SaaS growth is a unique challenge compared to most other businesses. It requires a unique focus on both growth of new business and retention of current users.
If you have a SaaS platform that churns users at a high rate, marketing can only take you so far before the math stops adding up. On the other hand, you can have the most amazing platform in the world, but if nobody knows about it then there are no users to retain.
SaaS marketing, then, requires a dual focus on growth and retention — driving traffic, converting visitors into paying users, and keeping them happy when using your platform.
To get it right, you need both the right tools and the right tactics.
There are some essential tactics that we at Ladder treat as part of our SaaS marketing stack — the most essential tactics we use to drive growth for almost all of our SaaS clients.
In this article you’ll learn about these essential SaaS marketing tactics Ladder. They represent the most valuable immediate ROI drivers for any eCommerce store.
Here’s what you’ll get below:
- 11 essential SaaS marketing tactics
- A brief description of each tactic
- Use cases for each tactic
- An illustration depicting the tactic in action
Ladder uses all of these tactics, and more, to drive ROI for SaaS businesses.
Let’s start with…
Fewer Form Fields
When creating sign-up/registration forms, especially for a SaaS platform / demo, having too many fields can actually decrease sign-up rate.
Optimize your forms to only ask for information necessary to the registration process. This decreases the amount of effort and attention a user has to invest into signing up and will result in increased sign-ups and form submissions.
Remember that you can also ask for the information in the fields you remove during onboarding or at a later stage in your relationship with that user/client.
- Decreasing friction for visitors filling out a demo or lead form.
- Remove unnecessary fields that are lowering conversion rates.
- Obtain only the information you need immediately for your sales process.
Gated Content Landing Page
Putting content behind a gate – email capture, social sharing, lead gen form – is a great way to entice visitors to leave their contact information.
Provide premium content in exchange for an email address as a great way to fill your funnel with new qualified leads. Hide an enticing piece of content behind a simple requirement for an email address to encourage visitors to give you their contact information.
Later you’ll be able to reach out to them in a sales email, pointing back to the piece of content you gave away as a starting point for the conversation.
- Provide your sales team with more marketing qualified leads.
- Nurture leads with content that drives interest and engagement.
- Use content to enrich your sales cycle from the bottom-up.
Block all other actions in your UI until a new user has gone through your onboarding tutorial. You’ll be able to guide them through the proper usage of each part of your platform with a tour and demo.
Introducing your users to each major part of your platform at the sign-up helps avoid early churn. Mandating the process while blocking other actions ensures that every new user goes through the onboarding tutorial.
- Properly guide new users through your app’s flow.
- Reduce churn due to users who just don’t know how to use your app.
- Increase number of free trial users that convert to paying customers.
Lead Lookalike Audience
Once you have a solid lead list, you’ll be able to build an audience for your advertising based on what those leads “look like.”
Say you find that a majority of your leads are startups in the New York City area – you’ll be able to build and target an audience of other NYC startups, founders, and their employees. With this approach you’ll drive qualified traffic to your site – businesses and individuals similar to ones that have already displayed interest in your product.
- Capture more leads based on the leads that currently come in through your other marketing activity.
- Tap into an audience that is similar to your current one, which has already indicated interest in your product.
Lead Capture Ad
A lead capture ad is a social media ad format that allows email capture without the user having to enter anything. It’s a one click opt-in ad encouraging users to sign up for an email list, with all the necessary form fields already filled out from their profiles. Lead capture ads are designed to be as quick and painless as possible, enabling you to capture emails from interested social media users with little action on their end.
- Create ads that will let you gather contact info without added friction.
- Get demo signups directly from your lead ads with no added email or other outreach prompts.
CTA Above the Fold
If there’s not already a CTA above the fold you’re likely not optimizing for most of your visitors … as most (say 65%?) never make it below the fold. You can confirm this yourself by running heatmaps on your website using HotJar or Sumo. You’ll quickly see that a ton of your audience drops off before hitting the below-the-fold area. So have a CTA available up front to capture that bouncing audience more effectively.
- Offer the ability to sign up for a demo up-front without having to scroll.
- Reduce bouncing traffic due to page length and confusing CTA locations.
Repeat Primary CTA
Repeating your primary CTA in the middle and at the bottom of your landing page is a simple way to increase conversion. It prompts visitors to click through after they’ve had a chance to read your marketing copy and know more about your product/service.
Providing the extra options, especially when you have a long landing page, makes it easier for visitors to find and use signup forms, CTA buttons, etc…
- Offer more places to register / sign up along the way as a person reads your website copy.
- Remove the tiny bit of friction in scrolling to the top of the page or looking for a CTA by offering it frequently.
Personal Sales Email Drip
Targeting leads with an automated email drip from a personal account to create the impression of one-on-one interaction to drive sales. This lets you build trust with your emails, so they don’t look too automated, and you can therefore book more meetings and demos.
- Get more demos booked by making a lead know that they’re talking to a real person.
- Offer dynamic content pieces to better nurture leads through your sales cycle throughout the drip campaign.
Free Trial vs. Demo Landing Page
Offering a free trial of your product can be a smoother entry and more enticing offer than scheduling a demo. On the other hand, a lot of buyers will want to see a live, human demo of your app, especially if it’s complex.
Try offering two different landing pages and split-testing them with ads — one offering a free trial, and guiding those users into a paid account, and the other offering a demo that leads to a shorter trial. You can then judge performance based on the variation that resulted in more paying customers.
- Figure out if you should be pushing your sales cycle towards demos or free trials.
- Use data from split-test between landing pages to make data-driven decisions on what kind of copy and messaging to use.
- Get more paying customers by offering them the sign-up process most comfortable to them.
First Action Welcome
When a user first registers, send them a welcome email explaining the first action they should take. This prompts them to immediately return to your platform and start using it in a guided manner.
You can combine this with a mandatory onboarding process for your platform to properly teach new users how to best use the service.
- Providing the immediate first steps that a user should take in the aftermath of registering.
- Guiding your new users to the most valuable actions to take on your platform.
- Gathering more data from users about them and their business.
Technology Ad Copy
Your product’s technological edge can be a great advantage for your ad copy. Viewers of the ad may not fully understand what benefits that technological edge gives them, but they’ll likely be intrigued enough to click on the ad and learn more. Use that technological advancement to benefit your ad copy approach.
- Highlighting tech features that make you stand out from your competition.
- Using your platform’s simplicity to entice new users to give it a try.
That’s our list of essential SaaS marketing tactics for user growth and retention. Use the above tactics to get your traffic growth off the ground, convert visitors into paying users, and retain more customers.
Ladder already uses all of these tactics, and more, to drive ROI for SaaS businesses.