15 Things You Should Know About Marketing Automation

A new year is just around the corner. Many see that as the perfect time to transform their personal lives. Why not make it the perfect time to implement marketing automation as your advertising strategy? If you are not already using marketing automation, here are 15 things your boss wish you knew about it and why it should be your strategy of choice for better performance throughout 2017.

1. Productivity Increases with Marketing Automation:

Take advantage of software that automates the processes of an effective marketing campaign. Make better use of your time with automated solutions for customer segmentation, integrating customer data into a campaign strategy and managing a campaign. For example, create and schedule an entire month's worth of social media posts in a single day.

2. Workflow Efficiency:

Automate the following repetitive tasks: data processing of information collected on forms, managing calls to action (CTAs), generating conversion reports, etc. Complex tasks are smoothly delivered with accuracy through automation.

3. Channel Agnosticism:

A single platform can tie together all cyber venues for a campaign, as well as integrate multiple online tools. This increases your brand's visibility and also allows for customer interaction by the method they prefer. For example:

  • Email
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • CRM Tools
  • Texting

4. Revenue Growth:

The numbers do not lie.

  • 78% of high-performing marketers credit marketing automation for revenue improvement.
  • 68% of companies whose growth is surpassing their competitors use automated marketing strategies.
  • 34% is the average revenue increase for businesses using marketing automation.
  • 10% revenue increases have been reported within 6-9 months of beginning a marketing automation strategy.

5. Customer Retention:

Once a company makes the sale they need to keep a client coming back. Customer insight abilities of marketing automation imbue it with the capacity to gather intelligence on customers, discover their needs and analyze their decision-making process. This information can, in turn, be used to develop methods of engagement that are more appealing to the customer, increasing the likelihood of customer retention.

6. Data, Data, Data:

If you cannot track and monitor a campaign, you cannot measure its success. Campaign managers have access to graphs, statistics and report an analysis of data that are easy to review and utilize. At a glance, you can know which strategies are working and which have bombed. Making the most of the data maximizes leads and conversion rates.

7. Relationship Marketing:

Customer satisfaction is just as important as generating sales leads. A satisfied customer will become a brand loyalist that can also do the work of a brand ambassador. Marketing automation makes it possible to personalize strategies for particular customer relationships through digital footprint analysis, lead qualification, and marketing alignment. By defining specific restrictions, a laser-focused list of customers can be generated to receive a text or email designed especially for them.

8. Consistency:

Mainly where social media and blogs are concerned, consistency matters. Users and viewers become accustomed to the content being posted on particular days, perhaps even specific times during those days. Life happens. Any number of reasons could disrupt a regular post that customers have come to rely on. Marketing automation will deliver the content consistently.

9. Value:

Maximize revenue potential through the value of automated marketing. Time is money. Manpower is money. An automated process saves both as it makes the most of your resources. Industry research reports a potential of 50% more hot leads at a third of the cost.

10. Simplicity:

You do not have to be a technology wizard to manage an automated marketing strategy. Most software solutions are designed like a template that guides the user through the process.

11. Lead Generation:

80% of businesses engaging in marketing automation enjoyed more leads. Qualified leads increased by an incredible 451%.

12. Lead Nurturing:

Marketers report that creating better leads is the number one benefit of marketing automation. On average, nurturing leads resulted in a 47% larger purchase.

13. Detailed Customer Profiles:

It is easy to create customer profiles filled with the perfect kind of data to help marketers create more effective ad campaigns. Data such as:

  • Opened email.
  • Email responses.
  • Purchases.
  • Selected preferences.

14. Conversion:

77% of businesses who employed a marketing automation campaign increased their conversions.

15. Accuracy:

A campaign is only as good as its data. By automating, you can take out the one element that contributes to error, the human element. Whether it is spelling, punctuation, or number crunching, humans get it wrong quite often. One digit or a single letter can mean a complete fail with something like email delivery. Automate and get it right.

To get started on your automated marketing campaign strategy, please contact us. Our experts are ready to help you harness the potential of data automation and put it to work so that your business can grow.




Where Will Marketing Be One Year From Now?

Marketing in 2016 was a lot different from marketing in 2015. Every year it takes a considerable jump forward as new trends emerge. This also means that businesses have to update their strategies to accommodate the changes. With that being said, here's what you can count on in 2017.


