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Online Marketing Hacks for B2B SaaS Start-ups

Early-stage B2B SaaS start-ups face many challenges in selling their solutions, including limited sales and marketing budgets. This means that founders and software entrepreneurs have to work smart in order to win their first clients.

This blog shows 10 easy-to-implement online marketing hacks, which will help B2B SaaS entrepreneurs, like you, increase your sales, even with limited resources.

  1. Start an engaging blog
  2. Host your own blog domain
  3. The power of video
  4. Link your website to other websites
  5. Engage with other bloggers
  6. Google Ads
  7. Webinars
  8. Email Campaigns
  9. Create a LinkedIn profile for your company
  10. Prospect on LinkedIn

 

1- Start an engaging blog

This is crucial for several reasons: first, you establish you and your company as a thought-leader, which raises your profile. 

Second, producing regular blogs is imperative for turning your website into a dynamic and living entity. This is especially important in terms of Google’s algorithm and how your company ranks in searches. Put simply, the more useful content you produce the better you will perform in searches. 

Third, blogs are an effective way to engage with your target customers on an ongoing basis. A potential customer may not yet be ready to buy but are sufficiently interested in your offering to read your blogs.   Finally, blogs can sometimes result in journalists contacting you to interview you on a story they are working on. If this happens, thank your lucky stars, and make sure you prepare well in advance of the actual interview.

Choose a frequency for blogs that works best for you and stick to it! At least once a month is a good place to begin. The great news is that every blog you create become a marketing asset, which you can share on social and email channels and lead people back to your website.

Many of my clients struggle to find the time to write blogs regularly. The good news is that there are blog writing services available from platforms, like 100 Pound Social.

2- Host your own blog domain

In their highly informative book, Inbound Marketing – Attract, Engage, And Delight Customers Online, Brain Halligan and Dharmesh Shah explain that it is imperative that your blog be hosted on your own domain and not the platform provider’s domain.  

They recommend having your blog address (URL) as: yourcompanyname.com/blog or blog.yourcompany.com.  

The aim is to drive search authority for your own site rather than a third-party site, such as WordPress. Some third-party blog platforms allow you to change the domain url in exchange for a small fee.

3- The power of video

Studies have shown that videos are many times more effective than the written word in engaging audiences. Why not try recording a short demo of your solution and sharing it on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn?  I would recommend keeping the video as short as possible to get your point across (ideally 3 minutes maximum).  In the interests of brevity, you might choose to focus on one feature at a time.  

When doing so, make sure you explain the benefits of the feature. Remember, companies buy your solution to solve a particular pain point, so you should frame your language around which pain point you solve.

4- Link your website to other websites

As Brain Halligan and Dharmesh Shah explain in their brilliant book, Inbound Marketing – Attract, Engage, And Delight Customers Online, it is crucial to get as many links as possible to your website from other websites. One easy way to start, is to ask your investors to link to your site. The aim is to get Google to index your site and build credibility, so you appear further up the search rankings.  You can check if your website is being indexed by Google is to run a search like: site:yoursite.com.

Abstract technology background, connecting dots, digital network design

5- Engage with other bloggers

Find out who the influencers are in your area of expertise and start engaging with them, by leaving comments and building a conversation. You should be careful to leave useful comments rather than stating the obvious. Think whether what you have to say is offering real insight to the reader. If it doesn’t, do not leave a comment.

Needless to say, when people leave comments on your blog, you should engage with them, by answering questions and continuing the conversation.

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6- Google Ads

Google Ads can be an effective way to increase your site visits, but tread carefully, as they can become expensive. Google Ads place your text ads at the top of the search results based on keywords. These ads are charged on a pay-per-click basis, which means you are only charged when people click on the advert. The idea is to drive these clicks to a specific landing page on your site, which are designed to convert at high rates.  In the industry jargon, you need a strong “call to action” which results in a conversion.

Bangkok, Thailand - October 14, 2015 Man Using Laptop Browsing Google Website

A conversion might be to schedule an introduction call or sign-up to a free webinar. For those new to Google Ads, I would recommend setting a small budget of a couple of hundred dollars to see what works. The price of keywords depends on how popular they are and there is a bit of trial and error involved when aiming for results. 

7- Webinars

An effective way to engage your audience is to conduct a webinar on one area of your expertise, which will benefit your target audience. This is a great way to build credibility and demonstrate your thought-leadership. You can promote your webinar on social media channels, like LinkedIn. When signing up for webinars, you should capture contact details of your participants. This is useful for building your email contact lists to further engage your audience in the future.

Webinar Innovation Web Design Technology Concept

8- Email campaigns

I have seen some awful email marketing in my years in sales and marketing. However, it is an effective way to keep in contact with those prospects who have opted into your email marketing. In his excellent book, The Lead Machine – The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing, Rich Brooks, explains that email “sticks” around a lot longer than tweets and status updates. Even if you do not respond to an email, you have seen the sender and are reminded of that company every time you see the email in your inbox.

Message Online Chat Social Text Concept

From experience, email works well provided you have a clear message, keep it brief, avoid spammy words (“new”, “discount”, “unbelievable offer”) and do not bombard your audience with too many emails. How many times have you unsubscribed from an email list because you were receiving multiple emails per day? In my experience, one email a month is a good cadence to start with.

When sending out emails en-masse, you will need to sign up to an email service provider, like Constant Contact, Marketo or MailChimp. You should also make sure that you have a professional email address (yourname@companyname.com) and not one from Google or Outlook as these will likely be blocked by firewalls.

9- Create a LinkedIn profile for your company

Given that LinkedIn is one of the most used social media platforms for B2B selling, make sure that you set-up a profile for your company and fill it out. You should use your LinkedIn account to share your blog content, success stories, videos and recommendations.  For more useful hints on building an optimal LinkedIn profile, check out this article.

Closeup of businessman's smartphone with cloud computing symbol

10- Prospect on LinkedIn

I find that LinkedIn is an invaluable tool to find new prospects for your solution.   Invest some time playing around with the different search features. You can search on specific job titles, keywords, type of company, size of company, location and much more. For example, when planning a roadshow in a specific city on behalf of a portfolio analytics provider, I would search for “senior portfolio manager” under job title and then filter on the city I am travelling too. Then, I would connect to each portfolio manager individually, with a message along the lines of:

“Hello Fred, I see that we both work in the asset management industry in Zurich, so I thought it would be a good idea for us to connect,  Daniel”

Conclusion

These online marketing hacks are easy-to-implement and there are numerous resources available to help you raise your company’s profile and bring in sales. At salesmentor., we have extensive experience of building online marketing strategies for SaaS companies, which are both successful and cost effective.

Daniel Feander
Founder – salesmentor.