What's the best way to grow your SaaS business? First, you make sure your rate of customer acquisition is successful. Second, you put together and implement a plan that keeps your customers happy once you win them over.
Well it can be if you play your cards right and lucky for you on this post we'll show you how to do it.
Of course, the ultimate solution is to create software that your customers will love and find relevant and useful. However, if consumers can’t find your website or learn about your product, you’re dead in the water regardless of how great your software is.
With that in mind we gathered our crack marketing staff together and threw them into a room that had more pizzas than airflow and told them they couldn't leave or get refills on their root beer until they delivered a bonafide list of surefire tactics that would help SaaS companies attract and retain more of their customers.
We did that for a couple reasons:
#1 We care about your company and want to help you in any way that we can.
If that means rolling our sleeves up and helping you figure stuff like this out then so be it. We have a great staff and love these kinds of projects. So it's a good time for us for sure.
#2 Pizza is cheap and it's kind of fun locking the marketing guys into windowless rooms every so often.
You really should try it once in awhile. Seriously.
Once the pizza was polished off and the dust settled our staff came up with a whopping 19 strategies you can and should be employing to attract and retain customers.
Here's what they came up with:
# 1. Design, or redesign your website to be mobile-friendly.
Your web developer can suggest the degree to which your website can be mobile-friendly and responsive. The fact is, millions of people search for products and services on their mobile devices.
Google’s well aware of this fact, and is anxious to reward those sites that have taken this into consideration. Mobile-friendly sites will be rewarded with better ranking status, while those that aren’t mobile friendly may lose the ranking status they already have.
#2. Target your research and keywords.
It might sound simple, but targeting the right keywords could be one of the most critical parts of your marketing campaign. What words are your consumers using to search the Internet for your SaaS product? Your website’s keywords should rank for something that’s specific to the problems that your software solves.
If you're new to keyword research Moz has an excellent tutorial that should get you up to speed in no time flat.
#3. Write website content that’s persona-centric.
After you’ve spent the midnight oil finding words and phrases that your potential customers are likely to use, the next step is to write content with those keywords. It’s back to the basics. Include your keywords within Meta tags and descriptions. Write content that’s useful, relevant and informative. Along with the content on your Web pages, write blogs, Ebooks, whitepapers, and news content.
Also keep in mind that your content has to be factual. Being factual is a new requirement brought on by Google’s latest algorithm change.
#4. Be the social media king or queen.
Social media, today, is an integral part of any smart marketing strategy. However, when considering customer acquisition, you have to know what your potential customers are interested in and where they hang out.
Consider the following social media tips to help you get started:
- Use relevant hashtags.
- Seek out and develop relationships with influencers in your field of expertise.
One of the best tools we use to find relevant hashtags is Hashtagify.me. It's a super advanced Twitter hashtag search engine that really helps us figure out the exact hashtags our prospects use on a regular basis. What's also cool about them is that they have a great set of tutorials that will get you up to speed on how to use their tool the most effectively.
We use another tool call Buzz Sumo to help us find the biggest influencers in our industry. They have pricing plans that start at $99 a month and they offer a free trial that gives you full access to their system. Plus they offer a tutorial slideshow that will show you exactly how to use their system to find the biggest influencers in your industry.
Do yourself a favor and definitely check both tools out before you even think of posting anything new on your blog or social media posts.
Anna's blog has some great advice on social media promotion here: http://firstsiteguide.com/promote-content/
#5. Consider paid online advertising.
When it comes to custom acquisition, Organic search is a powerful strategy to attract visitors to your website. There’s an alternative way, and it’s called paid advertising, pay-per click, or PPC. The process is fairly straightforward. You pay Google money to advertise your URL. You’ll pay a certain amount of money per click. The amount you pay depends on your keyword’s difficulty. Paying for the right keyword phrase could get your product in front of the right audience rather quickly.
Don't Forget To Manage SaaS Customer Expectations
We’d be lacking in responsibility if we didn’t remind you to manage your customer’s expectations. This is where a lot of SaaS marketers fail miserably.
Potential customers can arrive at your site, and you can offer them a free trial version of your software. If you fail to let them know that they’re signing up for a limited version, or that a premium price will emerge at some point, your efforts may have been in vain.
Be very specific in your explanations. If there is a non-refundable setup fee involved, say it. If a valid credit card is required for the trial offer, say it.
Remove any barriers to sign-up. It’s a common fallacy that people are more likely to sign up for a product when there are significant hoops to jump through. Research shows that reducing the barriers on your sign-up form has a dramatic effect of getting more people through the front door. Observe your customers’ behavior, and keep testing.
If you’ve been in the business for more than a week, you’re likely aware of what can happen when expectations are mismanaged. It usually happens when people try to avoid the “selling” process.
From founders and the executive team down, there’s a false hope that users will sign up and find something awesome about the product. As a result, those customers will trip over themselves to dish out money for the product. The truth is that’s a false assumption and only suckers should expect that.
Ways to Retain SaaS Customers
So far we've only talked about how to attract new SaaS customers, now take a look at the strategies our team of marketing experts recommend you do to retain them:
#6. Consider raising the price of your product.
It’s a known and accepted fact that raising prices often imparts the perception of greater value. When a person commits to the price, they’re inwardly stamping out buyer’s remorse. Once someone makes a monetary commitment, there’s a far greater chance to spark their engagement. This reduces the likelihood of a customer cancelling their contract.