Marketing Trends in 2017: More activity on Facebook and Google 

A very bold prediction, we know. But the reason why there will be more activity on Facebook and Google might surprise you.

Other platforms aren't performing as well as the two giants. Businesses are therefore directing their attention to the two sites that bring the best results. According to this Mashable article, this trend will continue for the foreseeable future:

"According to the IAB, the digital advertising industry continues to grow nicely. But if you peel back the onion, you'll see that it’s actually Facebook and Google that is commanding the lion's share of the growth. In fact, outside of those two platforms, the rest of the industry is shrinking in Q2. This duopoly is scary, and potentially unhealthy. But I think it will continue next year and don't see how or when this trend will change."

If this is the case, then the rest of the industry will continue shrinking. This is one of the most exciting developments concerning online marketing because of the implications it has.

Marketing Trends in 2017Brands using AR and VR

There have been surprisingly few Pokemon Go copycats, but that's just because brands are still thinking their strategies through. Make no mistake about it, AR, as well as VR, will be major hits in 2017.

The question is how businesses will integrate them into their marketing campaigns. This Forbes article states that we'll likely see the results soon:

"One of 2016’s biggest highlights was watching a screen-afflicted population carry their mobile devices out into the world to catch, yes, Pokemon. The biggest takeaway from this phenomenon was augmented reality’s ability to drive real business results. This has become a seriously viable option for marketers looking to bring the online into the real world."

AR opportunities will be similar to Pokemon Go. VR is a bit less certain since brands are still waiting to unleash their campaigns. Expect to see a few websites that support VR goggles.

Marketing Trends in 2017Better content 

About a year or two ago, we saw a significant shift from quantity to quality regarding content marketing campaigns. Businesses have learned that ten superficial blogs are not as useful as one well thought-out article.

You can expect more of the same in 2017. According to this Small Business Trends article, businesses will raise the bar even higher regarding content quality:

"Now, audiences are starting to take notice that there is a difference between valuable blog content and not so important writing. If your content isn’t informative and exciting to read, people aren’t going to stick around. 2017 is poised to be the year that brands invest in bringing their digital writing to the next level, which may mean hiring an “industry expert” to create higher caliber blogs."

This doesn't necessarily mean longer articles and videos because users are also demanding more digestible content. Instead, businesses will try to add as much value as possible while still sticking to short-form content. This, of course, is one of the greatest challenges of content creation, but it's the direction businesses are headed in.

This year will bring new changes to online marketing and its different practices. You can expect to see more activity on Facebook and Google, AR and VR integration, and better content from businesses. To talk more about marketing predictions, or anything else, contact us today.




How to Sell Video Marketing To a Skeptic

Although you may be hard-pressed to find someone unfamiliar with YouTube, that is no guarantee that the majority of people realize the value of video. If you want to know how to sell video marketing to a skeptic, you need to know the surprising statistics associated with the power of the strategy. Share the numbers, and you are sure to win over any skeptic.


The Numbers

An industry study released data this year that is incredibly compelling for the power of video marketing:

  • 1200% - That is how many more times a video is shared compared to text and image only ads.
  • 403% - Increase in inquiries for real estate listings with a video.
  • 200-300% - Ratio of growth for click-through rates in email leads featuring video.
  • 157% - Organic traffic increase to a site from search engine results when sites feature video.
  • 100% - Rate of annual video consumption rising for YouTube.
  • 92% - How many consumers share mobile videos.
  • 80% - Conversion rate increase when featuring a video on your site's landing page.

Who's On Board With Video?

Once you have gotten the skeptic's attention with those phenomenal numbers, you may still have another hurdle to clear. They may not yet be convinced that their particular industry can benefit with video marketing. That is when you reveal that everyone is using video.

  • 96% - That is how many B2B organizations use video marketing campaigns.
  • 86% - That is how many institutes of higher learning have a YouTube presence.
  • 80% - Expected amount of all consumer traffic to be video traffic by 2019.

Particular to B2B video advertising:

  • 50% - How many executives prefer reviewing product or service information through video ads.
  • 65% - Of executives who view video ads, this is how many follow through with a visit to the website marketed through the video.
  • 39% - The number of executives that call a vendor after viewing their video ad.

The Effects Of Videos

The final word should always be about the audience. If nothing else gets a skeptic's attention, revealing just how many consumers care about video should. It is time to share the data of how video ads affect the consumer experience.

