If you want to grow your B2B SaaS, especially as an early to mid-stage company, you need to use the right marketing to meet your audience at all stages of their buyer’s journey.
Whether you’re choosing inbound or outbound channels, you need to build/create touchpoints for your audience that are relevant to your product.
This means being precise with your marketing efforts rather than casting a wide net hoping to catch something.
So if you’re doing PPC, this means understanding the intent and logic behind your user’s searches and bidding on the right keywords.
And with Linkedin, this means posting content that’s useful for YOUR audience and not just done for likes and engagement.
But when it comes to marketing for a B2B SaaS, there isn’t one channel that will be your holy grail.
Users looking for B2B SaaS products will likely go through a much longer buyer’s journey and sales cycle compared to a person looking for an electrician or plumber.
You need to organize your marketing strategy and focus on the channels that will drive the best results for your SaaS. Especially when you’re starting as an early-stage company and need to be conservative with your spending.
For B2B SaaS marketing, it’s all about building the right touchpoints for long-term growth.
In this article, you’ll find a list of the best marketing channels you can use for your B2B SaaS and how you can use them to generate better leads, reduce churn, and grow consideration/awareness for your brand.
Don’t want to read the article? I don’t blame you. Here’s the TL;DR:
- Email Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Podcasting or Attending Podcasts
- Influencer Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Referral and Affiliate Marketing
- Paid Ads
- Attending or Sponsoring Conferences
- Organic Social
- Building a Mobile App
- Cold Calling or Cold Emailing
- Account-Based Marketing
Email Marketing to Nurture Audiences and Capture Signups/Demos at a Much Lower Cost
Email marketing is a must-have marketing channel for B2B SaaS companies looking to communicate with their audience.
It’s the only marketing channel where you truly own your audience.
While email is a competitive channel, it can be leveraged successfully if you already have a devoted audience.
Think about how many promotional emails you receive daily. How many are junk, and how many do you actually read through per day? In fact, the average office worker receives around 121 emails daily.
Now, how many emails do you open coming from brands/people you like? I guarantee you have at least 2-3 newsletters that you’re invested in.
This is what I mean when I say you have to have a devoted audience.
Yes, you can continue to build this through email marketing (you need to have a really solid newsletter), but you likely need to grow your newsletter and brand reception through other channels.
- Promoting your newsletter on social media
- Promoting your newsletter on your website
- Creating a referral program for your newsletter
You can also capture emails from lead magnets.
While the audience won’t be as brand-devoted, they’ve still shown interest in your company by downloading a relevant resource.
You can even use your CRM to capture their contact information and business information.
Say in my case, I create a dedicated Ebook on SEO for B2B SaaS companies. I’d likely have a mix of SEOs from agencies (who do marketing for SaaS), and SEOs from SaaS companies downloading my resource. Since I’m not targeting agencies, I can basically remove them from my email segments.
But once I have them filtered out, I’m left with SEOs from SaaS companies who I can continue to build a relationship with. Which is also considered to be nurturing.
But in the case of B2B SaaS companies pitching their audience, you can capture your audience through email and send them content like:
- Ungated resources
- Educational content
- Entertaining content (don’t rely on this one too heavily)
- New product updates
- Product videos
This is the top-of-the-funnel level of nurturing your audience, but you can and should segment your audience based on where they are in their buyers’ journey.
So this means you won’t be sending out the same email to every user. You want to split your emails up based on your email segments. You want to segment your email audience based on things like:
- Nurturing stage
- Consideration stage
- Decision stage
- Retention stage
And the best part about all of this? You own this channel and audience. It’s not like SEO where they happen to come across your brand through search.
Your audience signed up to your email list willingly and already has positive associations with your brand.
So now you have the perfect opportunity to pitch your audience without being too intrusive.
And email is like no other when it comes to metrics and KPIs.
You can measure your email campaigns with opens, clicks, and conversion tracking.
You can refine your campaigns with subject lines, content, and A/B testing.
And along with your CRM data, you can see:
- Who your subscribers are
- How they interact with your emails
- If you can do anything to make them more engaged
All this data makes it easier for personalization, and increase the likelihood of your target user signing up for your product.
