Ultimate Lead Generation Guide for SaaS [Get FREE eBook]
Why knowing lead generation and other advanced digital marketing strategies is a must if you want to advance your SaaS business?
Imagine you came home from a long busy day at work, and you are finally relaxing and starting dinner with your family when your phone suddenly rings.
You answer and hear: “Good evening, I’m Steve from telephone company X, am I talking to Mr. Anderson? I have a really exciting mobile phone offer, bla bla bla…”
How irritating is this interruption? Nowadays, people are no longer willing to tolerate such marketing strategies. Instead, we must explore new ways to attract customers while avoiding making our company seem annoying.
What will you learn in this lead generation guide for SaaS:
- What is a lead?
- Why do you need lead generation for your SaaS business?
- What is SaaS lead generation?
- How to create a lead generation strategy for SaaS
- Lead generation process for SaaS step by step
What is a lead?
A lead is a person who has shown interest in your company’s product in any way. In other words, instead of getting a random phone call from a mobile company that bought your contact information somewhere, you will get a phone call from a company you first started a relationship with.
For example, you download a spreadsheet to calculate your monthly recurring revenue (M.R.R.) from an agency that offers SaaS companies digital marketing services. After a few days, you will receive an email from this agency to give you more information on SaaS financial management.
Here, the communication will be less intrusive than a phone call made by chance at the wrong time of the day and without even knowing if you actually need financial management help in your company.
From a business point of view, the information the agency has collected by having you download the M.R.R. spreadsheet will help them personalize their communication with you and give you the greatest possible value.
Why do you need lead generation for your SaaS business?
Is marketing a digital product very different from selling a physical product?
Since SaaS companies sell products that aren’t tangible, convincing a user that your tool deserves to be an integral part of their daily routine is a more difficult task than convincing a shopper to buy a shirt.
When it comes to SaaS, one of the biggest differences from other businesses is that the sales cycle is significantly shorter. Compare a single purchase with a 5-figure price to a monthly subscription of a few hundred dollars. The lower the price, the less time it takes for prospects to convert. But, on average, the SaaS sales cycle is around 84-180 days.
While many retailers also generate revenue from single purchases, the SaaS model relies much more on ongoing subscriptions. And while many SaaS products technically fall under the B2B umbrella, their sales cycle follows a different three-step process:
- Acquisition: Attract new users.
- Monetization: Convert these users into paying customers.
- Retention: Convince paying customers to stay.
What are the main stages in SaaS marketing?
The challenges in marketing your SaaS product:
- Create Brand Awareness, making the software known, and making it appreciated and considered the best, useful, safe, intuitive, etc.
- Overcoming the best-known competitors who are well-positioned in the market and on search engines.
- Communicate all software features while keeping everything as simple as possible.
- Communicate in a language that is not too technical.
- Motivate site visitors to test a trial version of the software
- Transform a “free” user into a paying user
- Make sure users understand how to best use the software by improving their user experience and increasing their satisfaction.
- Make sure customers renew expiring software licenses.
- Cross-selling (selling other related services) and up-selling (selling more licenses or a more expensive version)
- Effectively communicate the releases of new updates and new features.
- In the case of paid advertising (eg Google Adwords), make sure that every dollar spent generates new paying users.
- Continuously monitor customer satisfaction and the rate of use of your software to activate any corrective actions.
Compared to companies with physical products or single purchases, SaaS companies must demonstrate to their current and potential customers that their “rented” service is worth a monthly fee.
While more traditional companies may follow classic methods to achieve steady business growth, SaaS brands follow a very different business model that requires different marketing strategies.
What is SaaS lead generation?
SaaS lead generation is the process of attracting people or companies who have expressed interest in your software and converting them into potential customers.
They might not be ready to buy now, but they fit with the types of customers who need your help. You can use many tactics to generate leads, but all of them fall into one of three broad categories.
- Inbound Marketing
- Outbound Marketing
- Online Marketing
Hubspot defines inbound marketing as follows: “An approach that focuses on attracting customers through relevant and useful content and interactions, without interruptions.”
