Categories
SaaS Growth

8 Smart Tactics For Your SaaS Customer Acquisition Strategy

Just look at customer acquisition vs retention statistics. What do you see?

 

  1. 1.  When you acquire a new customer, it costs you 5x more than if you retained your existing customer.
  2. 2. If you increase retention rate by 5%, you can increase your company’s profitability by up to 95%.  
  3. 3. Existing customers are 4-5x more likely to repurchase, refer your product and forgive your mistakes (source).

customer acquisition

 

And the list goes on. But now you are asking a logical question. What if I am starting out a business and don’t even have leads, not to mention SaaS customer acquisition strategy? What if my customer base consists of only a few paying users and even if I retain all of them, I can’t grow? 

 

Acknowledging the power of customer acquisition for SaaS companies in any stage, we have combined 9 practical and working strategies so that you can help more users and grow more rapidly. 

 

Before that, let’s understand what “assets” should you have before reaching to customer acquisition stage and what are some common mistakes you should avoid. 

 

What should you have before chasing down your prospects? (5 things)

 

We will answer this question with 4 words – online presence and reputation! No, we don’t say that product, team or business model don’t matter. We can talk about them later, now we focus on marketing. And let’s quickly expand on the answer and see what exactly you should create.

 

User-friendly, informative, and attractive website – You will say – that’s too much for a website, we will say that’s the minimum. Your team should design your website in a way that users instantly understand which buttons are clickable, in which sections to find the necessary information and don’t wait for more 2-3 seconds until the page loads. 

 

Offers and high-performance landing pages – When your leads enter your sales funnel, the most exciting part begins. But you should offer something valuable so that visitors become a lead and then a customer: demo version of your software, free trial, downloadable resources. And landing pages are a must for collecting user data. Promise useful things so you get quality contacts and don’t waste time on junk leads. 

 

Feedback from your previous or existing customers – If you have partnered with giants like Amazon, Walmart or other prestigious companies, just insert their brand logos on your Case studies page. If your users are small and medium-sized enterprises, you can create a case studies deck elaborating who was your customer, what difficulties he was facing, how your software helped overcome difficulties. You can spice up your customer success stories with client testimonials. Social proof is super influential when you want to affect a buying decision.

 

Diversity and quality of content – Promotional content is a must-have too but should draw up the smallest part of your whole content. Include videos, infographics, checklists alongside blog articles, guides, and eBooks. Even invitation to quizzes, upcoming webinars, product demos serve awesome sources of leads and make them stay longer on your site. 


Optimized pricing page
– You might say that not all SaaS companies have their pricing plans available on their website. But just one page can save a visitor’s time and tell him how much you charge monthly, how much discount you offer in case of annual subscription or what’s your option for small (or growing) businesses. And don’t forget that buyer persona-focused and well-designed packages can deeply affect your prospects and encourage them to make a buying decision faster. 

  

How to avoid mistakes while implementing your SaaS customer acquisition strategy?

  saas customer

 

Are all mistakes equal? Of course not. But the ones listed below can be equally dangerous for your SaaS and impede its stable growth. To hold you back from possible misperceptions and undesirable outcomes, we want to share 6 cases that are common in business. 

 

#1 Being stingy and escape investing financial resources – Economical is not the same as stingy. You should be careful in spending money, provident in controlling your budget, and understand in which marketing channels you invest. That’s maybe your company’s strategy because you get funding from investors or because that’s what you consider a reasonable approach. But if you think that SQLs and opportunities will appear in your database without any spending, sorry, that’s not gonna work.

 

Tip: See which marketing sources drive the highest number of leads & the most profitable customers and go on investing there.

 

#2 Speaking about the company and product not customer’s challenges – You and your team may be proud of your SaaS company’s achievements, experience level, and quality of services. Your customers and prospects usually aren’t. They will be proud of themselves when they notice tangible improvements after choosing your software. Stories about your company and team are worth sharing and they help you build a strong brand. But when a prospect is contacting you or signs up for a free trial, that’s the moment you should stop caring about your story and start caring about your customer’s success. 

 

Tip: Ask questions to your prospects about their pain points and aspirations. Let them tell why they reached out to you and what they expect from you. Learn as many things as you can.

 

#3 Focusing on product features not solutions – You can’t imagine how simple it is! Your users may not be familiar with a technical vocabulary and have difficulty in figuring out what is data export or integration (seems trivial but that’s real). Besides that, people love hearing how a particular feature works, not how it’s called. So instead of mentioning “Google Data Studio Integration”, you can mention that your users can bring your software and Google Data Studio together into one system and generate better reports (for example). 

 

Tip: Change the words, keep the meaning. Solutions and results are what your users want to see.

 

#4 Thinking that everyone will convert – That’s confusion. Some users will not love your software (make sure to know why), some will prefer competitors for a cheaper price, others will stay with you for months and years. When you see new subscribers, new leads, new free trial signups, discover how they found you, analyze your data, do your best to convert them. But don’t get frustrated when you lose a sale – that’s not always your fault and that’s sometimes for the better.   

 

Tip: Learn from everyone, serve the ones who appreciate your software.

 

#5 Starting without preparation – Remember we started our guide telling that you need a website. An awesome one. That’s what we are talking about now. Do you have landing pages to welcome your visitors after they click your ad? Have you provided enough information on your website? Do you have a customer success team to answer user queries? If you just run an ad but are not ready for the further developments, you will end up spending a huge budget and don’t get what you desired. 

