Companies don't set out to become mediocre, they get there by prioritizing the wrong actions.
Let's first get into the definition of marketing. What is it?
Marketing performs the invaluable function of giving you customers for the products and services you have to sell. And that's what we all want, isn't it? Customers.
Essentially, marketing is "making a market" for our product. There are methods to develop an entirely new market for a new or old product. This method(s) involves a certain number of steps.
What is the Role of Marketing in SaaS?
We need to think about the role of marketing in a business. Is it the most important thing? Or, are the other functions more important: Development and Design; Customer Service; Onboarding, et cetera.
You can't have one without the other. So, Development and Design (in SaaS) are the most important thing. But, second, is marketing.
However, marketing is a slippery slope. Create a half-assed product, then marketing will not make a difference. Sure, you'll get people in the door. But, you won't be able to keep them in.
So, the first step is to build a kick ass software as a service product... A product that is targeting a large enough TAM (total addressable market) for profitability. BTW, click here if you're trying to find product / market fit for your SaaS idea.
Most of the time, the market exists before we create our software product, and we simply tap into the strength of the market. But in this day and age, often times, we need to give our product viable financial form.
Now, if you think that "marketing" is simply creating a Facebook or Google Ad... I hate to tell you, but that's a small piece of the puzzle.
The goal of marketing is to create a feeding frenzy around your product. Convincing people to want your product more than they want the money in their bank account. Or, in the case of field services management software, convincing people that they do, in-fact, have a problem that needs to be solved.
The goal of marketing is to shape the largest and strongest market possible for your SaaS product. Then heighten your market's reaction to the basic problem your product solves.
You like that headline? Exactly. Everybody's looking for the next "hack". Let me tell you, it doesn't exist. What might work in one industry, will not work in the next.
For example, having a huge Twitter following works great for marketing products and services to developers. Because, Twitter is where a lot of developers hang out.
Does Twitter work for marketing software for lawn mowing companies? No. The owners of lawn and landscape companies don't hang out on Twitter.
So stop looking for hacks, and start researching words and formulas that will open up an entirely new market for your product. Words that will give your SaaS product immediate profit. Yes, I'm talking about content. Copywriting.
Following somebody else's formula is not a sure-fire way to success, no matter how successful they were. And, typically, a certain marketing formula only works once. That's because each and every formula was designed to address a particular problem that happened in the past.
Your specific market will demand a new approach. A new breakthrough.
In my last business, direct mail worked extremely well. PPC (pay per click advertising) did not work at all! Creating a Facebook group and a YouTube channel worked great. Print ads in trade-specific magazines worked great.
Will the same methods work here? I have no idea. But, we're going to test the piss out of a bunch of methods and mediums to find out what works.
As a quick aside, don't mess around with "brand advertising". Unless you want to flush your cash down the tubes, brand advertising is a waste of dough. Focus on direct response advertising.
Direct Response Advertising
Direct response advertising is a promotional method that demands a response. In other words, the customer is urged to respond immediately and directly to your advertising message.
Let me give you an example.
You create a landing page that is asking for a visitor's email address. The entire objective for this landing page is to capture the visitor's email address (of course, your landing page could be trying to sell a product, sign-up for a free trial, whatever).
To get people to your landing page, you create a promotion: PPC ad, postcard, print advert, etc. Each one of these methods sends the customer to a specific landing page.
The point is, your promotion is sending people to a landing page that is trying to get some specific response.
If, in this example, you get an email, your ad (and landing page) was a success. Congrats.
That's direct response.
Think of direct response as a form of advertising that produces a measurable result.
Past Marketing Successes Do Not Equal Future Results
Successful marketing is not copying someone else's ads, or landing pages, or blog posts... Every new market, every new product, every new advertisement is a new problem that did not exist before.
Past marketing examples should serve as a jump-off point. Somewhere to begin.
If you simply copy 37signals landing page, that does not mean your landing page will convert. It's a good starting point–a good place to lead you in the right direction–but not the end result.
To achieve truly astonishing results, you need to put in the time. You need to perform the analysis, the deep thinking.
The correct solution, the right landing page design, the perfect headline, the super converting call-to-action, is buried deep in the problem itself. It has never been created before.
Time to put in the effort to create the solution.