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Mastering Inbound Marketing as a SaaS Company

Mastering Inbound Marketing as a SaaS Company

Inbound marketing is a game changer for Software as a Service (SaaS) companies. Instead of bothering potential buyers with irritating ads and pesky sales calls (outbound tactics), it draws in qualified leads naturally.

Imagine this: someone goes online to look for a solution to their problem. Through strategic content creation, your SaaS company’s blog, videos or social media presence pops up – providing the answers they want. Pow! You’ve got their attention because you gave them value upfront; no tricks are needed.

This approach is much warmer — centred around helpfulness and trust-building with your audience. Doesn’t that sound better than all those cheesy product pitches?

Why Inbound is a SaaS Company's Best Friend

Outbound Vs Inbound Leads
Source: Cience

As a SaaS business, you're selling a virtual product, which can make marketing trickier than physical goods. That's where inbound thrives – it majestically bridges the digital gap.

Think about it: people can't physically test-drive your software before purchasing. So, educating them through free content is pivotal for getting those all-important first users on board.

Hubspot is one of the pioneers of OG inbound. A SaaS company! They daubed the inbound principles and achieved unstoppable growth from $0 to a public $1B+ revenue business.

With lower customer acquisition costs, a higher ROI, and valuable relationships built from the get-go, inbound is tailored to make SaaS selling seamless. It just makes sense!

The Breath of Fresh Air Your SaaS Marketing Needed

I get it…the traditional SaaS marketing playbook can feel stale:

  • Renting leads from dodgy databases
  • Spamming cold emails to anyone/everyone
  • Praying people will miraculously discover your offering

Initially, there may have been dribs and drabs of success, but these tactics stopped paying off long ago. Old-school outbound is falling out of fashion faster than Dad's cringy dance moves.

Inbound marketing as a SAAS company is a much-needed breath of fresh air. By creating purposeful content that helps your audience, you become a trusted source they want to listen to.

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No more pushy sales pitches – just sharing expertise and solving problems. That's the authentic marketing experience modern buyers crave from SaaS companies.

The 4-Step Masterplan for Inbound Marketing Success

Inbound Marketing Stages

Fair warning: inbound marketing isn't one of those hacks for overnight success. It requires a thoughtful, sustained effort to see the full benefits. But get it right, and wow, you're in for a treat.

Here's your foolproof 4-step masterplan to crush inbound marketing as a SAAS company:

1) Identify Your Target Audience

Specificity is crucial here. Don't go after some broad “anyone with a computer” audience. That's a surefire way to get lost in the marketing abyss.

Dig deep into the types of companies and roles that match your SaaS offering perfectly. Identify their key challenges and pain points. You can create laser-focused content that speaks directly to their needs.

For an email marketing SaaS like Mailchimp, their prime audience could be small ecommerce companies looking to capture more sales through better newsletters and campaigns.

Grab a mirror and ask: who do you want to serve here? Their success becomes your success, too.

2) Create an Irresistible Content Hub

An inbound engine is only as powerful as the content driving it. So craft an all-singing, all-dancing hub of blogs, videos, tools – you name it!

Don't just rehash the same old product descriptions everyone else has. Get granular about the topics, challenges, and questions your specific audience is hungry to learn about. Entertain them, inspire them, and make them smarter!

Video content can be an excellent way for SaaS companies to demo features and processes. For a project management tool, walkthroughs of each capability could draw in their target users.

Remember: volume isn't the goal. Prioritise quality over quantity, with your highest-value content doing the heavy lifting.

Oh, and optimise EVERYTHING for SEO – that's how your ideal customers will discover you organically through their searches.

3) Nurture Your Leads Lovingly

A random site visitor stumbling across your content? That's excellent initial attention, but nurturing them into a faithful customer takes finesse and care.

This is where marketing automation and email nurturing come into play. By providing more insightful content over time, you gradually guide leads along their decision journey.

For example, an HR software company could nurture interested leads with email courses on powerful hiring practices or webinars diving into their innovative tech. Keep stoking their interest!

Set up automated journeys triggering the most relevant content for where each lead is at. That Tailored approach gives you a far better chance of converting them.

4) Delight Customers for Unstoppable Growth

You've attracted suitable leads and converted them into customers – but you still need to finish! Inbound marketing's most significant gift is turning those new users into raving fans.

