As reported on Cenario | Forecast, Budget & Manage Cashflow Easily:
“Consistently acquiring new users for your SaaS company is essential to growing your monthly recurring revenue (MRR). Having more customers also improves your chances of completing valuable research to reduce churn.
So, are there ways for SaaS brands to generate massive amounts of new leads fast?
Yes! With a viral marketing campaign.
There are SaaS marketing campaigns out there that have seriously gone viral. We analyzed 5 viral marketing strategies and found some impressive results.
Read on to learn viral marketing secrets that the pros use!
Top Growth Tactics for SaaS Companies
At its core, viral marketing encourages users to share a message to other users. This message can be info related to your brand and its products.
Viral marketing isn’t really a form of marketing such as email marketing or social media marketing. It is more about adjusting your current marketing tactics so that your message can spread fast.
If you get things right and your campaign goes viral, your brand will receive an insane amount of exposure and likely improve your key KPIs.
With a solid system in place, you can turn this exposure into leads, email lists, social media followers, and website traffic.
The five viral tactics covered in this article:
Email MarketingAffiliate MarketingReferral MarketingSEOSocial Media Marketing
So, let’s dive right into it!
1. Email Marketing
Email is still regarded as the most personal form of communication between a brand and its customers if done correctly.
Sure you can chat with people on social media or forums. However, these chats are open to anyone who wishes to take part in the thread.
With email, only the recipient will be able to read your message. And because everyone with a mobile phone has an email, your messages can instantly reach your audience. All they have to do is take a look at their smartphone notifications.
If you really want a one-to-one chat with a customer and have zero distractions, then email is the way to go.
This powerful method of communication is ideal for brands that are looking to promote their next big campaign.
For example, if your brand is hosting a viral giveaway, sending out emails to your subscribers is an efficient method of getting your message out there fast.
If you have an excellent offer, then subscribers will be more than happy to forward your email to others. This can lead to a viral email marketing campaign.
You can build your email list using various lead generation strategies. To collect emails consider using pop-ups, chatbots, or giveaways.
Ugmonk’s Viral Video Email Marketing Campaign
Ugmonk is a lifestyle brand that is focused heavily on community. What started out as an entrepreneurial experiment would end up becoming a multi-million dollar online business.
So, how did Ugmonk founder, Jeff Sheldon, achieve viral growth?
With excellent email marketing campaigns of course!
Jeff built a community, or better yet, a cult following through personal relationships. He achieved this with email, as email is the most personal way he could communicate with his customers.
One of Ugmonk’s most successful campaigns is their welcome emails. New users are greeted by a welcome email with a video interview of founder Jeff Sheldon.
The video tells Ugmonk’s origin story. A story of how Jeff began his company in a tiny apartment, while also explaining the design process behind his products.
This wholesome video allows Jeff to pour out his heart and passion to every new subscriber. It’s how he creates personal relationships between his brand and its customers.
Summary – Email marketing is still a preferred method of communication for SaaS brands. Because of the “personal touch” of email and the ability to forward messages, you can create viral email marketing campaigns for your SaaS brandTime to implement – 2 to 4 weeksDifficulty – Intermediate
2. Affiliate Marketing
Most SaaS brands prefer affiliate marketing over other forms of marketing.
Why? Marketing SaaS products can be tricky and unconventional at times. Especially in the B2B space.
Sometimes, it’s better to just let established affiliate marketers drive targeted traffic to your website. Then pay them a commission on every sale they refer to you.
Unlike traditional advertising, you don’t have to put up the cash upfront to get traffic and sales. You can agree to pay your affiliate marketer once the sale is made and the cash is in your bank.
Things are also sweet from an Affiliate marketer’s point of view. They don’t require any investment from their part to earn money. All they need to do is attract your target audience to their website, then send that traffic over to you.
Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate programs in the world. Affiliate marketers have built websites that are solely focused on promoting Amazon products.
When a person clicks on an Amazon Affiliate link and buys something, the affiliate website gets a cut. This program allows regular people to create a website and blog about their passion while earning a decent four-figure monthly paycheck.
There are some notable websites that earn commission in the millions.
Now, If an affiliate marketer creates a positive review of your software and that post goes viral (gets a ton of website traffic), then you can benefit from the targeted traffic that’s referred to you.
Viral Affiliate Marketing Campaign
Affiliate marketers love viral content. They are always trying to replicate their most viral campaigns so that they can drive as much traffic to their content (and to your website).
Because of this, affiliate marketers are always trying to create viral content.
Perhaps you could partner up with an affiliate to create your very own viral campaign.
For example, your brand can partner up with an affiliate marketer to host a giveaway. You sponsor the prize and the affiliate will market the giveaway on their platform/website.
People who wish to enter the giveaway can follow your brand on social media or supply their email address.
If your affiliate can get people to share the giveaway (by rewarded entrants with a bonus entry for every referral), then you will have a viral campaign on your hands!
Summary – Affiliate marketing is ideal for brands looking to pay a commission to people who refer new customers. You can create an arrangement to pay only once the sale is made. You can take your relationship with your affiliate further by creating a viral campaign together. Time to implement – 2 to 3 weeksDifficulty – Easy to intermediate
3. Referral Marketing
Referral Marketing, also known as word-of-mouth marketing, still remains as one of the most powerful forms of marketing.
Many old school businesses still rely heavily on the power of word-of-mouth marketing through customer referrals.
Modern SaaS companies can also replicate this form of marketing with their very own online referral program. A referral program is a system that allows brands to reward customers for referring new customers.
So, what’s so great about a referral program?
Referral programs are designed to exponentially grow a business.
A successful referral program will continue to acquire new customers. The more new customers a business acquires, the larger its customer base and business will become.
