The best way to turn prospects into customers and then promoters of your business is to add value to them. And that’s what inbound marketing is all about. In this article, we’re going to briefly take a look at what inbound marketing is and then delve into why SaaS companies today absolutely need it for sustainable growth in the market.
What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a marketing tactic used to bring potential customers to your business, instead of your business reaching out to them. The marketing tactic includes creating and sharing content specific to your industry and niche with your target market.
By creating content designed to appeal to common customer needs, inbound marketing is known to attract and generate quality leads for your business when strategized well.
The now popular marketing tactic includes promotion of business through content pieces like blogs, podcasts, ebook, newsletter, videos, SEO, social media and others. The idea behind this marketing tactic is to be able to add value to the customer at every stage of the purchase cycle with an informative piece of content.
Why do SaaS companies need inbound marketing?
According to a forecast by Forrester, the global SaaS software revenue is expected to reach $106 billion by the end of 2016 and grow further in the next year.
Considering the growth rate, SaaS companies should be all set to face a steep increase in competition and that means it is going to become harder to stand out in any target market. This, in turn, will make an acquisition as well as retention of customers a challenge for even the best of software products.
The one way that has proven to help SaaS companies differentiate themselves from their competition and achieve sustainable growth, is to understand what is inbound marketing and embrace the tactic in their business strategy.
Signs that your company needs inbound marketing
Although marketers across the industry have been adopting inbound marketing tactics for their business, there is still a considerable section of the SaaS market that is skeptical about the effectiveness of inbound marketing.
So here’s taking a look at some of the signs that are already indicating the need for inbound marketing for your product:
1. High customer acquisition cost
Hubspot’s State of Inbound Marketing reported that businesses banking on outbound methods to market their products and services, typically spend $346 per lead. But those who have adopted inbound tactics in their marketing strategies spent only $135 per lead.
Till today, most SaaS companies bank on paid strategies like advertising to promote their product. With the rise in the number of digital platforms the consumer market is present on, this increases the cost per customer acquisition exponentially.
Inbound marketing tactics focus organic methods of driving traffic to your business and making the prospect want to become your customer by adding value to him. Since most of the tactics don’t necessarily require a marketing budget, the overall cost per acquisition drops significantly.
2. Lengthy sales cycle
Most SaaS products come at a cost and when someone is interested in it, they are surrounded by various questions and concerns around purchasing it. This often leads to a lengthy sales cycle wherein you’re required to approach the prospect multiple times with varied value propositions that might or might not lead him to a conversion.
Inbound marketing answers these very concerns of the target market that hamper the sales cycle. It equips the sales team with content that is focused on educating the buyers and helping them make an informed decision through the buyer journey. The most common types of content with sales intent used by SaaS companies include ebooks, industry reports, blog posts and social media content.
3. Low customer lifetime value
A typical SaaS business model is about establishing a long-term relationship with your customer. The model requires you to first convert and then re-convert your customers on a monthly or annual subscription basis. You’re more likely to lose customers the moment they see another product adding more value to them – even if it is just a perceived notion.
Inbound marketing is your channel to stay in touch with your customers over time. It includes monitoring and tracking their activity on the product from their first conversion, and helping them achieve more out of it. Be it sharing blog posts with tips and tricks or use cases and success stories, the aim is to continually reinforce your value proposition and keep him engaged with your business.
The longer you’re able to add value to a customer, the more likely he is to stay with your business.
Loss of niche authority
The market competition for SaaS businesses is increasing by the day. To sustain in the market, you need to earn the trust of your customers and provide them with additional value that lets them know how you are better than the others.
Inbound marketing tactics include sharing your industry knowledge with your target market to attract and retain customers. It includes sharing informative and original content pieces like long posts, reports, whitepapers, hosting webinars and more to continually add value to the customer. Doing so in turn also helps you establish an authority in your niche by becoming the go-to source of information for your target market.
Low conversion rates
With way too many options becoming available to an average customer, the conversion rates for SaaS products are generally low. Although most of their leads complete their free trials, there are very few who actually convert.
A well-executed inbound marketing campaign takes into account all the channels that your target audience is present It helps you understand what your customers are looking for, their changing needs, the purchase triggers and what they expect from your business. Thereby helping you personalize their journey to conversion. The higher the level of personalization, the higher are the conversion rates – be it from your website or from your social media profiles.
Slow business scaling
Higher customer acquisition and lower retention rates lead to slow scaling of business in the desired market. A SaaS product that does not scale over time, leads to losing customers to market competition – which further slows down your growth.
Inbound marketing supports business to grow at scale. A well strategized inbound campaign ensures a steady flow of new prospects from your target market at no additional budget. This helps you optimize the marketing budgets further and use the resources for other business growth requirements.
Over to you
While the tactic has endless benefits for SaaS products, it is important to understand what is inbound marketing before you set aside resources for the same. It is also important to understand that this a marketing tactic yields the best of results only when you’re consistent with your efforts across all the primary digital channels.