Customer Marketing for SaaS: Why It’s Crucial and How to Do It

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Spencer Coon
Jul 14, 2021 | Last Updated Oct 20, 2021

You may think that generating new leads to feed your funnel is enough to grow your SaaS. More customers means more money, right? The bad news is, that it’s not quite simple! As in any other subscription business, your SaaS goal is to attract new users but at the same time not losing existing ones! That’s where Customer Marketing comes in.

But what’s that? In this post, we’ll explore what Customer Marketing means, why it’s strategic for any SaaS company, and how to implement it successfully.

customer marketing

Here’s how to implement a successful Customer Marketing strategy for SaaS

What is Customer Marketing?

It’s common in sales and marketing to hear mottos like “the customer is always right” or “the customer comes first”. There’s no doubt that sales are important for any company. But which customer are we talking about?

Customer Marketing is defined as a focus on campaigns and strategies that target your current list of customers instead of looking for new ones. That doesn’t mean that you’ll stop following leads or making new sales, but that you’ll put special attention into your user base to improve retention and loyalty.

customer retention

This sort of customer-focused marketing strategy can have very positive outcomes as:

In summation: less churn, more loyalty, and a stronger community!

Customer Marketing is important for any SaaS business

The SaaS industry is based on subscription renewals, so besides converting new clients, keeping the ones you already have happy is fundamental. Gathering customers it’s like fetching water from a well. You may walk out with a filled bucket, but after some time it’s half empty. Where did all the water go? That’s churn, it means users are leaving in the process. 💸

bucket churn

But don’t panic! Churn is a common experience among SaaS companies. The key is understanding how to patch the holes and improve customer retention. Just a 5% increase in customer retention can make your profits grow by 25% to 95% and it’s significatively cheaper! The cost of acquiring a new customer can be over 30 times that of holding a current one. 

Customer Marketing aims to create campaigns to build an ongoing relationship with your user base, and that needs trust. Customers that are satisfied with a service are 87% more likely to upgrade and purchase new services, while 34% of customers won’t buy from a brand if they have had just a single bad experience.

Focusing on existing customers means you can explore their needs and offer additional features in higher plans or create supplementary products that help them solve their problems using only a single tool: this is a win-win! Not only does this mean higher revenue and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for your SaaS, but also a more complete solution for your customers. If you keep them happy they will not only stay for the ride but actually, they’ll buy even more.

So why is Customer Marketing important?

  • It’s cheaper to retain customers than to find new ones!
  • It can largely improve your business profitability with less effort
  • It can increase contract or subscription renewals, upgrades, upsells, and cross-sells – the basis of long-term success for any SaaS
  • It can help brand loyalty and user advocacy growth. That’s another way to generate high-quality leads from existing customers’ referrals

Catching new users may give you a big start, keeping them happy and engaged will fuel your SaaS in the long run. Don’t burn all the gas in the first few laps. 🔥

why is customer marketing important for SaaS

Implementing a successful Customer Marketing strategy for SaaS

There are many ways to tackle user churn and we have explained some in past articles. But here I will like to share with you four tips to jumpstart your Customer Marketing strategy today!

Measure customer engagement and focus on customer success

How can you make your users stay if you don’t understand why they leave? To make smarter and data-driven decisions about Customer Marketing you need to start tracking engagement. This will give you a clear perspective on what you need to improve, what is already working fine, and what to target on your customer-focused marketing campaigns.

There are lots of metrics you can track, from sign-ups and log-ins, to return frequency and session time. But each type of product needs to look for metrics that will address its particular “usage style”. For example, while a video service may need to look into how much time users spend watching and interacting, a file converter may be better informed by how many files or how much data has been processed and in how many batches. 

measure engagement

If your SaaS doesn’t have a single feature, maybe you need to look at each feature as an individual experience to track. You can specifically look for interactions and create heatmaps to follow your users along as if you were with them while they navigate your product. That will help you understand the rate of feature adoption, and focus your product marketing strategy to promote feature discovery.

Focusing on customer success is a powerful way to keep users happy and engaged. You need to understand how much your product solves your users’ needs, offer timely and fast support, and overcome any obstacles that can be found in the process. Thanks to outstanding customer support software solving the frictions in customer success is essential for the next tip on our list.