How? Through exceptional education and customer success resources.

As a SaaS company, your product lives in the digital world where customers need ongoing support and training. Providing a constant value stream through your content helps them get the most out of your product.

For a SaaS company like Salesforce, this could mean robust documentation, tutorials, and even a certified training academy to delight customers after purchase. They'll stick around for the long haul when you invest in their success.

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Speaking of sticking around – inbound's biggest wins come from generating referrals and expanding revenue through existing customers. If your educational content and support is fantastic, those delighted customers will happily promote you to others in their network. It's wildfire word-of-mouth!

Plus, making them successful increases the chances they'll upgrade their plan or add more seats over time. Cha-ching!

Inbound Tools Every SaaS Marketer Needs

Crm Software Hubspot Example

While the inbound methodology is centred around creating value, we marketers still have our trusty tools to work smarter. Here are the essentials for any SaaS inbound pro:

  • All-in-one marketing automation platform (HubSpot, Marketo, ActiveCampaign)
  • SEO tool for keyword research & optimisation (Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz)
  • Visual content creation tools (Canva, Visme, PiktoChart)
  • Landing page & CRM solutions (Unbounce, Leadpages)
  • Social media scheduling (Buffer, Hootsuite)
  • Advanced analytics (Google Analytics, Hotjar, Finteza)

Have fun geeking out over the latest, most fantastic match! But remember, tools are just enablers – your content strategy is the real superpower.

Metrics That Matter for SaaS Inbound

Okay, you're Publishing all this fabulous educational content…but how do you genuinely measure its impact? Tracking these vital inbound metrics gives you a crystal-clear view:

  • Overall website traffic & sources (aim for an increase in organic traffic over time)
  • Number of new leads & lead sources
  • Customer acquisition costs (inbound should lower these)
  • Sales qualified leads (SQLs) & conversion rates
  • Customer lifetime value (LTV) & churn rates
  • Revenue generated from content
  • Social media engagement & shares

Pay extra attention to your cost-per-lead from inbound efforts compared to traditional pricey outbound methods. That ROI case will make the bosses giddy!

Businesses Slaying the SaaS Inbound Game

How Hotjar Works

Are you feeling inspired yet? Let's look at some inbound masters in action that SaaS companies can model:

HubSpot: Duh, the OGs! They have a whole academy teaching the inbound methodology and a phenomenal content cluster covering every marketing topic imaginable—no wonder they're leading the SaaS pack.

Canva: The breakout design SaaS proliferated through viral content sharing, engaging social presence and keeping their educational blogs simple but comprehensive.

Hotjar: The product experience insights tool masters the “show, don't tell” mentality. Their inbound game features product videos, use-case samples galore and even a bank of free tools for their audience.

Intercom: As a conversational support SaaS, they've cornered the market on being HUMAN. Intercom's blog features delightful gems on customer engagement while their social leans into current events and meme-worthy humour.

SaaS companies nailing inbound marketing have a few things in common: creating value over promotion, meeting audiences where they're at, and prioritising EEAT (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness). It's a tall order, but dang, is the payoff sweet.

Future-Proofing Inbound Marketing as a SAAS Company

Saas Inbound Marketing Guide

The digital landscape moves quickly. Eyeballs are shifting from blogs to video content, social audio rooms, augmented reality and beyond. How can SaaS companies ensure inbound marketing remains effective for years to come?

Embrace New Content Formats & Channels

Where is your audience spending their time online? That's where your inbound team needs to experiment with content creation. As media consumption habits evolve, you have to grow, too.

Launching a podcast to reach your SaaS audience during their commutes, creating interactive tools and calculators housed on your site, and developing a solid presence on emerging platforms like Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse.

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The key is monitoring trends and analytics to spot which fresh formats resonate. Feel free to be an early mover capitalising on a new channel before it gets saturated.

Video content, in particular, will only continue growing for SaaS inbound marketing. Having an excellent YouTube channel is table stakes these days for showcasing your expertise and product capabilities.

Prioritise Content Operations & Governance

As your inbound content engine expands across more channels and campaigns, you'll need robust processes to manage it effectively. This is where initiatives like content operations and governance come into play.