 

Tip: Read the first section of this article

 

#6 Treating all prospects equally – Who are your prospects? Free trial signups, ones who contact you, ones who provide their personal contacts and  agree to connect with you. Do they have the same background, are they in the same stage of the sales funnel? No. Nurturing a lead from less to more quality one takes time and you should not send the same email sequence both to your free trial user and an eBook downloader.

 

Tip: Respect the uniqueness, use a different language for prospects in different stages.

 

How to get SaaS customers: Our 8 tactics

 

Finally we reached this section. Hope your way wasn’t tedious.

 

Don’t be surprised but we are not going to recommend you running social media or PPC ads. Not because they are not inbound tactics or are worthless. The reason is that there is so much info separately about paids ads and now we want to concentrate on some content-driven approaches. 

 

#1 Get published on tech blogs – You can tell your startup and SaaS story on Mashable, Hackernoon, Indie Hackers, TechCrunch, The Verge and other websites with high traffic and large number of social media followers. What’s the best part about it?

 

  1. You don’t talk about a side topic, hoping that readers will scroll down until the end of your article, see your company name and visit your website. You will be talking about your product from a broad perspective. You will answer questions like how you started your SaaS business, what motivated you to develop a new product, what was missing from the market and how your software helps people.
  2.  
  3. Only developers follow these blogs? Please, no. If your software truly stands out with its functionality and value, you will receive a bunch of opportunities to promote your product via influencers and among real users. The aim of these publishing platforms is to introduce the latest achievements in the tech industry at first hand. If you have created something incredibly awesome, it will get noticed and your company won’t feel a shortage of customers.

     

  4.  

#2 Leverage review websitesProducthunt, G2 Crowd, and Capterra are among the most reputable sites where you can list your software, gather customer reviews, and get found when someone is looking for a product similar to yours. 

 

How does it work? People go to Google and search for anything under the Sun, including software. These sites are miniGoogles envisaged for finding online tools. Be sure not only to create a profile and disappear but ask your previous and existing customers to leave feedback about you. Your future customers will notice your well-designed profile immediately, become interested in your company and get ready to using your services.

capterra

 

#3 Join Facebook groupsStartup product launches, SaaS growth hacks, SaaS revolutionaries. Top 3 Facebook groups where you can 

  1. 1. Answer users’ questions when they ask for a specific tool (that tool may be yours and you can promote it!)
  2. 2. Share information about your software and introduce it (even share your Product Hunt launch page and get upvotes)
  3. 3. Place links from your website in the comments section to answer a user’s question
  4. 4. Get advice from other SaaS owners, marketers and build new relations.
  5.  

As you can see, you can use these communities not only for reaching potential customers but also increasing brand awareness, getting traffic, sharing your knowledge and positioning yourself as a thought leader.

 

P.S. 1 Don’t forget to read the rules before joining the groups. 

P.S. 2 Overall, 20 000+ FB users are members of these 3 groups. Not a small number.

 

#4 Launch an affiliate program – We want to describe this approach with a real-life example. Robbie Richards runs a blog on online marketing strategies. He wrote an article called How to Find High-Value Competitor Keywords (Actionable 5-Step Guide) and recommends the readers to try SEMrush. He clearly mentions:

“Disclaimer: This article does contain affiliate links. If you purchase a tool through one of my links I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.” 

affilliateate marketing example

 

You can reach out to a suitable candidate and ask him for partnership. The benefits?

 

  1. 1. You will not pay any fees until someone subscribers to your software
  2. 2. Your partner will promote his article via social networks and email 
  3. 3. You will increase your brand awareness and the chances of your product to reach the right audience.
  4.  

#5 Encourage users to refer – Word-of-mouth is a powerful strategy for at least 3 reasons:

  1. 1. Creates higher brand awareness
  2. 2. ncreases your customer lifetime value
  3. 3. Reduces SaaS customer acquisition cost
  4.  

And you should incentivize your existing users to refer your product to their friends and colleagues. 

 

How to do that – with a referral program.

How to reward your users – offer them (and their friends too) a 10% discount or reward with points. For example, FreeAgent, accounting software, is ready to provide a 10% discount to those who refer this tool. 

 

#6 Reach out to an influencer – If you offer translation software, you should find a blogger or vlogger who writes (speaks) about the translation industry. Whether he is just a blogger or translator, he may become an invaluable source for high-quality leads and, consequently, customers. 

 

Maybe you will pay your influencer for writing an article about your software or recording a video about it, maybe you are going to pay him per post or per lead who signs up for your free trial. No strict rules, you both are going to define them! 

 

For example, Mari Smith is a social media expert and thought leader. In the screenshot below, you will see that she is partnering with Wave.video, an online video maker tool. That’s a quite relevant choice as her followers want to learn new tips and tools to perform better on social media. And an online video maker tool can definitely help them create highly engaging posts.

mari smith facebook live

 

#7 Find and answer Quora questions – Let us share a secret with you. Quora works best maybe for online tools and software (if you use it for promotional purposes, not for fun or leisure). What’s your product? CRM tool? Email marketing tool? Product management tool? Live chat tool? 

 

People are asking about all this on Quora and you can usually come up with multiple questions requiring the same answer. See how many questions are out there only about customer success tools.

 

quora customer success tool


#8 Invest in blogging, optimize for speech recognitio
n – Voice searches are gaining popularity. Website owners are inserting speech recognition tools on their blog so a machine reads the text out loud for visitors (maybe they are lazy or want to “read” your guide while doing something else). Despite these strong changes in user behavior, writing new blog posts and updating old ones remains a priority. 

 

Target long-tail keywords (especially questions keywords), publish regularly and make your visitors’ life simple with modern technologies (you are SaaS, you know the power of it).

