the battle won. You need to convince them that you’re credible and worth their business. Here are some tips on how to achieve the four immediate goals mentioned above:
Effective landing pages follow a formula that makes visitors take action. Don’t underestimate the power of landing page tactics; by tweaking its landing page Moz reported to have earned a million dollars. That may be extreme, but it shows that landing pages aren’t just about presenting your offer, but about how you do it. Here are some of the hacks used by successful B2B marketers:
Granting buyers like what they see in your website, they’re also interested to know what others think about you. This is called social proof, our human behavior to do things that are socially accepted by others. In B2B marketing, your social proof can happen in social media and on other websites that talk about your product. That’s why having a website isn’t enough; you need to monitor your social media mentions and fish for user statistics that showcase your product’s winnability.
Numerous CRM software solutions today allow you to track your brand mentions across different social media networks in a single dashboard. This helps you to quickly spot positive and negative posts so you can respond properly. Here are six reasons why you need to reply to these critical posts:
If you have impressive user stats use it to show off your social proof. Your big data is the “wisdom of your crowd” or the collective opinion about your software. They are your product’s validation and you can influence more prospects by highlighting the numbers. You can find big user facts in the following scenarios:
It’s only at this point that you get to contact buyers. By this time, they’re already formed an opinion about you, that’s why they’re getting in touch with you. The challenge at this stage is to get them further into the sales funnel for a sales conversion.
Make it clear to buyers the terms of your free trial offer once they land on your free trial page. How do they start a free trial? How long will it be? Is there a catch? A lot of these questions are running inside buyers’ minds even as they are thinking about getting your product. But without clear terms, you can lose prospects due to lack of transparency. Make sure that your free trial page has the following elements:
From free trial users, buyers have to be moved to paying customers and further down your sales funnel. You ability to maximize sales out of buyers is only limited by your ability to show value to them. Remember, buyers will buy as long as they see the value in it.
Free trial users already like your product, but they’re still wondering how it will apply to their business. This is your opportunity to demonstrate how your earlier customers have achieved efficiency or better performance by using your software. Create a few case studies of the best customer experiences you have. The case studies will help free trial users to appreciate your software with the right perspective.
However, developing case studies takes time and requires building a close relationship with your happiest customers. As a good option, you can tap an external content team to develop the case studies. For instance, here at FinancesOnline, our B2B-focused editorial team can help you outline and develop the case studies, while you focus on your core tasks.
Did you know that less than 10% of B2B customers actually buy the whole product portfolio? That means many software vendors fail to upsell or cross-sell to their existing customer base. Conversely, that’s a goldmine right under your nose because it costs less to sell to old customers than new customers. One of the effective ways to funnel customers to buy your add-on features is to create a series of free trial periods for each add-on. You can also create an automated multi-tiered email marketing campaign, where a customer who declines an offer is led to another campaign with a new offer. Of course, make sure to space out the campaigns to avoid annoying your subscribers.
Paying customers can still be optimized for your marketing campaign. For example, why not ask for favorable user reviews from satisfied users? In exchange for a token–one month free subscription or a free add-on–have some of your customers write their positive experience on review sites like here at FinancesOnline. As more buyers read product reviews today, your customers’ testimonials guarantee that future buyers are reading positive things about you.
We hope this article detailing online marketing ideas for business has helped you. Developing a marketing plan for today’s B2B landscape requires that you cover the whole gamut of customer engagement process to reap the full reward: paying customers. Failing to cover even just a stage along the process is like flying a plane with one missing screw; you run the risk of a crash.
FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.