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SaaS Marketing Essentials: Sample Chapters

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Grab the book here: https://ryanbattles.com/saas-marketing-essentials

Unlock the Secrets to Launching & Growing Your SaaS Application

Whether you're kicking a SaaS idea around in your head or are looking to level-up your current recurring revenue, this book shows you how to attract & convert new users.

“This book is everything I wanted: well written, good theory, and solid case studies.”

– JUSTIN JACKSON, Host of Product People and author of Amplification

What you will learn with this book:

Validating Your Idea

So you've got an idea, how do you know whether or not you can actually make money off of it? We'll dive into how to validate an idea to see if people will buy before you build.

Positioning Your Product and Yourself

We'll discuss the optimal way to present your product to draw in your audience and increase sales. We'll also talk about using your personal brand to increase your sales.

Engaging With Your Audience

There are so many ways to engage with people using today's technology, what is hard is knowing which tools to use, and how to use them most effectively.

Measuring Your Results

It would be nice if we could just try our best and sit back...but a smart marketer keeps an eye on key metrics, and notices how slight adjustments can affect your bottom line.

Focusing Only On What Works

Armed with the data from measuring your results, we can discover where the smart time and money should be spent, so you don't waste time and can get back to your other duties.

The Road to Growth

After launching and acquiring initial customers, we'll look ahead at ways to reduce churn and turn our customers into our best evangelists.

“A focused and tactical guide to launching and growing a SaaS application, from someone who's walking the walk.”

– ROB WALLING, Founder of Drip and host of Startups for the Rest of Us

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Grab the book here: https://ryanbattles.com/saas-marketing-essentials

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SaaS Marketing Essentials: Sample Chapters

  1. 1. SaaS Marketing Essentials Ryan Battles
  2. 2. “A focused and tactical guide to launching and growing a SaaS appli- cation, from someone who's walking the walk.” –ROB WALLING, Founder of Drip and host of Startups for the Rest of Us “I guarantee while reading this book you will have some new, fresh ideas for marketing your product. Even within the first few chapters I had several ‘oh snap’ moments.” –ALLAN BRANCH, Co-founder of LessAccounting and LessEverything “Marketing SaaS apps is hard, but Ryan provides a clear guide to keep your app growing.” –NATHAN BARRY, Founder of ConvertKit and author of Designing Web Applications “This book is everything I wanted: well written, good theory, and solid case studies.” –JUSTIN JACKSON, Host of Product People and author of Amplification “Wow! Most marketing books are very vague, but I immediately grasped the nuts-and-bolts of Ryan’s approach.” –CHRISTOPHER HAWKINS, Host of Chasing Product and founder of SmallSpec