 

Wrapping up

 

You already know what strategies you can implement to reach your SaaS customers, what are some common mistakes made by business owners and what are some essential online elements you should build to attract a considerable amount of new paying users.

 

Which strategies have been the most successful for your SaaS? What would you recommend other SaaS owners? Let us know in the comments section below…

 

Categories
SaaS Growth

5 Powerful SaaS Growth Tips to Help You Scale Your Business

Just a few words before we start…

In the fаѕt-расеd world оf tесhnоlоgу, growing уоur buѕіnеѕѕ саn bе a significant challenge. The good news іѕ thаt “Sоftwаrе-аѕ-a-Sеrvісе” іѕ growing rаріdlу іn popularity, creating perfect соndіtіоnѕ for еxраnѕіоn among both emerging аnd established соmраnіеѕ.

Not all businesses rent an office for their activities. But all brands (who have plans to grow) are on the internet now and an online presence is a must. SaaS products like live chat, email automation, keywords research tools have become indispensable parts of any advanced business’s digital marketing toolkit.

The bad nеwѕ іѕ thаt thеrе аrе mоrе SaaS companies fighting fоr уоur share in the mаrkеt. This situation makes you to take better care of your growth strategy and always look for SaaS growth hacks that actually work.

If уоu’vе gоt thе rіght product, success in the SааS еnvіrоnmеnt relies on dеfіnіng уоur development ѕtrаtеgу and uѕіng уоur rеѕоurсеѕ еffесtіvеlу tо generate and convert lеаdѕ. 

To help you build a rоаdmар for еxраnѕіоn, this article will ѕhаrе some роwеrful tесhnіquеѕ for growing уоur SaaS business.

Let’s get started.

saas growth tips


Tip #1: Create A Dіffеrеntiatіоn

Whісhеvеr mеtrіс уоu ѕеlесt, SaaS growth mеаnѕ асquіrіng nеw сuѕtоmеrѕ and this rests on ѕtаndіng out іn a crowded mаrkеtрlасе. Aѕ оbvіоuѕ as іt mау sound, the wоrld оf SааS іѕ uѕuаllу рорulаtеd with many ѕіmіlаr products – and their features аrе еаѕу to сору.

Tо maximize market ѕhаrе, your buѕіnеѕѕ nееdѕ tо hаvе its оwn unique dіffеrеntіаtоr.

There are several USPs thаt уоu саn аѕріrе to, however, ѕоmе have thеіr drawbacks:

  • Bе the bіggеѕt – Fаіrlу ѕеlf-еxрlаnаtоrу, but thеrе саn оnlу bе оnе biggest SaaS соmраnу іn the market (grеаt nеwѕ іf thаt’ѕ you!) and there tеndѕ to be a lot of fіnаnсіаl іnvеѕtmеnt іnvоlvеd in bесоmіng that соmраnу. For example, according to the statistics by Datanyze, Jira is the number 1 project management technology and owns more than 30% of the market share.
  • Bе thе сhеареѕt – Again, nоt nесеѕѕаrіlу thе bеѕt mеtrіс tо ѕеlесt, аѕ this аррrоасh tеndѕ to devalue уоur product аnd сrеаtеѕ price wаrѕ thаt drive down your рrоfіt mаrgіn. Also, аѕ wіth thе biggest, thеrе саn оnlу bе оnе сhеареѕt рrоvіdеr in the market.
  • Have thе bеѕt сuѕtоmеr service – This іѕ a vеrу роwеrful metric but grеаt сuѕtоmеr ѕеrvісе muѕt be an ongoing еxреrіеnсе to reap the full long-term bеnеfіtѕ. There аrе marketing mаtеrіаlѕ уоu саn uѕе tо support this jоurnеу ѕuсh as customer саѕе ѕtudіеѕ, tеѕtіmоnіаlѕ аnd real uѕеr rеvіеwѕ, which аll dеmоnѕtrаtе уоur сrеdеntіаlѕ.
  • Bе thе mоѕt innovative – Аnоthеr powerful mеtrіс, but a dеmаndіng оnе also. Staying at the forefront mеаnѕ аlwауѕ pushing the bоundаrіеѕ, bеіng thе first to rеlеаѕе new fеаturеѕ аnd driving up service ѕtаndаrdѕ – which саn be time аnd resource іntеnѕіvе.
  • Have the strongest SaaS marketing strategy – Even if you’ve identified аnоthеr kеу differentiator, іnvеѕtmеnt in marketing is kеу to rаіѕіng your рrоfіlе аnd іnсrеаѕіng lеаd gеnеrаtіоn.  There are a number of wауѕ you саn асhіеvе marketing success ѕuсh as сrеаtіng and dіѕtrіbutіng content that еѕtаblіѕhеѕ уоurѕеlf аѕ a thought leader, орtіmіzіng уоur website tо ѕесurе thе bеѕt соnvеrѕіоn rate, оr ѕреndіng thе mоѕt оn Pау Pеr Click (PPC) аdvеrtіѕіng.

    However, the strong strategy requires strong components and in this case, you can’t ignore video and audio marketing trends. You already estimate how many new team members you should hire and how much new equipment you should acquire to produce high-quality pieces of video & audio content (not to mention about time, consistency, and having fresh ideas).

     

Tip #2: Emphasize the Top Value of Your Software

It іѕ likely thаt a lot оf your mаrkеtіng еffоrt will bе focused оn lеаd generation. However, once you’ve got that lеаd – bе іt a free trial user, оr someone booking a dеmо – hоw dо уоu соnvеrt thеm іntо a раying сuѕtоmеr?

