7 Marketing Strategies SaaS Companies Are Using to Grow

Software as a service (SaaS) businesses continue to take the business world by storm. With the advancement in technology, the potential of software has grown so much that it’s become more accessible than ever to develop and deploy it. The second critical piece of the SaaS puzzle is the large customer base potential. As more people are using the internet, it provides excellent opportunities for SaaS companies to reach a considerable number of people via digital marketing.

However, perhaps the thing that has benefited the SaaS business the most is its great synergy with the subscription model. Charging a subscription for a product has allowed the industry to thrive because it makes it easier for a business to be profitable over time. On the other hand, it also encourages the SaaS companies to continually innovate and improve their products so they could keep providing value customers would pay for.

It’s a model that ensures the business health, and it’s indeed been working for the SaaS industry. However, it wouldn’t be possible to sustain without a healthy dose of marketing that gets their products in front of customers. Here are the seven marketing strategies SaaS companies are using to grow:

1. Content Marketing

It’s undoubtedly a favorite of big names like Moz, Dropbox, Hootsuite, etc. There’s a couple of reasons for the popularity of content marketing. When done well, content keeps driving leads for as long as you have it on your website. It’s also complemented well by many other forms of marketing that we’ll mention later, such as PPC ads or SEO optimization, which make the content more discoverable and visible.

For example, Moz does excellent with their thought leadership content. Their daily blog posts, comprehensive guides, and other content continually generate leads for their products. Dropbox likes to use webinars, while Intercom makes good use of their podcast and books. That’s one more advantage of content marketing: versatility. SaaS companies have recognized that they can use it in ways that resonate with their prospects, and by educating those prospects they ensure that their product quality will be remembered.

2. Product Trials

Offering product trials is another marketing and lead generation strategy that works well with the SaaS business model. Since software is offered as a service by these companies, they often give their customers a trial run to convert them. Most prospects will take this offer, as you generally want to try a product out before committing to it.

However, SaaS companies need to make sure informative materials well support their trials. The users should have an easy time adjusting to the product, and if anything goes wrong, they should have easy access to help as well. Product trials excel at indicating buyer intent, as those who invest their time into trying a product, become product-qualified leads which are extremely valuable.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Whether it’s off-page or on-page SEO, SaaS companies understand its importance and often use it as a complementing technique to their existing marketing strategies. Making great content more visible on search engines gives a nice boost to the business and helps generate more leads.

SEO is a comprehensive strategy that includes optimizing keywords, building links, and smart use of descriptions and titles. Many other things affect a website’s SEO score, such as loading time and mobile responsiveness. When it comes to link building, it’s always better to link to well-established authority sites than spam low-quality links. All these factors combined, help businesses rank better for their chosen keywords, which is the ultimate goal of SEO.

4. Referral Marketing

Referral marketing can be a divisive topic in the industry because of incentives that usually go with it. There are different views on how much incentive is too much. While it can be argued that without an incentive it’s impossible to get referrals, it’s also easy to go overboard with it. Incentivize too heavily, and you might end up with many referrals that bring little or no value to the business.

One great example of a successful SaaS referral program comes from Dropbox. They grew 3900% thanks to their fantastic incentive and the marketing around it.

5. Google AdWords

With Google adding more ads to search results, investing into pay-per-click ads is a good idea. Many SaaS companies still use PPC because it delivers targeted traffic. Once a campaign is optimized, it’s quite easy to keep it running and get predictable results. It also allows SaaS businesses to scale each campaign according to the needs of the company. To make the most out of PPC advertising, test different campaigns to see which one offers the best ROI. If you’re willing to pay for traffic, there probably is a no better option to get it.

6. Co-Marketing

You’ll often see SaaS businesses collaborating through co-marketing. The way it usually works is that the companies involved work together in creating a piece of content and then promote it together. It can be an ebook, a webinar they hosted jointly, or useful research that pertains to both of them. It’s helpful in increasing the reach of the brand, and when two companies join marketing efforts, it can generate more qualified leads. Establishing thought leadership is another benefit. The only requirement is that both companies are on the same page about what they want to accomplish.

For example, HubSpot often partners up with other companies for co-marketing campaigns, like the one they did with Chatfuel to promote an ebook on building chatbots:

7. Retargeting

Retargeting is a type of advertising that shows your product around the web to a user that has previously visited your website. A lot of retargeting software can now also target people beyond website visits. SaaS companies use it to establish familiarity with website visitors and lure them back to their website with contextual offers.

As a tool that helps you re-engage people that left your website, retargeting can have a positive impact on your conversion rates. It’s also generally cheaper to acquire new leads through retargeting campaigns, which is another reason for its popularity.


Using these strategies, software companies can accelerate their growth. However, neither of these is a “one size fits all” type of solution. It’s always best to analyze each strategy before committing to it, and test whether it’s the right fit for your business.