This article discusses how personalized media can help address the various challenges facing SaaS companies across their customer journeys. It has been divided into the following sections:
Software-as-a-service or SaaS companies, create and distribute software online with the objective of solving a customer’s need. The type of product offered by the SaaS firm determines whether the company is a consumer or business-to-business (B2B) SaaS. The names themselves suggest the difference between the two
Consumer SaaS companies are designed for individuals, for their personal use. Common examples of Consumer SaaS companies include Dropbox, Calendly, Shopify, etc.
B2B SaaS firms, on the other hand, are more likely to focus on the demands of business owners and management teams. These products are generally designed for businesses. HubSpot, Google, and Asana are a few examples of B2B enterprises.
The SaaS industry has witnessed exponential growth, both in terms of the number of customers for SaaS and the number of SaaS applications available. In fact, the Covid pandemic’s impact on SaaS companies was significant. With more people working remotely, there was a surge in demand for cloud-based software solutions that could be accessed anywhere. This trend is expected to continue in the post-pandemic world as more businesses adopt remote work policies and invest in flexible, cloud-based solutions. In 2020, the worldwide value of SaaS was $113.82 billion, and it is expected to reach $716.52 billion by 2028.
We can conclude that SaaS companies are well-positioned to capitalize on the post-pandemic economy. However, the explosion of SaaS also highlights significant challenges SaaS companies face in acquiring & retaining high-quality customers.
If you’re a SaaS business owner, you’re probably looking for new and innovative ways to market and grow your SaaS business. You may have heard about the power of personalized and interactive media. But what is it, exactly? And how can you use it to your advantage? Let’s find out!
For a SaaS firm, achieving long-term success is directly linked to acquiring new clients and retaining them for as long as possible.
SaaS companies typically use a mix of marketing and sales techniques to acquire new customers. Here are some of the avenues a business can explore …
Outbound Sales or Cold Outreach is an option that is widely used by B2B SaaS entities, especially when are dealing with accounts with a large annual contract value. The top channels of outreach are e-mail and LinkedIn. However, these channels are also saturated. The decision-makers in industries are receiving messages from several other Enterprise and B2B SaaS entities. This makes it extremely important that you’re able to stand out and grab their attention.
Paid marketing through traditional paid advertising channels, including TV or social media ads. Paid ads are a quick and effective way to bring awareness to your brand and test your product’s value proposition. However, paid channels of acquisition remain expensive and are therefore usually impractical for smaller and newer SaaS businesses.
Moreover, statistics indicate that outbound marketing may not suffice as a standalone acquisition strategy. It would need to be supplemented with organic channels such as content marketing.
This brings us to an alternate type of acquisition strategy-
Inbound marketing through blogs, E-books, social media campaigns, and SEO. Although effort-intensive, inbound marketing is a reliable and cost-effective strategy to organically attract customers. It can also help stronghold your product’s position as your customer’s go-to solution.
There are several success stories for effective inbound marketing strategies that we can discover with a quick google search!
Why then is customer acquisition proving to be a challenge for SaaS businesses?
A part of this challenge can be attributed to higher and recurrent subscription costs and the complexity of SaaS tools. These inherent features translate to a longer sales cycle for SaaS companies in comparison to other businesses. In fact, the average length of the sales cycle for a SaaS company is nearly three months, depending on the price and nature of the product.
Additionally, as discussed earlier in this article, the SaaS boom has spoiled potential customers for choice in recent years. Your prospect is likely simultaneously evaluating four other products while considering what you have to offer. It’s no wonder that SaaS customers require some extra nurturing before they are ready to buy your product.
How does personalized and interactive media fit in this puzzle?
It may be overused, but it holds true – “A picture (or a video) is worth a thousand words.” So why not use them to communicate with your target audience? In fact, according to a recent Wyzowl survey, 78% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy or download a piece of software or app by watching a video!
No wonder SaaS companies like Dropbox have garnered 1000s of subscribers and views, and visibility from content posted on their Youtube channel.
Moreover, in a world where we’re bombarded with marketing messages, it can be tough to cut through the noise and reach your target audience. Personalized media in your marketing will help you achieve just that.