The success of thіѕ рrосеѕѕ relies firstly on уоu dеtеrmіnіng whаt success lооkѕ like for both уоur buѕіnеѕѕ, аnd thе рrоѕресt in the onboarding рrосеѕѕ. 

Tо уоur business іt’ѕ likely to be that they become a раying сuѕtоmеr. Fоr thе сuѕtоmеr оn thе frее trial or in a dеmо іt’ѕ worth аѕkіng: if the trіаlіѕt would be ready to pay for only one feature, what that feature would be? Fоr еxаmрlе, if you have ассounting ѕоftwаrе іt mау be when trialists start sending out іnvоісеѕ thаt уоu knоw thеу wіll sign up to be a раіd customer.

Onсе dеfіnеd, уоur nurturing рrосеѕѕ ѕhоuld enable рrоѕресtѕ tо understand your value metric tо thе point where trial сuѕtоmеrѕ will ѕіgn uр. Idеntіfуіng уоur kеу ѕеllіng роіnt wіll еnаblе уоu tо frаmе buѕіnеѕѕ соnvеrѕаtіоnѕ аrоund bеѕt-ѕеllіng сараbіlіtіеѕ rather than fосuѕіng on bеnеfіtѕ that рrоѕресtѕ don’t value аѕ much. Wоrk closely wіth уоur ѕаlеѕ team оn thіѕ аѕ thеу are gаthеrіng fееdbасk dау in, day оut.

With your selling роіntѕ established, уоu thеn nееd tо support prospects thrоugh thе jоurnеу to purchase, tо make it аѕ painless аѕ possible. Aѕ we’ve mentioned already, a free trial іѕ a vеrу еffесtіvе way to ѕhоw реорlе fіrѕt-hаnd thе vаluе thаt уоur ѕоlutіоn саn brіng.

Hоwеvеr, if you’re not rеаdу tо gіvе рrоѕресtѕ that much access to уоur ѕоftwаrе, a complimentary dеmоnѕtrаtіоn can also work well. Wе also find thаt supporting frее соntеnt wіth marketing techniques that add value to thе еxреrіеnсе, such аѕ іnѕtruсtіоnаl vіdео guіdеѕ оr іnduѕtrу insight papers, wоrk wеll.

Tір #3: Fосuѕ On Уоur Paying Customers and Rеduсе Yоur Churn Rate

Аnоthеr key mеtrіс whаt wе hаvеn’t dіѕсuѕѕеd yet, but which is crucial to a SaaS соmраnу growth and we will explore іn greater detail now, іѕ customer retention. With a ѕеrvісе-bаѕеd buѕіnеѕѕ, keeping your customers and іnсrеаѕіng their value is critical to expansion.

Onсе you’ve got a сuѕtоmеr on board, уоur next challenge is to nurture your relationships and retain an already acquired user. Nobody wаntѕ to lоѕе a сlіеnt, however, іt’ѕ easy tо аѕѕumе a customer іѕ hарру – аnd thеrеfоrе lарѕе соmmunісаtіоnѕ with them – when they’ve ѕіgnеd uр оn a monthly ѕubѕсrірtіоn basis.

Nеvеr fоrgеt thаt thе pursuit of growth rests on retaining and nurturing еxіѕtіng сuѕtоmеrѕ, аѕ much аѕ ѕесurіng new ones. There are a numbеr оf techniques you can uѕе to forge ѕtrоngеr bоndѕ with current clients, іnсludіng: 

  • -Regular соmmunісаtіоn with еxіѕtіng customers via email – uѕе a соmbіnаtіоn of thought leadership аnd ѕаlеѕ messages so they don’t thіnk they’re being constantly “ѕоld tо” bу уоu. 
  • -Crеаtе an account mаnаgеmеnt team tо look аftеr key сlіеntѕ and еѕtаblіѕh a рrоgrаmmе of regular рhоnе аnd face-to-face communication. 
  • -Encourage сuѕtоmеrѕ to fоllоw уоur business оn ѕосіаl mеdіа and uрdаtе your nеtwоrkѕ regularly with іnfоrmаtіvе соntеnt.
  • -Monitor your customer activities or use special customer engagement tools to determine which customers need more attention from you. If you discover your user visiting your -“Cancel the subscription” page or writing a negative comment on a social network about you, it’s time to act to prevent undesired consequences.
  •  

Tір #4: Mаkе Bіg Cuѕtоmеrѕ Comfortable with Your Pricing

If you wаnt to gain high-profile сuѕtоmеrѕ, уоur product ѕhоuldn’t be еmbаrrаѕѕіnglу сhеар fоr thеm. Imagine an іnduѕtrу leader uѕіng a ріесе оf ѕоftwаrе that costs fіvе buсkѕ! 

Moreover, lоw рrісе сrеаtеѕ an іmрrеѕѕіоn that уоur ѕоftwаrе іѕ nоt fullу rеlіаblе аnd уоur buѕіnеѕѕ may fоld uр at аnу mоmеnt.

Big рlауеrѕ аrе саrеful in thеіr сhоісеѕ: in addition to a great fеаturе ѕеt, thеу еxресt impeccable ѕеrvісе, accountability, security, mаximum uрtіmе, аnd ѕо оn – аnd are ready to рау for all that.

Thаt’ѕ why it’s advisable tо add Entеrрrіѕе рrісіng plans frоm thе start. Even іf уоur product іѕ nоt уеt rеаdу fоr the Entеrрrіѕе segment, you’ll be able to meet the rеquіrеmеntѕ and expectations of thе big buyers.