A referral program also has the potential to go viral. The more people participate in the program, the higher the chances are of acquiring new referrals.
Now, referral marketing isn’t just a theory. Billion-dollar companies like PayPal and Airbnb were built on successful referral marketing campaigns!
An excellent referral marketing example is PayPal. They invested millions into their referral program by offering cash to people who registered on their platform and successfully referred new users.
This was how PayPal grew its users to 5 million within the space of a few years.
Testbook’s Viral Referral Contest
Testbook is an online learning platform with an extensive database of courses and practice tests.
Their goal was to create an online presence for their brand and build a relevant email list.
Testbook used referral marketing to generate 57k new emails, 27k social media shares, and 7k app downloads.
Why? They already have students on their platform. These students are most likely to know other students that will benefit from Testbook’s service.
So, in this scenario, a referral program would be ideal for Testbook to consistently acquire new users.
However, Testbook went one further. They hosted a Referral Contest. A high stakes contest that’s meant to generate a massive amount of leads within a short time frame.
Their referral contest was meant to allow contestants to compete with each other to win prizes. Contestants earned points for every referral (and other tasks). The top ten contestants with the most points won a prize.
Testbook sponsored a bunch of prizes (laptops, tablets, and headphones) that were meant to target students. Students who entered the referral contests competed like crazy by referring friends and family.
The result. Testbook’s referral contest generated 57k new email subscribers and 7k app downloads.
The contest also gave them a huge boost in social media engagement.
Summary – A referral program is designed to go viral. It’s easy to implement, with your customers doing all of the lead generation. You can create an ongoing referral program for consistent leads or a short referral contest to generate a large number of leads quickTime to implement – Short to long termDifficulty – Easy to intermediate
Search Engine Optimization is the marketing strategy of choice for SaaS brands. If your service caters for specific B2B clients, then discovering those clients can be a challenging task.
With SEO, your perfect client will discover you through search engines. A potential lead search for your service, your website’s link appears in a Google search result, they click on the link and Boom, the rest is history.
Easy, right? Well…
Easy for your next client. Not so easy for you. If you want your brand to appear at the top of search result pages (SERP), then you will have to put in the work.
And there is a lot of work to do!
You will need to:
Monitor backlinksOptimize the pages and blog posts on your websiteFind relevant keywords Create exceptional content
In other words, search engines should recognize you as an authoritative figure in your niche. Then when people search for something related to your niche/subject matter, Google will easily send them your way by placing your website at the top of the search results.
Do SaaS companies go viral with SEO?
Yes, and No.
Google’s search algorithm is an intense piece of sophisticated science that understands websites better than we do.
It won’t be that easy to simply get a single blog post on your website to instantly go viral.
You will have to develop a solid SEO strategy, then implement it over time. SEO is a long term solution that all online businesses can benefit from.
And the one major benefit? A chance for your website to go viral on Google’s search engine.
If you continuously practice good SEO, chances are, one of the topics (or keywords) you covered might get a burst in search traffic. If your website is ranked well, due to the hard work you put in to get it there, then your website can potentially appear at the top of the search results.
Then it’s time to enjoy all that viral traffic!
In the graph above, the post saw a drop in traffic after a month of being published. It then saw a surge in traffic after simply updating and re-publishing.
All that being said, there is always the possibility of never going viral at all. So, if that happens, will all that hard SEO work be for nothing?
No. The SEO work you put in will always benefit your website and your brand with long term organic traffic and backlinks.
Summary – SEO is a difficult strategy that requires plenty of time and effort. However, the long term benefits outweigh the negatives and also offers a great opportunity to go viralTime to implement – Long TermDifficulty – Advanced
5. Social Media Marketing
It’s not easy for SaaS brands to get it right on social media. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are social networks first. People use these platforms to escape work or to voice their opinions.
The last thing most social media users want to see is something related to their work.
So, if your SaaS brand is seen pushing its email marketing software on a user’s Instagram feed, your content may not necessarily interest that user as much as the Instagram model’s post in their timeline.
If this is the case for your SaaS brand, then the best you could do is build your brand on relevant social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
However, Social media platforms are probably the most viral places on the net. Social media users can easily tag or share your posts. This instantly increases the virality of your social media content.
So trying your hand at going viral on Facebook or YouTube can be worth it.
Also, brands like Hubspot and Grammarly have proven that SaaS companies can still create effective social media campaigns.
So what’s the move?
Should you get into social media, knowing the challenges, or should you focus your efforts on other marketing strategies?
If there is a chance that your brand can gain additional exposure on social media, then you should at least try.
Instagram is a difficult platform for a B2B SaaS brand to grow. Yet, Hubspot has over 300k followers and consistently posts fresh content.
If you can find an angle for your brand to keep a social media audience engaged, then you should definitely give it a shot.
What if your niche or brand goes viral overnight? People will look for you on social media. When this day comes you will be prepared and already established on social media.
Summary – Social media marketing is ideal for brand building and for creating a community around your products. However, it can be tricky to market B2B SaaS brands on social networks. Time to implement – Long TermDifficulty – Intermediate
Viral marketing is all about spreading your message across a large audience fast. To do this, you must have a strong and exciting offer that people will want to share. The more your message is shared amount an audience, the more viral your campaign will become.
Going viral online is beneficial to SaaS companies looking for that extra exposure for their brand. You can try your hand at going viral by adjusting your current marketing campaigns.
Hopefully, your next campaign will get people sharing!
Has any of your content gone viral before? What was your most successful campaign? Let us know in the comments below.
Source: Cenario | Forecast, Budget & Manage Cashflow Easily
Author: Jack Paxton
Date: 2020 08 03
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