Optimize Your Website for SEO to Capture Leads at a Much Lower Acquisition Cost
Compared to outbound channels, SEO will provide much more long-term visibility, leads, and traffic for B2B SaaS companies.
With paid ads, the results stop coming in as soon as you pause your budget.
With SEO, your results will compound over time. Once you publish your content, it has the potential to rank and drive results over a longer period of time.
That’s not to say that your content will always rank without any additional work (you still have to factor in content decay), but it takes much less budget and resources once the content is indexed and ranking.
But the biggest benefit of SEO is the lead potential you have from it. Google is the largest search engine in the world and with 8.5 billion searches per day, you have plenty of opportunities to target your ideal decision-maker.
This means doing proper keyword research for your SaaS to find the queries relevant to your ideal target user. Queries that will act as touchpoints along their buyers’ journey, and build awareness and consideration for your product.
When it comes to B2B sales, it can often involve a complicated sales process that usually doesn’t follow a linear path. Your user will likely flip between the consideration and decision-making stages multiple times.
However, this is why SEO is important for SaaS companies, it helps build trust with your audience, and in some cases, communicate why your product is right for them.
When you rank well and focus on creating helpful content for your readers, it shows that you’re actually a reliable source of information and not trying to pitch them at every chance. You’re guiding them along their journey, but letting them make the final decision.
But this will help make a positive impression on your audience during the consideration and decision-making process. The more familiar they are with your brand, and the more touchpoints they had with you, the more likely they are to gravitate to your product over the competition.
Now, SEO isn’t just about website traffic for SaaS companies. You also need to prioritize conversion rate optimization (CRO) to help increase the likelihood of a user taking a desired action.
For a B2B SaaS company, long sales funnels mean understanding and optimizing every step of your audience’s journey, from awareness to retention.
With CRO, you can identify the pages that could benefit from CTAs or are currently underperforming. You can also use A/B testing and heatmaps to reveal how to:
- Refine messaging
- Improve layouts
- Add CTAs
While content should still be focused on the reader, CRO allows for more opportunities to convert your audience into leads or sales without being too intrusive.
Again, it is still up to the audience to decide whether they want to take that next step.
So when you start with SEO for your SaaS, make sure you create content for the bottom of the funnel first and then work your way up to the top. And allow CRO to help increase your conversion rate along the way.
Leverage Video Marketing to Make Your Content More Accessible
With Google being the top-used search engine in the world, you can probably guess what number 2 is based on this section.
Video marketing should be an absolute priority for B2B SaaS brands
Not only are they great for getting your point across, but they work perfectly for being redistributed. You can use video for:
- Website content
- Social media
You can also use videos to make your product more digestible for your users. Rather than just reading about your product, your audience can see the product in action.
This is incredibly important for non-technical decision-makers who might need more visual aspects to help them understand.
As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words, so a video is worth a million.
One of the main benefits of video marketing is that readers remember information better compared to text. In fact, they are 400% more likely to remember information they saw in a video than in an article.
All in all, video marketing remains a solid way to boost engagement and increase awareness for your SaaS across all of your marketing channels.
Host Webinars to Learn More About Your Engaged Audience
Every B2B SaaS company should be involved with event and webinar hosting in some way. If you’re tracking customer engagement through your CRM, you can see which users are the most engaged with your brand.
If you have repeat users attending your webinars, it shows they trust your brand and could be open to further engagement.
Not to mention that webinars can capture contact information and act as a lead magnet. You can even use your webinars to prompt users to take action with your product.
You can encourage users to sign up for your product during or at the end of the webinar. It’s better to pitch during the webinar rather than wait until after it ends.
The people attending your webinar blocked off time to attend your webinar, plus after your webinar, they’re likely to go cold, and your sales might be more intrusive reaching out afterwards.
You can also use retargeting to keep your brand front of mind for your webinar attendees.
Create Your Own Podcast or Attend Popular Podcasts
While podcasting likely won’t be consistent with leads, it can be a great way to build awareness for your product.
It might have a lower conversion rate, but it can be a great way to get discovered by users who aren’t familiar with your product.
