6 Steps to Build a Successful SaaS Product Marketing Strategy in 2023

6 Steps to Build a Successful SaaS Product Marketing Strategy in 2023

Harry McKay
January 22, 2023
4 Min
min read

After launching your SaaS product, you were excited to see how it would perform.

Unfortunately, all you got were a few thousand unqualified users, and those stuck around are not the type of paying customers you want.

One obvious reason is that the right people in your target market haven't heard about you yet. And if they have, they aren't sure what your product does or how it could help them.

And this is why around 90% of SaaS companies fail without a solid product marketing strategy.

In this blog post, we'll show you 6 simple steps for building a successful SaaS marketing strategy to promote and grow your business in 2023.

What is a Product Marketing Strategy?

A product marketing strategy is a set of tactics, goals, and plans that you use to market a product. In other words, it's a business plan that sets the direction of your company’s products and services.

It provides a framework for how you will market, sell and distribute your products to achieve the greatest reach with your target audience. A successful product marketing strategy helps you identify what value you want to provide customers, how they will benefit from using it, and why they should choose your brand over others on the market.

You can think about this like building a house: Your product is the foundation for everything else in your business—your team, culture, revenue model, and more.

How To Build a Successful SaaS Product Marketing Strategy?

As every SaaS product is different, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a successful SaaS product marketing strategy.

However, there are some key steps you can take to ensure that your plan meets the needs of your business and aligns with how customers buy.

1. Determine the target audience.

First, you must define your target audience and what they need. The more specific you can be, the better. This will help you craft an effective messaging strategy that resonates with your customers’ needs and interests.

You can do this by creating a user persona. You can use this research-backed visual representation of your audience to understand your customers better. Here is an example of a user persona,

Source.

Understanding a user's problem and how your product will help them solve it is essential for making products more appealing to that specific target market.

It's important to research your target audience as much as possible. You can do this by looking at your existing customers and seeing what they are like, where they come from, their needs, etc.

Try conducting primary qualitative tests with your target market to better understand what they want from you. You can do this by,

  • Surveys
  • In-person interviews
  • User groups (focus groups)

2. Identify the competition with market research.

Market research is as important as user research as it helps you identify the competition, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they market themselves. In fact, around 14 billion SaaS companies are competing for the same customer base, which means you need to identify who your competitors are and then determine how they are different from you.

You can use the gathered information to create a better product marketing strategy that helps you stand out from the competition.

You can use different methods for market research, such as,

  • Searching for similar products in the same space.
  • Surveying your customer base to see what they’re looking for in a product like yours
  • Compiling a list of competitors and their strengths, weaknesses, and marketing strategies
  • Analyzing their online presence, including their website, social media channels, and reviews.

When you understand the market and your competitors well, you can create a strategy that will work for your product. It’s important to remember that products are always evolving, and each has a lifecycle. You should consider how long their product has been on the market, its current state, and where it could be.

3. Define your positioning.

Positioning is a way of defining the niche that your product occupies. This demonstrates who you are, what your product does, and who it serves.

Positioning allows you to identify your product or service’s core benefit and competitive advantage, thereby setting clear expectations.

To define your position, consider the following:

  • What problem does your product solve?
  • Why is it better than competitors' products?
  • How does it make users' lives easier?
  • What makes it unique?

Once you clearly understand your product’s benefit and its value to users, you can position it in the market.

4. Set realistic goals and establish KPIs.

Your objectives are the primary goals of your product. They should be specific and measurable so that you can determine whether or not they've been met. For example, if your objective is to increase revenue by 15% in the next quarter, you can set a goal of driving 4 new clients to sign up for your service during that period.

When setting goals, it's also important to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help measure whether or not they've been met. Your KPIs are metrics you use to measure your progress toward fulfilling an objective.

You can include metrics like retention rates, activation rates, and CACs (customer acquisition costs) within a product marketing strategy. Your KPIs should be consistent — so your team knows exactly what each means—and applicable to the business.

After establishing these KPIs and goals, you can move on to creating sales and marketing strategies to reach your target audience.

5. Map your marketing strategies.

Based on your goals and KPIs, you have to develop your marketing strategies. The user cycle involves four stages, acquisition, activation, adoption, and retention.

You have to set up the right strategies for each stage. For example, you may need more than one strategy for acquisition because different audiences require different approaches.

Product marketing strategies for the acquisition stage:

This is the stage where you are trying to acquire new users for your product. You need a marketing strategy to bring in more people with different needs and requirements.