Let’s look at some ideas along the customer acquisition journey where personalized and interactive media can prove beneficial.
Personalized & Interactive videos in blogs and ads
You can supplement your written blog articles with personalized videos that engage your reader or add personalized image infographics to leave a lasting impression!
While we cannot personalize paid ads to the viewers’ information, you can use Nexweave to build interactive widgets into your videos. These widgets could include CTA’s to link your website or blog or lead generation forms!
Interactive videos to request for meetings
Create fun and memorable choose your story videos where you can share a video introduction to your company and also request for meeting. It’s a unique way to break the ice and build an instant rapport with your visitors!
Personalized landing pages
Nexweave can help you add personalized images, GIFs, videos, and text to your website without code!
These Nexweave powered landing pages can be connected to forms on your website (such as contact forms, webinar registration, meeting booking, etc.). The information collected can be used to personalize the entire funnel dynamically!
Customer acquisition is just the first step in building a successful SaaS business. Now let’s explore the next step in your customer’s journey.
When you’re getting started with a new SaaS company, the customer onboarding process sets the tone for the relationship. You want to make sure that your customers understand the value of your product and how to use it effectively.
In other words, your customers need an Aha moment! The emotional hook to your product, the aha moment, is the first time your customers genuinely realize your product’s value and the benefit it can yield. In Canva, for example, the Aha moment is discovered the first time a customer creates and downloads a template.
So what exactly makes an onboarding experience good?
And how can you drive new users to the Aha moment? Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are some general principles that successful onboarding journeys follow. These are:
Some SaaS companies, especially those requiring a technical setup, may opt for a friction-based sign-up approach. However, most SaaS businesses benefit from a relevant and straightforward sign-up process.
Pipedrive, for example, offers a minimal and friction-less sign-up process. It encourages users to sign up only with email and dive into exploring the application quicker
Interactive and self-served :
It’s no secret that users learn more by doing. For higher retention, it’s also imperative that users learn to be self-sufficient.
Your customer onboarding journey should guide your user along key features until the aha moment and encourage them to perform actions themselves.
Canva, for example, guides its users through a 4 step tour to create templates, only highlighting the critical aspects of their editor :
Onboarding that goes beyond the application:
While many companies focus on in-app onboarding flows, it is essential to remember how vital onboarding email sequences can be. A good onboarding sequence of emails can smoothen the adoption phase for a customer. It can also remind new customers that they’ve started a connection with you and your team.
Personalization is among the essential facets of a good onboarding journey. A personalized onboarding automatically places users at the center of the application’s purpose.
Tailored and relevant nudges, tips, and checklists during onboarding will help ensure that your new users reach the aha moment faster and contextualize the entire onboarding experience for them.
The most common practice in personalizing onboarding flows, something you may have witnessed yourself, is to segment your audience based on their persona or objective! Going back to Canva, the first step after signing up for any new user is to specify which profile they belong to.
After that, Canva only displays the relevant templates and suggestions across the remainder of the onboarding journey.
How can you use personalized media in your onboarding experience?
At Nexweave, we take personalization a step forward by adding our user’s data, such as their name, across the onboarding journey.
Starting with our welcome video. We use this as an opportunity for our founders to introduce themselves to every user through a personalized video directly.
We also invite users to join our community through a CTA directly embedded in the video!
In addition to creating and embedding personalized and interactive welcome videos, you can also create personalized images and GIFs to incorporate within your onboarding welcome emails and celebrations of milestones.
All of us, love receiving something that’s personalized or tailored to them. Why should your welcome emails be any different! SaaS onboarding emails are a great way to welcome new users and help them get started.
You can even hyperlink the images and GIFs in these emails to personalized videos. Deliver a complete personalized memorable experience to your new users! In fact, some brands have recorded 8x improvement in click-through rates with personalized video versus standard email campaigns.
Don’t forget to include a call-to-action, such as a free trial sign-up or a product tour. You can ensure that your onboarding emails make a great first impression and help new users get the most out of your service by following these tips!
Now that we’ve seen how personalized media can revolutionize the acquisition and onboarding of your new customers. Let’s take a look at how it can directly help retain and build long-term relationships for a SaaS company!
