- TECHNICAL CENTER
It seems new businesses offering software as a service pop up every hour. With so many options, how do you make your product stand out? This is the core question of marketing, and part of the solution is offering your services on a subscription billing model. This idea, among other concepts, can help customers determine which SaaS product is worth their time and money.
“Subscription billing is the most economical, customer-friendly way to fund a SaaS product.”
Using a subscription billing model
Subscription billing is the most economical, customer-friendly way to fund a SaaS product. Consumers love it because the systems are easy to use and there’s nothing to get between them and your product. They simply input their payment information once and are automatically charged each billing cycle. This is much easier than having to remember to log into an account and type in a credit card number every month. Subscription prices tend to be reasonable and don’t require a large upfront cost or yearly license fee – two other pricing options that are usually far more expensive.
Provide and advertise value
The best marketing comes from the product itself. Whatever you’re selling has to provide value to its customers. The greater the value, the more word-of-mouth marketing and, therefore, the greater the hype it will receive. Consider Facebook – when the social networking site launched in 2004, membership was initially limited to Harvard students. According to the school’s Fact Book for 2004 to 2005, only 19,789 people could access the site that year. Now, the website boasts a monthly average of over 1.6 billion active users. This gargantuan leap occurred because Facebook created and continued to innovate a valuable product that set itself apart from the crowd.
Businesses should also aim to be more than just a retread of a popular service. Instead of trying to make the next Salesforce or Adobe Creative Suite, they should identify a need that isn’t served by any existing product. By providing customers with a truly unique product, you improve your company’s chances at longevity. If you just copy other companies without innovating in a way that makes your product stand out , there’s no reason for customers to choose your product.
How do you know what people need? As Entrepreneur said, you need to ask yourself how well you know your target audience. Market research into your current or potential customers should give you a glimpse of what sort of products they want and – perhaps more importantly – a starting point for development.
“Most customers expect a free trial to experiment with your product.”
Offer free trials and incentives
Free trials are one of the most widely used strategies in SaaS marketing. In fact, it’s such a popular method that most customers expect a free week or month to experiment with your product before committing to a purchase. If, in the hopes of maximizing profit, you don’t provide this option, you may be missing out on untold numbers of potential customers.
There are a few factors that go into designing a free trial. The offer should last long enough for customers to get acquainted with your product, but not so long that they can complete numerous projects for free. In addition, you must decide whether to record a customer’s payment information at the beginning or end of the trial. Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to get the customer’s email address for future marketing endeavors.
Give benefits to people who refer your product
You want people who’ve purchased your product to spread the word, but they won’t always do so without incentive. A good way to promote word-of-mouth marketing is to offer a discounted or free period to everyone who recommends your software.
Sujan Patel, a marketing writer for Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, told New Breed Marketing that the best time to ask people to share your product is right after the “aha” moment in the purchase cycle – generally, the moment the sale is complete, as the customer is still excited about the product they purchased and more inclined to share this excitement with others.
Use Google Adwords
WordStream, an online advertising company, noted the overall benefits of Google Adwords far outweigh its upfront costs. It’s common for SaaS cost-per-click bids – that is, the maximum amount of money a company is willing to pay for a click on their ad – to reach $100. This may cause some businesses to lose money at first, but Google Adwords has the potential to reach thousands of new customers each day.
Businesses offering SaaS products face a lot of competition no matter their industry, but creating a valuable product with attractive subscription, trial and referral benefits and advertising through Google helps them stand out.