  3. 3. TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION Why Another Book on Marketing? 11....................................................................................... Who Is This Book For? 13................................................................................................... What Does This Book Cover? 13........................................................................................ About The Author 14............................................................................................................. The DIME Method 15................................................................................................................... Discovery 15.......................................................................................................................... Illustration 15........................................................................................................................ Maximization 16................................................................................................................... Escalation 16........................................................................................................................ D IS FOR DISCOVERY Getting to Know Your Audience 19........................................................................................... Forget What You Think You Know 19................................................................................... You Are Not Your Audience 20............................................................................................. Knowing Your Audience’s Vocabulary 22............................................................................ Understanding The Habits Of Your Audience 25................................................................ Know What Competitors They Are Buying From 28............................................................ Tools For Knowing Your Audience 30.................................................................................. Recommended Reading 32................................................................................................. Key Takeaways 33................................................................................................................. Solve a Pain Point 34.................................................................................................................. You Have To Be Sneaky 34................................................................................................... Gathering Unbiased Pain Points 35.................................................................................... Explore Their Pain 44........................................................................................................... Brain Dump Some Possible Solutions 45........................................................................... Key Takeaways 46................................................................................................................. Product Validation 47.................................................................................................................. What You Need To Validate 47.............................................................................................
  4. 4. Dangers Of Ignoring Product Validation 50......................................................................... What Validation Isn’t 50....................................................................................................... Validation Via Audience 51................................................................................................... Validation Via Survey 52....................................................................................................... Validation Via Competition 53............................................................................................. Validation Via Sample Group 54.......................................................................................... Grab Some Quick Traffic With Landing Pages 55............................................................... Services For Creating Landing Pages 57............................................................................ Key Takeaways 58................................................................................................................. I IS FOR ILLUSTRATION Defining Your Customer Persona 62......................................................................................... A Poor Example 63............................................................................................................... A Better Example 63............................................................................................................. Personas Vs. Stats 65.......................................................................................................... Multiple Personas 65........................................................................................................... Defining A Persona Step By Step 66................................................................................... Key Takeaways 67................................................................................................................. Positioning Your Product 68....................................................................................................... Product Positioning Questions 68....................................................................................... How Do You Position Your Saas App? 70............................................................................ The Key Benefits Strategy 70............................................................................................... The Key Attributes Strategy 72............................................................................................ The Use Case Strategy 74.................................................................................................... The Target Customer Strategy 75........................................................................................ The Competition Comparison Strategy 78.......................................................................... Key Takeaways 83................................................................................................................. Leveraging Your Personal Brand 84.......................................................................................... My Own Experience 85......................................................................................................... It’s Called “Following” Someone For A Reason 88............................................................. Keeping It Real 88................................................................................................................