#7. Revisit your value proposition.
Re-examine why your customers became a customer in the first place. While it may be impossible to know the exact reason for every customer, your value proposition is a good start. Revisit your unique selling proposition as well. These two elements are, virtually, the core reason why your customer is a customer.
Your value proposition includes your benefits, how they benefit the customer, and why you’re able to do what you do well. Does your solution provide a fix for a broken business solution? Can there be measurable results? Does your solution solve problems that are blatant and critical?
If your value proposition was successful enough to attract a client, it should be successful enough to retain that client.
Keep proving your value. The more you do, the more your customers will believe it, experience it, and stay devoted. Create and utilize touch points to stay connected with your customers. Email marketing is one such solution.
#8. Revisit your project’s onboarding process.
Consider what motivated your customers to onboard in the first place. The answer will be the key to retaining them for the long term. What onboarding features were the most appealing? Which ones were the most compelling? Knowing these things will help keep you focused and on track.
#9. Interact with your customers.
There will always be complaints along with service requests. However, you have the authority and the power to go the extra mile if you choose to. Don’t stop until the customer’s problem has been solved. Be thorough and professional. How you handle problems speaks louder than how you handle your business when all goes well.
#10. Revisit whether you think customer surveys are useful.
The result of the exchange might reveal that your customers aren’t happy. Also, they might have a perspective that you care more about surveys than you do their satisfaction. Surveys can be a double-edged sword. You can get important and valuable data, or you tick them off to the point of losing their business.
Many business owners feel it’s best to acquire data through customer usage. Pick up the phone and call your customers. You’ll gain valuable information about their SaaS experience.
#11. Upsell your customers with quality products.
Upselling allows you to engage customers at a deeper level. Raising the level of your service can improve profits, raise the value your customer receives, and increase your customer’s lifetime value (CLV).
Upselling shouldn’t be viewed as a dirty word. Don’t view it as an underhanded technique just to get money from your customers. It’s a win-win situation. If your customers are willing to invest additional cash, they’re likely to stay with you longer.
#12. Keep driving customer engagement.
There will always be a churn rate to contend with (churn rate is your customer’s willingness to remain your customer). One of the best strategies to use to improve your churn rate is to drive customer engagement. Customers are engaged when they’re realizing value from your SaaS. You know they’re engaged when they’re using it. Phone calls, emails, and questions will help you drive engagement.
Interact with your customers on a regular basis. Interact with your customers, regardless of the size and scope of your SaaS. Never just call them to upsell your product. Calling gives them an opportunity to vent if they need to. In time, this creates a partnership approach. You’ll lose fewer clients this way.
#13. Provide customer training for free.
Customers may need to be trained on your software. Especially if it’s complex. Free training and webinar sessions can help you coach users on how to get the maximum value from your SaaS. Training helps reduce churn.
#14. Never be afraid of feedback.
Customers need to feel that they have ownership in their SaaS experience. Feedback should be an extensive part of your retention strategies. Know what your customers think about your pricing, your product and your marketing efforts. When you find out their needs, respond immediately. No response should be greater than 24 hours. Your customers deserve your immediate attention.
#15. Engage your customers on social media.
Social media is a powerful strategy to stay connected with your customers. Facebook and Twitter are just several venues. You can even set up a keyword/hashtag monitoring system in HootSuite to find out what your customers and competitors are talking about. This can help you gain incredible insights and brainstorm opportunities to engage with them.
Ask real, thoughtful questions. Ask questions that people are willing to respond to. Keep the questions relevant to the business at hand. When your customers think, they feel. This provides ample opportunity for you to engage them.
#16. Build robust social profiles of your company to provide as many touch points as possible.
Social media can be used to establish heightened awareness of your SaaS. Awareness improves customer engagement.
#17. Why not provide a customer loyalty program?
Your loyalty program doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to be effective. A simple gift or timely discount can often do the trick. Simple things like these can help your customers feel valued and appreciated.
#18. Provide customers with an attainable goal.
Like anything in life, people feel happiest when attaining to specific goals. Provide your SaaS users with an opportunity to work toward a goal. Working towards a goal helps them develop an eagerness to interact more with their SaaS product. Delighting your customer with actions that are goal-focused imparts a sense of accomplishment.
#19 Create a Retention Team.
Finding and retaining customers is a never ending cycle. One of the best ways you can prove that you’re serious about customer retention is to create a retention team.
Your team can provide customers with a dedicated source for engaging customers. Engage your customers, analyze churn rates, and provide and environment where they feel appreciated and valued.
There you have it.
Can you see how implementing these tips will help you attract and retain new customers?
Sure you can. You got this and you know it.
Can you think of any tips our team missed? If so don't be shy about letting us know by posting them in the comments below!
About Agile Payments: Here at Agile Payments these tips are just a small example of our willingness to help your SaaS grow. For information regarding how our payment gateway solutions can also help grow your business check out our home page by clicking our logo on the top left above.
We have been strategically partnering with SAAS and software companies for over 15 years. In that time we have helped these same partners add millions to their bottom line.
Our ability to deliver value to you as an SAAS provider and just as importantly to your client base is what sets us apart from other less qualified payment gateway specialists. For more information and how your company can take advantage of our expertise call 888.729.4968 or email info@AgilePayments.com.