Generating leads is one of the most important parts of creating an effective sales funnel. You need to come up with an efficient and effective way to identify potential leads. New leads are the fuel that makes the sales process move. If you are struggling to find new customers, don't worry—we're here to help! Here are ten lead generation tips for SaaS companies:
- Start With Proper Goal Setting
- Create Customer Archetypes
- Map out Multiple Buyer Journeys
- Research Keywords
- Create High-Quality Content
- Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
- Do On-Page SEO
- Put Some of Your Content Behind a “Gate”
- Do Guest Post
- Offer Free Trials
1. Start with Proper Goal Setting
When it comes to launching a successful SaaS startup people often put the cart before the horse. They start running in several directions all at once and end up with nothing to show for it. This is why you must always start with clearly defined SMART goals.
Instead of setting SMART goals, business owners make the mistake of either 1) Setting no clearly defined goals at all or 2) Setting goals that are vague or impossible to achieve.
Writing out a mission statement that says, "We want to be the greatest SaaS startup of all time," is not a good goal—it may be an acceptable vision for your company. But visions are allowed to be more abstract. Goals, however, are not.
SMART is an acronym. In the business-world it stands for: Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, and Timed.
A SMART goal must be specific. For instance, when it comes to generating leads, you wouldn't want to say, "We want to have a ton more leads by this time next year." That is a bad goal. Instead, you could say something like, "We want to double our leads by this time next year."
The distinction between saying "a ton" and saying "double" is important. Why? Because "doubling" something is specific. The "double" of 100 is 200. That is easy to calculate and define and therefore makes a good goal. But what is "a ton" more than 100? Nobody knows. It's open to interpretation—and that's the problem! Clarity and setting specific standards and goals are incredibly important in the business world.
A SMART business goal must also be measurable. As far as lead generation tips go, we suggest breaking your goals down into either monthly or quarterly. So, again, if you want to "double" your leads "by this time next year" (i.e., in 12 months), what do you do? Break the goal down into measurable parts!
Instead of waiting until the end of the year. Measure your progress at the end of the first quarter, then the second, etc. And all of these goals should indicate to you that you are on the right track. If, for example, you generated 400 new leads last year, it means that you averaged 100 new leads per quarter. That is your baseline. If your goal is to double, you must generate an average of 200 leads per quarter. This gives you a much clearer idea of when you are on the right or wrong track.
While in other fields, the "A" in SMART goals stands for "Actionable," in the business world, it is better to think of it as "Agreed." Why? Because it is very important for any effective business goal to be understood and agreed upon by all parties. If you have a certain goal in mind, but your cofounders have another and your employees still another, you are doomed to failure. After clearly establishing your goals, you must work to articulate them and ensure that everyone in your company understands what they are and why they are significant.
Setting realistic goals is also very important. Because all SMART goals are timed (see below), it's important that whatever goals you set to make sense. If, for example, you have a new SaaS startup, it is totally unrealistic to "Our goal is to be bigger than Apple by the end of the year." This kind of unachievable, unrealistic goal setting sets a bad standard within your company. When you create a goal, you want to make sure that everyone understands it is genuine. In other words, when you set a goal, it is not just you blowing smoke—it's something you genuinely intend to achieve, and employees and partners should act accordingly. If you get into the habit of setting unrealistic goals, you will end up with a lot of eye-rolling and people not taking you seriously.
Finally, all SMART goals must be timed. If you don't have a time-limit on your goals, then you can go on and on forever, and you'll never technically know if you passed or failed. Necessity is the mother of invention, and sometimes you have to put yourself in a tight situation in order to achieve great things. Giving yourself an endless time-limit is not the way to do that.
2. Create Customer Archetypes
Creating customer archetypes (also known as buyer personas) is a fun process where you and your team come up with a number of customers "models." These models are a useful tool when your SaaS startup is thinking about how and where to spend its advertising and marketing money.