Inbound marketing involves using media such as social networks, blogs, and search engines to create customized content to meet ideal customers’ needs. This type of content leads to a website.
Today, inbound marketing is more common and widespread among SaaS companies as it is cheaper than outbound. The cost of inbound prospects is 61% lower than that of outbound prospects.
Outbound marketing is a traditional form of marketing that fosters conversation with a potential customer. The main difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is that potential customers find the content for themselves instead of being contacted directly by the sales department. Outbound marketing managers operate through:
- T.V. ads
- Direct mail (catalogs, brochures, etc.)
- Fairs, events, etc
Today, this type of marketing is gradually losing its position. According to Hubspot, inbound budgets now account for only 23% of all marketing spend, and that figure continues to decline. And about 70-80% of people ignore paid ads on search engines.
Online marketing is any promotional tool, strategy, or method used on the Internet. This type of marketing is very popular with SaaS companies. Online marketing covers the following categories:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (S.E.M.)
- Pay per click (P.P.C.) advertising
- Social Network Marketing (S.M.M.)
- Content Marketing
- Email marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
For digital marketing, you can use different platforms like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and hundreds of other sources, depending on your SaaS product.
Inbound marketing strategy for SaaS
Why are SaaS companies adopting an inbound strategy?
- Build an authority on the web to invest the advertising budget more efficiently
- Speak directly to the audience without intermediaries
- Better respond to demand in all its form.
- Support identified prospects throughout the purchasing process.
- Qualify leads of better quality
- Shorten the purchasing decision cycle
- Reduce the C.A.C. (Customer Acquisition Cost)
- Increase the M.R.R. (Monthly Recurring Revenue)
- Generate user satisfaction and build loyalty
The R.O.I. of inbound marketing is real
Here are some figures demonstrating the effectiveness and return on investment of inbound marketing.
- The average cost per lead drops 80% after five months of consistent inbound marketing. (Eloqua)
- Inbound marketing can result in doubling the average website conversion rate from 6% to 12%. (HubSpot)
- SEO is 5.66 times more effective than paid advertising. (New Media Campaigns, HubSpot)
How to create a lead generation strategy for SaaS
Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and potential customers into leads, which we just talked about.
Leads = Customers = Profits
When we first meet our customers, it is impossible to say, “We deal with lead generation,” which might seem confusing. Instead, we say, “Our job is to find effective ways to attract people to your company. We care about giving potential customers enough information to make them develop a natural interest in the products and services your company offers.
The consequence will be that sooner or later, they will want to get in touch with someone from your company to find out more!” Did you notice the difference?
Therefore, lead generation is like a way to warm potential customers’ interest and put them on the right path towards purchasing your products and services.
Why do you need lead generation for your software?
Instead of starting a relationship with a stranger out of the blue, you build interest in potential customers. Next, you can move forward and nurture this relationship with people you already know are interested and make them buy your software over time.
Lead generation is one of the phases of the inbound marketing methodology; the second step happening right after you’ve attracted the audience to your website and prepared them for conversion. It’s about turning anonymous visitors to your site into potential customers in your sales department.
How do you qualify leads?
Before we get into the lead qualification, let us first examine how the sales team versus the marketing team define a lead.
For the marketing team, leads are people who show an interest in your products and who could fit customers’ target. When a lead has these qualities and meets the defined criteria, he is generally qualified as a prospect.
For the sales team, a lead is usually someone who matches the target customer base and meets defined criteria. In other words, someone who shows an interest in your product and needs it.
From a marketing standpoint, each lead is unique both in the way it is created and in its value; This is why you must learn how to qualify leads based on your business’s specific needs.
One of the lead qualification process steps is to identify the leads with the highest potential as long-term customers. You can then refocus your marketing activities on nurturing these leads rather than spending all your time working on so-called leads.
Lead generation process for SaaS step by step
What are the different stages of the lead generation process?