(Related Read: The Most Successful SAAS Pricing Models and What You May be Doing Wrong)

 

Tір #5: Lіѕtеn tо Yоur Pауіng Cuѕtоmеrѕ

 

People may say аll kіndѕ of nісе things about your product or service—that thеу like your product, that they consider buуing іt, аnd ѕо оn. But listening tо аll vоісеѕ іѕ a rіѕky decision. In particular, dоn’t bаѕе уоur buѕіnеѕѕ оn frее users’ feedback (іf уоu hаvе thеm) because іt’ѕ likely to lеаd you аѕtrау—уоu’ll bе improving уоur рrоduсt fоr the wrоng аudіеnсе who doesn’t drive any revenue for your SaaS growth.

Of course, рrоvіdе the bеѕt ѕuрроrt tо all of уоur users but dеvеlор nеw features for thоѕе who take your product ѕеrіоuѕlу аnd рау you—because thеу рrоvіdе уоu with insights thаt trulу matter. You can ѕtау in touch with уоur сuѕtоmеrѕ through a good lіvе сhаt widget, email messages, social media, contact forms, and even phone calls if you have an established team of customer support & success.

 

Wrapping up

Growing a ѕtrоng SааS startup rеquіrеѕ faith in your product, great flexibility, аnd ѕmаrt market роѕіtіоnіng. Your growth trаjесtоrу and the direction you tаkе wіll vеrу much depend on your unique buѕіnеѕѕ оbjесtіvеѕ.

We hope you will pick some useful ideas from our article and start growing your SaaS at a faster pace.

Categories
SaaS Growth

[Free Guide] How to Do SaaS Competitive Analysis To Win In Your Niche?

$157 billion… That’s the expected total size of software-as-a-service industry for 2020! The industry you operate in is growing, new companies are emerging on the horizon, SaaS owners are making even more money year by year.

However, this fact will make you feel motivated only if you are aware of SaaS competition pace and are ready to allocate resources to your SaaS competitor analysis process. Better understanding, better decisions, better chances to compete for the long term. Agree?

saas competitive analysis

 

We have prepared this comprehensive guide so you:

 

  1. -Know why SaaS competitor research is so important,
  2. -Be aware of Top 8 R&A mistakes and never repeat them,
  3. -Learn how to conduct your research in 4 steps and what questions to ask,
  4. -Get acquainted with 9 free and paid tools that you can use for more effective SaaS competitor analysis,
  5. -Read expert opinions provided exceptionally for this guide and exceptionally for you.

 

If you are ready for the journey, let’s reveal the secrets of accurate competitor research.  

 

Why invest time in your SaaS competitive analysis?

You might say that if your software and customer support are flawless, you shouldn’t care about competition. Instead, you competitors need to worry. For some cases, this self-confidence is appropriate but in many other cases, it can hold you back from precious conclusions.

 

Let’s quickly look at the core benefits of monitoring your business competitors.

 

#1 You will know your strengths and weaknesses

If only your software is armed with X or Y feature, that’s a big trump card and you can constantly bet on your advantage. Or if your competitor’s onboarding process, software interface are more customer-friendly than yours, that’s a gap you should fill in.

 

#2 You will get plenty of inspiration

Our point may seem emotional but it’s not. While browsing their blog, you may come up with an excellent blog post and keyword ideas that can boost your SEO in a matter of days.

 

#3 You will not repeat their mistakes

For example, if your competitor was running an affiliate marketing program on ABC website, you can check whether he got a large amount of referral traffic or not (SimilarWeb will show you). And don’t guest post on that website if engagement was not active. 

 

Are you making these mistakes while tracking your SaaS competitors? 

 

Research and analysis is not a smooth process. It requires lots of attention, skillset, and dedication from the person in charge. Below you will find 8 mistakes that SaaS marketers make while diving deep into the sea of fierce competitors.

 

#1 Duplicating your competitors

People always think that others’ life or work is better than theirs. That’s why “The grass is always greener on the other side” is such a common phrase. And has its variations in many languages. 

Why shouldn’t you copy what others do? The main reasons include: A) you can’t exactly know what goals your competitor was pursuing with his tactic. B) you can’t be sure whether that approach or campaign worked the way your competitor was expecting. C) even if your competitor’s marketing plan was worth copying, you will lose your identity in your customer’s eyes and look like a copycat who is short of strategic thinking.

 

#2 Analyzing too many competitors

We assume you have other tasks to zero in on – working on your software, hiring new team members, targeting new markets abroad. That’s why competitor R&A shouldn’t exhaust all your time and grab all your attention. 

Usually it’s enough to monitor max 5 competitors depending on how crowded your SaaS niche is. Why 5? Because in that list, you can include your most fierce competitors whose buyer persona-software features-pricing model is the closest to the one you offer.   

If you are operating a niche with more than 20-30 main competitors, you can consider using a comprehensive competitor analysis tool. Otherwise you will wind up having an enormous amount of data that needs to be updated regularly with manual intervention. 

 

#3 Getting too obsessed with numbers 

Data, data, data! It has become so popular and even fashionable to strive for statistics and numerical facts. But sometimes this attitude leads to turning a blind eye to reality and failing to answer the most vital questions: what our competitor is actually good at and what can we learn from him?

Social media engagement rate is important, website performance metrics are a must to know but rate is just a rate and metric is a metric. Marketers should use those numbers to make smarter decisions for their company and don’t just waste time to get statistics.

 

#4 Analyzing only competitors of the same size

If they sell the same solution, target the same audience and solve a customer’s problem the way you do, it doesn’t really matter whether they are bigger or smaller than you. They are your direct competitors and maybe among the main rivals in your niche.

