SaaS marketing differs greatly from traditional marketing. SaaS, or software as a service, brings in a predictable revenue stream from your customers. Here is the detailed b2b SaaS marketing plan template we used to build a multi-million dollar company. It includes website design strategies to sign up trial accounts and email drip campaigns to convert them into paying customers.
If you sell a monthly subscription service to any type of product or service, even if it is not software, this marketing plan will give you ideas to succeed. Copy the ideas shown here to create the perfect subscription marketing plan for your business.
Table of Contents
What is SaaS Marketing
SaaS generates revenue from your customers every month. As a result, the better your retention, the higher your profits.
SaaS product marketing requires deliberate steps to keep customers engaged and happy. The more they use your SaaS product, the more likely they will be to continue using it.
Unlike traditional marketing, SaaS marketing involves creating more touch points with customers during all phases of a buyer’s journey: pre-sales, trial, post-sales.
The trial and post-sale periods are critical to your success. If a prospect creates a trial account but never signs in, they will not upgrade. If they upgrade but use your product infrequently, they will be less likely to renew their subscription.
Great resource: download our free marketing plan example to create your own
B2B SaaS Marketing Plan
A b2b SaaS marketing plan can be similar to one for consumer products. The guiding principal is to focus on customer satisfaction every step of the way.
We used the SaaS marketing plan template below to build one of our companies, MailerMailer, in the competitive email marketing SaaS industry. It grew to be a multi-million dollar business. MailerMailer was acquired in 2017 by j2 Global, makers of Campaigner, another SaaS email marketing service.
b2b is short for business-to-business
The #1 factor that influenced our success was showing prospects and customers how to succeed with our tools. The follow-up during the trial phase and post-sales phase is critical.
Pre-Sales Marketing to Increase Free Trials
Your website usability has a big impact on converting visitors into trial accounts. We offered a free trial to capture the contact information of prospects so we could nurture them to become paid clients.
Aside from having an attractive and fast-loading website, include educational resources to draw interest. The more you look like an expert, the better your chances of signing up new trial accounts.
Include the following content on your website to nurture visitors to your trial account signup button:
Images That Show Value
- Show an image of a happy person looking like they are achieving success using your SaaS product or vibrant screenshots showing attractive dashboards.
- You can also include an image that depicts a benefit.
- Read our post on where to get free stock images.
For example, the image we used for this article is a flower about to blossom. This ties in with the article’s theme: use this b2b SaaS marketing plan template to get more customers for your SaaS product.
Benefit Tag Line
- Use a benefit tag line that encapsulates the main benefit your customers achieve.
- This is different that a list of features.
Although your product may have stellar features, the primary reason a prospect signs up is the benefits they will gain. At MailerMailer, our benefit tag line was Easy Email Marketing. This resonated with our prospects.
More Detailed Benefits
- Use a longer sentence or two to explain your key benefits concisely.
- Do keyword analysis using tools like SEMRush to identify optimal words that prospects search on for your type of product
It takes time and research to distill the messaging about your product. You want to describe your product’s reason for existing.
Trial Signup Button
- Add a high contrast trial signup button to make your trial signup option easier to see.
For example, if your overall website design uses blue, having a signup button that is red or green creates a strong contrast so the button doesn’t blend in without being seen.
- Link to case studies to show how others like your prospect are using your tool – and what kind of success they are having.
- Include a statistic about your product’s success or retention.
Free Trial Web Page Examples
Many of our readers ask which tools we found to be the best ones for creating a high-converting website easily. We evaluated quite a few tools and recommend the following products.
Quick note – the links below are affiliate links so we do get compensated if you choose to make a purchase. That said, there are hundreds of tools on the market and these are the ones we found to be among the best. See our affiliate disclosure.
- Wix – create a website by picking a fully customizable template and typing in your content. They even include sample content based on your type of business, including online stores. No coding or design expertise required. This is our top pick for anyone who wants to get a website up and running quickly with minimal effort.
- SiteGround – excellent WordPress hosting service. Fast page load times, responsive support team, very inexpensive. SiteGround hosts MoreBusiness.com’s website. Pick a template from Template Monster.
- Shopify – ideal for more advanced features for online stores. Includes numerous tutorials to help you create a successful ecommerce business. No coding required, includes many templates and examples.
Email Drip Campaign During Free Trial Period
Once someone signs up for your free trial, you want to do everything possible to make them successful using your tool. Depending on your price points, it may make sense to have a sales rep call them.
At this stage of the buyer’s journey, you should start a drip email marketing series to show them ways to use your product. Here are examples of content you can send in your email drip campaign:
Within minutes of a prospect creating a free trial account, email them a welcome note. Items to include:
- Thank them for creating a free trial account.
- Tell them what their next step is! They just signed up and don’t know how to use your service. Tell them exactly how to get started. Include a button such as “Let’s Get Started” to launch them into your product.
- Link to support videos, knowledge base pages and tutorials.
- Show them how to reach you for support in case they have questions. Add your support hours, phone, and email.
Most people sign up for a trial, check it out and then abandon it. That’s why a regular series of emails to stay on top of them will increase your conversions to paid accounts.
Your goal is to create a small win for your prospect so they see value in paying to upgrade.
On the day after they sign up for a free trial account, or the next business day for b2b SaaS products, send a follow up message to ensure the prospect is moving along. Include topics like:
- Reminder on how to get set up – an onboarding video works great at this stage.
- Most common issues when getting started or configuring the account.
Depending on your product, you may want to send an email drip campaign with a unique tip on a specific feature every few days.
Another option is to embed links to your case studies. This shows prospects how others are using your service successfully. Stories paint a picture that helps people understand the value of your SaaS product.