In this part, we will detail each step and show you the most effective methods for developing your own lead generation strategy.
Before we get to the methods and exact steps in planning your SaaS lead generation strategy, let us dive into the customer’s shoes. Understanding and analyzing the journey they go through can help us create a kickstart plan to improve their experience.
A customer passes through 3 major stages during the SaaS lead generation process:
1) Realization stage
In this stage, your customers realize a pain point or a challenge they have and start to look for a solution online. Here, your number 1 task of lead generation process is to let them know that your SaaS business knows about their problem well enough. Not only that, but you are an EXPERT in solving this problem.
Through a website targeted at what they are searching for.
2) Involvement stage
By now, your customers are fully aware of their challenges and pain points, and they are currently searching for providers to solve their problem(s). Here, your number 1 task is to make them select YOU.
How to make them select your SaaS company as the final one?
By engaging your customers so that they stay on your website as long as possible so you can convince them that you are THE ONE.
How can you convince them?
Many ways, but high-quality blogs and videos are fire ways to keep them involved and engaged.
We will get into the exact methods for each stage in the following sections.
3) Consideration stage
Your customers now know that you are an EXPERT in providing a solution to their pain points, and they have shortlisted you, but they haven’t yet selected you. Probably there is another SaaS company that seems more attractive to them, and you can be forgotten!
How to take the extra steps to be selected?
You need to CONTACT them!
To do this, you need to collect their email addresses, aka lead generation. Of course, this isn’t an easy task. You need to provide attractive offers to make customers give their email addresses in return.
The offers can be guides, ebooks, reports, white papers, or any type of VALUABLE content.
After going through the stages that your potential customers pass through before making a purchase, you are now ready to develop your strategy.
Your SaaS lead generation strategy aims to attract visitors to your website, engage them with content, and get their contacts. Before getting into the steps, let us set up some approach foundations.
4 Stages of building a SaaS marketing strategy
1. Foundation stage
a. Set SMART goals.
Just like any other plan, your SaaS lead generation strategy needs: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound goals.
To make sure the goals you set are S.M.A.R.T., answer the following questions:
- What will this strategy help you achieve? (S: Specific)
- How will you measure the success of your goal? (M: Measurable)
- Can you accomplish the goal? (A: Achievable)
- Are the resources needed to reach your goals available? (R: Realistic)
- Is there a time limit to achieve the goals? (T: Time-bound)
Example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal: To generate 300 leads by the end of Quarter 2 in 2021.
b. Create a target buyer persona
How will you hook customers and generate leads if you do not know your ideal ones? To do so, first start by segmenting your target audience, for example:
The second is to filter the audience by creating buyer personas. This step will provide you with an accurate insight into your target audience. Make sure to create multiple buyer personas, each with different personalities, challenges, and aspirations.
c. Set KPI targets
A big number of leads is excellent, but what is the point of it if most of them are not interested in what you offer? Here is why you need the KPIs.
KPIs or key performance indicators are measures that help you analyze the lead generation activities against the S.M.A.R.T. goals that you have previously set.
As a result, you will have a clear vision of which tactics perform and which need to be changed to attract qualified leads.
Examples of some interesting KPIs:
- Organic traffic: The number of website visitors from online searches.
- Traffic-to-lead ratio: The leads converted from organic, social media, direct, search engine, referral, and paid traffic to your website.
- Landing page conversion rate: The leads converted from landing pages.
- Clickthrough rate: The clicks on your offer (landing page/email)
- Bounce rate: The percentage of people who visit a single page on your website and leave.
- Cost per lead: Self-explanatory. The cost to generate a lead.
2. Developing awareness
Now we have the foundations for the Saas lead generation strategy all set, and it’s time to start generating leads.
With reference to the buyer’s journey, let’s go step-by-step to develop strategies and create awareness among the target audience.
a. SEO: The foundation of the entire strategy
First thing, you need to be super-focused on topics your audience is interested in. Second, you will need your target audience to actually find your content. Here comes the crucial role of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which we like to call the foundation of the entire Saas lead generation strategy.