On the operations side, SaaS companies must develop well-oiled workflows for everything from ideation to creation, approvals, publishing and analytics review. Establish clear roles, responsibilities and tools to run a tight content ship.

Governance is about ensuring brand consistency and quality, no matter how much content you're pumping out. Having overarching guidelines, style guides, and audit practices protects your reputation as a trustworthy SaaS source.

Double Down On Customer Marketing

Modern buyers crave authenticity from brands – your existing customer base can deliver it in spades. Their genuine stories and testimonials make for incredibly persuasive inbound marketing.

SaaS companies should invest in customer marketing initiatives to regularly capture this valuable user-generated content (UGC). Showcase it through case studies, reviews, videos, and more. It's marketing material with a built-in trust factor.

Another powerful tactic is turning your customers into vocal advocates through VIP experiences and incentives. The inbound benefits compound when they authentically promote your SaaS offering to their networks.

Integrate for a True Omnichannel Experience

Today's buyers engage across multiple channels throughout their journey – from discovering your SaaS company's content to becoming loyal customers. An effective inbound strategy connects those touchpoints.

That means your website, emails, product, support and sales communications must feel unified and intuitive as the buyer moves from one to the next. SaaS companies Should align their inbound and product marketing efforts toward delivering a cohesive omnichannel experience.

With the right marketing automation and CRM integrations in place, you can Precisely track how your inbound leads are progressing through the funnel across channels. That interconnected data lets you personalise the journey with dynamically tailored content at every stage.

The possibilities are endless when you have an agile, future-focused inbound program designed for long-term SaaS success!

Conclusion

Inbound marketing is the antidote SaaS businesses need to break free from traditional outbound tactics and interruptive sale pitches. By creating insightful, expert content tailored to your ideal customer, you can attract passionate audiences naturally.

The inbound methodology aligns perfectly with SaaS – nurturing prospective users through education until they can convert. Even after the purchase, delighting customers with ongoing value extends the lifecycle and fosters unstoppable business growth.

While it requires strategic, sustained effort, the inbound approach is a rising tide that lifts all SaaS boats. Embrace it, and you'll earn marketing people's appreciation for a change. No harder sell is required!

FAQs on SaaS Inbound Marketing

What are the most effective content formats for inbound SaaS marketing?

How long until you see results from inbound marketing usually?

Inbound is a long game where momentum builds over time. Most SaaS companies will start seeing traction within 6-9 months of consistent content publishing + SEO optimisation. Be patient!

What skills are most important for SaaS inbound marketers?

Top skills include SEO, content creation/storytelling, marketing automation, CRO, data & analytics, customer marketing and video/multimedia production—strategic and tactical know-how required.

How does inbound handle bottom-of-funnel leads versus top-of-funnel?

Through marketing automation & lead scoring, you can map tailored content journeys based on a lead's specific funnel stage and product interests. Case studies and free trials become more critical for bottom-of-funnel nurturing.

What are the cost differences between inbound and outbound marketing?

Typically, with inbound marketing, you'll see a much lower CPL (cost per lead) than outbound tactics such as paid ads, tradeshows or purchasing lead lists. The payoff keeps compounding as you build an owned audience over time.

How important is SEO for a SaaS inbound content strategy?

SEO is essential–you want your content to rank at the top of relevant search results! Dedicate resources to keyword research/on-page optimisation/link building/technical SEO, etc.

What tools are must-haves for SaaS inbound marketing?

At a minimum, you'll need an all-in-one marketing automation platform (MAP), SEO tool, CRM (customer relationship management system), visual content creation tool (Canva?), social scheduler/analytics solution etc. Stack complementary tools together.

Which companies are great examples of SaaS inbound done right?

HubSpot/Mailchimp/Canva/Drift/Hotjar/Databox/Intercom, etc., built stellar inbound content programs that drive awareness + growth.

What metrics indicate SaaS inbound marketing success?

Organic traffic, new leads, cost-per-lead (CPL), sales qualified leads (SQLs), customer acquisition costs (CAC), customer LTV, conversion rates, and overall revenue tied back to content are all key.

How can SaaS companies future-proof their inbound strategy?

Stay on top of new content formats/channels as they arise, prioritise content operations/governance over time, double down on customer marketing efforts and create a unified omnichannel experience through integrations.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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