With 2022 right around the corner, you might be wondering what marketing strategies you should employ as a SaaS marketer or entrepreneur wearing a marketer’s hat. In my 6 years as a SaaS copywriter, I’ve seen it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly campaigns.
Based on what I’m seeing deliver sign-ups and leads for SaaS companies across multiple industries, these are my top picks for the best SaaS marketing strategies to employ next year.
1. SEO content and copy
Where would we be without SEO? We’d be chatting with our CFOs about how we’re spending too much on ads.
SEO is the gift that keeps on giving. But to get to the point where you have free traffic for years, you first have to secure those initial rankings.
Because Google Ads are super pricey for SaaS-related terms, SEO remains a key strategy. Not only can SEO help with acquisition, but it also helps with retention too, because you can create content that helps your customers make the most out of your tool. And, you can make sure that when they’re searching for solutions to their problems, you show up. It’s no wonder that 87% of US SaaS companies are investing in content marketing.
I started working on Frill’s blog one year ago, building up the SEO from scratch, and we’re already getting dozens of page 1 rankings for terms that are directly related to their product.
And if you know me, then you know I love ranking “alternatives” posts for my clients, so that they show up when users are searching for ways to ditch the competition!
2. Product-led nurturing and upselling
Another key strategy in 2022 will be for marketing and sales teams at product-led companies to get better data that they can use to nurture engaged free users and paying customers who might be ready to upgrade.
I’m excited to help my new client HeadsUp grow their audience through content and spread the word about how to collect and nurture product-qualified leads.
Even if you don’t have a sales team, this can still be a great strategy for you, because you can set up automated campaigns based on user behavior.
3. Community building
SaaS companies are a godsend to many small business owners. While gurus and coaches are charging thousands for the same advice, SaaS companies are creating content and community that helps their customers grow their businesses. And all of this for free.
DesignFiles is one of my favorite clients, and we’ll be working on growing engagement in their Facebook community through monthly live interviews with experts.
Then, I’ll be turning these live interviews into all sorts of content.
4. Branding and messaging that stands out
To be successful at SaaS marketing, you need great branding and messaging.
For many SaaS companies, bold colors and informal brand voices win the day.
But you can’t just slap bold colors on your website and call it done. You need to check what your competition is doing and zig where others zag. Your branding can only stand out if it doesn’t look like your competitors.
And, what’s most important is having a message that is clear and addresses a pain point in an enticing way.
In this website that I wrote for Raise IQ, I focused in on the core value of the product (building a financial model), and the main value (that it’s easy, which it usually isn’t) and the result (impressing investors) all in one line.
5. Founder and employee LinkedIn marketing
LinkedIn represents an insane organic marketing opportunity. And many companies simply aren’t making good on this.
A company who is? Drift.
If you’re in the B2B SaaS world, you probably know about Drift.
Working with them on content, I know first hand that the marketing team at Drift is good at a lot of things: ABM, SEO, virtual events. But it’s hard to separate their success from their dominance of LinkedIn.
Just imagine if you had one employee at your company getting hundreds of thousands of views on their posts every week. Then add in all the employees getting tens of thousands of views. What would that do for your lead generation, lead nurturing, brand loyalty, and retention? Probably a lot.
The CEO of Drift, David Cancel, uses LinkedIn to share personal stories, company updates, and speaking engagements.
Dave Gerhardt, Chief Brand Officer, is LinkedIn famous for his marketing and copywriting advice. He’s seemingly a never-ending well of interesting declarations and straightforward tips.
And, Drift has dozens of other marketing and non-marketing employees who post weekly or monthly.
If you’re in B2B SaaS, your audience might be on LinkedIn. And if your audience is on LinkedIn, make it a priority. Upskill your team in LinkedIn posting and help them gain confidence.
6. Multichannel account-based marketing
For SaaS companies that sell pricier products, or products that represent considered purchases (complex, many users, etc.), it’s challenging to go from first interaction to free trial sign up. The pathway might be much longer and include multiple touchpoints. To stay top-of-mind with your leads, you need to be doing account-based marketing (ABM). This might look like cold email, cold calling, LinkedIn engagement, LinkedIn ads, and personal event invites all to the same lead.
I’ve been working on more ABM campaigns lately, and here’s a piece of a landing page I wrote for Channel Advisor:
ABM is complicated and involves multiple types of marketing talent, from creative to operations to advertising to analytics. The SaaS companies who do it well will leave their competitors behind.
7. Cold email with “small asks”
I always love it when a client comes to me and wants me to rewrite their cold email sequence. Often, the cold emails ask the prospect to hop on a call. No one wants to hop on a call with someone they don’t know. That’s why I usually end my emails with something like “Can I send over some more info?” This allows the prospect to reply with a simple “yes” or “sure.” Then, you can continue the conversation by sending them a 1-minute video, an ebook, or a case study relevant to their business.
8. Sponsored content
Many B2B SaaS companies get so locked into B2B SaaS marketing strategies that they forget to employ B2C tactics. There are so many opportunities to sponsor content. You can sponsor blog posts, email newsletters, and other digital assets that have audiences in the tens of thousands.
For TravelPerk, I wrote this advertorial in the Business Travel Magazine.
Owned media is essential. You want to be building up your own blog and email list. But don’t forget to take advantage of earned and sponsored media too. There are existing audiences out there already. Why not access them?
9. Partnerships and affiliates (especially for live events)
Many SaaS companies want to enter the holy marketing grail of running virtual events that work. Conferences, summits, panels, etc. When you’re creating really high-quality video content, you’re owning your market and establishing connections that your competitors can’t easily replicate.
But it’s hard to get enough attendees to make running live events worthwhile. And the whole point of the event is to grow your audience, not just impress your current audience.
This is why the best SaaS marketers use partnerships and affiliate marketing to fill their events. You might swap promotions with certain partners, or pay others to share about your event. Or, you can incentivize affiliates by including an upsell for lifetime access to the event content. Enterprise SaaS companies will do better with promotions, because they won’t want to charge their audience for attendance. But SaaS companies that serve small business owners can create an army of affiliate marketers (typically the coaches who help those business owners), and create an exclusive element for the event to create some revenue.
In this example from Teachable, they’ve created an exclusive offer so that affiliates get commissions from any of their leads that sign up for Teachable after the event.
A lot of SaaS companies talk about affiliate marketing, but few do it well.
So, there you have it!
After writing copy for many different types of campaigns, this is what I expect to see (and be working on) in 2022.
What do you think? What are the best SaaS marketing strategies for 2022?