Bottom line: If you’re ignoring SEO, you’re dumping your business.
SEO on page
You’ve done your research, chose the keywords, and now need to optimize your webpages and landing pages for SEO traffic.
The ultimate goal of on-page SEO is to speak the language of search engines and help them understand the meaning and context of the pages to the fullest extent.
It is the process of website optimization to improve your position in search engine results. This implies making improvements both at a technical level (titles, descriptions, URLs) and in the web pages’ content (quality, structure, design).
How do you apply on-page SEO?
It is the starting point of engaging customers. Your buyer’s journey starts here and ends with them engaging on your website. Before you begin creating any content, you should know what users are looking for, how they search for it, and which keywords have the highest volume of searches.
Consider the competition and choose the perfect balance between the most searched keywords and those with the least competition. Besides, pay close attention to precisely answer the user’s search intention so that your content matches their search as much as possible.
The goal behind keyword research is to find the exact keywords your target audience is using, which will help you rank high in the Search Engine Results Page (S.E.R.P.) so that they can find your content.
Look for keywords with the following features:
- High search volume (at least 50)
- Long-tail keywords
- Low competition level
- High domain authority
Many stop at this stage, but you know you need to take the extra step and go beyond the usual as a Saas marketer. You now need to dig in and look for the exact keywords your audience is using. Quora, Answer the Public, and other forums are great for giving insights about your customer’s issues and problems. You can then create content, answer these questions, and capture leads!
Make sure not to over-optimize the content, play with long-tail keywords, and try to be as natural as possible.
The URL should describe as much as possible what the page is about. Users must understand whether the page will meet their needs without loading it into their browsers.
Some best practices for a correct URL are:
- Contain the primary keyword that we want to position.
- Clear, legible, and accessible to users.
- The shorter, the better, because it looks more precise, natural, and is easier to remember.
Page Title optimization
The meta title or page title appears at the top of the browser and in search engine results.
Page titles must be descriptive of the content of the page both for search engines and users. It is essential to include the keyword and place it as further to the left as possible.
They are usually implemented as H1, H2 … H6 tags. The H1 tag is usually the main title. The rest of the subtitles must follow a logical structure depending on the paragraph’s level of importance.
The key to optimization is creating a useful, informative, specific, and relevant heading structure, including the keywords in each of the headings.
It summarizes the page content and appears as part of a snippet of the search result below the page title.
The meta description is not a positioning factor in itself. Still, it can be relevant when deciding whether to click on the site or not and affect your C.T.R.
Some keys to optimizing the Meta description are:
- Go for 150-160 characters, but preferably no more than 156.
- Include the keyword once (at the beginning) and some variation later.
- Provide valuable and compelling information, maybe a short summary or explanation of the page content.
All pages must have original and quality images; it is essential and valued by the algorithm in the search ranking.
Multimedia files must always be less than 100kb and include a title and description with the keyword. When optimizing, we recommend using the major keywords for the first image, and for the following ones you can use synonyms and variations.
Linking is one of the critical factors for SEO as they pass strength and authority from one page to another. Both internal and external links must provide value to the user.
The faster the site, the happier the user. By having a webpage that takes more than 3 seconds to load, you risk losing a potential customer and your search engine rankings. Yes, a millisecond can impact your rankings. Google has confirmed that websites that have a faster loading website is a better ranking one. So, we can’t ignore it. If you are having issues with speed, use Google Analytics to find out the problems.
The fact that we are all glued to our phones makes a mobile-friendly website a must. Make sure to choose a mobile responsive theme if you are designing the website yourself.
Content is undoubtedly a determining factor, and it is what attracts users to the website, makes them interact, and gives relevance to the site, achieving better positioning.
The content must be of quality, relevant, attractive, and unique. That is why there are content agencies specialized in the creation and optimization of it.
Off-page SEO refers to the methods you can use to improve a website’s position through external actions. Off-page SEO optimization comes down to one crucial factor, which is getting high-quality backlinks to your site.