Engagement & Retention
A common metric SaaS businesses closely monitor is churn rate. The churn rate is the percentage of customers or users who discontinue their use of a product or service over a given period.
SaaS companies have high churn rates for a variety of reasons. First, customers may not be using the product as intended, leading to dissatisfaction. And second, the product may not be meeting their needs effectively. Typically, SaaS businesses also witness a high percentage of churn during or after the onboarding.
This teaches us a couple of things:
- The onboarding flow and experience go a long way in helping customers see value in your product. They are therefore key factors in a customer’s decision.
- A SaaS company’s engagement strategy cannot end with onboarding alone. But must be a continuous and evolving effort in demonstrating the product’s value to their customers.
A few key strategies can help - such as building a solid onboarding, developing an engaged community, and providing excellent customer support. By focusing on these areas, you can help reduce your churn rate and keep your customers happy.
We spoke about onboarding strategies such as interactive walk-throughs, personalized welcome messages, and personalized emails in the last section. In this section, we are going to expand the conversation to explore some more effective onboarding techniques and additional ideas on how to engage customers beyond their first aha moment.
Checklist, rewards, and motivation
For SaaS platforms with multiple features to offer and multiple activation events for their users, checklists help organize each feature into a task for the user to accomplish.
Checklists help make onboarding journeys less daunting for new users and allow them to focus their attention and efforts on smaller, more achievable learning goals. As a result, new users prolong their engagement with your platform and can derive value over an extended period.
Take a look at Intercom, for example. The homepage defaults to a “get started guide” or checklist of tasks. Interestingly, these guides are further divided based on users’ objectives. Such as a particular set of tasks to help “win customers and send messages” or “setup customer support.” So a user can complete onboarding in their own time and have control over performing the tasks most relevant to them!
Most onboarding journeys tend to be information-heavy and goal-oriented. But what is easily overlooked is that users will automatically engage more if the SaaS application is fun to use!
This is where is gamification comes to the rescue. Gamification is the introduction of fun elements to encourage the achievement of a task. Many SaaS companies offer rewards and incentives to their users, not just for completing onboarding tasks but also to reward loyalty and consistent usage.
For example, LinkedIn offers assigns grades and level based on profile strength encouraging users to keep information up to date
Nexweave can help take gamification in onboarding to the next step by allowing you to integrate personalized and interactive media.
- a personalized GIF to celebrate the completion of the onboarding checklist of tasks
- a personalized certificate containing your user’s information celebrating the completion of a milestone!
Personalized celebrations can also be made shareable on social media! This would also encourage your users to advertise their achievements and become advocates for your product!
Enhanced customer support and personalized chatbots
We’ve all experienced good and bad customer service in our lifetimes. Whether it’s at a restaurant or speaking to amazon to get a refund on your latest order. From our personal experiences, it is easy to deduce that customer support is a make or break for any company.
Zendesk found that an average of 66% of consumers had terminated their relationship with a company due to poor customer service.
Good customer support is also one of the critical facets of a great customer experience, and it is what your customers will seek in case of any cracks or breakdowns in the product’s UX.
In an interesting study it was found that 50% of consumers no longer care if they’re working with a human or a bot. In the competitive sprint to provide efficient and quality customer support and optimize tasks through automation, conversational chatbots are emerging as the next big thing.
These conversational bots can help reduce case volume for customer service reps and provide timely service to customers by directing them to appropriate resources based on their questions. You can also add them to your SaaS platform’s website to answer FAQs for visitors and capture leads for you!
Nexweave integrates with major chatbot platforms, allowing you to add automated image and GIF responses to your conversational chatbots! These images and GIFs can be dynamically personalized to contain your customers’ information and act as instant ice breakers!
Post on-boarding engagement
Your onboarding will guide your new customers to their aha moment and get them to see the initial value in your product. But what after that? Given the sea of choices that customers have today, how can you continuously demonstrate that your product addresses their needs and more?
This is where post onboarding communication and engagement comes in. Whether in-app or via emails/ messages or both, you can use post onboarding engagement to educate your users on advanced features, encourage them to join your online community, and provide them upsell and upgrade opportunities!
