How to Develop a Digital Marketing Plan For a SaaS Business

Software as a Service is on the rise. In 2021, estimations placed the worth of the global SaaS market at approximately $145.5 billion, with projected revenue of $171.9 billion for 2022.

With these figures in mind, it’s easy to conclude that, with the growth of SaaS, brands operating in the field must come up with digital marketing plans that will allow them to beat the competition.

But how do you develop a digital marketing strategy for SaaS? Is it in any way different from methods utilized in other industries? Not necessarily.

However, SaaS heavily focuses on consumer pain points and aims to offer seamless solutions. A digital marketing strategy for a SaaS business has to be 100% optimized to attract potential customers, deliver key marketing messages, and position the brand as the go-to in its niche.

So, whether you’ve been playing the field for some time or are still in the planning phases for getting started, this is everything you need to know about developing a digital marketing strategy for SaaS.

Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience

Successful strategies are always based on insights. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going into battle, playing a friendly game of Monopoly, or launching a brand. Whichever of these you’re doing, your best bet for coming out as a winner is to have a well-developed plan based on knowledge and facts.

And, the only way you can develop a great plan is, of course, to do your research. That is, to create a winning digital marketing strategy, you have to know who your ideal customers are.

To identify this persona, don’t just limit yourself to demographic research. Yes, knowing your target audience’s age, gender, and location will help your marketing efforts. But much more important than that, you must understand their challenges, pain points, and online behaviors.

For example, the SaaS brand Optimal Workshop knows that its target audience consists of medium to large businesses. By studying their pain points, behaviors, and needs, Optimal Workshop can develop guaranteed-to-work digital marketing strategies. Its top-performers include:

  • an insightful website blog
  • a learning center focused on teaching the user how to use the tools
  • a social media presence that provides value through delivering educational content

As you approach the research process, it’s worth knowing where to look for actionable information that can direct your digital marketing plans. Resources like Deloitte, GWI, and others can provide you with valuable data that will help you get started when getting to know your ideal customers.

Step 2: Set Your Goals

The second key thing you have to know before deciding what digital marketing tactics to employ is having a clear understanding of your goals.

If you have a business plan, these will likely already be defined for you. For example, your end goal might be to value and sell your SaaS business and secure a profitable exit. However, your digital marketing plan should be developed with both short-term and long-term targets in mind.

Examples of these goals include things like:

  • Getting 100k web visits per month.
  • Increasing free trial conversions by 20%.
  • Boosting customer retention by 5%.
  • Reducing churn rates by 10%.

If you’re just getting started, you have to understand that getting to a million subscribers won’t happen overnight. This is why you have to master the act of setting SMART goals. This means that your marketing objectives have to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

Step 3: Employ Web Design and SEO Optimization to Drive Positive Outcomes

The key to a successful digital marketing strategy is, without a doubt, a perfect online presence. And research shows that two elements will help you create that presence for your brand.

Web Design

According to research, web users decide whether they want to interact with a website within 50ms. Moreover, consumers prefer websites that meet their expectations UX and design-wise. This is possibly why minimalist sites, like the page from Affinda, work so well in getting consumers interested in products and SaaS solutions.

Source: affinda.com

Finally, eye-tracking studies and analytical data have shown that following best practices always pays off.

When designing your SaaS homepage and landing pages, make sure you place your unique value proposition and CTA button in the hero section, like in the example from SurveyMonkey below. Following this ultra-simple rule is guaranteed to drive high conversion rates, as it allows you to make design decisions that coincide with the way people use websites nowadays.

Source: surveymonkey.com

SEO

Of course, a beautifully designed site is not enough to attract visitors or secure conversions.

That’s why developing a robust SEO strategy also deserves top priority when planning your digital marketing actions.

In addition to having a clearly defined target audience and knowing their pain points, your SEO strategy for SaaS will also have to answer a few other questions. It will have to:

  • Define the keywords you’ll want to target and help you implement a comparison keyword strategy.
  • Give you a good idea about what your competitors are doing to win top positions on SERPs.
  • Provide information about user intent so that you can create content that meets web visitors’ expectations and keeps them around long enough for them to turn into viable leads.

