You want quick and measurable ideas to get you funding, media attention and paying customers?
If you’re a software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup, it’s not much of a stretch. You are creating your own revolution in the enterprise software industry, but there are challenges ahead as the great white sharks in the industry fight back.
So how will you continue to grow in the industry, and make your presence count in consumer-driven markets, like restaurant management, clothing and fashion?
With marketing, of course.
Gartner reported that the SaaS market will be valued at $22 billion in 2015, an increase of $8 billion from 2012. Marketing is certainly playing a major role in this growth. In fact, it is the secret sauce of successful SaaS companies.
While SaaS startups conventionally skimp marketing dollars for later stages, social media is inverting that trend, creating a model that’s not only measurable since day 1, but highly lucrative.
In this post, I’ll share some Facebook marketing tips SaaS startups can implement as they pursue their aggressive growth projections – at both early and later stages of their business operations.
How to grow SaaS through Facebook marketing
One of the great aspects of Facebook marketing is its inherent versatility: any business can mold the strategies and test their campaigns until they discover the strategy that works for them, and SaaS companies are no exception.
While there are several ways to go about with Facebook marketing, here are some effective tips you could utilize to get started:
1. Connect with customers & prospects via Facebook video
When it comes to driving attention towards your service, no matter how little details associated with it, videos lead the way.
Reports indicate that posts including videos on Facebook get more engagement than all other types of posts. Also, there have been some recent developments that make this strategy all more interesting.
- You can upload videos directly to Facebook, skipping the part where you had to upload it to YouTube and then share a link on Facebook
- You can pin the videos in the queue of your posts, add tags, and insert a call-to-action at the end of the video
- Videos auto-play as users scroll through your Facebook page
While every Facebook marketer can leverage these features, Facebook marketers need to focus on the type of videos they create. Ideally, they should use the video to tell the audience:
- How the SaaS product works
- How it will benefit them
- How to purchase it
You can even go a step further by creating a ‘Videos’ tab for your Facebook page. So every time someone visits your page, they can see the compilation of every video you posted via this tab.
Shopify is a great example of a SaaS company killing it with video marketing. They have an active and growing fan base, who they engage by posting videos that educate consumers about their offerings. Here’s a recent video post they shared on Facebook:
And they have a separate videos tab which includes all their videos:
P.S. Video storytelling can generate more interest in SaaS products that carter to boring industries than any other form of marketing.
2. Offer a free trial
For SaaS startups, the best way to introduce prospects to their product or service is to offer a free trial, even before users have invested in a purchase. Free trials is often the key to high conversions; it allows SaaS companies to find out the consumers’ first impression of their product, so they can use the insights to effectively engage prospects and nurture them until they’re ready to make a purchase.
But offering a free trial is just one part of the equation, you need to tell people that they have a chance to try your product without any upfront cost. Promoting the free trial on Facebook is a great way to get this done cost-effectively.
On Facebook, you can use an app to list the free trial. For example, AgoraPulse allows you to create custom content with its content applications; these can be used to create a free trial page so that prospects can utilize the offer directly.
Look at what BitDefender has done:
They’re offering a 90-day free trial and have listed it on a separate page created with an application.
3. Generate leads through remarketing
Remarketing is essential to generate leads for SaaS companies. The way it can work via Facebook is simple. You segment the visitors who have visited your landing page to create custom Facebook ads, and then make sure ads are targeted towards those visitors. Facebook remarketing can lower customer acquisition costs.
Perhaps the biggest advantage is that your ad is displayed to audience who would be interested in your SaaS product. To do this well, make sure your target set is based on custom audiences; these would include people who have visited your website.
This custom audience list needs to be created by entering email addresses of target audience. How do you capture the email address of people who’ve visited your landing page? An easy way to do it is to create a landing page with an email marketing software.
GetResponse offers a landing page creator that can be customized with a drag ‘n’ drop editor and published in just a few steps. It features built in web forms that will help you capture leads and user data, which can be used to create a custom audience set. This will also include mobile visitors because of the responsive nature of the landing page.
You can also expand target audience list to include existing customers. This should help create conversations and increase engagement when they see your company on Facebook.
4. Leverage social proof
Considering that SaaS consumers take time to review case studies, success stories or reviews before displaying an intent to purchase, you must have social proof readily available through social media. According to Saurage Research, 84 percent of US consumers rely on reviews before making a purchase, and SaaS customers are even more research-oriented.
So any testimonials, case studies, or social media mentions should be promoted via Facebook. This can be done via Facebook ads. AdEspresso allows you to create and optimize Facebook ads for highest conversions. You can even A/B test Facebook ads if you want to display different proofs to different consumer segments.
Here’s a Facebook update from Moz’s page:
Social proof is a great way to turn eyeballs towards your product and can boost your ads conversion rate.
5. Offer customer support via Facebook
While you may not always talk with your customers, giving them assurance that you are available for the questions at any time of the day or night should go a long way in developing their trust with your company. If you don’t have the budget to offer 24/7 customer support, you can hire a third-party firm to handle customer queries.
Facebook will cut down the time it takes for customers to reach you, as well as the time it takes for them to spread a positive word about your startup when they are satisfied with the customer service. That’s why you should have someone dedicated to handling customer service requests on Facebook.
In this example, Shopify is doing a great job at handling customer requests. You can also learn customer service optimization tips to get better results on Facebook.
Instead of heavily investing in overly technical marketing messages to convert prospects, leverage Facebook to create messages and updates that your audience actually enjoys. By using these tips you would be able to spark more engagement and drive sales for your products.
Have you used Facebook for SaaS marketing? Feel free to leave comments.