What is a backlink? It is a link that a website gets from another website and can significantly impact the ranking on search engines.
How to get backlinks?
- Guest blogging
- Activity in social networks
- Influencer Marketing
- Creating high-quality content that is continuously being shared
Here is a compilation of the best SEO tools to find the best keywords for your website to rank high in search engines:
Google Search Console is a free service used to analyze how to achieve better search results and monitor many factors essential to optimizing a website.
You can use it for data collection (on the page title, meta description, site links, search option, URL …), for reports on errors discovered during website crawls, and to provide information for better positioning, etc …
One of the most popular digital marketing analytics tools used to prepare audit reports, backlink analysis, keyword research, and website ranking. What does Ahrefs offer?
- Qualitative data for the organic search report.
- Extensive backlink analysis reports.
- Keyword research, competitor keyword analysis.
- Content Explorer.
- URLs Classification
Semrush is a web platform that allows you to analyze massive amounts of SEO data related to your site and your competitors.
- More effective keyword research.
- More effective keyword identification.
- Competitor analysis.
- Track rankings
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a go-to tool for keyword research. You can obtain accurate information on possible keywords and the potential traffic they can generate.
In another way, you monitor the performance of your website, in addition to planning keywords. It is an ideal tool to start with, offering a good collection of metrics and filters.
Ubersuggest is a simple yet useful tool that can help you rank higher on Google.
You just enter a keyword, and it offers excellent information and data: keyword sample, search volume, keyword ideas, URLs classified by keyword, content ideas. It is a resource to use without any doubt.
Now you made it easier for your target audience to find you, the next step is to make sure they stay on your website and engage with your content. To do that, you will need awareness-generating content, like videos, for example!
b. High quality content
They’re engaging, memorable, and popular. A storytelling video is no longer a nice addition, but a necessity, and the forms you can experiment in are videos are endless:
- Customer testimonials
- Live streams
- Product videos
- Live videos
By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic, which is 15 times higher than it was in 2017. (Cisco) and 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video. (HubSpot)
Experiment with video lengths and platforms: Youtube, LinkedIn, blog posts, Facebook, or even Twitter. Make sure to add a relevant call-to-action to support your lead generation.
A fool-proof content to generate leads, build niche authority, share expertise, and solve customer’s problems; This is why your blogs have to be over the top. In the end, you are competing with tons of other SaaS businesses out there.
Consistency is key; posting 3 times/week is ideal for keeping your audience engaged. Don’t forget to add relevant call-to-action at the end of your blogs.
Writing blog posts for a third-party website/brand is another excellent way to develop awareness for your Saas, grow organic traffic, and build authority. Keep the following checklist in mind when choosing where to guest blog:
- Your target audience is the same as the company.
- They must have higher domain authority.
- You write similar topics to the ones published on the company’s website.
- Do not compromise quality, even if you are writing to someone else.
c. Traffic generation
In addition to SEO, you can generate traffic through paid and organic ways. For example:
Social Media marketing
You’ll have the chance to connect and interact with your target audience on a personal level. Sponsoring ads and promoting content is a great lead generation tactic.
A study done by Content Marketing Institute, showed that more than 90% of B2B marketers preferred distributing content over several platforms. This study confirms the power of social media for lead generation.
The choice of social media platforms depends on your target audience. Many experts believe that LinkedIn is the best channel for SaaS startups since it is for professionals and users who are actively searching for companies to do business with.
Although your social media activities should focus on sharing your knowledge and answering questions; but, you have to think of a unique and original way to make your content marketing strategy open to the public. Can you turn that manual into a 30-second animated video?
Second, you must build a community through meaningful relationships. The interest in interacting with a company does not come naturally to most people. We view online brands as hollow, anonymous corporations that we don’t really want to interact with unless we need customer service. Therefore, organizations must invite people to interact with them and make this become a “second natural instinct.” And, this is where social selling joins the game.
