Now that we’ve officially entered a new decade, a new year and a new quarter, you’ve already begun digging into your 2020 budget. But you may be concerned about maximizing your funds.
Strengthen ROI with Your 2020 SaaS Marketing Budget
(1) Tieback your marketing activity metrics to your budget.
The goals you set for your marketing and activities depend on many factors, especially your business stage. (Obviously, if you are in a very early stage, your marketing activities focus on attracting new customers or gaining new subscribers, whereas a more established business focuses on retention marketing strategies.) As a CEO, being aware of which marketing activities generate most of your leads ensures the marketing budget is being well spent on the appropriate channels, and then later re-invested in the top-performing areas.
Tying your marketing metrics to your budget is very important to help your business grow.
Example SaaS goals:
- Increase freemium to paid users rate by 40% this year
- Increase the pipeline by 10% each month
- Increase brand equity and brand presence
- Increase sales to current customers
- Enter a new market
All of these goals influence the tactics you choose, the budget and a coherent strategy. All of these marketing goals and activities are ultimately about generating business growth.
Tip >> Review your marketing performance and budget regularly. Stay committed to your marketing goals, but adjust allocations for each activity based on ROI.
(2) Make adjustments as you go, and re-evaluate the ROI of every activity.
Ask yourself how each marketing activity is moving the business toward achieving its strategic goals. Marketing budgets for SaaS companies require a lot of planning, but there’s also room for adjustments.
- Does your business really need to be at trade shows to source and convert leads? Or would the same funds be better spent on webinars or PPC?
- Are your buyers younger or older? Do they use social media? For B2B SaaS companies, LinkedIn is a good tool for promotional use and direct communications. Quora is also a good way for B2B companies to reach audiences.
Tip >> Be prepared to shift your marketing activities quickly, easily. Don’t get hung up or fall in love with one aspect of your marketing budget which may later need to be changed. Remember, marketing is a mix and not a one channel activity.
(3) Pace yourself for the marathon of marketing growth.
If you have not already done so, put a calendar in front of you and line it up side-by-side with both your marketing budget and product roadmap. Create estimates and go back to check again what you think will be needed throughout the year compared to actual spend.
- As an overview, you might see that Q1 and Q2 are really strong for SaaS companies
- Q3 might be a bit slower because of summer vacation
- Q4 can also be a little slower due to winter holidays
Tip >> You probably aren’t due for a vacation anytime soon, so take mini-breaks with your marketing team to celebrate major milestones. If that’s not in the budget, simply rewarding yourselves with one late morning could work, too.
(4) Get your customers involved.
This is a marketing concept to keep you within your budget, and at the same time, aim for growth. What can you do to motivate other people to be your brand ambassadors and market your business for you? DropBox used an incentive strategy, offering something of value to customers in exchange for sending their friends or colleagues to sign up. DropBox offered additional free storage, but likewise, you can develop a free offer to entice customers to give you referrals. Consider offering something of value but without any major investment – such as a free audit, widget, a custom demo, or downloadable material – in exchange for referral leads.
Additionally, you can engage your customers in testimonials and adding them to your website and marketing materials to encourage cross-promotion. Happy customers are more than glad to have you add your logo to your website to spread the word about their business as well.
Tip >> Win new customers from existing ones. Offer customers something of value in exchange for sending their friends and colleagues as new leads.
(5) Make sure your marketing team is the best.
Ensure every member understands your SaaS business, tactics, and audiences and that they know how to generate a relevant and effective marketing strategy and execution plan.
While we all know that the most expensive line item for almost any budget is the manpower (aka labor in accounting terms), finding and hiring experts with specific experience in sales and marketing for SaaS need not be expensive. You don’t have to get a recruiter. Or a headache. The key here is to factor in your greatest expense, the labor:
- Does it make more sense to hire a single, local full-time marketing employee versus outsourcing and bringing on an entire marketing agency to handle the soup to nuts of marketing projects?
- Some marketing agencies start small and grow with you. What does your business need?
Tip >> Hire the best based on referrals. Then, encourage your people to keep learning and growing to be the best. Keep everyone sharp by hosting lunch-n-learns or events when each member can address a topic or share expertise.
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