In this case, this comes from attending other podcasts that your target audience attends. It’s purely an informational tactic to position your product front of mind to users who might be interested in your type of product.
If you have time for it, you can also create your own podcast to talk about trends in your industry. And then in this case, you can bring in well-known industry leaders who can talk on your podcast. This will bring new audiences to your podcast and help them become familiar with your product.
The thing with podcasts is that you can’t fake them. People are dedicating their time to listen to your podcast, so don’t spend the whole time just talking about your product. Actually make your podcast worth listening to. You can talk about:
- Trends in the industry
- Educational Tips
- Product Features
Consider Influencer Marketing to Reach New Audiences
When it comes to influencer marketing, it’s all about using industry experts and trusted thought leaders to help build trust for your product.
Industry leaders can provide new audiences with social proof about your product and that it’s a product that can be trusted. In some cases, your influencers can meet decision-makers at the right time and influence their purchasing decision.
They might be looking for a product similar to yours, and a trusted thought leader might help position your product as the best solution at the right time.
With that being said, you need to team up with influencers who are genuinely interested in your product and not just doing it for a paycheck.
For influencer marketing to work, it has to be authentic. You have to allow these influencers full access to your product so they can write like they’re familiar with your product.
Even better if they’ve been using your product for some time. If they can write a solid case study for their audience, you can capture new users who are interested in earning similar results.
They can even reach their audience across all channels. They can advocate for your product through their:
- Social Media
If they are well-known in the industry, they likely have loyal audiences built up across all platforms.
Some of their audience might be more active on social and some prefer to read their newsletter.
But when you partner with influencers who can redistribute across all their channels, you get the benefit of reaching the full range of their audience.
Content Marketing to Build Trust in Your Brand
Content marketing is a great way for B2B SaaS companies to get their message across to potential customers.
It helps explain complex products over long sales cycles and helps your audience better understand how your product can be a solution for them.
You want to focus on topics that can help influence a user’s purchasing decision and help build awareness and consideration for your product.
Not only this but after a user signs up for your product, you can create content to help guide them when using a crowded market.
It’s the only time this is a positive, but you can basically imagine this as being the loudest person in the room. But this time, the loudest person in the room is actually offering helpful advice. You don’t want to drown your audience out with content, but you do want to be visible to them.
As a long-term strategy, SaaS brands can use content marketing to show off thought leadership and position themselves as a trusted brand in a crowded market.
Content can be tailored to different channels and stages, and it can help brands highlight their value and successes.
It’s the perfect way to inform prospects, capture leads, keep customers, and build brand authority all in one place. There are plenty of tools you can use to measure your marketing campaign’s performance.
Before you start creating new content, you should audit your existing assets.
Referral and Affiliate Channels for Easy Leads
Referral programs are a great way to get more people to use your SaaS.
A recommendation from an existing customer who’s happy with it can be incredibly influential.
For example, if a CEO recommends your SaaS to another executive, it can help them decide if it’s the right fit for their business.
This kind of endorsement takes away from the research and evaluation that most prospects usually do.
Plus, referrals can help you scale your organic reach by getting people to promote your product to their friends and colleagues.
You can reward customers for their referrals by giving them an account credit, service upgrade, or cash bonus.
A great referral program will make each user a marketer – for example, if you give a $100 credit to every qualified referral you get, customers will be more likely to spread the word. To make referrals work, you need to have links, codes, and special signup pages that can be tracked, attributed, and rewarded.
CRM integration and marketing automation make it easy to create referral experiences and deliver rewards. SendPost offers a $1,000 bonus for referrals that convert into enterprise plans.
Affiliates are a great way to get your business out there. They partner with trusted partners who are actively promoting your solution to their readers, like industry bloggers, vendors, and publications.
That way, your brand can get in front of those who are interested in your services.
For example, if you partner with an HR blog and generate leads, you can quickly get in touch with HR professionals.
Plus, when those leads convert, the partner gets a 25% commission that only costs the brand when they convert. Referrals and affiliates also create content that helps boost your brand’s visibility and credibility.
Plus, you can track your partner’s traffic, leads, and sales with a platform like Refersion. All in all, affiliates and referrals market your business without any internal marketing involved.