Are you able to create engaging content that your employees and related parties want to share? Are you coordinated with your staff, especially your sales team, to ensure that they have the necessary content to nurture their relationships?
Influencer Marketing is another way of thinking about “word of mouth” advertising using social media to amplify those recommendations.
Having authoritative voices promote your Saas products can help your brand reach and engage with a broader audience, so you can have a better chance to generate leads and speed up the conversion process.
Do not limit yourself to influencers who belong to your software niche. Instead, reach out to those closest to your buyers on a personal level and command the much-needed authority. Check out our step by step guide to help you promote your SaaS through influencer marketing.
Paid advertising is usually the cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy because of its fast results. With paid advertising, start by asking yourself what you want to achieve through two fundamental tools: search and discovery. By search, we mean all search engines of any kind. Discovery refers to the means through which you present your brand, content and offers to users without them starting the interaction.
Paid ads, or pay-per-click advertising, is one of the best methods for lead generation for many reasons:
- It doesn’t depend on engagement, so you have faster access to your audience.
- Better audience targeting (behavior, interests, etc..)
However, since you’ll be paying for it, you need to make the best use of it. Your landing pages must have a clear C.T.A. and a hard-to-resist offer to hook your potential customers. A full-funnel approach, where you run various ads based on the buyer’s stage in the customer’s journey, is the best strategy you can apply. Here are 5 proven strategies for Facebook ads to help you grow instantly in 2020.
Even though it might be expensive, especially for Saas startups, the investment is worthwhile. You will have the opportunity to display your ads to the entire user base of Google’s network. Careful and strategic planning makes it possible to create paid ads that are worth your money.
Advantages of using Google Ads:
Since the ads are tailored to each user’s interests and main characteristics, you will be able to create an ad focused on what your company needs.
It is ideal to achieve the first positions in the search engine naturally and organically, but this can take a long time and requires a lot of effort. With Google Ads, you will combine your strategy with some positioning guidelines to achieve more reach.
You will pay per click on the ad, without any extra charges for views. Not having a minimum level of investment allows you to adjust your campaign to your budget. In this way, it only generates a general budget for your entire campaign.
The essential elements of a campaign
Are you convinced by the power of Google Ads to generate leads?
Let’s get to the heart of it!
Dancing without music does not make much sense, like making a pattern in Google Ads without having a clear strategy and objectives to achieve.
Again, the selection of keywords is essential for a successful Google Ads campaign. You must balance your choice according to:
- Search volume
The selected queries must have a significant search volume to reach a maximum of people.
However, if the keyword is too competitive, you are going to have to spend more budget.
We advise you to choose a less sought after keyword if it is also less competitive. As long as the keywords are consistent with your products/services and your target, the choice is good.
We also recommend using Google Keyword Planner to help you analyze your queries.
For the second step, ask yourself the following questions:
- What profiles does our company want to target?
- What message do you want to convey?
Even if you are speaking to businesses, a human will read your ad. It is he who must be convinced. If you haven’t yet researched your buyer’s persona, now is the time!
Who is responsible for your service or product? C.E.O., product manager, marketing manager…?
Defining your target helps you build the perfect message.
A captivating landing page
Where will the prospects end up?
When running a Google Ads campaign, you get people to click on your link. Remember: when they click, you pay. For a positive R.O.I., the landing page must convert these visitors.
Think about what you expect from these internet users: do they have to leave their contact details to download content? Subscribe to a trial offer? Buy your product?
From your goal, build a landing page that will lead them through your sales funnel.
The right choice of Google Ads campaign
To facilitate the creation of campaigns, Google Ads offers you three objectives:
B2B lead generation mainly goes through the second objective unless you want them to contact your salespeople directly.
Secondly, Google asks for information about your business.
After indicating your company name and website, you will have to set your target to display your ads to qualified users.
When defining your products and services, use your keyword research.
Our advice is to add a couple of keywords to maintain precise targeting while diversifying your presence.
Now let’s move on to creating your promotion. Google Ads allows you to test 3 titles and two descriptions per ad.
