7 sins of saas startup marketing you have to avoid

SaaS startup marketing

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SaaS offers an excellent platform for entrepreneurs to capitalise on an ever-growing software market by utilising various digital marketing tools and tactics. You could capture tremendous growth for your business through a solid plan and excellent positioning. However, as the market matures, the competition intensifies, and things get tricky. Here in this blog, we will review seven sins of saas startup marketing, which could tank your budget and derail your plans!

Let’s start.

1-Poor audience selection for Your SaaS Startup

This one might sound a no-brainer, but most entrepreneurs and SaaS startups quickly overlook this fundamental aspect of their marketing strategy.

Suppose you are at the early stages of your SaaS journey. In that case, we recommend running market research campaigns with Pollfish to run concept testing campaigns and assess your assumptions with a targeted audience. Platforms such as Sprout social offer social listening tools which could come in handy. 

If you already have some data to work with, then start there. Review your analytic dashboards to see which segments bring the most revenue and find discrepancies between visitor and acquisition demographic breakdowns. Likewise, discrepancies in KPIs such as bounce rate, engagement and revenue could point out issues in your funnel.

For example, if 30% of your website visitors are from a particular market segment but show a high exit rate on the pricing page, you could hypothesise that they are interested in your product. However, some barriers are stopping them from converting.

Take all that with a pinch of salt, meaning you shouldn't outright ditch certain demographics if they have shown poor performance. It simply could mean that you haven't explored ways to market to them appropriately.

2-Weak messaging

If your product doesn't have a high market share, your focus should be on finding various pain points of your competitors' audience and using that data to craft a winning message. We have written a list of items that are designed to help you prepare your marketing message:

  • Identifying reasons behind using your software
  • Understanding who is the decision-maker & if that’s different from the end-user
  • Identifying pain points of your customers 
  • Check video reviews & comparisons written about your product and competitors
  • Understanding the weaknesses of your software.

3-Not having a  Product Onboarding Strategy 

Are you going for a freemium option, a free trial or are you planning to offer no free account, to begin with? Would you like a signup process where your sales team gets involved in providing a demo before closing the deal? Each of those options has its pros and cons.

For example, with the freemium option, you'd need to be careful how much you put on the table. If you offer a service that people would only need to use periodically, it might not be the best option. On the other hand, Freemium could work for companies with a large target audience where the volume makes up the value lost through freemium use of the product.

A free trial is often a great strategy, a test drive. However, having a demo as part of your onboarding strategy is only viable if you have a high-involvement product that requires more testing and convincing.

Onboarding goes beyond just signing up users. What is your post-signup plan? Is your UI user-friendly enough to get people to use your product? A lack of an interactive guide could kill your final conversion rate. Chances are your customers have never used a service like yours, or they are using a competitor product and perhaps looking to see if another product could better serve them. In both cases, you'd have to ease them into your platform. Don't forget that even the most determined customers can abandon the whole project simply because they are too used to their current platform, so do your best to make things as easy as possible.

4-Lack of Ad Data Processing Strategy

We are transitioning into a cookieless world. In 2023 google will stop supporting 3rd party cookies, and if your business is relying on Lookalike and remarketing campaigns, you are due for a rude awakening! The good news is that first-party cookies aren't going anywhere anytime soon. They are in place to improve user experience; frankly, without them, it could be frustrating even to order something from Amazon!

Things like contextual marketing will probably gain more momentum in the next couple of years, where ads are served based on the context of a user query. You could argue Google search ads are a form of that. It's triggered primarily by the context of the searched query rather than user profiling.

Google Enhanced Conversion & FaceBook Ads Conversion APIs are newer solutions to help bridge the gap between 1st & 3rd-party cookies.

Take a look at our blog about common FaceBook Ads mistakes!

5-Only focusing on lead generation

I'll be honest it's tempting to put up a google search ad and think it's all going to be ok. PPC is a big part of your SaaS marketing strategy. However, don't forget that building your brand is more important in the medium to long term. You could spark a conversation about your product through simple incentives on channels such as YouTube, and with good momentum and planning, it could have a snowball effect. Your brand-building measures indirectly help improve your CTR through better brand perception and recognition. Pretty clever, right?

6-Lack of proper SaaS KPI measurements within your marketing funnel

There are many KPIs that you'd need to measure and interpret. Here we briefly explained a few of these KPIs and their meaning.

Your initial goal should be the landing page visitors to trials. A high visitor-to-trial conversion rate is a good sign, but it doesn't translate into sales. You just paid people to test your product; not much to celebrate! 

Having said that, there is a way to improve this metric by combining it with lead scoring. For example, many marketing and CRM automation software such as ActiveCampaign or Hubspot would allow lead scoring based on user activities or even their email addresses (company vs personal).

The next important KPI is Trial to subscribed or closed deal rate, depending on your business model. With this metric, you must consider the time lag between your marketing and sales. So don't go ahead and make too many campaign optimisations; you'd end up losing track of which combination brought the highest quality leads.
To gain a better perspective, use a benchmarking website comparable to your niche.

There are other important metrics you'd need to keep in mind:

LTV - Customer Lifetime Value  

From the perspective of marketing, your LTV is the deciding factor when assessing your marketing success. For example, let's say your customer pays £50 each month, and on average, you'd expect a 6-month commitment. Therefore your LTV is £300. Now, if you pay £200/closed deal on Google ads, you might find it hard to keep the lights on. 

Not to mention google works best when you have given it a value for each lead. You could even use variable lead values to better guide Google's machine learning engine with some modifications.

MRR - Monthly Recurring Revenue:

MRR is one of the most critical metrics for a subscription business. A high MRR is like a melody to every SaaS CMO. Essentially It's a measurement to predict a monthly recurring revenue for your SaaS subscription company.

Churn MRR: Since people can unsubscribe quite easily, you'd have to consider your churn rate and factor that in your calculation.

Expansion MRR: Add-ons and various upselling opportunities would increase or expand your MRR hence it's called 'Expansion MRR.'

Your total MRR would be MRR from new customers + Expansion MRR - Churn MRR.

CAC - Customer Acquisition Cost

It's the amount of money spent to acquire a customer. If you are a SaaS marketer, you could only consider your campaign costs. However, as an entrepreneur, you'd have to factor in your sales costs to get a more accurate number. CAC helps you set targets for sales and marketing teams.

Customer Churn Rate 

This one is pretty simple, the percentage of subscribers you lose in any given period. The churn rate could be described by either a percentage or a monetary value. For example, let's say you have two subscribers, and one generates £1000/month in revenue while the other customer's MRR is £200. If you lose the second customer, your Churn rate is 50%, but your monetarily churn rate is only 16%.

6-DIY Everything

No matter how tempting it is to save costs by trying to do everything yourself or using existing in-house resources, you'd have to resist it. Doing everything in-house could lead to more severe issues such as higher employee turnover, loss of morale and burnout. In addition, no matter how many blogs you'd read or YouTube videos you'd watch, 'trial and error' will be your number one source of learning. Having said that, you can improve your learning curve by investing in a partner that complements your in-house team. You and your team know your product and mission more than anyone else. However, keeping track of all your marketing activities and staying up to date with the latest changes in digital marketing could be a mere distraction in your goal of scaling. Using a partner like us, you could focus on what you are best at and leave the nitty-gritty things to us!

I hope this blog was helpful. Don't hesitate to get in touch!

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7 sins of saas startup marketing you have to avoid

Reading Time: 6 minutes SaaS offers an excellent platform for entrepreneurs to capitalise on an ever-growing software market by utilising various digital marketing tools and tactics.