  • 139% - The increase in brand association with consumers because of video ads.
  • 92% - That is how many consumers are sharing videos through mobile devices.
  • 90% - That is how many viewers use video in making a purchasing decision.
  • 80% - That is how many consumers recall a particular video watched within the last month.
  • 75% - Out of all video users, that is how many interacted with video ads.

Videos To Dollars

By now, you should have captured the skeptic's interest. It is time to seal the deal with a recap of how all of this video marketing data can translate into revenue.

  • 144% - Increase in product purchases for e-commerce sites featuring video advertising.
  • 77% - Consumers who become convinced to buy a product or service after watching a video ad.
  • 75.5% - Number of marketers and small business owners who report a direct impact on the bottom line by video ad campaigns.
  • 73% - That is how many companies report a positive ROI on video marketing campaigns.
  • 64% - Number of video consumers who are likely to purchase a product after viewing an ad.
  • 49% - Growth rate increase annually for businesses using video marketing strategies.
  • 4.8% - Conversion rate for websites with video ads, which is nearly double the conversion rate for sites featuring no video (2.9%).

Videos That Sell

The skeptic should now be convinced and asking the question, "What are the elements of a great video ad?" The good news is that the same studies that reported these impressive numbers included that information as well:

  • 97% - The degree by which consumers' purchase intent increases as a result of a video ad that is a pleasure to watch.
  • 80% - Number of viewers who stay engaged in video ads less than one minute long.
  • 80% - Number of viewers who click away should a video stall or take too long to load.
  • 60% - Number of consumers who stop watching a video after 2 minutes.

Moreover, if the skeptic thinks that it is impossible to convey all the wonderful things about their brand in a one minute message, you have the skill to leap that hurdle as well. According to experts, a one minute video can contain the equivalent information of about 1.8 million words.

The final question from a marketing professional to a skeptic is, "When do you want to start production?" If you are ready to get started, please contact us to get equipped with the latest tools and innovative methods to maximize the marketing potential of your video campaign strategy.



5 Important Aspects Your Video Marketing Campaign Should Include

Are you using video marketing the right way? Video Marketing is an effective way to reach out to customers while keeping them engaged and interested in your material. Customers can get all of the information they need through a video in just seconds. So how do you optimize video marketing to make your campaign even better? Here are five methods:


Schedule your Videos

As you may have discovered, scheduling your social media is an effective way to release posts consistently and at the optimal time for engagement. You should do the same thing with your videos. Be creative with it. Instead of releasing unrelated videos, come up with a topic and put together a series of related videos that will tell a story to you customers. Remember, you can also utilize this tactic to lead up to a big announcement, launch or event.

Take Advantage of Micro-videos

Micro-videos are all the rage right now on social media. Making small videos through apps is a smart way to promote your product on social media as customers scroll through their social media feeds. Consider using Vine or Instagram to make videos. Make them entertaining so your audience will want to watch them.

Tutorial and Tips: Implementing tutorials in your video marketing campaign is a way to keep customers coming back to your site. Some may think that providing tutorials and tips is giving away your company’s secrets, but in actuality it makes customers look for you as a point of reference. This will also keep customers coming back because they will look for more videos hoping that there are a series of tutorials.

User-generated Content: Let your customers be on camera sometimes. This allows customers to be involved with your brands and give genuine thoughts on something related to your brands. Instead of making a script, customers can come up with their material. You can even incentivize users to create content by awarding the best video. This will show people how passionate others are about your product.

Call-to-Action: Tell your users what to do after watching. Provide a description of next steps in your video. Without this, your customers will have no idea what to do after watching. An example of a call-to-action can be a coupon code, or you can even offer a discount to customers who mention your video on their social media. Another method is to utilize a “turnstile” to capture emails to view the video if the content is particularly valuable. Finally, a call-to-action button, such as a “buy now” or “learn more” button, can be utilized to drive traffic to a landing page to drive traffic and increase conversions.

