Software as a Service (SaaS) is growing rapidly to become one of the most prevalent and used forms of software. The generally accepted definition of a SaaS is ‘any software that operates on servers from the developer of the software, and is financed by a subscription method’. So, its no wonder SaaS is becoming popular by the day; services like Netflix and Zoom and even Microsoft’s Teams and Skype are also classified as SaaS, so, it stands to reason that SaaS has become one of the biggest in the software realm. And with big business, comes big marketing, so here we are: how to target your SaaS business with the latest in digital media distribution.
Adverts on TV are gradually being phased out in favour of digital advertising campaigns. What it means is, that instead of running an ad on TV in prime time, which is fast dwindling down because of social media, advertisers instead get Google AdSense on board, and ask it to handle the advertising campaign for it. That is what digital advertising is in a nutshell, and digital media distribution is basically one facet of advertising; using media to get a message across to the consumers, utilising tools like SEO to help with the digital dissemination of the advert. Considering that both SaaS businesses and digital advertising are on the rise, it’s basically a match made in heaven for both of these to mutually benefit each other while it lasts.
Digital advertising entails in it a host of features and tools; from press release marketing to search engine management and ad placement, which is a field so vast they teach graduates about it in dedicated degree programmes. So, when we say that digital advertising is here to stay, along with all of its iterations like press release marketing and whatnot, you can begin to comprehend the scale with which this industry is poised to grow and how can SaaS businesses benefit from it.
SaaS businesses x advertising
Software as a Service (SaaS) depends heavily on new customers. Well, all businesses do, but SaaS are particularly required to be aggressive in gaining new customers because of how their revenue model is set up. Take, for instance, Netflix, which is an easy and understandable example of a SaaS business expanding and growing. Unlike software where you buy it just once and keep using it for all eternity (Microsoft Office, any PlayStation or Xbox game), Netflix relies on monthly subscription payments to keep it afloat. Since this isn’t nearly as much as it would have from a one-time payment that’s substantial, therefore, what Netflix does is keep pushing for new customers by aggressive marketing schemes and literally tons of adverts on sites like YouTube and other popular social media.
This enables any SaaS business like Netflix to increase their customer base, thus enhancing the monthly subscription payment they get cumulatively. This is a much more financially feasible model than a single-time payment-based software as it keeps on generating revenue over the lifetime of the subscriber.
As you can imagine, getting new customers requires an aggressive marketing strategy. To stay afloat, SaaS companies like Netflix spend millions on advertising campaigns, targeting people indiscriminately and flooding sites like YouTube with adverts. This helps keep their subscriber rate up, and keeps the cumulative monthly subscription fee in the high millions, which, in the longer run, is certainly more than what software with a one-time purchase model can achieve.
SaaS businesses x digital advertising
In an era of social media, Netflix certainly won’t advertise on TV. Such is the case for any other business out there; traditional and conventional advertising is a dying breed and there’s no saving it. Instead, it has been replaced with the far more efficient digital advertising. As explained beforehand, digital advertising entails in it the use of social media platforms to target adverts geared towards the intended audience. So, SaaS businesses and digital advertising go hand-in-hand. A good example of a SaaS-digital advertising synergy would be the pesky Netflix adverts on YouTube; Netflix is a SaaS company that needs new customers, and it knows that a bulk of people who are on YouTube are looking for something that Netflix can provide, albeit for a price. So, they bombard you with adverts until you buy their membership, which seems like a good deal considering that there is a lot to watch on it, and only a nominal fee is required each month.
This business model has been widely replicated; HBO Plus, Peacock and Amazon Prime are just some of the examples. This has spilled over to some other industries; Sony and Microsoft both do it under the brand names PlayStation Plus and Xbox Gold memberships, which give access to multiplayer and an entire fray of gaming titles for a monthly fee. And believe it or not, soon this SaaS model will be applied to cars and in the near future, more specifically in its navigation feature (Mercedes-Benz is already testing such a service, not to mention you could also subscribe to a self-driving software based on a monthly payment). And all of this is being advertised thanks to digital marketing.
Digital media distribution for SaaS businesses
We’ve already established that SaaS businesses and digital marketing go hand-in-hand. An important aspect of digital advertising is digital media distribution; this refers to the use of social media sites to distribute content intended for advertisement. Textbook examples of digital media include: paid media, earned media and owned media.
Paid media is when an advertiser pays a site to display their content for them; for instance, Netflix paying Google AdSense to place adverts on YouTube. This is the primary digital media distribution method, at least for SaaS businesses. This ensures that traffic is driven organically towards their site from a number of different sites, which in itself forms an important component of SEO, another integral part of digital marketing.
Earned media, on the other hand, relies on something much more traditional and conventional, albeit with a new twist. As the name suggests, earned media is any referral or any internet traffic you get due to the online version of a ‘word of mouth’ strategy. Basically, what it means that any traffic generated passively will be counted as earned media. To simplify, consider this. Forbes writes a ground-breaking article on Bitcoin, which somehow gets into the trending part of Twitter, Reddit and whatnot. Now, Bitcoin did not pay for all that traffic, instead, an article did it for them, surging interest in it. This is what is the essence of earned media; no direct investment is required, but rather a catalyst is required to kickstart interest in something.
Lastly, owned media, as the name implies, is any channel that the company itself owns, and uses it to distribute content like blogs, videos and whatnot. This differs from the two mentioned above due to the virtue of the fact that the content on it is posted without any cost or whatnot; since the channel is owned by the company, its theirs to do with as they please. Anything from the Blogs page on a website to its YouTube channel or Twitter handle can be considered owned media since it is being directly operated by the company, and posts content directly from the company.
