How to market SaaS using the RACE Framework
Looking for new ideas for how to market your Software as a Service (SaaS) business? Refocus and restructure your marketing with the RACE Framework
RACE focuses on how to improve your marketing across the full customer lifecycle from creating awareness to build an audience, encouraging interaction and lead generation, to purchase, and then customer loyalty.
When looking at how to market Software as a Service (SaaS), it’s important to use the most up-to-date marketing methods to reach your key demographic and generate maximum revenue at each stage of the customer journey.
REACH > ACT > CONVERT > ENGAGE
The RACE Framework is used in SaaS marketing as a structure to cover the paid, owned, and earned inbound marketing activities to encourage purchase. The initial plan for how to market SaaS should:
- Create an integrated digital strategy as a roadmap for future growth
- Define the resources needed to implement the strategy
- Improve your customer focus by segmenting your audience through digital media
- Develop your online content to grow leads and sales and create a more shareable brand
REACH: Marketing your software to reach more customers
Reach involves building brand awareness on other websites and offline media to build traffic to your main site by using, for example, microsites and social media.
Customer Acquisition Plan
Your customer acquisition plan should outline the methods, platforms, and strategies you will utilize to attract new fans, readers, and leads.
Affiliate marketers can generate revenue for referring new customers to other businesses through tracked links in online content. To pick the right affiliate marketing strategy when considering how to market SaaS:
- Ensure the strategy works for your audience; know where your customers are
- Understanding the kind of content your audience responds to
- Which offers work best for your potential audience?
- Use A/B testing
Social media marketing is comprised of two methods: organic and paid. The key is accessing the right networks and this is achieved by a well-defined audience. While 74% of companies invested resources into more than eight social media platforms in 2020, Facebook was cited as the platform providing the most ROI (Hubspot, 2021).
If your audience is made up of millennials, you should definitely include Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Paying for social media advertisements and exposure is a great way to get content in front of your audience without having to build up a network of loyal followers.
Search Engine Optimisation
Organic or unpaid search marketing is also known as search engine optimization (SEO). The idea behind SEO is to create content that shows up high on the search engine results page (SERP) and makes searchers want to click on your content. There are some proven methods:
- Putting your main keyword in the post title
- Adding alt text to your images
- Uploading transcripts for video and audio content
- Linking internally within your site
On the other hand, paid search marketing (pay-per-click, or PPC) is advertising on a Google SERP itself, theoretically increasing your chances of being found by searchers.
Take a look at How Paid Search and SEO Work Together by HawkSEM.
Measure the number of unique visits, value per visit, and followers, comparing social media influence to your main relevant social networks. Track month-on-month and year-on-year changes.
ACT: Data-driven marketing to inform your SaaS business’ interaction with customers
Act involves two main marketing techniques: improving your content strategy and improving the digital experience on your website to persuade site visitors to take the next step. The aim when looking at how to market SaaS is to generate leads by getting named contacts to disclose their contact details in response to receiving something of value.
Customer personas: These help focus on the target customer and provide a framework to create content. It’s crucial to understand your target customer’s pain points and goals and create content that will draw them in and resolve their queries.
NEILPATEL covers customer personas in How to Get in the Mind of B2B SaaS Customers.
Gated content: Readers must exchange personal information like emails and names to access the content. Content offers are an important part of customer acquisition and can help you get more leads out of your blog and content marketing strategy.
Customer nurture: nurture the customer relationship through the provision of relevant solution-based content.
SaaS-specific landing pages: will generate qualified leads – by implementing calls to action (CTAs) and micro-conversions, such as completing a form, registering your interest in a product or service, or signing up for a free trial.
LiveChat and virtual messaging: is very likely to provide customers with an added sense of reassurance as well as instant answers to any queries they may have. Make sure you test the impact that a live chat has on your conversion rate.
Funnel provides good examples of how to market SaaS using forms, CTAs, and a LiveChat function:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): this can help you to generate leads and convert your potential customers into long-term clients. CRM will provide you with data-driven leads, qualified lead generation, a structured workflow, instant collaboration, the ability to monitor leads interactively, a direct link to the sales team, and progress tracking of sales.
For further ideas of how CRM can support your SaaS marketing, Kandra Digital outlines: How CRM can Increase Conversion Ratio or sales?
Once you have generated leads, you should nurture the customer relationship through the provision of relevant solution-based content which will nurture them into becoming leads.
To track your performance, you should monitor lead conversion rates, cost per lead, time on site and bounce rates.
CONVERT: How to Market SaaS to achieve acclerated conversions
This is about using communications techniques to increase conversion to sale in your SaaS marketing, which will often include both online and offline channels. When considering how to market SaaS, these should include:
Lead nurturing: implementing a system that builds and maintains relationships with customers.
Lead scoring: identifying when and how to address each buyer with timely and relevant communication.
Content marketing: creating relevant and valuable content.
Multichannel distribution: interconnect all of your channels to maintain contact with leads.
Web: this should be dynamically personalized to reinforce and extend dialogue.
Retargeting: trial display ads and retargeting.
Social: social is a critical part of cross-channel nurturing. You should make every campaign social.
Direct mail: consider adding direct mail to further personalize and add a human touch.
Marketing automation: helps align all of your marketing efforts and messages.
Lead nurturing must be monitored and tested regularly to measure health and effectiveness. You should continually test to gauge how many touches have been received within a particular timeframe, the time of day and types of messages.
ENGAGE: Retain and delight your software customers
Engage is aimed at building a long-term relationship with your buyers and includes the following techniques:
Customer engagement: ensure that feedback is a key part of your SaaS customer retention strategy utilizing e-mail, phone calls, asking questions, and encouragement to use your service
Social presence: a robust social presence ensures that your customers will continually see you, encourages awareness of your SaaS and they are able to engage with you.
Send targeted content: with simple techniques such as automated e-mails when an action has been completed in the SaaS, you will add more value and are less likely to lose customers.
E-mail marketing: use e-mail to provide quality content to your customers, as well as product information, discounts, event invitations, happy birthdays, and promotions. It is also very easily measured and monitored.
Upselling: this is the process of increasing the level of service and being paid more – engaging an existing customer at a deeper level. This, in turn, deepens your relationship, increases the value received by your customer and their customer lifetime value (CLV).
Customer retention: retaining customers is far less costly than gaining new ones with 90% of happy customers being likely to make a repeat purchase. 93% are also more likely to be repeat customers at companies with excellent customer service. Your retention strategies will differ depending on, for example, your resources, audience and business model.
For further ideas, here are 27 SaaS Customer Retention Strategies You Need to Be Using Today by The Daily Egg.
Customer lifetime value (LTV) is the estimated net profit that an individual or business will provide over their lifetime as a paying customer. When looking at how to market SaaS, calculating this can help you predict how much revenue you can roughly expect a customer to provide throughout their relationship with your business.
Customer acquisition is the driving force of any company, small or large. That means you cannot, no matter what the cost, give up on marketing to new customers. But research has shown that the key to growth lies not with your marketing or sales team but your customer service team, and your customers themselves.