Use customer feedback to improve your SaaS product

Tracking engagement metrics can give you very useful information about user patterns and how they use your service. But do they let you understand what they need? Don’t rely just on the numbers and start listening to what your users have to say!

Studies say that over 80% of people are likely to give feedback when they have had a good experience and a bad one too. The extremes are vocal and both of them can help you craft better Customer Marketing strategies.

There are many different ways and tools to gather feedback and make it useful: comment sections, user reactions, ratings, satisfaction surveys, and Net Promoter Score (NPS). No single method is enough, you’ll need to combine approaches. And if you want to be able to use that feedback for something useful you’ll need to close the customer feedback loop.

feedback loop

Closing the feedback loop is using the information gathered to improve your product. Make real and noticeable changes in your platform to adapt to the real and vocal needs of your customers.

A customer feedback loop is a workflow that follows these steps:

  1. Gathering user experiences.
  2. Storing, filtering, and analyzing.
  3. Product improvement (bug fixing, new features, further development).
  4. Announcing changes with a changelog, newsletter, notifications, or through any other channel.

Once you have learned from your users, improved your product in response, and then closed the loop, your users will be aware of the changes. That way you can start with the process all over again.

Communicate new features and product updates effectively

Even if you invest time and effort in developing new features, improving user experience, and fixing bugs, if your users are not aware of those changes it’ll be all for nothing. Communicate those changes effectively and guide your users back to your platform or directly to your new features! By keeping your users updated you are promoting feature discovery, and increasing the adoption rate of new features.

Just as with feedback, there are many channels and tools to communicate your improvements:

  • Developer blogs, documentation pages, help centers, and knowledgebases allow you to provide detailed explanations on the current and future state of your product.
  • Changelogs, notification centers, and release notes can help you deliver updates consistently and in a more accessible and in-context format for all kinds of users. 
  • Roadmaps are ideal to let your customers track your progress, propose new features they would like to see, and even vote for what changes are more important for them at the moment.
  • Newsletters and other curated emails are ideal for direct communication, as long as you keep them to the point and don’t overwhelm your customer’s inboxes and end in the spam folder.
  • Push notifications are excellent to target users with updates that will interest them the most, especially if you use tools that allow you to segment your audience.

With Beamer, you can create a changelog or newsfeed and embed it directly in your SaaS app or site. You can publish updates, make them attractive with images, gifs, and videos, and guide your users to where you need them with call-to-actions (CTAs).

You can also use push notifications to make sure your users will always be in the know even if they are far from your platform, and segmentation to make sure all your content is curated specifically for each user group or individual customer.

communicate product updates

Find promoters to refer your product

One of the methods to gather feedback I mentioned before was Net Promoter Score (NPS) but it’s much more than just that. NPS helps you gather user experiences through short and direct surveys that measure the enthusiasm of customers on a numerical scale, to separate your promoters from your detractors. Take note because both categories are useful!

According to McKinsey & Company, 20 to 50% of all purchases are influenced by word-of-mouth (WOM). Customers are constantly looking for previous user experiences, especially with more pricey products or services they are purchasing for the first time. Identifying your promoters can help you turn them into evangelists and ambassadors.

  • Loyal customers are eager to share their positive experiences and they can use their social media reach to boost your marketing campaigns and even produce user-generated content (UGC). The latter is considered among the most “authentic” forms of word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Affiliate programs are excellent at incentivizing casual promoters to take their advocacy seriously and actively.
  • First-time customers constantly look for reviews by previous users to make up their minds before buying, and testimonials are an excellent way to showcase positive experiences and to lend credibility to your brand.

SaaS testimonials

But don’t forget your detractors. Those users can also contribute to a good Customer Marketing strategy. If you followed the previous tip and closed your feedback loop, you can use their negative experiences to fix and improve your product. Then, announce the changes and let them know they are not only heard but cared for, and you may be able to turn their frown upside down: from detractor to a promoter. 😡 😄

If you think that all these different sides of Customer Marketing seem too complicated or hard to implement, think of Beamer. It’s a full suite of tools specially designed to make Customer Marketing easier for SaaS companies big and small.

By following these Customer Marketing tips to improve retention and loyalty, you’ll reduce churn, increase revenue, and will make those commonplace phrases like “customer first” a reality.  Take your Customer Marketing game to the next level and try Beamer today.