SaaS products generated a whopping 85 billion dollars worth of revenue in 2019. That number is predicted to continue soaring through 2021.
If you’re a SaaS provider, that forecast is good news… Assuming, of course, that you have a business plan in place that’s going to help you cash in on all of the opportunity in your market.
Therein lies the value of what you’re about to read!
Our team has scoured a multitude of SaaS products to come up with a list of seven elements that every successful SaaS business plan should have in it.
If you’re curious to know what those seven elements are, read on.
1. PPC Advertisements
PPC, for the uninitiated, stands for pay-per-click. It’s a form of digital marketing that has become a fixture thanks to the popularity of Google’s Adsense program.
Today, SaaS providers are leveraging PPC as part of their SaaS business plan by targeting keywords that are related to products similar to theirs. For example, if you were launching a new cloud storage service, you might take out PPC ads for the keyword “Dropbox” so that any time people search “Dropbox”, they’d see your advertisement at the top of their results page.
This marketing strategy can help build awareness for your product and what it does by commandeering the reputation of a more popular competitor.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing is an effective way to drive organic web traffic to your SaaS products. What’s even better is that if you can write, content marketing is free to undertake.
All it takes to delve into content marketing is the willingness to create blog posts that address subjects relevant to your consumers. The more blog posts that you write, the higher your odds will be of Google ranking your posts for popular searches.
Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a big role in how successful your content marketing efforts might be, which we’ll talk about in our next bullet.
3. Investments in SEO
SEO is the process of tailoring your web content towards elements that search engines like to see and what people are searching for online. There are a lot of facets to SEO, most of which we can’t cover in this brief post.
For now, know that there are a lot of great, free resources online that can help you get started with optimizing your web content for search engines. While it can feel tedious to wrap your head around the intricacies of SEO, believe us when we say that the effort is well worth it.
4. A Free Trial
A SaaS business plan that doesn’t give people a free trial is one that’s destined to fail. Granted, if your company is big and has a great reputation, you may be able to side-step trial offers. If you’re just starting to build a reputation though, people aren’t going to fork over their credit card data, and their money, for a product that they’re unsure about.
Most trial periods for SaaS applications are for a month and auto-renew if users don’t cancel them. It’s best to not limit features during trials so users can get a full picture of what they’ll enjoy if they choose to purchase your product’s subscription.
5. Robust Referral Programs
Referral marketing is big in the world of SaaS and has been employed brilliantly by companies like Dropbox that offer users free storage space in exchange for inviting friends to the service.
In most cases, offering customers discounts on their subscription in exchange for getting their friends to subscribe should be enough incentive to get traction with referrals. You may want to further sweeten the deal by offering things like gift cards or cash rewards.
6. Cross-Promotion Relationships
If your SaaS product helps people file their taxes and you know of another SaaS application that helps people do bookkeeping, team up with that other company’s product to promote one another.
This kind of promotion is free and doesn’t cannibalize either company’s business because products are related but not similar (ex: cookies and milk).
To entice customers to engage with a cross-promotion offer, we recommend extending a discount on services to people that are referred to you through your cross-promotion partner and vice-versa.
7. Freemium Offerings
Freemium can be a tricky world to dip into because it opens the gates to a lot of non-subscribers weighing down your infrastructure. With that said, lots of companies make considerable amounts of money solely catering to freemium audiences.
After getting more information on what your recurring revenue looks like, it may be that by offering a free tier, you’ll be able to make more money via your broadened customer base.
Freemium tiers in SaaS models are almost always heavily stripped-down versions of paid tiers. The basic services that freemium tiers offer should cater to the most simple of users in hopes that once those user’s needs grow, they’ll be willing to upgrade.
Armed with the Right SAAS Business Plan, the Sky Is the Limit for Your Company
As we mentioned, the SaaS industry is blowing up. To get your piece of the ever-growing revenue that there is to capture in this space, you need to put in place a sound SaaS business plan to work for your organization.
We hope that our tips help you construct a plan that meets your needs and helps you get to the places that you foresee your company going. If you find yourself in need of additional business or marketing support along the way, check back with our blog to enjoy more of our latest content.