Leverage PR for Brand Awareness
Public relations is a great way for B2B SaaS companies to get their name out there and gain customer trust.
They can do this by proactively pitching stories to reporters, like exclusive partnerships, awards, and more.
This way, brands can get their name in the headlines of leading tech publications.
For example, an analyst could name a company as a top tech company, or a case study could be published with a well-known brand.
This kind of coverage in respected industry outlets gives third-party credibility and establishes thought leadership. It’s also a great way to get ahead of the game and influence purchase decisions, which requires a lot of effort.
Finally, when a company launches something new, like Calendly’s new Integration Marketplace, it’s a great opportunity to get visibility. HubSpot executives often share their expertise in contributed articles.
In addition to raising awareness, PR strategies can also be tailored to target specific people, like investors or developers.
For instance, if you want to get your name out there in the local business community, you can profile your executives in local newspapers and build a regional presence.
Plus, if you’re using open-source tools, developers will be drawn in.
Use Social Ads to Target Your Decision-Makers
LinkedIn ads are the perfect way for B2B software companies to get in touch with their ideal customers.
With LinkedIn’s data, you can segment your audience based on job title, sector, seniority, and more – for example, if you’re a mid-market or enterprise B2B company, you can target Sales Managers and VPs of Sales with ads like sponsored content or Message Ads.
You can tailor your ads to each audience, so if you’re a Sales Manager, you could promote a guide on improving team conversion rates.
If you’re an executive, you could show off a case study that proves you can increase win rates.
Plus, LinkedIn’s platform gives you real-time analytics on your campaigns so you can optimize your targeting, messaging, conversions, and creative.
With over half a billion professional members, you can double down on the best-performing segments and content.
Use PPC to Get Short Term Leads
PPC advertising is a great way to get more targeted traffic to your site or landing page quickly.
Google Ads is the most popular platform, so you can show your ads to people who are looking for your type of software solution.
Plus, you can set up campaigns quickly and get traffic almost immediately, which is great for launching new products or running promotions.
Keyword targeting is key to PPC, so you can make sure your ads show up to people who are actually looking for your solution. This means that the more people who see your ads, the more likely they are to convert.
PPC platforms provide a lot of data to help you determine which ads and keywords are doing the best.
This data can help you keep optimizing your campaigns so you’re spending the most money on the best ones.
Plus, you can get feedback on what people are trying to do and what they’re looking for, which can help you make better marketing and product decisions.
However, B2B software companies need to keep track of their PPC campaigns and make sure they’re running smoothly.
If you don’t optimize your campaigns, you can end up with expensive campaigns and not enough traffic. You need to keep an eye on your PPC strategy and make sure it’s running smoothly.
Attend and Sponsor Conferences for Brand Visibility
Going to conferences is a great way for B2B SaaS companies to get their name out there, build relationships with industry experts, and get more leads.
It’s a place where people from all walks of life, from vendors to influencers to thought leaders, come together to talk about what’s going on in the industry. Plus, it’s a great way to get in front of their target audience – people who are likely to be buying, selling, or looking for solutions.
Meeting with them in person can give you a better idea of what the market needs, how your product can be improved, and what trends are popping up.
Plus, you can get feedback immediately on how people respond to your product.
Use Organic Social to Build Your Brand
Social media is a great way for B2B SaaS brands to get their name out there and get leads.
It’s a great place to share useful, relevant content and have conversations.
On LinkedIn, you can post helpful guides, reports, and studies.
Social media is a great way for software brands to build relationships with their customers and prospects.
Facebook Groups are a great way to connect with people, and user groups can be used to get product feedback or offer peer support.
Brands can also use social media to promote their branding and events, like contests and giveaways.
Analyzing how users engage, click, and convert can help brands optimize their campaigns and get more exposure.
Build a Mobile App If Possible
Building a mobile app is a great way for B2B companies to connect with their users and build their brand.
It’s a great way to send notifications, tutorials, and updates in real time, which helps keep users engaged and loyal.
Plus, it’s a great place to show off your brand with rich media like videos and games. You can also use it to get leads and product demos for potential customers.