Your website should be optimized with better product information, user experience, and a clear call to action. And the most important element is the product showcase. The way you showcase the value of the product determines your conversion rate.

You can use interactive product demos to showcase the value of your product engagingly.

Once done, you can use social media marketing, email marketing, or search engine optimization to drive traffic to your website. The goal here is to find out what your target audience wants from you and provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision about using your product.

Product marketing strategies for the activation stage:

The activation stage is the first step in a customer lifecycle—when your user realizes that your product meets their needs. People have short attention spans, and they may never return if they don’t feel like your product is providing value right away. Then you've lost a customer!

That's why it's essential to provide an interactive product onboarding strategy that helps users understand the value of your product and how to use it effectively. It's also important to present a clear call to action that guides your customer toward activation.

For example, Zenhub, a project management tool, uses onboarding to show users how to use the product to manage their projects effectively. When you sign up, they walk you through a series of steps that explain how Zenhub works and help you set up your first project.

The goal is to get users in the habit of using your product, so they will continue to do so after the onboarding process.

With Storylane, you can create an interactive onboarding strategy where the users are guided through a series of steps that teaches them how to use your product. You can create an interactive walkthrough, where they can click through and explore each page within minutes.

Product marketing strategies for adoption and retention stage:

The next stage is adoption and retention, which typically occurs after the user has tried your product a few times. Now that they’ve learned how to use it, they need more reasons to keep using it instead of switching to another tool.

This is where you should focus your efforts on product marketing strategies for retention. You can create a series of drip emails that send tips, tools, and resources to help them get the most out of your product.

You can also email them updates about your new feature launches and let them know when they can expect to receive more value from your product.

6. Measure and improve.

Once you’ve found your product marketing strategy for retention, it’s important to measure its effectiveness. You should be able to track the conversion rate of each stage and see where users are dropping off. This will help you identify areas that need improvement and make changes accordingly.

With Storylane, you can see how users interact with your product demo and onboarding phase and track their progress through your funnel. With this data, you can identify the most common reasons customers are leaving and then make changes to improve those areas.

How To Improve Your Existing SaaS Marketing?

As your product evolves with time, it's also essential to evaluate your marketing strategy. You can do this by looking at the results of your existing campaigns and measuring how they're performing against your goals.

Here are some strategies that help you to refine your existing strategies and improve their performance:

1. Refine your SEO and content marketing efforts.

To boost the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, you have to pay attention to your SEO and content marketing efforts. These two strategies directly impact how many people find your website, what they think of it, and whether they decide to sign up. You can improve your SEO by adding more keywords to your site pages and ensuring they are as relevant as possible.

Also, add fresh content regularly so that users always have something new to read. You also need to put together a strong content marketing strategy to make the most of your SEO efforts.

Content marketing is important because it allows you to position yourself as an authority in the field by sharing information about your product and services. In fact, a whopping 90% of respondents to the GrowthBar State of Content Marketing Survey said that search engine optimization is among their top 3 marketing channels.

Source.

2. Internal coordination for new features.

To retain your customers, you must continuously improve your product and service. This is especially important if you’re a B2B company that sells highly customized software or other digital products.

When you make changes to your product, it can take time for your team members to coordinate with one another so that they all move in the same direction simultaneously. If they don’t do this well, customers might see inconsistencies between what they expect from the product and what they get when they use it.

No matter how significant or insignificant a new product feature may be, it is important to ensure that all company departments are informed and coordinated. This way, everyone can come together effectively to communicate the right information.

3. Target different customer segments.

The new product features will be designed to improve the user experience of your existing customers. Therefore, you will focus on determining which segments, in particular, are most important for reaching out and include those individuals in usability studies or surveys early so that they can provide feedback during development.

Distinguishing between different audiences and tailoring your content to each group will ensure you reach the maximum number of relevant customers.

4. Create a competitive advantage.

Most SaaS companies allow users to experience the product only after they sign up and pay for a subscription, which can be a barrier to entry. By offering something your competitors don’t have, you create a competitive advantage that will gain customers’ loyalty and encourage them to spread the word about your product.

You can do this by adding an interactive demo to your website. This allows your users to try out the product without downloading it or signing up for a subscription. Toplyne is a great example of the same.

They embedded an interactive demo on their website. This allowed them to showcase their product value and made it easier for users to try out the product without having to download it or sign up for a subscription.

This helped them to boost their conversion rates by 20%.