Triggered Emails Based on Actions or Inactions
After the initial setup phase, you will have users who never login again. Others will use it and then stop. Some may even try it, get frustrated and then never return.
Ideally, you want to create messaging for each scenario to overcome whatever is holding the prospect back.
For example, we analyzed the journey a prospect takes from a free trial to a paid account. Our goal was to discover points that caused a disruption in the journey.
After a thorough review, we found that some users would create an account but never create an email campaign. So, we sent those users tips on how to create a message in 10 minutes. It included a video that guided them through the entire process.
Sometimes, users would create an email campaign but never send it out to test our email delivery and reporting tools. For them, we sent a reminder that they had an email campaign ready to test. We showed them sample reports they would get once they sent it.
Your triggered emails should focus on how to get past any obstacles that are preventing your prospect from going to the next stage in testing your product.
Sparking Interest in Abandoned Trial Accounts
Inevitably, you will have trial accounts that go untouched during the trial period. At one point, they expressed interest. After all, they signed up for a free trial. To regenerate that interest, send them a drip email campaign that answers one or all of the following questions.
Reasons Anybody Buys Anything
- How will I make money using your product?
- What is my return on investment if I used your product?
- How much money will I save using your product?
- Will using your product relieve my current headaches?
- Can your product make me look good?
The answers to these questions drive all sales. They are important in any form of marketing, not just a SaaS marketing strategy.
Drip Email campaign Headlines That Address These Reasons
- How ABC Company Saved $6,928 in 3 Months on Bookkeeping Fees
- From 2 Months to 3 Weeks: How ABC Company Reduced Sales Cycle Time
- A Template for Closing 2 Contracts in 30 Days Using This Pre-Written Campaign
- ABC Company Thwarts an Overnight Cyberattack by Adding This Security Hook
Summarize the example in the main message of your email campaign. Then, link to a case study on your site. When you show prospects tangible benefits that others like them have experienced, they may become interested again.
Additionally, using a trackable email tool allows you to see who is re-engaging so you can reach out to shepherd them along your sales cycle.
SaaS Marketing That Creates Post-Sales Success
Your SaaS marketing doesn’t stop once you’ve made the sale. All of your pre-sales efforts will generate clients who are newbies.
Don’t assume that because they passed the trial period that they know all of the nuances of your product, including how to use your features to achieve specific goals.
Your main goal at this stage of the buyer journey is to ensure that your new customer succeeds with your tool. They need to see their return on investment. In other words, is your product addressing the five reasons that anybody buys anything?
Create regular touch points to connect with your customers. If you don’t, a competitor will.
You can lose customers this way.
Share Something Nobody Else Can
At MailerMailer, we had access to billions of email campaigns. We analyzed our data and created an annual Email Marketing Metrics Report.
Customers used it to compare their email marketing campaigns with others. When we first did this, it gave us a competitive advantage. Today, many companies publish similar data because it provides immense value to customers.
Our annual report got picked up by numerous bloggers. They wrote about our analysis and pointed links from their blogs to our website. This helped with our search engine optimization strategy because inbound links from reputable sites is one of the strongest influencers of high search rankings.
More so, industry publications, many marketing agencies, and even the Direct Marketing Association’s annual fact book also covered the report.
How to Stay Connected With Existing SaaS Customers
Here are examples of the information we shared with our clients on our blog. At least once a month, we would create a newsletter based on our latest blog topics. We sent the newsletter to our clients and our prospects, who we nurtured using the same content.
- Refresher onboarding tips – how to get set up if a new user joins the team.
- Case studies – how others are using your service.
- Usage Ideas – ways to use your tool for different scenarios.
- Tutorials – how to do specific tasks (short videos are awesome for this).
- Best practices – how should clients be using your tool; what are your recommended best practices for specific use cases.
- Guides – more in-depth info than blogs.
- Infographics – can be a combination of blogs repurposed in graphic format.
- Reports only you can generate – look at the data you collect and create a report that highlights industry trends, like our email metrics report. Then, publicize this with press releases and emails to bloggers who cover your space to get great press coverage!
- Industry trends – what’s going on in the news about your industry, what do your customers need to know about it.
- Webinars – spend a longer time with clients to show new features, onboarding steps, industry trends, you name it.
Social Media and SaaS Marketing
Creating a vast repository of educational content takes a concerted effort. You can use outside resources or write it yourself.
Also, social proof can help build trust around your company and your products. Getting more positive online reviews will show prospects that others trust you.
In fact, a Harvard Business School study found that adding just one star to your online rating results in 5-9% more revenue!
MoreBusiness.com’s Marketing Tools offer an easy way to grow your online reputation, which can lead to more sales.
Even though it takes time, the benefits are amazing!
You can easily repurpose your content. We re-used our content in social media marketing, videos from blog posts, and sales meeting follow ups.
Also, separate your blog from your resources section. Doing so makes it easier for prospects and clients to find your guides, trend reports, case studies and other educational material.
You can post social media status updates on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to direct readers to your educational content.
Include a call-to-action where appropriate. This is useful for prospects who are reading your content. It encourages them to start a trial.
More Marketing Resources
MoreBusiness.com also provides free samples of other marketing and business plans that you can use to create your own.
- Marketing plan template – a very detailed example of a marketing plan example that you can download to generate your plan
- One page marketing plan – a downloadable marketing plan for those in a hurry, covering the main ingredients that you should include in your marketing efforts
- Goal driven social media marketing plan – a strategy for creating awareness using various forms of social media
- MSP Marketing Plan – a downloadable 12-month marketing plan to promote IT services