  5. 5. The Benefits Of Building A Strong Personal Brand 89....................................................... Leveraging Twitter For Your Personal Brand 90.................................................................. Leveraging Facebook For Your Personal Brand 91............................................................. Leveraging Linkedin For Your Personal Brand 92.............................................................. Leveraging Quora For Your Personal Brand 94................................................................... Key Takeaways 94................................................................................................................. M IS FOR MAXIMIZATION Measuring What Works 98......................................................................................................... The Lean Startup 98............................................................................................................ Content Analytics 99............................................................................................................. Advertising Analytics 101..................................................................................................... Email Analytics 102.............................................................................................................. Social Media Analytics 104.................................................................................................. Chat & Messaging (Qualitative Analytics) 105.................................................................... Key Takeaways 107............................................................................................................... Copywriting for Conversions 109............................................................................................... Optimizing Headlines 110.................................................................................................... Optimizing Supporting Copy 114......................................................................................... Optimizing Calls To Action 116............................................................................................ Optimizing Page Length 118................................................................................................ Key Takeaways 118.............................................................................................................. Marketing Site Design 120......................................................................................................... An Ever Evolving Strategy 121............................................................................................. Optimized Use Of Imagery 122............................................................................................ Signup Forms 129................................................................................................................ Pricing Pages 134................................................................................................................. Calls To Action 137............................................................................................................... Social Proof 141.................................................................................................................... Landing Pages 142............................................................................................................... Key Takeaways 144..............................................................................................................
  6. 6. E IS FOR ESCALATION PR Strategy 148........................................................................................................................... What Does Pr Cover? 148.................................................................................................... Why Worry About Pr? 148.................................................................................................... Hire A Firm Or Go It Alone? 150........................................................................................... When To Start 150................................................................................................................ What Should I Be Seeking Press About? 151..................................................................... What Not To Pitch 153......................................................................................................... Pr Strategy Step 1: Distill Your Message 154..................................................................... Pr Strategy Step 2: Make A List 155................................................................................... Pr Strategy Step 3: Gather Data 155.................................................................................. Pr Strategy Step 4: Engage 156.......................................................................................... Pr Strategy Step 5: Become A Thought Leader 157........................................................... How To Reach Out 158......................................................................................................... So What Format To Use? 159.............................................................................................. Key Takeaways 160.............................................................................................................. Traction & Growth 162................................................................................................................ Growing Your Audience 162................................................................................................. What Do I Send Them When They Are On My List? 168.................................................... Social Media Networking 170.............................................................................................. In-Person Networking 172.................................................................................................... Borrowing Other People’s Audiences 173........................................................................... Generating Buzz 174............................................................................................................ Rising In Search Engine Rankings 174................................................................................ Buying Your Audience 175................................................................................................... Converting Your Audience 177............................................................................................. Key Takeaways 178.............................................................................................................. Customer Evangelists 180......................................................................................................... The Purchase Phase 182..................................................................................................... The Satisfaction Phase 184................................................................................................. The Loyalty Phase 185.........................................................................................................
