4 Lean and Mean Growth Marketing Strategies for Small SaaS Businesses

Hitting that next level of growth is challenging for any business.

SaaS (software as a service) businesses may find it even more overwhelming.

Being creative and cost-effective is essential. When it comes to developing growth marketing strategies, you don’t have every resource at your disposal.

You have to think lean and mean. For any SaaS company looking to accelerate growth with minimal investment, we’ve put together a list of actionable tactics to help you do just that.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Small businesses don’t need a huge budget to drive growth.
  • Instead, invest in activities that will pay dividends for years to come.
  • The best growth strategies involve organic SEO, content marketing, organic social media, and email marketing.

There is no one-size-fits-all.

Growth marketing strategies are not cookie cutter. What works for one SaaS company may not work for the next. There are some fundamental, proven strategies, but you’ll need to think about how they can apply to your software and your audience when browsing through our list. The great thing about marketing is that you can test out new approaches before you launch a campaign.

1. Focus on Organic SEO

SEO is fundamental for any marketing growth hack. Creating optimized, quality content consistently is the way to win with SEO. Paid ads can indeed give you a boost here, but the real value is when you’re on the front page of Google as an organic result. Why does organic SEO matter so much? Let’s look at some stats from Brightedge Research.

Image: Brightedge Research

Those are impressive numbers, so how can you get in on the search action? Organic SEO rankings rise because of content marketing. You’ll need to consistently produce content with keywords that match how your audience searches. There are a few foundational elements you should develop:

  • Keyword master list: This is a list of all keywords you currently rank for and want to rank for. It includes monthly search volume and organic and paid competition. Every 30 days, check for movement and determine MOM (month over month) growth.
  • A content plan that defines what keywords align with topics that are relevant and interesting to your audience.
  • Search rank tools: You’ll need a platform like SEMRush to derive the stats on keywords, track rank changes, and to help you discover new keywords that may be trending. (See video below for an SEO checklist).

Organic SEO isn’t just what you see on the page. There are technical aspects, including URL formatting, meta descriptions, and alt tags. Off-site SEO is critical as well. It consists of back linking from high-quality sites.

2. Commit to Content Marketing

Organic SEO won’t drive more traffic if you don’t have content. That’s why content marketing should be a tenet of your growth marketing strategies. Content marketing for the SaaS market is a competitive space. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to reach and convert customers.

Content marketing drives many benefits for your brand. It builds trust, spotlights your thought leadership, and delivers measurable ROI (return on investment). So, what do you need to leverage content marketing? First, you need a content strategy, which seems like a given, but only a small percentage of B2B companies have one, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) latest research.

Image: CMI

In 2020, content strategies underwent drastic change and adaptation due to the pandemic. While this is a huge disruptor like no other, content strategies should be agile. They should evolve, whether that’s from internal or external forces.

The other key aspects of any content marketing initiative will include:

  • Content calendar: Your content calendar should include topics, keywords, buyer persona, buyer stage, and goals. Content calendars should be at least 90 days out. Your calendar should also include the frequency of posting and parameters. Not sure what your production should be? Check out this post on blog frequency.
  • Content creators: As a small SaaS company, you probably don’t have the resources to publish content regularly. Using a content writing service can help. Your team of SMEs (subject matter experts) can still participate with topic ideation and defining messaging, but on execution, you’ll need assistance.
  • Distribution plan: Now that you have content, how will you distribute it? Without distribution, it can’t deliver traffic. Distribution also helps with organic SEO. Determine what channels you’ll use—social media, email marketing, third-party websites, etc.

Once your content marketing engine is humming along, you’ll see traffic increases, keyword rankings rise, and more conversions.

3. Engage with Organic Social Media

Organic social media can be a great channel for SaaS small businesses to drive growth. First, you’ll need to develop a social media marketing strategy that details what channels you’ll use, how often you’ll post, and what you’ll post.

  • Channels: What makes sense for your audience? LinkedIn is probably at the top of the list since it’s B2B-focused. Twitter makes sense, as well. These are traditional platforms, but your audience may be on others as well, maybe even TikTok.
  • Post frequency: To win on social media, you have to post a lot. Otherwise, you’ll have fewer impressions, thanks to ever-changing algorithms. It also requires time, although you’ll most likely use a marketing automation tool to schedule posts.
  • What to post: You can’t just post your own content—variety matters. Along with your original content, curate articles to post that are reputable, such as tech publications or industry groups.

The most important aspect of driving growth through social media is engagement. You want more followers, yes, but also more interaction. Shares, likes, and comments are engagement metrics.

You also must respond. If someone comments on a post or tags you in a tweet, then you need to comment back to them. You’re starting conversations here that lead to more traffic to your site and stronger relationships.

4. Deliver Value in the Inbox

Email marketing remains one of the best ways to create ROI. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), you’ll gain a return of $42 for every $1 spent. As you can see from the table below, it’s a number that keeps rising.

Image: DMA

You can be lean and mean with email marketing. You’ll need an email automation tool that’s easy to use and allows you to set up drip campaigns or auto-responders. The key to delivering value to the inbox and converting comes down to:

  • How relevant and valuable the information is to the recipient, which is why segmentation of your list and personalization are crucial.
  • Subject lines with a hook so that they open the email.
  • CTAs (call to actions) that make sense based on where the buyer is in the funnel.
  • Messaging that makes it clear what’s in it for them to try or demo your product.

Hone and tweak your email marketing based on the data you collect on performance to ensure it’s providing ROI.

How Will You Implement These Growth Marketing Strategies?

Not sure where to start? If you have a lean team, it’s hard to focus on growth. We can help!

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.

Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

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