Now that you’ve learned how to optimize your video marketing campaign, you can stand out from other products or marketing companies. For more information on video, marketing stays in touch with Harness on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

5 Tips To Generate Leads At Outdoor Retailer

Tradeshows are not an inexpensive pursuit nor are they a guaranteed success. Outdoor Retailer is no exception. The value gained from attending and exhibiting at Outdoor Retailer is immense, but companies must consider their strategy to truly take advantage of that value. Just purchasing a ticket to walk the floor of most shows can cost several hundred dollars or more. Hosting a booth to market your brand is even more expensive. That does not even factor in the time commitment of your staff, strategy, design, and marketing collateral needed to have a competitive presence at most shows. Once those items are examined, the costs add up to be quite substantial. However, if a company maps out a strategy, then the benefits can be immeasurable.

Considering those costs, how can you succeed despite the high cost of entry? 

Trade show veterans can quickly provide you some info on lessons they learned the hard way. We have taken this into account and had a few tips below on how to get the most for your trade show marketing dollars:

  1. Establish your plans well in advance. A month before the show is not enough time to start planning. In fact, three months is not long enough. Successful marketers start planning at least six months before a show start, and many take a year or more.
  1. Set goals for all of the shows in your trade show schedule. All of your marketing efforts should tie back to the overall strategic plans of the organization and trade shows should align with individual campaigns that carry the marketing strategy forward. With that in mind, your trade show goals should match up with the goals of the campaign into which the show fits. Trade show marketing goals can include:
  • New leads and direct sales
  • Increasing traffic to your site - driving website traffic is always a good idea because it can also create new leads
  • Building your social media following - social goals seem a little passive to many old-school salespeople, but consider that most new sales require three to five touch points with a future customer before gaining commitment
  • Expanding your email list - while many prospects may not be ready to buy now, they may be interested in keeping in touch to learn more about your product/service over time. The buying process is cyclical so keeping in touch is critical

Once you have established your goal for this show, you should identify metrics that allow the analysis of progress, success, and failures at a given show.

  1. Stand out. How can you reflect the culture of your company at your show? Regardless of how automated and digital our world has become, people still buy from people. Future customers are interested in learning more about you and your company as well as what it is like to do business with you. Your booth presents an opportunity to reflect the individual traits that make your organization unique.

The tradeshow floor can become quite monotonous as one booth blends into another because people follow the same formula for materials, design, and displays. Create something that stands out. You spent years developing your product or service in a way that your value proposition is different from any other business, your first impression on your new customers should be a reflection of that effort. While the extra effort may cost more, this added expense can be the difference between whether or not a new key account bothers to stop to meet you.

  • Consider your booth - can you create something different than everyone else? How can this further the goal you set for this show?
  • Dress for success - how will you and your team dress? How does this reflect you as an organization and your culture?
  • Collateral - what are your signs and other materials going to do to further your goal? More on this later.
  1. Create a single call-to-action. Assuming you have set your goal and created metrics, you should establish the pathway that a future customer will take to reach your goal. This call-to-action will become part of every facet of your trade show strategy, allowing a customer to move quickly from being a total stranger into your sales pipeline.

While designing your booth, materials, landing page, and analytics, you should consider this call-to-action (CTA) as being the keystone to all of your efforts. A CTA should inspire a visitor to commit to an action of some type and can include:

  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Register for a webinar
  • Sign up for a product demo

A CTA will direct your visitors to a landing page, a web page that is specifically designed to provide targeted information to visitors in exchange for the offer for which they initially registered. In turn, your CTA will lead to increased conversions and more qualified leads.

Only gathering business cards a tradeshow, which is what many salespeople do, is squandering the valuable resources required to get the company to the show. While that lead may have seemed very qualified and excited about your business at the time of the show, that excitement dissipates as time passes between the show and your sales team’s follow-up. However, if your CTA draws that visitor back to your website, then they are more likely to move all the way from stranger to lead and on to becoming a customer because of the excitement generated by your offer. 

  1. Create a landing page for each show you attend. Mentioned above, the CTA will drive traffic to a dedicated landing page that furthers your overall goal. Prospective customers will provide their email address in exchange for a valuable piece of content such as a video series, ebook, white paper, or product demo. The page itself and the content offer should be tied back to your trade show presence. By creating a landing page that you only send trade show attendees to, you can measure the success of your trade show presence by the response generated by your CTA and landing page.

Finally, have a particular, detailed process for how the content will be delivered to leads and the process for follow-up. How will leads be scored and qualified in your system? How will you keep track of the follow-up process? What are your next steps to further your goal and move prospects down the buyer’s journey? These questions must be considered in depth before launching your campaign.