  7. 7. The Advocacy Phase 186..................................................................................................... Highlight Your Happy Customers 187.................................................................................. Key Takeaways 190.............................................................................................................. A Final Word 192.........................................................................................................................
  8. 8. 
 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 9 “Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” -Joe Chernov
  9. 9. SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS INTRODUCTION IN THIS SECTION • Why Another Book on Marketing? • The DIME Method SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 10
  10. 10. CHAPTER 1 WHY ANOTHER BOOK ON MARKETING? My phone started buzzing at 4:21 in the morning. I normally wouldn’t have woken up from the vibrating noise except this was the 10th noti- fication that I’d received in the past few minutes. It was my Twitter account. I was getting mentioned left and right by people that I’ve never heard of. They were all tweeting about the same piece of content that I wrote the day before, an article about speed reading. My phone would have continued buzzing throughout the day if I didn’t turn off the notifications for my own sanity (and battery life). Where did all of this attention come from? As it turns out, a blog post that I had written just days before had been featured in a LifeHacker.com article, and picked up by a sug- gested tweet service at bufferapp.com. The result? Over a thousand people clicked a single button to add me to their tweet queue, to be shared with their network. After I realized that I was receiving a significant spike in traffic on that article, I decided to apply some conversion optimization tech- niques that I had been learning about. To start with, I created a piece of bonus content for readers of the article, a quick guide to speed reading (PDF) as an incentive to join my email list in exchange for a SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 11
  11. 11. download. I went from having less than 1% of that article’s visitors signing up for my email list to about 10%. For the rest of the week, I sat back and watched my email list grow in a way that it never had before…and I was hooked. What was it that hooked me? It was the neat way that a combination of social media networking, association with a trusted brand, conver- sion optimization, and email marketing combined to create a self- running marketing machine that grew my audience while I sat by and watched. The state of marketing in our digital age is constantly evolving, with new networks popping up and old networks fading away, and the rules of engagement are very different from the marketing textbooks I read in college. While perhaps the fundamentals remain true, the field of play is constantly evolving. As an entrepreneur of a “Software as a Service” (SaaS) company where users pay a monthly fee to access the tool, my marketing focus is not only on bringing in new paying customers, but also in helping these customers find success with our product so they continue to find value in using it. This book was written to address a holistic approach to a marketing plan for SaaS companies, one which starts with the goal of getting to know as much as you can about your ideal customers using a variety of powerful, contemporary tools, and ends with “wowing” them with your product’s initial experience to the point that they end up telling their network about it, creating a viral loop. SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 12
  12. 12. WHO IS THIS BOOK FOR? This book was written with the beginning to intermediate en- trepreneur or marketer in mind. It is both a primer on some common marketing techniques, with a twist to include today’s online tools that can harvest data that has been unavailable to marketers until most recently. For folks who don’t have time to read through dozens of marketing and content/conversion optimization blogs each week to learn from current trends in online marketing, and that are looking for a single volume that summarizes a lot of information that has been shared over the past few years…this book is for you. WHAT DOES THIS BOOK COVER? This book begins with the most important foundation of a cohesive marketing plan, getting to know specific details about your audience, the words they use to describe their problems, and the types of solu- tions that they are more than willing to pay to have solved. We then dive into applying this information specifically to your product’s posi- tioning, website design and copy. We’ll also dive into various growth and traction channels that will help you continue to draw fresh eyes on your product, getting it in front of as many people as possible. Fi- nally, we wrap up with the holy grail of marketing, having your cus- tomers spreading the word with their own networks. SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 13
  13. 13. ABOUT THE AUTHOR I have been an entrepreneur, web developer, designer, and marketer for the past 10 years working with clients as large as Google down to small non-profit organizations. I’ve spent a few years working with a venture-backed startup in San Francisco, helping to grow their initial user base to over 50,000 customers, as well as bootstrapped a few entrepreneurial endeavors of my own. Along with my business partner Andy Johnson, I’ve built and grown the following sites/applications: • Harpoon (https://harpoonapp.com) - a SaaS application providing financial planning, analytics, and invoicing for freelancers. • Find Bacon (https://findbacon.com) - an online job board that serves up dozens of new jobs for web designers and developers each day. • Director-ee (http://director-ee.com) - an online community site for ExpressionEngine CMS developers, as well as the official job board for the product. • Share the Shelf (http://sharetheshelf.com) - an online book trad- ing website. I currently spend my time distributed amongst these products, as well as consulting others on building their own brands and growth strate- gies.