What truly matters is how they perceive company-customer relations, how they position themselves in the market and what methods they apply to achieve their SaaS marketing & sales objectives. And you are the one who should make decisions not based on size but based on the essence. 

 

#5 Spending too much time on administrative tasks

All you need for conducting a thorough SaaS competitive analysis is an Excel file or a Google sheet. There you can add one sheet for website performance, one for SEO, one for social media, one for email marketing and subtopics you consider a priority. 

On the left side, you can enter your competitors list and at the top, you can add sections that are included in your subtopic. In case of social media, you should add names of social networks, frequency of posts on them, engagement rate, etc. 

No need for endless files & docs. No need to add all the information you find to your main sheet as it takes hours and days. Add only what your team has previously agreed upon and what you find extremely valuable in the context of competitor analysis. 

 

#6 Narrowing the borders of research

In our last section we mentioned that you should have separate pages on your doc dedicated to website, social media, SEO, and email marketing. If you think that social media is not important at all or you can evaluate SEO performance based on website audit only, you might have been misled.

 

#7 Doing it once and that’s all

Monitoring your SaaS competitors is more significant before your SaaS product launch and during the first stage of your SaaS startup. In these stages, you are much more hungry for information because you should create your USP, decide upon pricing strategy and lay the foundations for your successful business.

If you think that you need to do your competitive research once and forget about that file, don’t do that. Though there’s no fixed number on how many times a year you should update your doc, usually that number is around 2-4 times. 

 

+1 mistake typical of SaaS industry
#8 Not following industry news

Let us explain. Tech giants like Google or Amazon may suddenly become your indirect or even main competitors and ruin your dreams. Have you ever used or heard of software offering file storage services? Probably not because Google and DropBox are obvious leaders in the niche and any other company can hardly compete with them.

 

Not to face surprises and to take actions in advance, you should always keep up with the news: what if Amazon one day decides to launch a product similar to yours?

 

3 sources for your SaaS competitive analysis 

 

Everything is simple. Your sources are

 

#1 Marketing intelligence tools

#2 Your customers or prospects

#3 Your team’s or your manual reviews

 

Let’s continue step by step. 

 

#1 If you are looking for your competitor’s blog statistics, organic monthly traffic or domain authority score, you can’t do without tools. And dozens of other pieces of information can again be acquired only by marketing intelligence tools. So software products that other SaaS companies offer are your first weapons in this battle.

 

#2 Your customers can become a great source of intelligence when they tell you why they left your competitor and reached out to you (if you have a chance to launch a sincere conversation with them). Or if they inform you why they are going to switch to your competitor (and increase your churn rate!). Maybe because customer support is faster there or software’s user interface is more comfortable. And when your prospects don’t become paying users, try to reveal what made them walk away from you (even without entering a serious relationship) and consider other SaaS providers.

 

#3 Finally, you always have your team as a human resource who can look for information and evaluate it, preferably – objectively. Your first task as a “detective” can be visiting your competitor’s product features page, pricing page and every other place you find interesting, then import all the necessary data into your sheet.

Last thing you’d like to do (you have definitely thought of it) is to put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes and analyze how your competitor is trying to convert visitors. Offers, CTAs, landing pages, signup emails, free trial expiration emails, how quickly they reply to user queries – you should monitor these essential factors from A to Z. 

 

Let’s move to the next section to speak about this process in a more detailed way. 

What questions exactly you should ask: 4 steps with 22 mini-steps

As we mentioned before, you should track your competitor’s activities on 4 main fronts: website, social media, SEO, and email marketing. 

 

Website

 

  1. Company – Questions to ask: Are you competing directly or indirectly? How old is your competitor’s business? Who is the founder?
  2. Employees – Questions to ask: What’s their number of employees? What reviews their previous and current employees are writing about the company? (you can find employee reviews on Glassdoor or Linkedin). What specialists is the company looking for currently? (if they are looking for software engineers, they probably want to improve their product). 
  3. Customers – Questions to ask: What groups of people is your competitor targeting? SMB or large enterprises? What countries and verticals are their customers from? (case studies and client logos will tell you).  
  4. Product – Questions to ask: What features does it have? Is it easy-to-use? What’s the #1 feature of that product (USP)? Is it only for web or mobile use too? 
  5. Pricing – Questions to ask: Do they charge their users on an annual or monthly basis? (or both). Do they offer discounts and how much if yes? Are their prices expensive or cheap?  
  6. Customer acquisition model – Questions to ask: How do they attract visitors and acquire new leads? Is it through free trial, product demo, freemium plan? Do they encourage visitors to download a resource? 
  7. Content – Questions to ask: What types of content do they publish? (blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc). Do they have FAQ section, case studies? Is their content quality?
  8. Learning centre – Questions to ask: How do they help their users master the software? Is it through tutorial videos, guides with screenshots or online courses?

 

SEO

 

Your main and SEO competitors may not be the same. For example, if you provide dating software, you may find yourself competing more with bloggers who write on dating topics rather than other SaaS companies who provide similar software.

 

Let’s see which aspects of SEO you should care the most.

 

  1. General – What’s your competitor’s website’s DA score? How much is their site speed? Is their website mobile-optimized? 
  2. Backlinks – Questions to ask: Which authors are linking to your competitor’s website? How many backlinks does your competitor have? How many of them are quality? 
  3. Traffic sources – Questions to ask: Where your competitors are getting the most traffic? (organic search, paid search?). Which websites refer the highest traffic to their website?  
  4. Keywords – Questions to ask: What keywords is your competitor ranking for? Are they low-competition keywords? Do they have high search volume? 
  5. Search engines – Questions to ask: Is your competitor’s website available only on Google? Are they ranking on Yahoo & Bing?