By utilizing these steps as a guide and adapting the advice to your particular organization, you are certain to have trade show success. Please get in touch if you have specific questions on how to establish a strategy to make the most of your shows.


Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing

You might not have heard the terms inbound and outbound marketing before, but you have most likely experienced both without realizing. Read the scenarios below about inbound vs. outbound marketing.


Outbound Marketing:

You’re in the middle of working at your desk and the telephone rings.  

You: Hello, this is John.

Marketer: Hi John, this is Sam from [insert name of Company X here]. Company X manufactures widgets. We pride ourselves on our quality and superior service. We have managed to help other companies transition to our widgets, and in doing so, we were able to help one company raise their retention rate of clients by 50% in six months. I’d like to ask a few questions to see if I can provide you with our services.

You: Well, right now is not the time for me to talk. Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you.

This is an example of cold calling, which is an outbound marketing tactic. You’ve probably experienced this before and felt caught off guard. This type of tactic doesn’t form a relationship with the prospect and is interruptive. It shows a marketer-centric mindset and usually is not very efficient and rather costly. Other types of outbound marketing are mass emails (spam) and interruptive ads.

While each of these tactics may have a place as part of a larger marketing campaign, they do not work on their own in a vacuum. Let’s take a look at an inbound marketing scenario.

Inbound Marketing:

The sales process has changed dramatically in the past few years. Instead of relying on salespeople to inform them about new products and services to solve their problems, buyers are doing research on their own and arriving at a buying decision often without ever speaking to a salesperson at all! For this reason, marketing companies are transitioning from outbound to inbound marketing. Because of this, buyers feel more connected to the brand or business because of the relationship building aspects of inbound marketing. Read this scenario and think of a time you might have experienced this:

Steve is the production manager for an outdoor product manufacturing company. He has a problem with a bottleneck on his production line that has slowed down operations and decreased efficiency. He hits the Internet to search for a solution.

While researching, he happens to come across a blog post outlining areas that most plants usually incur wasteful production and how to remedy such issues quickly. At the bottom of the post, he finds a call-to-action that asks for his email in return for an e-book entitled “10 Steps to Immediately Increase Production Efficiency.” Steve is happy to give his email in exchange for such valuable information. Thus he has moved to the next stage in the buyer’s journey, or into the sales funnel.

After receiving his ebook, Steve receives subsequent emails promoting content and videos that help Steve to solve further his problem as well as other related issues that production managers like him have encountered in the past. Through this process, the company promoting this content has accomplished a few things:

  1. They’ve established a relationship over time through a contact frequency that made sense to the stage of the buyer’s journey where Steve was at the time.
  2. They have established a high level of expertise in Steve’s mind. He trusts this company with helping him to solve his problems.
  3. The company has nurtured this lead (Steve) all the way through the Awareness and Consideration Stage of the sales funnel to where they can now position their product or service in a way that Steve would be very willing to listen - sure beats a cold call!

How is it different?

In this scenario, Steve didn’t get bombarded with spam emails that were irrelevant to his interests or feel caught off guard with cold calls. Steve decided on his own time whether he felt that the company’s services were for his business, and he made the decision to call.

With inbound marketing, the consumer can give permission to be contacted instead of the marketer acting as an interruptive sales person in the consumer’s day. Inbound marketing conveys a customer-centric mindset.

Inbound marketing uses tools such as blogging to create interest, social media to engage leads, email marketing as part of the sales funnel and providing value with free resources, such as a downloadable ebook. All of these tactics build relationships with consumers over time.

Inbound vs. Outbound. Which one would you choose?

Why Social Video Is Way More Important Than TV To Generation Z

Why Social Video Is More Important Than TV To Generation Z?

Generation Z uses social video as not only a way to pass time but a way to stay connected to family and friends. By understanding this, you may better understand why social video is such a vital part of your video marketing campaign, and whether or not your audience will react well to social video.

Who’s watching social videos?

According to a study done by Defy, 13-24-year-olds were watching YouTube more than TV. These people were able to identify better with YouTube stars than celebrities on television. Video is now actually going beyond entertainment. Instead, it is educating today’s young adults, acting as a stress reliever, and keeps young people connected with their peers. Interestingly, 85% of young adults watch video via YouTube.

