SaaS Growth Strategy: a Product Marketing Approach
Marketing and selling in SaaS is different because you are selling not a stagnant, consumer product but a constantly living, evolving service as a product. Your relationship with customers is always ongoing and your team needs to prove that your product is the ideal solution to their pain points from first contact on throughout to keep recurring revenue and achieve growth. This is a tough feat for your team to constantly manage but it also presents a wide variety of ways your team can use your product to generate new revenue streams and growth. A growth strategy that focuses on product marketing can help your team achieve this.
What is Product Marketing?
Understanding product marketing is key to knowing how to incorporate this approach into your growth strategy. Product Marketing is a marketing style that is focused on connecting your product to your target customers through a deep knowledge of your customers, their needs, and how your product can provide value. It’s rooted in understanding how your product fits in the market place among competition and how you can continue to improve your product and communicate your product’s value to achieve growth. Product marketing aims to define your market position, define your pricing and the way you package your functionality and features, a plan for attracting and converting leads, and analyze customer reactions and feedback to continue to win customers over time. Product marketing requires that the marketing, sales, and product development teams work together to deliver across these areas.
Growth from a product marketing perspective:
Using your product as the basis for your growth strategy gives your team plenty of avenues for revenue and user base growth within existing and new markets with your current product or with product development leading growth.
Here are a few examples:
- Converting existing free customers into paying
- Winning customers from your competitors
- Releasing paid features
- Creating new “products”
- Expanding into new markets or market segments
- Implementing affiliate programs
- Creating alliances and partnerships with compliment products
- Growing through mergers and acquisitions
Expanding with your existing product and existing markets:
With a focus on product marketing, you can use the product you already have to increase revenue from your existing market by leveraging changes in your marketing and sales messaging and targeting.
Converting existing free customers into paying:
Many SaaS products have a free user level that most users are a part of. These are “customers” who have shown your team they value and use your product regularly. This existing market, that you’ve already converted to users, is an opportunity to grow your revenue. Converting existing free users to users that are paying to use your product either through ending a free trial or a premium level of service is a way to convert more of your existing market into paying customers. Your team can also create multiple levels of varying premium service to both give customers an option to choose a level that best meets their needs and give your team an opportunity to increase revenue from your existing customer base and your existing product.
Winning customers from your competitors:
With your existing product, you can gain new users within your existing market by winning them from your competitors. This requires a specific focus on your products’ messaging, your sales teams’ tactics and how you are positioning your product to be competitive against your competitors. Your team will have to demonstrate a superior value of your product against competitors and clearly communicate your competitive advantages to potential customers that are currently with other competitors or searching for a solution. This strategy requires that your content, messaging, direct outreach, paid ads, and social strategy are aligned to position your product as the obvious choice for your target customers against competitors.
Expanding with existing markets and product development:
Additionally, you can grow within your existing market through further product development. Improving your product for your existing market can help you win more customers within your market and improve your advantage against competitors.
Releasing paid features:
One way you can continue to develop your product and make additional revenue off your existing customer base is by developing new paid features that users can purchase access to in addition to their current plans. Many SaaS companies take this approach including Intercom who has an ‘a la carte’ style pricing for additional features on top of their base paid tiers for their service. This allows customers to pick and choose how they structure their service based on what is most useful and valuable to them, building loyalty. It also gives your team the opportunity to create new revenue streams over time while continuously improving and building on your product. New features allow you to keep your customers engaged as well as reach new customers in the same market.
How you announce and promote new features makes all the difference. The best way to introduce new features to your customers is Beamer. Beamer is a changelog for updates on your product that sits within your app interface and your website. Users just have to click “What’s New” and a icon in your interface to open your newsfeed where you can share updates for new features and updates. You can add photos, videos, GIFs, and CTA to engage your customers and potential leads on your site. You can use push notifications to bring users back to your product every time you develop a new feature to improve engagement and upsell new features.
Creating new “products”:
Your SaaS doesn’t have to be restricted to one product. You can take product development beyond just your one product and branch into your existing market by creating new products that serve your target customers in a different way. Building complimentary products to your own can strengthen your market positioning, increase revenue, and strengthen your competitive advantage over competitors. It’s much easier to promote a new product to your existing customers as you are already established. We did this with Beamer. We saw an opportunity to better serve our customers with another product that is a compliment to Beamer that they were already searching for: NPS tracking. Now we’ve added this new product to our offering with Beamer that customers can opt into.
Expanding with your existing product and new markets:
Your team can choose to grow another way with your existing product by positioning your product for new markets. This is where product marketing helps your sales and marketing team achieve new growth and reach new users.
Expanding into new markets or market segments:
Your team can look at where else your product can be of value and put effort towards positioning your product in front of these new customers. This requires expanded market research as well as retargeting your product with new messaging, marketing tactics, and sales efforts that are focused on conveying the value of your product in a way that resonates with new audiences. You can do this with new content, new landing pages, and new ads for new markets as well as educating your sales team on how to best pitch and support new customers based on their needs.
Implementing affiliate programs:
SaaS companies can use their current customer bases to reach new customers as well via affiliate programs. You can create a win-win system with your current customers. Your customers have access and the trust of many potential new users and their leverage can be valuable for your sales and marketing team. Some examples of affiliate programs are having customers promote your product with case studies, blog articles with special links for new leads or simply having customers keep your logo or branding when using your product.
Branching into new markets with a new product:
Your team can also choose to develop your product to merge into new markets all together over time. This growth strategy can help your team to boost revenue greatly as well as better position yourself against the competition. It requires that you consistently evolve your product in big ways as well as change your marketing and sales strategy as your product and target customer expand.
Creating alliances and partnerships with compliment products:
By working with other companies and teams to develop new options for your customers and customers in other markets, your team can expand your business opportunities. Alliances with already established products and brands can help you to easily penetrate new markets and position your product as valuables for new customers within those new markets. You can create new integrations and add your product as a new feature for other products to quickly and effectively reach new paying customers. SaaS companies create integrations for other products and integrate with other products as an easy way to reach new customers with the support of another established brand.
Growing through mergers and acquisitions:
Instead of partnerships, sometimes a merger or acquisition is a natural step to bringing in new customers and new revenue streams. For example, Facebook acquired Instagram as a natural progression to be creating a complete social advertising product for their customers who had already been using both platforms but also bringing in new customers who had been more exclusive to advertising on Instagram. This is a larger, more drastic strategy but can often make sense at a certain level ahead of creating competing features.
SaaS growth is a complex feat that requires that everyone on your team, creative, sales, and dev, are involved and using collective knowledge to move your product and brand forward. Product marketing helps ensure that you’re creating the right product and communicating it the right way to the right customers. With this approach, your team stays on the right path and within the right position for growth. Keep existing users engaged and nurture new leads effectively with Beamer.