In essence, we are all familiar with what makes a marketing campaign successful -- a formidable strategy, a dash of creativity, and sometimes even a smudge of plain luck. Here are some of the most interesting successful marketing tactics from the SaaS companies. Enjoy!
Give The People What They Want
HootSuite is a social media management system that helps businesses track and manage their social media channels. A lot of the company's marketing is driven by an interest in entertaining audiences. Last year they broke personal records with a game of thrones inspired video. Why? Because Game of Thrones was what the people wanted (duh)! Capitalizing on the power of social media --- a tool they themselves in essence "offer" to their clients, the video has been viewed more than 850,000 times and brought HootSuite to new markets. By producing the video mostly in-house they kept costs, and subsequent CAC low.
The Zen of A Successful SEO Maneuver
A cloud based customer service platform, not the “sexiest” of the SaaS companies, Zendesk used one of the most bizarre marketing ploys we’ve seen. Their team, who took the proactive approach to SEO and monitoring search terms, noticed that a highly searched term was “zendesk alternative.” But instead of freaking out about the fact that people were looking for their competitors, Zendesk used the predicament to their advantage.
Enter, a rocking alternative. By creating a fake namesake band, the ummm “Zendesk Alternative,” Zendesk turned the not-so-palatable traffic into a treasure trove of leads for the picking!
The band was outfitted complete with a video, website, social media accounts, and a full SEO push, brilliantly driving all those competitor searches right back to the mothership! Now that's pure marketing genius right there.
Play Nice, Reap Nicer
What started as a content marketing platform became what is now a full service media company connecting freelancers with publishers and brands who need content for their sites -- Contently.
Their number one marketing tool? They are nice to writers! By paying out higher writing rates they attracted quality writers, investors, and publishers/brands. They maintain a high customer retention rate which ultimately contributes to their high customer lifetime value.
Go Where The Audience Are
Buffer is a social media scheduling app that allows users to create updates in a queue for dispersal at peak times. The core of their marketing strategy is one of the most traditional (yet often overlooked) channels - blogs! What made this classic tactic such a hit for Buffer? A creative approach that reflects their knowledge of their buyer personas!
Instead blogging about all things social media to a large audience, Buffer made the switch to target the influencers who already had captive audiences (the captive audience being their buyer personas of course).
This brilliant move placed their content front and center of their target audience in a grander scale. This stroke of genius helped them grow from a small company to now having more than 1 million raving users!
Tough Goals Require Creative Solutions
What if we told you a SaaS company invested in a billboard, and won big? Sounds a little too traditional and awfully ironic, don't you think? Not if you're HipChat!
HipChat is a private chat and instant messaging service that provides one-on-one and group chatting, as well as cloud-based file storage, video calling, searchable message histories and online image viewing. They were a small startup that wanted to utilize billboards for advertisements, but (being a startup) did not have the hefty budget of around 30-50k/month to do just that.
Luckily, their brilliant co-founder and CEO Pete Curley thought of a pretty smart solution! Pete looked for opportunities from companies looking to “cancel” their billboards ads right before their lease ended. And boy was he on the money! HipChat landed a billboard for $6,999 and used a simple, incredibly relevant image to draw attention. While the ad space was one thing, a strategic and creative visual approach to the brand's messaging was ultimately the trigger to success of the campaign. Albeit the initial investment was expensive, it ultimately paid off and they are still reaping the benefits to date.
These companies thought outside the box and won! The SaaS space is unique and many of you entering are bringing brand new concepts to the world. Use inbound marketing guidelines as a base and then run with your most creative ideas. Whatever marketing strategy you choose to go with, don't forget to embark on a buyer persona discovery to ultimately target the right people with the right strategy.