For example, Smallcase shares a weekly personalized email on activity in a user’s watchlisted portfolio and encourages them to invest. Not only is this email personalized to the user’s interests, but it contains performance updates along with actionable links for the user to click on.
Personalized images and GIFs in your engagement emails can help contribute to the email open and click-through rates. In fact, emails that include some kind of imagery have a 4.5% higher CTR than text-based emails.
Making your customers feel heard and offering them a great experience are essential to building a successful SaaS company.
Good customer feedback can help steer product development in the right direction. It provides insights into what your customers want and need. Additionally, it also encourages customers to feel invested in the product and makes them more likely to advocate for it.
There are many ways to collect feedback from your customers. You can use in-app messaging, customer surveys, live chat, or even social media to reach out to them!
Through personalized media integrated into your feedback mechanism, you can make customers feel valued. A personal message from your team or GIFs can also help add a touch of humour to your request!
Now that we’ve demonstrated examples of personalized media throughout a typical SaaS customer’s journey let’s take a look at the final pillar for SaaS success-
Referrals and testimonials
Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing isn’t a new phenomenon. But with the advent of social media, WOM marketing has solidified its position as one of the most effective methods of promoting and growing a company. Let’s take a closer look at 2 of the subsets of WOM:
A referral program is a marketing strategy that rewards customers for referring new business to a company. Typically, customers are offered an incentive for every new customer they refer, such as a discount or gift card.
In a study, Nielsen reported that 92% of people worldwide said they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.
Referrals allow SaaS companies, especially those growing, to borrow credibility from their users. The result is lower customer acquisition costs, increased conversions, and higher customer lifetime values.
There are certain hallmarks of an effective referral program. these include –
- A solid product: after all, your users should be proud to share your product with their friends and family
- The right incentives: whether it’s rewards in the form of cashbacks, discounts or upgrades, it’s vital to identify the right incentives to drive referrals from your users.
- quick and easy referral link: your referral program should include minimal steps for your users
Dropbox, for example, is praised for its super-easy referral program. It offers an incentive in the form of upgraded storage for its users and only requires an email address to launch!
Usually, these referral programs are automated to share a standard message from users to their friends and family.
Imagine if this message could be personalized with an image or GIF containing your user’s friend’s name and information?
How cool would it be to receive a referral link like that!
A company will always hype the product it’s trying to sell. As a consumer, your credible source of information then becomes other consumers, like yourselves. We all read reviews before buying a product. And the more positive the reviews, the more likely we are to make the purchase.
This is why testimonials are an important part of any SaaS company’s marketing arsenal. They provide social proof that your product works and encourages other potential customers to take a chance on your product.
They also help foster trust between your brand and your customers by providing personal insights into how your product has helped them achieve their goals. As a result, testimonials can be valuable in convincing potential leads to try out your product.
One of the main challenges SaaS companies face in getting testimonials is that they often require customers to go out of their way to leave a review. This can be difficult, especially if customers are already busy or not particularly satisfied with the product. Another challenge is that many SaaS products are pretty technical and can be challenging to explain in a useful way for potential customers. This can make it hard to write an informative and interesting testimonial.
Personalized testimonial requests
Personalized and interactive media can boost a SaaS company’s efforts in gathering testimonials.
For example, you could share a short video of yourself requesting a testimonial. You can also embed personalized images and GIFs in your testimonial emails to catch your user’s attention.
Personalized GIFs are a great way to show off your personality and sense of humor and add a personal touch to your messages. As a plus, if your customers feel special, then they’re bound to return the favor!
As we bring this article to a conclusion, it’s important to re-iterate that a successful SaaS company is built on an incredible customer journey foundation. And as competition grows, maintaining uniqueness and relevance become paramount to growth! As you continue to innovate with the different acquisition, onboarding, and retention strategies, we hope this article will help you develop some exciting ideas. Remember, it’s not just essential to have customers, but it is crucial for your customers to be happy and engaged.
So, what are you waiting for? Today, start using personalized media in your customer acquisition, onboarding, engagement, and referral campaigns! And be sure to check out Nexweave – the perfect platform for creating all kinds of personalized & interactive media content.
Thanks for reading!