There is without a doubt no harder thing to do in business than to start an effective marketing plan. Especially a SaaS marketing plan.
Lots of factors contribute to creating a solid SaaS marketing plan. The long term nature of most SaaS customers’ buying journey, the amazing competition out there in most spaces, and the long term recuperation of your Customer Acquisition Cost all are working against you, especially if you’re just starting out.
What a good SaaS Marketing Plan looks like
Before we talk about a solution let’s define a few goals for what your SaaS marketing plan should look like when it’s finished:
- It’s scalable: As great as “word of mouth” is there’s no way to ramp that up in a controlled fashion…you need to have a definite input point that you can control.
- It’s cost-effective: Your LTV to CAC ratio (Customer Lifetime Value to Customer Acquisition Cost) has to be inline (greater than 3), and you need to be able to recover your CAC quickly (less than 3 months if you’re Self Funded).
- You control it: no relying on influencers, other platforms, or a change in the wind to power your company’s growth. You want to have as much control as possible over every aspect of your marketing strategy.
- It’s repeatable: No one-time, flash in the pan, approaches here. This is something you want to be able to continue and refine for years.
- There are metrics around it: We have to be able to accurately calculate your Customer Acquisition Costs.
Now that we’ve defined a bit about what we want the end result to look like in our marketing plan let’s cover each of the 7 steps of the marketing plan framework that I’ve adopted at Castos.
A 7-Step Approach
This won’t just “happen” overnight and will take a bunch of time, planning, and execution to bring this to life. But once you’ve done the work of creating this strategy and organizing the implementation of it you’ll be on your way to a growing business.
It’s my belief that the principles here are sound and I think should be included in every SaaS marketing plan.
- Keyword Research: Identify the “achievable” high buyer intent terms that your ideal customer will be looking for in Google. The kiss of death in content marketing is creating great articles that nobody cares about or don’t “talk to” your ideal customer. The blog content we create should talk to the exact right person at the exact right time in their buying journey.
- Create a Content Strategy: This is based on your Keyword Research results. We like to use the Hub and Spoke model to plan out our content strategy. This gives you a roadmap for the next few months (or years) of your company’s blog. No guessing. No staring at a blank screen. This is also huge when it comes to outsourcing the actual writing of your blog posts. Good writers love to know that you have a plan.
- Write great content: Time to get writing. This content has to be exceptionally good. Really long, in-depth, page-1-of-Google kind of stuff for every one of your Hub/Pillar articles.
- Interlinking Hub and Spoke articles: this is pretty self-explanatory but the idea is that your Hub article should be the place that Everything points…your own supporting blog posts included.
- Drive Paid Traffic to those Hub articles: Take your pick of the platform but for most of us it’s Facebook. Like ’em or not they’re a fantastic ad platform and a great way to reach people. This is cold traffic that has no idea who you are. The goal of this paid traffic is to amplify your blog posts and bring new people into your world.
- Email capture forms on your blog posts: Use a free email course, lead magnet, content upgrade, whatever you want to call it…get the reader’s email address so you can stay in touch with them and continue the discussion in the coming weeks.
- Follow up with email marketing and retargeting ads: It’s extremely unlikely that someone will buy from you (especially in SaaS where it’s a long term relationship) the first time they’ve heard of your business. Build that rapport over timeand then make the sale.
I’ve purposefully included a lot of links in the list above because, to be perfectly honest, I’m not an expert on any of this stuff. Far smarter, more experienced people have written about each of these sub-topics than I, and I’ll let the guide you on each of these aspects of the journey.
I write this not to position myself as an expert in SaaS marketing, but for all of us out there who have looked at our business and said “I just need more eyeballs on my brand”.
This may not be the sexiest, most innovative, or ground breaking marketing strategy out there, but it’s one that some of the most successful SaaS companies that we all know have used over and over again.
Content Marketing as an “Investment”
Companies like Buffer, Intercom, ConvertKit, CoSchedule, Hubspot, and countless others say that a huge influence in their growth has come from a content-forward approach. The fact is content, even as hard and competitive as it is here in 2019, is cheap and works for you in the long run. It’s the best marketing investment that you can make cause it has no shelf life.
If you’re a SaaS founder and don’t LOVE your existing marketing approach then this one is at least worth considering. Maybe pick and choose a few things here that you like, but I hope that this at least gets everyone who reads it unstuck and on the path to growing their businesses.
Drop a comment in below with your experiences with a marketing plan like this. What’s worked for you, what hasn’t. What do you love and hate about it? Look forward to hearing the discussion.