5. Use referral marketing.

Referrals are one of the best ways to attract and grow your user base. This is because 84% of people trust the recommendations of their friends, family, and colleagues more than any other form of marketing, such as advertisements or direct mail.

referral marketing statistics: 84% of customers trust recommendations from people they know, more than any other form of advertising. 74% of consumers say word of mouth is a key influencer in their purchasing decision. Referred customers are 37% more likely to stay loyal to your business.

Source.

You can encourage your customers to recommend you to others by offering rewards when they make successful referrals. If you can build a strong referral marketing program, it will be easier for you to expand your market.

Ask your current customers what they need to refer other clients to your business. This is an effective way to get additional revenue from your existing customer base, which will help you grow your business.

5 Samples of Perfect Product Marketing Strategies.

You need to have a clear vision to get the most out of your product marketing strategy. It’s also important for you to constantly work on improving your business and its marketing tactics.

Here are five samples of perfect product marketing strategies:

1. Toplyne.

Toplyne provides a simple platform for PLG (product-led growth) companies to identify their best prospects, and then it helps them focus their sales efforts on those.

Source.

Toplyne focused on content marketing as their primary marketing strategy and created a blog with industry-specific articles. They drove traffic to their website, and for conversion, they went ahead and used the interactive product demo.

This way, their visitors could get a feel of the product and better understand how it could be used to solve their problems. This helped them to boost their conversion rate by 25% and increase their sales.

2. Punchh.

Punchh provides restaurants with software and hardware solutions, enabling them to manage their operations—from payment processing to reservations management.

Source.

Though they were able to cater only to restaurants, later, they branched out to serve other industries like convenience stores, grocery chains, and more. As they have a mixed set of audiences, they need to understand their audience and cater to them accordingly.

To achieve this, they created a customized product demo that showcased the features and benefits of each product in detail to a specific audience. These demos helped them showcase their services more effectively than just writing about them on their website or displaying screenshots.

Punchh is a great example of a company that understands its audience and caters to them accordingly.

3. MailChimp.

MailChimp has long been a leader in the email marketing world. Still, when they noticed that many of their customers were growing beyond sending single emails and wanted better tools for marketing automation—they listened.

Source

They’ve recently expanded to become an all-in-one suite of solutions designed specifically for small businesses.

MailChimp recognized that customer behavior was a powerful indicator of how to give people what they wanted. From this epiphany, the company committed itself to understanding—and fulfilling—the needs and desires of customers.

They provide a clear understanding of what the product does and how it can help businesses grow. So, they lead with that—as we can see on their ‘Growing Businesses’ landing page.

4. WeTransfer.

WeTransfer is an online file-sharing and transfer service. They help people send large files to each other easily, securely, and for free.

WeTransfer is another example of a SaaS product marketing strategy, this time with a focus on converting existing customers to paying customers. They do this by optimizing the loading screens users encounter when uploading files—a simple way to increase conversion rates!

Many users are unaware of the features of a program's paid version, so communicating its value is an effective strategy. When uploading files, users are presented with a screen that looks something like this,

WeTransfer loading page

The non-intrusive content marketing here seeks to inform users of paid options available while they wait for their file(s) to be uploaded. This benefit is twofold: users can learn about the paid plan and have less chance of getting bored with the software.

5. ZenHub.

Zenhub is a web-based project management tool that allows you and your team to organize tasks and collaborate on documents. They deployed an effective product onboarding strategy as a part of their product marketing.

The first thing that users see when they sign up for ZenHub is a walkthrough of the platform. This walkthrough helps users learn about all the features, which helps them understand how to use each tool and what it does. When the tour ends, the users are prompted with the CTA that pushes them to use the product.

This is a great example of how you can activate all the users and get them to use your product without needing additional effort.

Getting the product marketing strategy right!

For all SaaS companies, a strategy is essential to increasing sales, improving team cohesion, and better understanding customers. An effective product marketing strategy helps you understand and communicate the value of your product to customers. It also helps you build a strong brand, which is why you must have one in place.

Your product is only half of the equation. To be successful, you need to figure out how to sell it by showcasing the value it brings to the table. And this is where the Storylane comes in.

It helps you create an interactive product demo that helps you to communicate the value of your product clearly and concisely. This is especially important if you are a B2B SaaS company where customers need to see how their business will benefit from using your product.

Want to showcase your value and grow with the value of your product? Schedule a free demo now, and we will show you how.

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