Marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions isn’t the same as marketing other types of technology products. Although they appear similar on the surface, the process of marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) technology requires marketers to have a more detailed understanding of hosted software, customer pain points and SaaS PR strategy.
Marketing Software as a Service (SaaS): Customer Benefits
When we engage in marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) for our clients, there are several common benefits that our clients’ customers hope to achieve by transitioning to a hosted software solution. These benefits play a role in the formulation of key messages and SaaS PR strategy.
- Mobility. SaaS solutions offer anytime, anywhere access to applications and data. Marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) to B2B customers often emphasizes the technology’s ability to enable collaboration in a geographically diverse workforce.
- Lower Upfront Costs. The nature of SaaS means that customers need to spend less on the hardware, software and people it would take to host the solution in-house.
- Easy Upgrades. Another key message for marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) is that upgrades and security patches are hassle-free. Since software is updated by the SaaS provider, there is no need to perform software upgrades on individual devices.
Tips for Marketing Software as a Service (SaaS)
Although benefits are important, successfully marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) involves more than simply describing the advantages of hosted solutions. To stand out in the crowded SaaS marketplace, you will need to integrate a handful of proven SaaS PR strategies into your approach.
- Divide and Conquer. Most users prefer to pick and choose features in SaaS offerings. Research on SaaS product differentiation, conducted at Augsburg University in Germany, suggests that it's unwise to offer a full-featured SaaS offering without also offering parts of it as separate, modular products. Since customers tend not to use all the features of the full offering, they would rather reduce costs by only paying for the features they need.When marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, analyze your user base and determine which components of your SaaS offering are valued by each audience. You can then productize individual offerings and make it easy for your customers to purchase modular upgrades. If you let them start small, you'll find that your wallet share will naturally increase over time.
- Tackle Concerns Head-On. It’s normal for customers to have concerns about the transition to a cloud-based computing environment. One of the cardinal rules of marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) is to avoid shying away from customer concerns.For example, a study by the Institute for Information Systems and New Media found that security risks are the dominant concern of would-be SaaS adopters. In addition to security risks for SaaS, the authors discuss performance risks, financial risks, strategic risks and psychosocial risks.Before you start pitching the media, it's important to develop solid answers to risk-related questions. Some of your responses may even stimulate good ideas for SaaS PR pitches.
- Promote Wins in the Media. Success creates more success in marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. But your SaaS wins won’t do anything for your business unless you go the extra mile to get the word out and promote your wins in targeted media outlets.Find an experienced PR firm with a proven track record of marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) for other technology clients. With the right firm, you’ll be able to raise your visibility, receive industry acclaim and drive new leads to your business.
A key takeaway for SaaS providers is that the hosted software marketplace is extremely crowded and it’s becoming more difficult for companies to differentiate their products from the rest of the field. By recruiting the expertise of an established tech PR firm, providers can do a better job marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions and achieve market differentiation.