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  14. 14. CHAPTER 2 THE DIME METHOD When I sat down to list out descriptive words that define the four dis- tinctive phases of a SaaS application’s marketing plan, I realized that the four phases ended up forming a convenient acronym: DIME (Dis- covery, Illustration, Maximization and Escalation). This book is broken up into these four distinctive phases: DISCOVERY The first phase of any SaaS product marketing plan is to find out as much as you can about the audience, their pain points, and finding out just how valuable your solution is to them. This information is the foundation for all marketing efforts moving forward. ILLUSTRATION After you’ve gathered the data from the Discovery Phase, it’s time to flesh some of that out into a written plan. Here we’ll focus on defining your target customer by creating a customer persona, focus in on a positioning strategy for the product, and even positioning yourself as a founder or team member in order to leverage your personal brand. SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 15
  15. 15. MAXIMIZATION Now that we’ve gotten a marketing target and position fleshed out, it’s time to optimize our website and advertisements for maximum potency. First we’ll talk about the analytics that matter, and then make tweaks to our copy and design to drive more engagement. ESCALATION Here comes the really fun part. With a plan in place, our marketing site and copy finely-tuned for maximum conversions, now we pour gasoline on the fire! This section dives into PR strategy, various growth channels to explore, and how to enable your customers to be your best evangelists.
 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 16
  16. 16. 
 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 17 "The secret of getting ahead is getting started." -Mark Twain
  17. 17. PART ONE: D IS FOR DISCOVERY The first phase of any SaaS product marketing plan is to find out as much as you can about the audience, their pain points, and finding out just how valuable your solution is to them. This information is the foundation for all marketing efforts moving forward. IN THIS SECTION • Getting to Know Your Audience • Effectively Solving a Pain Point • Accurately Valuing Your Product
 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 18
  18. 18. CHAPTER 3 GETTING TO KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE The first step in developing a marketing plan is to become obsessed with knowing your audience. That’s right, obsessed. It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on Google Adwords, or how many con- ference booths you rent out if you are off-course with knowing who your audience is. Knowing your audience is the cornerstone of all of your marketing ef- forts. This may sound pretty intuitive, but it is surprising how often it isn’t actually the case. For many startups, The Idea is what they would consider the cornerstone. Their app or product is perhaps the cor- nerstone. However, the product exists to serve the audience, and you can always tweak your SaaS application…it’s not so simple to tweak an existing audience. FORGET WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW Okay, so if knowing that the audience is the cornerstone of all of your marketing efforts is a no-brainer, then get ready for the second strat- egy for marketing your product: Forget what you think you know. SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 19
  19. 19. This is perhaps the hardest thing for entrepreneurs and marketers to do. We think we know our audience. We might even be a member of the target audience ourselves. However, there is no excuse for not backing up our hunches with hard data, as there are more market analytics tools available online than any one person has probably run across. YOU ARE NOT YOUR AUDIENCE I used to run a web agency where we would build marketing websites for a variety of businesses and organizations. In an overwhelming majority of cases, the designs were influenced by the preferences of the key decision-makers in our client’s company. “The CEO doesn’t like the red” is one example of the type of feedback that we’d receive. Unless the CEO is the only one buying up your product, that fact should be irrelevant. It’s not about what the CEO wants, it’s about what the user or customer wants. It’s hard to do, but we must try to remove as much of our own personal preferences from our methodologies if they do not jive well with what the audience is attuned to. For example, I may not like the Bing search engine, so I don’t worry about optimizing for it, I just focus on Google. However, what if I realized that 40% of my audience was finding my site from Bing? Would that change my priorities? The only way to really find out what you can about your audience is to search out analytics and statistics wherever you may find them. If you don’t have an audience following yet on your own social media pro- files and website traffic, then you can find out some of this informa- SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 20
  20. 20. tion by analyzing the accounts of others who serve your same audi- ence, even competitors. When I set out to write this book, I also started stepping up my blog- ging and content marketing game. My assumption at the time was that I was going to appeal to American male entrepreneurs in their 30’s. That’s exactly what I am, so why not make the assumption? What I’ve come to learn, is that there is much more international in- terest in what I am writing about than I had realized. This is a map from Google Analytics of the geographic locations of website visitors: ! While there is still a heavy American following, there is also a strong European following, as well as Southeast Asia, India and Australia. It is hard to know what you don’t know unless you become obsessed SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 21