 

Social media 

 

  1. General – Questions to ask: How many followers do they have on each social network? Is their page active or dead?
  2. Posts – Questions to ask: Do they share only their content or do content curation? How frequently do they post? Are the posts getting enough engagement? How many percent of posts are promotional?
  3. Advertising – Questions to ask: Do they run social media ads? Do users engage with their ads?

 

Email marketing

 

  1. Free trial users – Questions to ask: How often do they bother their free trial users? What tone of voice do they use? What advantages do they emphasize?
  2. Lead nurturing – Questions to ask: Do they start an email flow after you download a resource? Do they immediately pitch their software? 
  3. Subscribers – Questions to ask: How often do they send emails to their subscribers? Are emails promotional, educational or both?

 

Other

 

We have created this section for two reasons: a) the points mentioned below don’t fall under website, SEO, social media category or email marketing category; b) it’s not always possible to have access to that data (even with a tool!). Anyway, let’s have a look at them because they are not less important.

 

  1. Revenue/ market share/ number of customers – Research groups sometimes publish industry reports, allowing us to know how X, Y, Z companies are performing. Crunchbase and Angel.co are other reliable sources on companies you are interested in. And you will find other options too. For example, MarketWatch is revealing who are the major players in supply chain management software market. But you don’t know every company’s ARR or growth rate.
    Regarding the number of customers, companies themselves sometimes provide information on how many users they are serving or have already served. Those numbers can help you understand the pace of their growth: how many years did it take them to achieve such success.
  2. Unique advantages – Maybe your competitor’s CEO is an influencer or industry expert who quickly attracts new users. Maybe your competitor company follows some specific internal rules that promote their growth. Investors matter too. If your competitor is getting funds from an influential and recognized person, that’s an advantage hard to compete with.
  3. Customer acquisition channels – You really would like to be informed where your competitors are getting leads and customers. You can see their traffic, though high traffic isn’t a guarantee for high conversion and the other way around. Maybe Quora works wonders for them and you should try it as well.

    Maybe your competitors are running affiliate marketing campaigns on several blogs and that’s a great way to acquire new signups. Would be extremely rewarding if you discover which channels work best for them.

9 handy tools for competitive analysis: When competitor data is in your hands

When you want to get something necessary and valuable, do you always have to pay? In the majority of cases, the answer is Yes. With the points mentioned below, we want to provide you with both free and paid tool options for your SasS competitor analysis. Thus, you will be able to you spend more time analyzing data and taking action and less time looking for information.

 

Free tools

 

  1. VisualPing – If you don’t want to visit your competitors’ website every month to see what has changed, you can use VisualPing. It allows you to monitor your target webpages. How does it work? You enter what webpages you want to analyze, write your email address and mention how frequent you want to get updates. Note that with their free forever plan, you can conduct 65 checks monthly. That’s a great way to keep tabs on your competitor website, especially pricing and solutions pages. When your rival makes changes to his pricing plans or offers, you will get notified shortly. 
  2. UbersuggestNeil Patel’s free tool will provide you with domain overview (number of organic keywords, organic monthly traffic and backlinks, domain score, keywords your competitors are ranking for, top-performing pages), site audit (site speed, top SEO issues) and backlink analysis. Other minor and major data is again at your disposal, including how many times your competitor’s content has been shared, traffic sources by countries, etc.
    If you know your rival’s domain score that will not directly tell you what actions to take. But monitoring keywords and backlink sources can be your best consultants on what to focus in your marketing strategy.
  3. Google AlertsAnother free tool from Google with which you can have your competitors’ moves at your fingerprints. You login to your account and create alerts for terms you want to monitor (unlike VisualPing that requires web page URLs). Then you inform Google Alerts how often you want to get notifications, from which sources (blogs, news, videos…), in which language, etc. What happens next? When your competitor is featured in a blog or news or is announcing about new product launch, Google Alerts will let you know.

 

Paid tools

 

  1. AhrefsAhrefs Site Explorer provides you with in-depth information on your competitor’s website’s organic & paid search and backlink profile. You can not only discover which websites are linking to your competitors but also learn – from which webpages, in which context and even learn which websites are sending the most referral traffic to their website. Thus, you can target that particular website, do an outreach and try to get backlink.   
  2. iSpionage – You can use iSpionage’s services to gain intelligence about your competitors’ SEO and PPC strategies. What exactly will you know? You will get a good feel for who are your AdWords competitors, what paid and organic strategies they implement, how much monthly budget they allocate for marketing campaigns. Finally, you will discover your competitor’s AdWords keywords, pick the most profitable ones and include them in your upcoming paid ad campaign. 
  3. Oweletter – Time to analyze your competitor’s email marketing campaigns. Maybe you have already subscribed to their email list or downloaded a resource to keep track of their email messages. And maybe you are receiving hundreds of emails monthly and don’t read every message your competitors send you. Because it’s too time-consuming. Oweletter is different because it helps you determine keywords and get a notification when the sent email contains certain keywords. You can also get monthly/weekly/daily roundups not to switch from one email to the other.     
  4. Mediatoolkit – Only social media monitoring was missing from our list, now we will cover it too. With Mediatoolkit, you can track an unlimited number of keywords, at least 10,000 mentions per month, get real-time alerts. 4 social networks can be monitored – Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and VKontakte, plus websites, blogs, and forums. When you enter a keyword combination, the crawlers find on which website or social media profile it appears and inform you. Engagement statistics are also provided for every mention.  
  5. Kompyte – If the tools mentioned above were designed for specific purposes, Kompyte is an all-in-one competitor analysis software. You can conduct web tracking, search engine marketing monitoring (keywords, landing page, SEO rankings, paid ads) and content tracking (blog and social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube) from one tool. If you are a large company with dozens of competitors and all of them are worth monitoring, this tool will best work for your case.
  6.  