You can explore product features or access content after filling out contact forms, and there’s no need to worry about signing up for a trial.
Consider Cold Calling or Cold Emailing
Although it may seem like a no-brainer, cold outreach is still a great way to get leads.
You can get a response rate of over 10% when you optimize your emails with personalized subject lines, short, benefit-oriented copy, and calls to action.
Plus, you can segment your emails based on your role and industry for better targeting.
On average, sales reps make 106 calls to make contact with a prospect, but calls also give you a lot of valuable info, like what they need, how much money they have, and any objections they have.
Integrating your cold outreach campaign into your CRM, marketing automation platform, or dialing software makes it easier to personalize, sequence, and analyze data, which will help you optimize your campaigns for future success.
Even though response rates are low, cold engagement can open up new opportunities in the pipeline as part of a bigger plan.
The key is to prioritize relevance and value over numbers and noise. Taking it slow and improving over time can get results without being seen as annoying.
Use ABM Tactics
ABM is a tactic that helps B2B SaaS companies create personalized campaigns for their prospect accounts.
It focuses on high-value, named accounts with the most revenue potential and uses data to build a list of those accounts based on their industry, size, tech stack, and other factors.
The campaigns are designed to reach multiple people in the buying group and use tactics like personalized emails, ads, social media, direct mail, and content offers.
It’s important to be careful not to seem too intrusive and use the proper orchestration, messaging, and timing to make sure ABM is successful.
Use Retargeting to Keep Your Brand Front of Mind
Retargeting can be a great way for B2B software companies to stay in the minds of potential customers after they leave your website.
Think about it, how often do you remember a website after reading an article from there?
Now, what does that look like when you see a display ad and YouTube video after leaving?
Chances are you will have a little bit more awareness about that company compared to before.
Retargeting works by serving ads across different channels based on past visits or engagement, so if someone downloads a guide, for example, you could show them ads promoting a webinar or a free trial.
You can target different audiences based on what they do, like download content, view pages, open emails, etc. Plus, the reminder effect keeps your brand visible while they’re gathering information.
You can show ads on your website, YouTube, social, or even connected TV to reach users wherever they’re watching.
It’s a great way to stay relevant and keep them engaged until they’re ready to buy.
Keep track of your click-through and conversion rates, and optimize your campaigns to get the most out of them.
How to Market Your B2B SaaS and Generate Higher Quality Leads
Avoid Vanity Metrics and Set the Right KPIs
Don’t just settle for superficial metrics like impressions or followers – set up key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure your return on investment and pipeline impact.
These KPIs should include things like:
- MQLs (be careful with this one)
- Lead/acquisition costs
- Customer lifetime value
- Website traffic
- Content engagement
Keep an eye on your metrics to see what’s really driving sales. KPIs should give you a better understanding of how your marketing impacts your revenue. It will also show you which channels are the most profitable compared to others.
Your inbound channels are almost guaranteed to have a cheaper CAC compared to outbound channels.
Focus on the Right Audience
Don’t waste money on trying to appeal to everyone – focus on the people who are most likely to buy your solution.
Figure out who has the proper titles, industry, and segment that needs your product and set aside money to target them.
Intention data will show you who’s looking for your solution, and account profiling will show you who to target.
Make sure your multi-channel campaigns focus on the right people.
Have a Proper Marketing Budget Set
Set your budget by tying it directly to your marketing goals. This can be things like:
- How many leads you expect from each marketing channel
- How much money you’re spending to acquire each lead
- What kind of impact you think your sales pipeline will have from these marketing activities
Once you have your marketing goals and KPIs set, plan out which marketing channel offers the highest ROI and the lowest CAC for your SaaS.
Don’t be afraid to be flexible with your budget across your marketing channels, and double down on the things that work.
The same for marketing channels that aren’t working, cut back on the things that don’t work.
When you’re an early-stage SaaS, budget will mean everything to you. So you want to prioritize the marketing channels that will have the largest impact on your revenue.
Will PPC might open the floodgates for leads coming in, you can easily blow through your marketing budget and not have anything left for inbound channels.
The same goes for inbound. If you find your webinars aren’t driving quality leads, you’ll likely want to put them on pause until you have more flexibility with your marketing budget.
