SaaS Marketing is getting very competitive in 2023. Many software firms have laid off a good portion of their workforce in anticipation of an economic slowdown. All more reasons to learn about the top 10 SaaS marketing mistakes and how to avoid them in 2023. We'll cover topics from Audience selection all the way to tracking and, yes, even social media! So let's crack on!
Mistake number 1: Poor Audience selection
This one might sound like a no-brainer, but most entrepreneurs and SaaS companies quickly overlook this fundamental aspect of their marketing strategy and jump to conclusions based on their intuition. There is no harm in using intuition. However, that should go hand-in-hand with valid data.
If you are in the early stages of your SaaS marketing planning, we'd recommend running market research campaigns with Pollfish to run concept testing campaigns and assess your assumptions with a targeted audience.
If you already have some data to work with
In that case, start from 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 conversion 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. Barries such as high pricing or not having enough relevant information on that page that complies with that segment of your audience.
Take all that with a pinch of salt, meaning you shouldn't outright ignore specific demographics if they have poor performance. It could mean you haven't explored ways to market to them appropriately.
Mistake number 2: Weak Messaging
When you are drafting your marketing message for your SaaS startup, you'd need to think of the following stakeholders:
- Buyer: Owner/Director/CEO/Heads of departments
- decision-makers: (CEO/Founder/Heads of departments)
- Influencer (CTO, HR, Marketing, etc.)
- Gatekeepers (Junior staff that are tasked to find and shortlist companies)
- End-user (Could be any or all of the above)
Now I don't know what type of SaaS product you're selling. If your target a particular target market, some of those roles are assumed by the same person. But chances are many companies have at least 2-3 people involved in any purchases. Creating different kinds of messages that may appeal to those audiences could be very handy. This helps you to essentially speak to their pain and provide them with the solution.
You may ask, why should you waste your precious ad money on end-users? Well, we're not saying put all your eggs in that basket. However, in many situations, the decision-maker tasks the end-user to research products on the market and provide a report to their manager. That's when you get a chance to influence their view on your product and get a higher chance of being shortlisted.
Mistake number 3: Poor Product Onboarding
A big and costly mistake SaaS companies make is by not having a well-explained onboarding process. Nothing causes more 'emotional damage' than seeing users drop off right after you spend money to get them on your platform! Therefore, SaaS product onboarding is one of the most important tasks for a SaaS company, and it's not just about customer success; it also has a huge impact on customer retention.
According to Drift's research, 92% of customers who go through an onboarding process are more likely to renew their subscription than those who don't go through any kind of onboarding! Onboarding should be part of your product itself--you need to ensure users get value from using your software right away so they stay engaged with you long enough until they become loyal users or even advocates (more on this later).
But what if someone signs up but doesn't take any action? You might think that person wasn't interested in signing up in the first place, but instead, maybe something happened after the signup that prevented him/her from getting started immediately. Sometimes users signup for a service only to drop it due to technical difficulties during their first usage. That's where a strong onboarding strategy is essential to your SaaS marketing plan, and a lack of it is a big mistake.
There are many SaaS product onboarding. Walnut is a great tool to create product onboarding without coding, a lifesaver for early SaaS startups!
Mistake number 4: Lack of Ad Data Processing Strategy
The big challenge
A big challenge for many SaaS companies is proper attribution and analytics. 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.
Moreover, if you are genuinely interested in knowing where your most valuable prospects discover your business, you would benefit from using a 3rd party tool that reveals more insightful data than what Heap Tracking offers by default. Attributer is an excellent solution for this purpose, providing affordable pricing and seamless integration with major form builders and CRMs. They offer a 14-day trial, so make sure you check it out!
Google's enhanced conversion for SaaS Marketing
Google Enhanced Conversion and offline conversion could boost your SaaS ads campaigns. Google uses 100s of signals unknown to most of us. The key to accessing the benefits that come with those signals is implementing either offline conversion or the newer enhanced conversion. This way, Google knows which customer brought the most value, and as data gathers, it can better target and bid on ad auctions.
Take a look at our blog about common FaceBook Ads mistakes!
Mistake number 5: Only Focusing on Demand Capture
Demand Generation vs Demand Capture
At any given time, only 3-5% of the total addressable market (TAM) for a SaaS product is ready to buy from you. The rest are divided into four other stages of product awareness:
- Problem aware
- Solution aware
- Product aware
Google ads are most known for capturing existing demands because they can find context within each search query and serve your ad when the user is ready to buy. However, this low-hanging fruit shouldn't stop you from investing in Paid Social and SEO efforts.
We know how hard a conversion can be between marketing and finance when running brand awareness and demand generation campaigns. They are hard to justify, but we all know they are also essential!
Multi-Channel Marketing Campaign
Google Ads 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?
Mistake number 6: Not using 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.
👉Check out these relevant resources
Mistake number 7: Using a Marketing Generalist instead of specialist
The most common mistake SaaS companies make is hiring generalists to do their marketing. You might be thinking, "But isn't this person good at everything?" or "They seem like they know how to drive traffic and get us more leads." The answer is no. Generalists can't keep up with all the various platforms in Martech, and they won't unlock the true growth your company needs. If you want to grow faster than ever before, you need someone who specializes in each part of your funnel--from lead generation through conversion and retention (and even customer success).
Mistake number 8: Not Focusing on Product Benefits
Most SaaS founders I spoke to are uncostly inclined to talk about their product's greatness or what it does relative to the competitors. They are missing that product features are essential for serious buyers looking to compare various offerings on the market. However, to grow your business, you'd need to find the benefits your SaaS companies solve. Make sure the benefits are also tailored towards the audience.
Mistake number 9: Too many or too few emails
Complicated automation sequences, if they go unchecked, can annoy lots of people. If you have ten ebooks and someone downloads 3 of them, you'd need to ensure checkpoints in your sequences stop the CRM or marketing automation software from sending similar emails and overwhelming your users. Not every user needs the same number of emails and resources sent to them.
Mistake number 10: Ignoring social media
Depending on your target market, if you're not using tech influencers on IG and TikTok or Youtube, then you are missing out on a big opportunity. You could create organic-looking ads through partnerships and offer affiliate incentives to get them on board with your marketing effort. Again a bit mistake most SaaS marketers make is to ignore a channel based on their instinct and dogma around it.
I hope this blog was helpful. Don't hesitate to get in touch!
Conclusion & the List of SaaS Marketing Mistakes:
Doing digital marketing for SaaS companies is a challenge at best of times; balancing your product development with B2B marketing costs is not something every SaaS marketing funnel is designed to withstand. Therefore, In our humble opinion, the best SaaS marketing strategy avoids the above mistakes. Technical optimisations and all the nitty gritty stuff have their place in any B2B marketing campaign. However, it's the basics that often get in the way of your success. Now that we converted the top 10 marketing mistakes a SaaS company can make let's wrap everything up with the full list below:
- Poor Audience selection
- Weak Messaging
- Poor Product Onboarding
- Lack of Ad Data Processing Strategy
- Only Focusing on Demand Capture
- Not using SaaS KPI measurements within your marketing funnel
- Using a Marketing Generalist instead of specialist
- Not Focusing on Product Benefits
- Too many or too few emails
- Ignoring social media