Feel free to add more ads!
The more combinations you test, the more your chances of finding THE title that hits the mark every time.
Use what you already know about your target audience and your offer’s strengths to create impactful sentences.
Warning: Don’t forget to indicate the page on which your ads redirect. By default, Google Ads uses the home address of your website.
Now, budget-wise, Google Ads offers personalized recommendations. However, you are free to set a daily amount. The tool shows you the budget range used by your competitors.
- To position yourself at their level, select a budget that is in the blue zone.
- If you want to dominate your market, choose a higher amount.
All you have to do is check your campaign, then validate it.
Let Google Ads campaigns run for a few days, then analyze your ads’ R.O.I.
You will know which ones have the highest performance.
Following this verification, you can optimize the others or delete them to leave all the room for your best promotional links.
Remember that it is not just about paying more per click; this is not enough for your ad to appear in a good position. You need to always work with the quality of the ad in mind.
d. Referral Marketing
No one can doubt the power of reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers to generate more leads effectively. Ask for referrals from customers who got success from using your product, promote their testimonials, and you can offer discounts or other incentives in return.
Custom URLs will help you track leads through referrals, and you can offer a commission to those who reference new buyers.
3. Lead Generation
We like to call this the meat of the entire strategy. By now, strangers have already started a relationship by demonstrating an organic interest in your company. The transition from stranger to consumer happens when you persuade them to click the C.T.A. button and fill out the opt-in form. The result: A lead is generated!
But, to do so, you will need a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is an irresistible offer you’ll send for FREE to the website visitor in return for their email address. They will have access to this freebie upon filling the opt-in form with their contact details. The offers you can provide are endless. They can be ebooks, reports, whitepapers, or maybe free premium access to the software. The most important thing is that the lead must be related to your content and Saas product, and it has to be valuable.
3 Fool-proof Lead Magnets
- Gated content
- Free trial
a. Gated content
It is a very popular type of lead magnet, where you can charge money from visitors who would like to access it. However, you are offering the content for free in exchange for an email address. Customers will think that getting great content by providing an email address instead of paying is definitely a win! This way, you can increase your customer’s trust and your brand authority.
Benefits of gated content
- Increase the generation of leads
- Increase sales
- Provide analytics and information about your customers
- Allows segmentation of the mailing list
Some great examples of gated content are:
- White papers
- Research papers
- Case Studies
- Video series
- Spreadsheets or other templates
Make sure that your new leads can immediately access the content. You can do this by sending them an email with a direct link to the material. Alternatively, you can instantly provide the link as soon as they click on the C.T.A. button.
Another critical consideration for gated content is providing detailed info about what exactly your visitors will be getting. Instead of saying that you are offering “content marketing tactics”, a “step-by-step guide with all strategies and tactics for successful content marketing” leads to a more effective conversion.
Best practices for gated content
- Create content for every step of the buyer’s journey.
- Perform a competitive analysis.
- Offer an incentive.
- Create a strong landing page.
- Segment your audience.
- Measure the analysis.
b. Free Trials
A powerful strategy specifically for Saas models. The reason is that visitors can try out the service themselves before deciding to purchase it. As a result, those who choose to buy are confident about your product and are most likely to be loyal customers for a long time.
Another benefit to free trials is helping those in the uncertainty stage. If some visitors are still contemplating whether to buy your product or not, this can help them out.
Three ways to offer free trials:
- Full Free trial: Access to all program features, either for a limited time or a limited number of users.
- Freemium: Access to some features, while others will require a paid upgrade.
- Demo/quote: Requesting a demo to customize the product to their needs. It is common for expensive Saas products. It also helps in lead nurturing (more details in the next stage).
Webinars are a win-win for both Saas marketers and customers. Attendees will have a tutorial on how to solve their problem without paying a dime, while marketers can convert a percentage of these attendees into qualified leads. The topic of your webinar should be something relevant to your target audience, and at the same time, it has to be an evergreen one that will continue to drive traffic passively in the long run.