As an early-stage SaaS, you have to be precise with your marketing efforts. There’s no room for marketing channels that drain your resources without providing much in return.
Avoid Diluting Your Marketing Efforts By Doing Everything At Once
Don’t splurge on too many different marketing options – stick to the marketing channels that have been proven to work.
Take the time to test out new tactics on a smaller scale first.
While it sounds ideal to include every marketing strategy as an early/mid-stage SaaS, you’ll end up diluting your efforts across those channels, and they won’t be as effective.
However, that’s not to say you can’t put in place a system that allows you to leverage other marketing channels without eating up too much of your time. This is more of an inbound tactic but look for ways you can redistribute your content.
This can be:
- Turning a podcast episode into a YouTube short, article, social post, and email segment
- Turning an article into a newsletter, LinkedIn carousel, YouTube video or webinar
- Turning a popular social post into an article, webinar, podcast, YouTube video
There are endless opportunities when it comes to content redistribution, but you have to have the proper framework in place, otherwise, your marketing efforts will be diluted and less effective.
Keep Your Branding Consistent Across All Marketing Channels
To build trust and recognition for your SaaS, make sure your branding and messaging are consistent across all your marketing channels.
Keep your visuals and brand messaging clear and consistent for omnichannel marketing. Your marketing efforts have to fire on all cylinders for your users to trust in your brand.
It’s not like a plumber or roofer, where you pick a name at random and that’s the person you hire.
For B2B SaaS, depending on the investment for your product, there will be a ton of research on the customer’s part before they determine whether they want to sign up or not.
And it’s not a linear path like the marketing funnel where they find you, consider you, and purchase from you. From a zoomed-out perspective maybe.
But it’s more of a squiggly line of all the touchpoints a user has to make before they decide whether to work with you or not.
And no person is the same either. We can influence their journey by improving our touchpoints with them, but ultimately it will come down to them whether they want to sign up or not.
It’s up to your marketing and sales team to help guide their hand closer to a conversion.
So when it comes to consistency across your marketing channels, make sure your logo, colors, image style, tone, messaging, and voice all remain consistent.
Focus on Marketing Channels that Prioritize Long-Term Growth
While some outbound channels are good for building up your pipeline, they’re not as sustainable as long-term channels. Especially if they’re not supported by anything else.
In the case of PPC, your leads stop flowing as soon as you pause your budget. That means if you’re only relying on PPC for leads, you’re going to have to constantly invest in paid ads to grow your business. Not only this, but you’re basically renting your channel instead of owning it, and your landlord is Google who has been known to raise the rents (cost-per-click) consistently over the years.
You shouldn’t be anti-PPC, if anything you should still leverage the channel. However, you should still support your paid channels with inbound tactics that will help build your audience in case you need to pause your marketing spend.
In some cases, companies don’t even need PPC since they’ve dominated their inbound channels and grew a reliable and loyal audience.
If you’re an early or mid-stage SaaS, you should prioritize a 50/50 split between inbound and outbound, and eventually lower your ad spend as you grow your inbound channels.
When it comes to inbound, results will always compound whereas outbound will always be a straight flat line.
Growing Your B2B SaaS with the Right Marketing Channels
If you want to succeed in B2B SaaS marketing, you need to adjust your strategies to changing buyer needs.
Nowadays, prospects expect high-quality, relevant content delivered quickly and easily through targeted channels.
To break through, you need to meet your audience where they’re looking for solutions and tailor your messaging to their needs.
An integrated approach works best when you use social media ads, automation, and account based marketing all in sync.
You need to carefully segment your audience, plan your campaigns, and optimize your performance.
In today’s crowded markets and long sales cycles, multi-faceted strategies that cover the whole funnel from awareness to advocacy are essential.
B2B marketers keep an eye on their audience and adjust strategies to engage effectively and efficiently throughout the buyer journey. This leads to sustainable pipeline generation, faster deals, and lower acquisition costs.
Looking to Grow Your Pipeline Through SEO?
Feel free to schedule a free SEO strategy call with me. I’m a SaaS SEO consultant with over 4 years of experience in the industry.