These three forms of media, well, digital media distribution are the primary means of distributing digital content on the internet.
Now that you understand the connection a SaaS business might share with digital media distribution, let’s get onto the part of how you can actually market and target your SaaS business with digital media distribution.
Targeting, marketing SaaS business with digital media distribution
As we’ve established beforehand, digital media distribution has become the primary marketing technique for a lot of products and services, and SaaS is no different. It could be classified as a symbiotic relationship; digital media marketers rack up enormous marketing bills for SaaS businesses, and the latter in term benefits from an influx of new customers, driven solely by the digital media distribution. So, how can you do the same for your business?
Well, let’s take again the case of Netflix as the SaaS business. It constantly needs an influx of customers and their monthly subscription fee to keep afloat, and aggressive marketing is the only way they can increase their inbound marketing leads. So, they go with digital marketing, which specifically uses digital media distribution, content marketing and search engine optimisation to ensure that the business leads keep flowing. Now, digital media distribution includes content marketing in a way that digital media (including SaaS software) gets delivered to the end customer. This includes placement of your SaaS product on various online marketplaces, adverts and websites from wherein this can be downloaded or bought. Many, like Netflix, use Google AdSense, which targets the populace as identified by the potential audience of the SaaS, and bombards them with adverts. This is how a SaaS business can use digital media distribution as part of a broader digital marketing campaign, and how you can target your SaaS business with digital media distribution.
Press release distribution under the digital marketing umbrella
Digital marketing is a concept with a vast amount of paraphernalia underneath it. Everything from search engine optimisation, content marketing to press release distribution comes within its ambit. When you have such a concept, its hard not to get lost in all that is there to be offered. But, according to many, the piece de resistance for the digital marketing segment is the modern iteration of press release marketing, which has taken a new turn ever since the advent of social media and digital marketing. The modern press release is now aided by SEO, Google AdSense targeting and utilises websites and other web-based utilities rather than sitting dumb in a newspaper.
So, if we were to chalk out a connection between digital marketing, press release distribution and SaaS businesses, it would go something like this. SaaS businesses use digital marketing as a way to increase business leads and turn potential audience into customers. They do so by the help of SEO and press release distribution. Now where do press release distribution and SaaS businesses meet in the fray? Let’s discuss it.
The modern iteration of the press release distribution process includes web-based utilities that help gain whatever service or product you’re advertising, a pretty hefty screen time, and a way to convert those views and clicks into business leads. SaaS businesses rely on such techniques to keep the word going, keep the business conversions coming in, and keep the customer lists fresh and updated. Like digital media distribution, press release marketing under the aegis of digital marketing has been proved to significantly better any SaaS business, its market and its business leads and their conversion into actual leads.
Planning, marketing SaaS business with digital advertising
Digital advertising for SaaS businesses requires a heavy emphasis on new customers, so the marketing portion is rather different that what a normal course of a marketing plan would run you. As such, there are certain things that need to be kept in mind, certain services that can be used under the ambit of digital marketing, like press release distribution and search engine optimisation.
Content marketing: Content marketing is one of the most pivotal aspects of both SaaS business marketing and digital advertising. Many businesses make the blunder of not having or bothering with a content strategy; what you need to understand that in this era of digital marketing and advertising, it is content which drives revenue into the product, and it is content which is the main part of an inbound marketing strategy. With that being said, content means everything from blog posts to videos, and the higher the quality of the content is, the more organic traffic it will route towards your website, translating into more sales. And since sales are the lifeblood of any SaaS business, a content marketing strategy is a must-have for this case.
But not just content, a haphazard collection of blogs and videos just thrown about in a page. Again, a specific content plan needs to be followed, and the strategy will certainly benefit from a targeted content inclusion, including planning ahead of posting, looking for the right keywords and integrating a certain degree of SEO to ensure that content goes where content needs to be delivered.
All in all, content marketing will obviously play a very major role in the digital marketing section of the SaaS business, and a quick search on the internet will reveal that not everyone is doing so, which means that you can take this opportunity to jump ahead while you can and plan out a content strategy for you SaaS business.
Inbound marketing: Content marketing is a big part of inbound marketing, and what more could a SaaS business need? Inbound marketing is opposed to outbound marketing, which is when you actively pursue customers with email pitches and whatnot. Inbound marketing is much easier, and a passive way to market your product and do sales. Inbound marketing is when customers are directed towards you, either by marketing or advertising on the internet or even on billboards. This means that you don’t waste your time chasing down deals and customers, you focus on the content that brings them in.
SaaS businesses prefer inbound marketing as it is a much more efficient way of bringing in customer when it comes to cost per customer (which is what you spend on bringing a customer towards your product, also known as Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)). Inbound marketing works passively, so no resources are being actively spent on getting customers, and a single piece of content can work multiple times to rope in customers, which makes it a very attractive and feasible option. With content marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy, inbound marketing will mean more business leads for the SaaS business, which in turn means more revenue.
Search Engine Optimisation: More popularly known as SEO, again, an important part of any digital advertising strategy for any SaaS business. What’s more, with the inclusion of tools like press release distribution in the fray, you’ve got a pretty potent tool to work with, and SEO provides just that. SEO ensures that your website, your blogs and your content stays on top, because people haven’t got the time to go for the second page on Google Search. So, with a proper content marketing strategy on your side, and a pretty hefty SEO programme complementing it, your content can be positioned much better, meaning your inbound marketing for the SaaS business will go off the charts.
Ensuring all three of these major facets of any digital advertising strategy will result in a big bump in the sales number of the SaaS business, and will further mean that the digital media marketing for said business will result in more leads, more revenue, and subsequently more business.