  21. 21. with knowing who your audience is, and trying not to let your own as- sumptions get in the way. KNOWING YOUR AUDIENCE’S VOCABULARY The other day I was in a conversation with a friend over how many in- dependent workers are using the word “consultant”. Many designers are operating under this title as they operate their businesses of one. However, the thing I find strange is that a consultant is simply one that provides advice, or a plan. The technician or artist is the one that produces the actual work. Technically speaking, if you are calling yourself a consultant, you shouldn’t be doing any of the work your- self, but instead advising the client. However, the common use of the word “consultant” does envelop not only those who provide strategy-only, but also those who do the work. There may still be some debate on that issue, but one that is already pretty decided is the definition of the term “agency”. Technically speaking, an agency is a vehicle through which a solution is provided, not the actual source of the solution. So an insurance agent is a ve- hicle for insurance from another company, and a real estate agency doesn’t own the houses, they are simply the agents for the transac- tion. The common use of “web agency” though, is a company that will typi- cally do the actual work themselves. As you can see, terms may be used slightly different within various disciplines and audience groups, and it is important to be in tune SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 22
  22. 22. with what terms are used, and how their meanings might deviate from what might be the textbook definition. Another example of the power of knowing your audience’s vocabulary is knowing what people are searching for via search engines. One of my products, Find Bacon, serves an audience of web developers look- ing for job opportunities. So how do I title the page and form the con- tent so it will show up in search results? The best way is to find out what language my audience is using when they search. To determine this, I ran a series of related variations of phrases through the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool. What I found was1 that people search for the phrase “web developer jobs” many times more frequently than the phrase “web development job board”. Armed with this knowledge, we were able to craft our website’s copy with a more targeted vocabulary for what people are actually search- ing for. When trying to determine your audience’s vocabulary, try to find out: • What do specific words mean? • How do they phrase certain concepts? • What rings a bell with them? • What words do they respond most to? Another useful tool for exploring your audience’s vocabulary is the free report from Followerwonk , which generates a word cloud of2 https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner1 https://followerwonk.com2 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 23
  23. 23. terms that your audience uses to describe themselves within their Twitter profiles (amongst other things). If you don’t yet have a Twitter following, you can just as easily enter in the Twitter handle of your competitor to find out how their followers are using keywords within their profiles. For example, a competitor of my app Harpoon is Fresh- books . By analyzing the followers of Freshbooks with Followerwonk, I3 can see the following word clouds: ! By taking a brief look at this information, I see that people who use online invoicing and time tracking—or at least those who follow the Twitter account of companies that provide this service—have a heav- ier bend towards marketing and design over development. It’s a slight edge, but the edge is there. I also see that they tend to refer to them- selves more as a “designer” than a “creative”. http://www.freshbooks.com3 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 24
  24. 24. UNDERSTANDING THE HABITS OF YOUR AUDIENCE Where does your audience hang out? What social networks do they use? What do they read? To be frank, there is no better substitute than to actually have conversations with multiple members of your audience. Call them up, get them on Skype. Ask them what websites they like to read and what social networks they like to use. Toastmasters International , a nonprofit educational organization4 that teaches public speaking and leadership skills, suggests that, if possible, the speaker greet people at the door and ask questions. Getting to know your audience is no different. Sure, there isn’t a physical door to hang out in front of, but you can get out to confer- ences, you can attend meet-ups in your area, and you can reach out to people via social media and invite them to a brief coffee meeting. Google Analytics can also help you out here by showing you what so- cial networks are referring the most traffic to your site. For example, for one of my sites, I’ve noticed that a significant amount of traffic is coming first from Twitter, but coming in at a close second is Reddit :5 http://www.toastmasters.org4 http://www.reddit.com5 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 25
  25. 25. ! A few short months before this screenshot was taken, I had never even considered Reddit as a marketing channel. Thankfully, with ana- lytics I was able to quickly discover that Reddit was a very popular social network amongst my target audience. Besides knowing what social networks your audience uses, it is also helpful to discover their interests outside of the industry that you are serving. This used to be a very difficult thing to do, but now that everybody’s interests are plastered all over social media, as well as the sites that they frequent, the data is there if someone is aggregat- ing it. Fortunately, Google Analytics makes the data pretty easily available by enabling their demographics feature with a small modifi- SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 26
  26. 26. cation to your Google Analytics tracking code (details are in Google Analytics when you try to click on “Demographics”). For my SaaS marketing blog, I was interested in what my audience was generally interested in, so running a report on the demographics gave me the following statistics: ! You’ll notice that this only represents 57.67% of total sessions, and that is because Google intentionally masks some data where they deem it would be too easy to narrow down the source to an identifi- able individual, so certain thresholds must be met. Nevertheless, of the sampling group, the second highest affinity category is “Shutter- bugs”. Armed with this data I now know that a high-quality image for each blog post is going to be appreciated amongst the group. SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 27
  27. 27. KNOW WHAT COMPETITORS THEY ARE BUYING FROM Most private companies won’t make their sales figures public knowl- edge, so it can be difficult to discern exactly how well a particular competitor is doing. However, as we’ve been covering here, social signals are abundant, and using a tool such as Topsy Analytics , you6 can at least see which of your competitor’s brands are engaging your target audience the most via @replies on Twitter. Three of Harpoon’s nearest competitors are Freshbooks, Harvest ,7 and FreeAgent . By plugging those three Twitter handles into Topsy, I8 can see how many social mentions occur for those brands: ! For the most part Harvest and FreeAgent are on similar trajectories, and Freshbooks has a slight edge with a significant bump around July 22nd. http://topsy.com/analytics6 https://www.getharvest.com7 http://www.freeagent.com8 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 28
