By Rachel Moore

lemonade_standIt's no surprise that software as a service (SaaS) companies grow at a faster rate than software as a product (SaaP) companies. In 2014 alone, public SaaS companies grew at 28% in 2014 versus 8% for SaaP companies (source: Software Equity Group). So how can newer SaaS companies (or those looking for a little extra "oomph") grow their customer base to keep up with this exploding market? By making investments in 3 key areas: your product, your growth, and your customers. While your technical and product teams are hard at work, it's up to the rest of the business to focus on making the right growth and customer investments. Below, we'll look at 4 ways you can use Inbound Marketing to help SaaS companies grow their customer base:

1. Pursue the right keywords.

It's not enough to simply optimize your website pages and content for keywords - to truly build your customer base, you need to identify the keywords that your best customers (your Buyer Personas) are interested in and you can rank for. These persona-specific long tail keywords are the ones that should make their way into the titles of your blog posts, the copy of your website pages, the headers of your landing pages, and everywhere in between.

2. Blog like your business depends upon it.

...Because it does. Companies that blog on a regular basis attract, convert, and close more customers. In fact, 82% of marketers who blog daily report acquiring customers as a direct result of their blogging activities (source: HubSpot). To attract more qualified visitors (aka more potential customers), blog at least 3-4 times per week about educational topics related to you product or service that will resonate with your persona. Sell analytics software? Blog about the most important metrics businesses in your target market need to be able to report on. Want to market your SaaS healthcare platform? Write about how current legislation or impending regulations affect your market. 

3. Make sure your visitors and contacts have somewhere to go next.

Optimizing your website for long-tail persona-focused keywords and blogging up a storm are great, but they're not going to help your SaaS business build a customer base. While these techniques will attract visitors and prospects to your site, it's the offers you provide them in each stage of their buyer's journey that will convert those visitors into contacts and help close them into customers.

Make sure that every blog post you write has at least two offers associated with it - ideally, promoted via a topically-related middle- or bottom-of-the-funnel call-to-action at the bottom of each post and a more general, persona-agnostic call-to-action in your sidebar. In fact, every page on your website (with the exception of your landing pages) should have a call to action or next logical step someone can take to move them further into your sales process.

4. Create customer evangelists.

Attracting, converting, and closing new customers can be time-consuming and hard work. So why not let your existing customers do it for you?

Delight your customers into promoters of your brand by:

  • Setting up customer marketing programs that provide helpful, unique, customer-only content (like bonus programs, tips and tricks, and even freebies like relevant templates).
  • Offering great support that goes above and beyond in solving your existing customers' problems when they arise.
  • Over-delivering. Promised an inch? Give a mile.

Next time one of these customers' peers is in the market for a product or service offering like yours, it's a safe bet that your delighted customer will sing your graces and do your selling for you. Score!

Inbound marketing is a tried-and-true way to attract website visitors, convert them into leads, close those leads into customers, and delight customers into promoters. While its tactics and strategies can be utilized in almost every industry and vertical, nowhere is it more useful than for SaaS companies looking to grow their customer base. How have you used inbound marketing to grow your business? 

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Rachel Moore

About the author

Rachel Moore was formerly a Senior Consultant and Team Leader at SmartBug Media. A HubSpot alumna, Rachel uses her 7+ years of experience as a marketer and neuroscientist to help clients develop innovative strategies to achieve and exceed their business goals. Read more articles by Rachel Moore.

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