Customer archetypes should be as detailed as possible. Instead of saying, "our target customers are Millennials." You would create a fictional person (or people) to represent represents your target customers. You would give him or her the following characteristics:
- Annual Income
- Favorite Brands
- Least Favorite Brands
- Favorite Type of Music
- Favorite Movie(s)
- What they Do at their Job
- Digital Tools they Currently Use
Remember, you can and probably should have more than one customer archetype. Don't try to make your archetype too unbelievable or pack too much into his or her personality. When you are done with your archetype, you should almost feel like you know the person.
3. Map Out Multiple Buyer Journeys
How do customers find your SaaS startup or its services? Are they stumbling across your advertisements on Facebook? Are they hearing from friends? Are they finding you on Google? You need to map out all of your company's primary buyer journeys. Doing so will help you hone in on where you need to spend more time and money.
One of the best lead generation tips is to simply put your efforts where they matter. You don't want to waste time, money, or energy spinning your wheels.
4. Research Keywords
Using the right keywords in your Google advertising as well as in your on-page content and blogs is incredibly important. If you do not research your keywords, you are vulnerable to wasting money with ineffective advertising. Worse still, maybe you haven't done any keyword research at all!
The reason keyword research is one of the most important lead generation tips is that it helps you identify the words and terms people are using to find services similar to what your company is offering. You may think that people are Google one set of terms when, in reality, they are searching for something entirely different. Keyword research can help you better understand your customers and better focus your efforts.
Some of the most popular tools for conducting keyword research include:
5. Create High-Quality Content
Google rankings these days are all about quality over quantity. Still, one of the most ignored lead generation tips is to create high-quality content. Many SaaS startups and even established companies fail to put enough time or effort into building out the content on their websites and blogs. This is a mistake as regularly created high-quality content can result in organic traffic to your website, which will, in turn, generate more leads.
You should have a variety of content on your website. Your service pages should be filled with great information, and you should have both short and long-form articles present on your blog. Also, you should have a regular blogging schedule that you stick to. This can either mean doing a few long-form posts per month or even one or more per day where you switch off between long and short-form posts.
6. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
Today more than ever, it is incredibly important that your website is mobile-friendly. Over 50% of modern browsing now happens on mobile devices, and that means you are losing out on potential customers if your website doesn't work well on smartphones. If you have a SaaS startup, you can either create your own mobile app or, the more cost-effective option, is to upgrade your website so that it looks okay, whether viewed from a desktop, tablet, iPhone, or Android device.
7. Do On-Page SEO
On-Page SEO is another one of the lead generation tips that often gets ignored. On-page SEO is a potentially major source of inbound marketing. With detailed, informative service pages that include SEO-optimized information, you can generate more inbound leads than you ever thought possible.
8. Put Some of Your Content Behind the "Gate"
While it is important for lead generation that you provide visitors with at least some free information, you don't want to just give everything away. You should put some of your content behind a digital "gate." To access the information, you may require visitors to enter their email address or subscribe to your weekly newsletter. This can help you increase your leads and grow your business.
9. Do Guest Posts
If you are already on a regular blogging schedule, adding guest posts to your to-do list is easy. All you need is an excel spreadsheet with a list of relevant websites that publish information like that which you produce, and then, every time you write a new article that you think is up to their alley, you simply send it off and wait for a response. If they say "yes," then make sure you include at least one link to your company's website somewhere in the article. And, if they say "no," it's no big deal! You simply move forward with publishing the article on your own company blog—so no efforts go to waste.
10. Offer Free Trials
If you are confident in your SaaS startup (and you should be), then you shouldn't be afraid to offer a free trial. For many customers, a free trial is the only way they will consider trying something new. It is understandable that potential customers are wary of trying new software-based products. After all, you can pick up, touch, and examine digital products in the same way as you can physical ones. Free trials, however, offer people the opportunity to see how great your SaaS is without having to reach into their pockets.
There you have it, 10 of our best lead generation tips for SaaS companies. Setting SMART goals, researching keywords, doing on-page SEO, creating high-quality blog content, and everything else we mentioned will all help, but only if you get to work. So, stop procrastinating and get down to business.