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September 27, 2014

How to improve conversion rates for SaaS marketing

SaaS brands have multiple key performance indicators to help assess the success of their marketing efforts, including free trial registrations, feature/tool usage and sales conversions. The following items are tactics for how to improve conversion rates for SaaS marketing.

SaaS marketing

Freemium or free trial experience
Give users a free trial of your product in order to help them better understand the value your product has to offer. The concept is simple: Get users engaged and them entice them to upgrade once they understand your product's value.

Product blog
Blogging can be a powerful tool for helping subscribers and leads better understand your product or it's application for a particular industry. Create articles that help educate users in best practices. Blogging is a powerful, if not necessary, lead generation process--helping to drive prospects from social media, search and link referrals.

Download the Complete Guide to Set a Conversion Rate Goal (Specific to Your  Business) [Free eBook]

Coupons and discounts for first time use
Financial incentives are a powerful tool for SaaS brands--helping drive both first-time registrations and help leads progress further down the sales funnel. Coupons can be used for both digital promotions (email, social, PPC ads), as well as for offline market assets (brochures, direct mail). Coupons have an additional benefit of helping to track the ROI of campaigns, as their unique coupon IDs can be associated with particular marketing efforts.

Automation marketing & triggered emails (& lifecycle emails)
Using marketing automation is a powerful way to detect usage and interest with leads--helping to drive better engagement and email open rates. For SaaS marketing, a brand could use engagement events (such as accessing a new tool in the software) to power triggered emails and change a user's marketing workflow. Marketing automation helps brands monitor lifecycle changes with their leads and customers. Automation is a smarter way to market, and it does not necessarily mean replacing human outreach with canned, automatic messages. Instead, automation, when practiced appropriately, is about personalization and relevance.

25% of B2B Fortune 500 companies already use marketing automation, as do 76% of the world’s largest SaaS companies. -- Pardot

Free credits and virtual currency
A simple way to convert leads into customers with web apps and Saas brands is to use some form of virtual currency or credits that can provide an incentive for first-time use. Credits can also be used for gamifying or rewards for user progress with an application.

Slidebox info panels
Small information panels fitted neatly to the lower right side of your browser window can be a great way to educate leads and help them become customers. They are useful because they are typically unobtrusive and can be activated after a user scrolls down a page.

website slidebox info panel

User guides and product documents
User guides help build trust with first-time users. Promote easy-to-read user guides to demonstrate that your SaaS company cares about supporting new users. Product documents should be accessible and very easy to navigate. Spend the extra time and resources to give the brochures a "designer's eye."  Don't just leave your engineers to solely create the user manuals and product guides--these are key pieces of documentation that help build trust and retain your customers.

Resource area of your website
Just as you need accessible and easy-to-read user guides, SaaS brands also should have an easy to navigate resource area for supporting customers. Blogs and search-driven databases work well for these resource areas. These resource / support areas need to be designed for ease of use--don't increase your customers' frustration by having a poorly planned and designed resource area.

Net Promoter Score and feedback surveys
SaaS brands can use the Net Promoter Score as a measure of effectiveness for newly registered customers and longer term customers to assess the overall effectiveness of a brand, it's communications and support. Having a solid grasp of your brand's NPS can be useful in assessing issues downstream with churn and other engagement issues. Feedback surveys can be a useful way of engaging leads, customers and past customers to gain better insights into how they use your software and ways to improve the user experience. Feedback can be one of the best ways to show customers that you care and see the world from their eyes.

Video tours and instructionals
Video is a powerful format for recruiting new customers. Video can be used for a range of lifecycle stage needs--from recruiting leads to helping inspire and drive better engagement with existing customers. For SaaS brands, a video library of training resources could be a powerful tool for improving retention rates longterm.

Customer forum
Offering a customer forum can help leads who have yet to convert better understand your product and it's practice application. Additionally, a customer forum can help product teams identify frustrations and solve problems--serving as a critical feedback mechanism for your business.

For more SaaS marketing tips see: Blog marketing for SaaS brands and Content marketing strategy for software companies