SaaS Marketing Automation Overview
SaaS marketing requires tool automation to be effective. After all, the more time you spend on things that can be automated, the more time you waste. By automating tasks, you can focus more on growing your business and user base.
As a SaaS company, one of your most important metrics will probably be user growth. The more users you get, the more unmanageable it becomes to effectively market to them directly. Additionally, SaaS teams are generally smaller than their traditional counterparts so there is extra pressure to do more with less.
Therefore, marketing automation is the best way to increase your company’s efforts. If there is a task that can be done automatically, it means your team has more time to spend on other things. There is a vast number of tools out there for you to choose from and choosing the right one can be difficult. Also, if you don’t have time or the budget to get and test as many tools as possible, you want to be sure you are investing in automating the right things.
Email automation is perhaps the most important aspect of running a SaaS business that you can automate. An effective drip campaign can be very effective in converting interested parties. It also gives you an outlet to learn more about your customers by interacting with them This information can then be used to feed back into marketing towards your target personas.
A great email marketing tool will make it easy to gather contacts, manage lists, maintain drip campaigns, and give you insights into the performance of your email marketing. There are plenty of marketing and email automation tools out there. Imagine if you had to send each email manually. Crazy!
Currently, the biggest brand name in email automation is Mail Chimp. It is a tool which helps online businesses maintain lists and manage their emails. Also, it is one of the few email automation tools to offer a completely free version.
It is not just their quirky humour and gracious company culture that has propelled Mail Chimp to the top of the charts, their tool also integrates with almost anything. No joke. It is also extremely easy to use and the interface is quite clear.
There are two negatives for Mail Chimp that I can think of. Since Mail Chimp is so popular, a lot of emails sent from them feel the same. Of course, you can customize your email templates and make them your own, but they still retain a Mail Chimp feeling.
Second, since they are mainly focused on smaller businesses (or at least businesses with smaller lists) if you have a huge contact list then it could get pricey to use. This is a common tactic among most, if not all, marketing tools that deal with emails or contacts. It is good to be prepared for it or to manage your list more closely.
Finally, Mail Chimp requires two point authentication for people to be added to the system. Most likely, it is a way for Mail Chimp to cut down on reported spam emails from their platform. Some companies have reported that this results in a decrease of their liust sizes. I don’t think that matters so much though if you are going for quality lists. If a contact can’t or isn’t willing to confirm being added to the list twice, then UI question the quality of that contact.
Automizy is an email automation tool that targets SaaS companies directly. The tool allows clients to create and optimize DRIP campaigns. The tool also allows for triggers, so emails can be sent whenever a visitor or someone does something. This allows SaaS companies to really detail their email marketing strategy and customize their workflows.
Their strength is that they are tailored to SaaS companies and come from an enterprise background, lending a certain robustness to their product at an affordable price.
Social Media Automation
Next up is your social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, the list goes on. You shouldn’t be active on every social media network out there (that would be impossible!) but your SaaS company should have a strong presence on a few select networks where your target persona spends time.
Posting and managing messages in real time is almost impossible. Social media automation tools allow your marketing team to publish messages across platforms, schedule them in advance, collect performance information, and monitor activity. All things which are crucial to carrying out a social media marketing strategy but would be impossible to do without automation.
There are plenty of tools available for this, the most prominent being HootSuite. HootSuite allows your team to work together on your social media postings. Create and craft your messages across social media platforms with ease. HootSuite has most of the features needed for effective social media management, however extras that add functionality can increase the total cost. This can be a problem for lean SaaS companies which are scaling quickly. However, HootSuite has great integration with other applications, making it easy to add media from wherever your company chooses to store it. While a few ease-of-use functionality is missing compared to some other tools, HootSuite is well known and popular for a reason.
For more cost-conscious SaaS businesses, Buffer may be an option. While the upfront cost is steeper, you get more to play with. This is especially useful if you have a large team working with social media in your company. However, Buffer is kind of a new kid on the block, and some of their analytics are lacking. Despite this, their interface is easy and intuitive. Although targeted towards smaller businesses, Buffer could be a viable tool for a SaaS marketing team that wants to maintain a presence on social media and are willing to sacrifice analytical power for price.
There are multiple areas where you can automate processes to increase the efficiency of your team. If you need contract management, you can try PandaDocs. If you need help with invoices and accounting, Freshbooks is a good bet. If you have tested a lot of other SaaS apps and now you are getting too many emails from these companies but it’s a hassle to go through and unsubscribe from them – there’s an app for that too.
All-in-One SaaS Marketing Solutions
Having a lot of apps around the office sounds cool but it is something that can quickly become unmanageable. It might be worth it to look into all-inclusive platforms that are designed to handle and automate most of the marketing for you. These platforms have a higher upfront cost but will often save your company money by condensing and incorporating a lot of functionality. Building the same functionality piecemeal is almost never cost effective.
There are a variety of these apps as well – Infusionsoft, Salesforce Pardot, Marketo are some examples. These tools combine email automation, social media management and automation, and analytics across their platforms. Additional features could include (depending on the platform) landing page tools, A/B testing, project management tools, CRM, targeted content and much more.
We recommend using HubSpot for your all-in-one solution. Not only is it the market leader of the inbound marketing methodology, but its platform is constantly being improved. The direction it is going in makes it an affordable all-in-one marketing and sales automation package. It also offers great training and materials to get teams started on online marketing. In addition to that, it hosts some great communities and are constantly trying to get ahead of the curve in marketing trends.
It is not without its faults, however, and it is up to you yo decide which tool(s) will help your team the most. Taking the time to properly evaluate your SaaS company’s needs and budget and finding the best solution has the potential to save a lot of money and time as your company grows. Beware not to get lost down the rabbit hole. The reason for automating your SaaS company’s processes is to save time. Make sure you don’t waste it searching for the ever elusive “perfect app” instead of using that saved time to focus on growing your business and succeeding.