  28. 28. Of course, now I’m curious, what happened around July 22nd at Freshbooks that caused such a ruckus? It turns out that this famous- ly bootstrapped company that started out of the founder Mike Mc- Derment’s parent’s basement has now accepted funding . Now this9 has all sorts of implications for my business that are outside of the scope of this chapter, but one thing to take note of is that this news matters to my target audience: • Do they see this as a good thing? • Do they see this as a negative thing? • Does it secure their faith in their company? • Will it cause some to jump ship? • Is this an opportunity to reach out to some new users? These questions can be explored only when you are aware of who your audience is currently buying from, and what social signals are out there to digest and act upon. In addition to social mentions, you can also check out which sites are linking to your various competitors by plugging their domain into Ahrefs Site Explorer (Free). This tool gives you insight to not only the10 level of buzz being attributed to the competition, but also the sources of that buzz, which can then be repurposed to reverse-engineer your competition’s marketing strategies, or at least find out who is linking to them for potential back-linking opportunities. https://twitter.com/freshbooks/status/4919688499660062729 https://ahrefs.com/site-explorer/10 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 29
  29. 29. TOOLS FOR KNOWING YOUR AUDIENCE To find out when your audience is online (or at least using Twitter), plug your Twitter credentials into Tweriod . You can then use this in11 - formation to schedule your tweets at those times using Buffer or12 Hootsuite .13 ! You can follow key influencers within your target industry to see what they are tweeting about using BuzzSumo or Klout .14 15 http://www.tweriod.com11 https://bufferapp.com12 https://hootsuite.com13 http://buzzsumo.com14 https://klout.com/home15 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 30
  30. 30. BuzzSumo will not only give you top influencers for a particular key- word combination, but will also analyze their tweets for you with the click of a button. I personally have seen great audience influx from key influencers by following this strategy: 1. Making a list of key influencers. 2. Creating a list on Twitter of only their accounts. 3. Checking that list’s feed daily for chances to engage in meaning- ful conversation. 4. Leave high-quality, insightful comments on these folk’s blogs. 5. Get ready for them to start mentioning and tweeting about the in- teresting stuff you are doing! Now, you shouldn’t expect this from everyone, but I’ve personally been surprised at how effective this is to forging new relationships. Another great resource for getting to know your target audience is to spend an hour in the bookstore, perusing the magazines and books that are popular amongst your audience. What types of articles are being written? What types of businesses are advertising within these magazines? Magazine ads aren’t cheap, so if some advertisers are consistently purchasing space within a magazine month after month, there is obviously something working for them. Learn from this and get to know what makes the audience tick, and even better, to buy! Even better for this tactic is a visit to the library, which not only has about the same amount of magazines, but stocks previous issues as well to make checking out the history of advertisers much easier. SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 31
  31. 31. If you don’t have the time to make it out to the bookstore or library, check out Amazon.com to see the bestsellers within a particular cat- egory. Read the comments, see what people are thinking, what they like, and what they don’t like about products catered to their commu- nity. RECOMMENDED READING Finally, to close out the chapter, I’d like to leave you with three sources for regularly published, research-driven reports that give in- sight to general and specific trends with technology, social media, and various industry predictions: • Comscore Insights - Recent stories include predictions for the fu16 - ture of Snapchat’s use amongst adults and smartphone market share. • eMarketer - Recent stories include a trend moving away from17 Twitter and into Facebook, and mobile search trends. • Pew Research Internet Project - Recent stories include an as18 - sessment of the Web at age 25, and how older adults’ are using technology. Bookmark these sources for the occasional check-in to see if there is any new trends that you need to be aware of. Social media is a fast- changing landscape, and what is popular today won’t stay that way for long without some serious competition from new startups. http://www.comscore.com/Insights16 http://www.emarketer.com/Articles17 http://www.pewinternet.org/18 SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 32
  32. 32. While I have provided a lot of resources above, these are simply auxil- iary tools to simply having an honest, human conversation with your audience to get to know them better. Don’t be afraid to send out emails inviting them to engage with you personally. That is where you will find the best benefit and gain the most knowledge if you go into it with an open attitude and goal to understand them better. KEY TAKEAWAYS • You can always tweak your SaaS application’s features, but it is hard to change your target audience. • Forget what you think you know about your audience, seek out hard data. • You are not your audience, find out their vocabulary, interests and hangouts. • Know what competitors your audience is buying from. Where are they getting back-links? When and why are people tweeting about them? • Find out when the majority of your audience is online to target tweets and promotions. • Build relationships with key influencers by engaging via social me- dia and comments. • Bookmark key research blogs that regularly publish data on emerg- ing trends in technology use in order to leverage new platforms.
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  33. 33. THANKS FOR READING! This has been a sample of SaaS Marketing Essentials. Did you enjoy what you’ve read so far? If so, head over to ryanbat- tles.com now to grab a full copy of the book and supplemental mate- rials: https://ryanbattles.com/saas-marketing-essentials SAAS MARKETING ESSENTIALS 34

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