Young people and video consumption

Think of your video marketing campaign along with the videos you plan to produce and read these facts about how much video young people consume. Ask yourself if you’re putting out enough video and it you’re using the right platforms:

  • The average young person consumes 12.1 hours of free digital video per week. 
  • Many young people consume an additional 8.8 hours of subscription digital video.
  • Young people watch about 8.2 hours of television per week. However, there are fewer 13-24-year-olds watching TV compared to digital video.

Considering how young people are watching videos, this validates that a video marketing campaign is an excellent way to get your brand’s message out, especially to Generation Z. 

The videos that Generation Z is watching excludes any video made by family or friends. This is because Generation Z is watching digital stars or people they don’t necessarily know personally.

Are you utilizing social video to the best of your ability?

Create social videos that become a reliable source for Generation Z. The philosophy behind this is that young people look up to digital celebrities and understand how advertising can help their content. If you can make your content appealing and trustworthy to youth, then you can get a loyal “fanbase” or audience.

About 62% of youth can’t live without YouTube, 52% can’t live without Netflix, and 48% can’t live without social media. Consider these platforms and how effective they can be in your video marketing campaign in reaching out to both Generation Z and other generations.


Read more about YouTube and how it will help you in your video marketing campaign in our book, “The Video Marketing Roadmap.”


4 Strong Ways to Boost Exposure for Your Software Business

We can all agree that the inbound marketing way is the strategy to promoting your Software business online. From social media to SEO, visuals, email, and PPC, these are the best channels to attracting qualified prospects and customers to your brand. However, with so many pieces to the digital marketing puzzle, trying to “do it all” can prove to be an overwhelming, daunting task. Especially as a startup or one that is rebranding with a new product, the challenge of knowing which techniques to focus on to create fast results can be frustrating.

We have compiled four simple, yet highly effective, inbound ways to generate more exposure to your software business

By focusing on these tactics, you will increase awareness, traffic to your website, leads, and better your thought-leadership.

#1 Bolster Your Blogging Strategy

Developing a well-thought-out blogging strategy not only positions you as an expert in your software niche, but it draws needed exposure to your brand. You see, 71% of business bloggers say their blog increased visibility in their industries. Also, companies who blog regularly have 434% more indexed pages than companies who do not (Source: Search Engine Land). They also generate more leads and sales.

Use your blog to educate your audience on the problems you solve as a SaaS business. Consider the common issues and questions your market has and address them via your blog. Additionally, publish blog content that highlights the features, benefits, and usability of your software.

The key to generating results from your blogging is consistency and ensuring that your topics resonate with your target audience. Use an editorial calendar tool to help you plan, organize, and schedule your content. The calendar will help you maintain a regular blogging cadence to boost brand awareness.

#2 Tell Your List

According to Forbes, email subscribers are three times more likely to share your content via social media than visitors from other sources. Your email list is your biggest fan, and they are waiting to hear from you to engage with your brand. Even if you have a small list or you are just starting out, keep your subscribers in the know when it comes to the development and promotion of your SaaS. Share your blog content and ask them to share it with their social networks.

One way to get your list involved is to extend a 2-week free trial offer of your software, so prospects get a real-life experience with your product. Send them a survey at the end of their trial to get feedback and reviews. This information can help you tweak and modify, so it aligns with your audience’s interest.

Also, continue to grow your list. Building your leads list is the safety boat of your business. With proper nurturing tactics, it is where the bulk of your sales will generate from. With 59% of B2B marketers saying that email is the most effective channel for generating revenue, it is important that you leverage assets like your landing pages, web forms, and blog posts to keep growing your sales funnel.

#3 Facebook Retargeting

Follow your website visitors everywhere with retargeting. Also called remarketing, this paid strategy allows you to place a tracking code on your site which will set a tracking snippet (or cookie) on the browser of those who visit your site. This tactic will position your ad content to “follow” recent visitors everywhere they go online. Retargeting is extremely useful in keeping your software brand “top of mind” long after people leave your website.

The same concept applies to Facebook retargeting. You will create custom audiences and tailor marketing content unique to them for better engagement. It is highly cost-efficient for your brand and is one tactic that should constantly be running to maximize traffic to your site and produce fresh leads.

#4 Host Live Webinars

Webinars are solid platforms to share a wealth of knowledge in a presentation-style broadcast. You significantly improve your thought-leadership as you delve deeper into topics for more depth and understanding. In regards to marketing your product, webinars provide an opportunity to demonstrate, share the features and advantages, and allow participants to see your new software firsthand. Answer questions live to boost engagement and give the chance for viewers to purchase at the end with the benefits they will gain from acting now.