Expert Opinions: SaaS competitor analysis made easy

 

Jovan Miljevic

Head of marketing at Nifty Project Management

jovan

If you want to dive even deeper into your competitor’s email campaigns research, our first expert is ready to share his ideas.

 

Before you start researching your competitor onboarding emails, you need to define what aspects you will focus on. I recommend you put emphasis on the following: 

 

Email type

From which email type are you creating an account? Is it a private Gmail address or business email with your company’s domain?. There can be a difference between the email content and frequency depending on the email type.

 

Acquisition channels

Pay attention if you are creating a trial account from your competitor’s paid or non-paid channel (Adwords vs direct). Trial users identified from paid channels can have one email pattern, while the ones from non-paid could be sent completely different messages in terms of frequency & content.

 

Nurturing

Based on what content you get from the competitor you can divide nurturing into two categories:

more focused on the transactional aspect (demo invitations, discounts, case studies, etc.) vs learning aspect (sample project, templates, website blog).

 

Frequency

Define the time phases you want to analyze to find the pattern of the email frequency.

It can be something like this:

0-2h since signup

0-24h since signup

24-72h since signup

72+ since signup

 

Member types

You shouldn’t just research just owner’s accounts, but also emails that team members and other invited users receive. Check how competitors activate users and if there some connection between owners and team member emails.”  

 

Marta Ceccato

Business Coach and Marketing Consultant at Sapiens Media Coaching

Here is another tip on how you can successfully use customer reviews in your SaaS competitive anlysis process.

“As a SaaS business, coming up with groundbreaking, never-before-seen solutions is not always the best way to keep ahead of the competition. Educating yourself about your competitors, their positioning, their offering, but most importantly defining their weaknesses, is the key to gain a competitive advantage. Customer reviews are really a powerful source when it comes to identifying any features or services that your competitors don’t offer and that you could offer, any improvements you could make to what they already offer or just to find out what customers love about their product and services. Ultimately, it is not about reinventing the wheel but about understanding what your customers value the most, so you can compete by providing additional benefits in line with your customers’ needs.”

Nick Jordan

Founder at Content Distribution

Our next expert is providing more details on the importance of organic traffic and how to outrank your competitors in terms of search engine results.

 

“I always start with where my competitors are getting their organic traffic from. If you look at most B2B category leaders, you’ll find they generate a significant amount. To me this reads – if they’re investing in organic search, it must mean it’s a viable strategy for their business – and worth investing in myself. Your competitors aren’t dumb.

 

The first thing I’ll do is keyword research to figure out how prospects search for solutions when they are ready to buy. It’s important to use data because if you guess, you might identify keywords that no one is actually searching for, and it can throw off your results.

 

I’ll start adding companies that are ranking for these keywords on the first page into a spreadsheet. And when I have 10–30 I’ll start looking at their top pages generating the most traffic using Ahrefs. Then I can filter out pages and keywords that are too competitive right now, and identify the low hanging opportunities I think I have a good shot at ranking next to, or outranking them.

 

Then I identify areas I can beat them. I not only want to provide more valuable content to the reader, but I want to beat them in every aspect that matters. I want a better optimized URL and meta description. I want more H2s, more words, more lists (1,2,3, etc), more bullet points, and more tables. I want more internal links and external links.

 

I think Google wants to provide users with the highest quality, most relevant content for any given search query. My rankings (43,000 1st page keywords) without investing into backlinks (just more relevant, higher quality content) indicates user engagement metrics are better heuristic than backlinks.

And this strategy allows me to outrank stronger, more powerful domains and pages all day, every day.

Once the page is live, I try and send as much referral traffic as possible – from any source – to start warming up my Google Analytics data, allowing Google to compare my user engagement metrics to the pages they are currently showing on the first page.”

 

Igor Ozherelyev

CEO & Founder at ColdEmail.ai 

Igor

Finally, our last expert speaks about the goal of your research, which kind of competitors are the most ‘’dangerous’’ and how you can beat them.

 

There’s an important thing that’s usually underrated by people who perform that research – the goal of the research. 

As a startup advisor, I see this problem all the time. Entrepreneurs don’t focus on the right thing, making this research almost unachievable.

It’s nice to know every aspect of every company in the market that somehow competes with you. But this is not the right goal. We need to know very little about some companies and a lot about others. 

 

To find out which competitor companies you should focus on, you need to seek a particular parameter set: customer orientation vs. product feature set vs. pricing. The closer that set to what you offer, the more information you need to know about that competitor. 

 

Once you’ve defined that list, go and talk to their customers, pitch them your product, and carefully collect all the objections. Once you’ve finished – analyze and structure that list and find the repetitive patterns. 

 

Voila – you have a result — the answer to the question of what you need to improve to get your competitors’ clients.”

Time to sum it up

We saved the most essential part for the final section and we are glad you are here. Competitive analysis isn’t only about creating Google sheets, entering some data, and being proud of what you have done. You may conduct the deepest research but what matters in the end is – WHAT ACTION DO YOU TAKE? If you acknowledge your drawbacks and do your best to improve them, your competitor analysis efforts eventually pay off. 

 

Did you find our guide useful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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