The key to successful webinar conversion is maintaining the audience’s attention.
4 tips to retain webinar attention
- Provide an offer at the end. Attendees will have to stay longer.
- Mention the offer only at the end. Visitors will come back only at the end.
- Send multiple reminders. People tend to forget about the webinar even if they registered, so multiple reminders raise the attendance rate.
- Limited spaces: When people know that limited spaces are available and the webinar will not be recorded, they will most likely show up earlier and stick till the end.
Webinars, free trials, and gated content are tools to persuade visitors to provide you with their contact details. However, this is just one-half of the lead generation stage. The other half is all about HOW you will present the proposal.
The answer: Through landing pages.
The landing page is where the visitors will be receiving your lead magnet and providing their contact details. In other words, it is what makes or breaks the lead. The page can be accessed from a social media post, a link in a guest post or an email, a paid ad, or maybe the sidebar of your website.
A carefully structured landing page ensures Saas marketers to capture leads:
- Clear formats for easy reading
- Share the reasons behind the offer
- Display testimonials
- A clear C.T.A.
- An easy-to-fill form
Although they can be a convincing alternative to landing pages, many users get irritated by them. It is best to use upon specific user behaviors:
- Extended time spent on a website or webpage
- Wants to exit the webpage
- Clicking a specific link/button
Landing pages and pop-ups are the final push, and the determining factor in your Saas lead generation process. So if you had to take two strategies out of the whole section, let them be the two.
4. Lead Nurturing
We could have stopped and said the job is done. But site visitors who provided their email addresses have only expressed their interest in your product, but not any intention to buy it. At this stage, lead nurturing comes to play.
It is defined as the act of creating and maintaining relationships with potential customers at every stage of the funnel. However, nurturing after capturing leads is much more useful than at earlier stages of the funnel. You can personalize content directly to your lead’s inboxes.
A study conducted by Marketo, a provider of automated marketing services, showed how a successfully implemented lead nurturing strategy provides 50% more sales at 33% less cost.
3 Ways to nurture leads:
Email Drip campaigns
These are campaigns made up of a series of emails you send at a scheduled fixed interval (e.g. Day 1, 4, 6, and 20) after the visitors have opted-in for your lead magnet. When using email drips, make sure NOT to sell them immediately. Churn rates are crazy in Saas business, so if you give them an option to leave you, they will.
Instead, get to know them, build and maintain a human relationship with them. You can offer educational and practical tips, and it is an excellent opportunity for you to build authority and become a trusted expert on your topic of expertise. Later, down the line, they may convert.
2 Tips to foster two-way communication through drip emails:
- Easy-to-reply emails (i.e., do not send from a no-reply address).
- Customized campaigns (one for the gated content leads and another for those who signed up for the webinar).
Just like sales assistants in physical stores, live chats are to a saas company. You can have real-time conversations with customers, better understand, and provide direct support to their questions, as well as direct them to lead magnets and eventually earn new leads.
With a customer satisfaction of 92%, live chats are definitely one of the best lead generation strategies out there.
An alternative to Live Chats, especially if you get multiple visitors at once, is a chatbot.
You can prepare customized answers for the frequently asked questions and direct the visitors to web pages where their inquiries are best answered. Some chatbots you may want to try out for your Saas website are: Intercom, Acquire, and Hubspot.
Yes, today’s Saas market is hypercompetitive, and it is challenging to be seen by potential customers, let alone capture a lead. But, we have given you the essential foundations to carry out and optimize a Saas lead generation strategy capable of success.
This guide is a concentrate of information that covers the main lines of SaaS lead generation. It would take tons of pages to delve into each technique, but the truth is, companies don’t need all the technical information to start generating quality leads.
The best thing you can do to increase your lead count is to follow the main tips in this guide: keep delivering compelling offers, perfect your C.T.A.s, landing pages, and forms, and use your most popular channels to promote your content efficiently. Simultaneously, strengthen collaborations between your sales and marketing teams to avoid any internal communication problem.