Finally, a webinar is a great method to growing your leads as each participant must register with the name and email info to join your broadcast. Simply promoting your upcoming webinar to your social channels and list can foster new leads every time.

Following the suggested inbound marketing tactics will increase brand awareness and exposure for your software business. Focus on getting good at implementing two of the tips, test your results, then ramp up from there. The key is to stay consistent in your efforts to measure what's working and resonating with your audience accurately.

Ready to leverage a professional team to help bolster your inbound marketing strategy for 2017? Use the form below to reach out to us. We are equipped to help you step up your marketing game!


Challenges and Opportunities Present in Software Business & SaaS Marketing

SaaS marketing is a much more challenging endeavor for a software business than for many other types of businesses for some reasons. First, and foremost, there is no tangible, physical product for a customer to look at, observe and 'test drive.' To get potential customers interested in a software product, a software business often has to give away a free trial of the product to reap potential future business through a process known as customer onboarding. Also, some other factors pose unique challenges to SaaS marketing for software businesses among them:

  • Constantly changing software and product features
  • Extremely short sales cycle (generally a year or less)
  • Limited market for many types of software
  • Concept of selling a service more than a product


SaaS Marketing and Customer Onboarding

For most businesses, giving away the full product, even for a limited duration, at no cost would be suicidal. However, for software businesses, giving away the product for free is one of the most widely used and accepted SaaS marketing strategies. There are many variations of these free product model strategies such as:

  • Free 7-, 14-, 30-day trial periods
  • Freemium model (money is charged for proprietary features, functionalities, and other goods.)
  • Free Trial w/ a credit card

There are other strategies besides these three variations, but the one thing common to all of these strategies is the giving away a free software product version.

Once a potential customer has access to the product, the key role in SaaS marketing is to convert the customer using the product into a paying customer. On occasion, the conversion happens quickly if the customer sees real value in the product. However, many customers will delay making a decision until the end of the free trial period or just before the first charge on their attached credit card takes effect. Communication between the SaaS marketing personnel and the customer is critical during this time allowing the software business to determine what concern a customer has about the product, and what inducement could entice the customer to commit to purchasing it.

Extremely Short Sales Cycle

Whereas most businesses consider 12 to 24-month sales cycles to be typical or even accelerated, in the software business, many software products are obsolete even at the low-end of this range. SaaS marketing emphasizes rapid sales by finding customers who like the product and are willing to commit now. The fast, even transaction process of buying software is predicated on the inherent nature of the software industry. Software products evolve quickly over time, and it is not uncommon for six, eight or more versions of one software product to be released over the course of a year. A long and drawn-out sales process runs the risk of product obsolescence as demonstrated by the fact that the best, most efficient and comprehensive 2014 tax preparation software is useless in 2016. Therefore, SaaS marketing must focus on increased sales velocity to generate extra revenue and a larger customer base for a software business.

Limited Market for Certain Software Products

Smaller software businesses often focus on niche targets, either due to limited capital or to the nature of the software product itself. Marketing to this small market space allows a software business to specialize in one or two areas of expertise, recognize potential barriers to entry in this market and look for possible opportunities for future growth. SaaS marketing helps cultivate customer and business relationships allowing the software company to communicate with their clients and select a product roadmap that makes sense.

Concept of Selling a Service vs. a Product

The most critical concept to remember in a software business is that the vast majority of the business' revenue comes from its existing customer base. Under the tried-and-true 80%-20% rule, 80% of a business' future revenue will come from only 20% of its customer base. SaaS marketing plays a critical role in customer retention by emphasizing the concept as selling a service as well as a product. When creating a SaaS marketing plan, a software business should focus on the establishment of a fully integrated architecture combining a high-quality software product, with excellent service and savvy consumer marketing. When SaaS products of similar quality and price exist in a marketplace, promoting excellent customer service with even a personal touch or two helps a software business and its associated products stand out in a crowd. The primary goal is to a business is to have its SaaS speak for itself.

These methods will help software companies start or improve their marketing efforts to generate leads and build their branding. To gain further knowledge and expertise, contact us using the form below, and let us help you create a strong online presence.