Search engine optimization is not just about search terms and content production. A successful SEO tactic also addresses technical on-page SEO with web performance factors like:

  • website load speed
  • site structure
  • internal and external links
  • duplicate content
  • HTTPS protocols
  • data structuring

Getting these factors just right might take some additional effort. But as they significantly contribute to the overall user experience, they’re worth paying attention to, especially if you want to paint your SaaS brand as a trustworthy, reliable, and professional business.

Step 4: Invest in PPC Advertising (Not Just to Drive Traffic)

  1. You’ve defined your target audience. You have set your long-term and short-term goals. And, you have taken the necessary steps to ensure your website performs at a high level.

Now, it is finally time to start implementing your digital marketing strategy.

But here’s the thing, for most SaaS startups, their digital marketing budgets will be limited. And for this reason, they will try to achieve results with DIY methods like producing content and publishing it on a variety of distribution channels commonly used by their audience.

However, while this approach does save a substantial amount of money, it also robs SaaS marketers of valuable information. This is why putting some of your funds towards PPC campaigns is an essential part of developing a digital marketing plan for your SaaS business.

You see, the value businesses receive from PPC isn’t just a boost in web traffic. This marketing method provides several benefits, including:

  • more immediate results than relying on organic traffic alone
  • access to proven-to-work data regarding keywords, user intent, value propositions, and even visuals
  • an easy way to test headline and CTA copy performance
  • remarketing cookies that target consumers through more than a single channel

As you can see, when developing a digital marketing plan for your SaaS business, the best thing you can do is start off with a PPC campaign. This will allow you to finetune your targeted keywords, copy, and visuals. And, it will enable you to create highly-optimized landing pages, like this one from Monday.

This example of a PPC-based landing page perfectly addresses consumer pain points and maximizes the brand’s chances of converting customers. And the best thing is the data collected from the PPC campaign will remain relevant, even once the brand decides to stop paying for traffic.

Step 5: Focus Your Efforts on Delivering Value

There’s a common marketing mistake that many businesses make, including SaaS startups. More often than not, they think that delivering quantity instead of quality is the key to getting a high ROI.

And, sure, publishing long-form articles and updating social media profiles several times per day does increase your brand’s chances of getting noticed. Nonetheless, it’s definitely not the best way to get the most out of your digital marketing strategy.

As you plan for digital marketing success in 2022, focus your efforts on value and quality instead of quantity.

Choose topics based on the data you collected during the previous phases of your marketing plan development process. For example, do you have a high-competition keyword you want to target? Why not try to win consumers over by providing them with data in an easy-to-consume format, as done by Scott’s Cheap Flights in their post on using Google Flights to find cheap tickets. The very detailed post is easily digestible and also includes an 8-minute overview video that can be watched instead of reading.


Or, what about when you’re trying to market a highly-specific SaaS product? In this case, it’s not a bad idea to invest in content that targets consumers in the early awareness stages of the buyer’s journey. By getting that right, your target audience will already have developed a positive impression of your brand even before they realize they need a product similar to the one you offer.

Finally, don’t forget that delivering value is just as important post-purchase as it is when acquiring new customers. A marketing campaign that focuses on community building and boosting customer loyalty makes for a great way to minimize churn rates and maximize customer lifetime values. And consequently, it also helps you invest in the longevity of your SaaS business.

Final Thoughts: No Plan Should Be Set In Stone

There you have it, the five steps you need to complete so that you can develop a digital marketing plan that works for your SaaS business.

However, as you set out on your journey of creating customer avatars, identifying keywords to target, optimizing your website, and finding the value you will deliver to your audience, you have to remember that the digital world is rapidly changing. And with it, consumer behavior is changing as well.

So, to ensure that any marketing plan you come up with delivers results, make sure that you consistently monitor your campaigns’ performance. And, if you see that there’s room for improvement, don’t be afraid to make the necessary changes. Yes, this will require you to adopt a much more hands-on approach than a spray-and-pray tactic. However, it will also deliver much better results and a higher ROI – which is precisely what you should be after in the first place.