Here is a Simple SaaS Marketing Framework to Increase Your Sales

This isn’t just a guide. And it’s much more than a sales funnel template. It’s a step-by-step SaaS marketing workbook that will walk you through the entire process of building a full-funnel lead generation platform to enhance your SaaS marketing campaigns.

Thanks to the SaaS Marketing Funnel, I’ve been able to achieve results like this as a marketing consultant:

Leads

5x

increase

Demo Signups

44%

increase

New Customers

20%

increase

To help you achieve similar results, I’m going to cover the fundamental SaaS marketing concepts necessary to fill your pipeline and keep prospects moving through your funnel.

Specifically:

Frequently Asked Questions About SaaS Marketing

What is SaaS product marketing?

Whereas general marketing encompasses all marketing activities related to your SaaS, product marketing focuses on the marketing efforts related to one specific product in a company’s catalogue. Some companies, like Google, have multiple products and multiple product marketer. Others may just have one product and one product marketer. General marketing, on the other hand, is responsible for the overall marketing efforts, including the marketing for the entire product line.

How is SaaS marketing different?

It depends on what element of SaaS marketing you’re talking about. SaaS product marketing is different from general marketing in the ways mentioned above. It’s focusing on the intricacies of marketing a single product. SaaS marketing is different from traditional marketing in that it relies much more on digital channels and, since SaaS companies rely on continued subscriptions, it’s heavily geared towards keeping current customers in addition to finding new ones.

What People Are Saying About This SaaS Marketing Guide

“Instead of giving generic tips and methodologies, Roy breaks down the elements of a powerful framework and explains how to use marketing automation and retargeting to get better results for your business.”

Georgios Chasiotis

Marketing Consultant
Georgios Chasiotis Agency

“Roy Harmon guides you through the funnel step by step, in plain English, with ample opportunities to lead yourself through your own custom plan and lay out a simple strategy for enhanced growth.”

Christine Gritmon

SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST
CHRISTINE GRITMON, INC.

Table of Contents


How the SaaS Marketing Funnel Works

The Saas Marketing Funnel is combination of inbound methodology and funnel marketing. When most people think of inbound they’re thinking SEO and content marketing, but this funnel supercharges your SaaS marketing efforts with targeted advertising.

This is how it works:

Step 1: Build Your Audience

First, you’ll build a qualified audience through the use of third party data and advertising. This will build your audience at every stage of the buyer’s journey much faster than SEO alone.

Step 2: Fill Your Funnel​

You’ll develop contextually relevant information to build your credibility with potential customers and keep them coming back for more.

Step 3: Guide Your Customers

By advertising the right content to targeted audiences, you’ll help your leads navigate the buyer’s journey faster than they could on their own.

Step 4: Close Deals Faster

You’ll deliver progressive messaging that educates your leads so that they’re ready to close faster when they get to the Decision stage.

Preliminary Questions​

It’s important to make sure you understand your SaaS offering in terms of the solutions you provide. To get the most out of this guide, answer these questions before you continue.

  • What problem(s) does your SaaS?
  • What’s unique about your SaaS?
  • What are the strengths of your solution?
  • What are the weaknesses of your solution?
  • Who are your top competitors?
  • What do they do better than you do?
  • What do you do better?
  • What does your ideal customer look like?​

What Now?

If you took the time to answer the questions above, you’ve now got a 360-degree perspective on 

  • What your company has to offer, and
  • To whom you should be offering it.

In the following exercises, you’ll be taking the answers to those questions and using them to decide:

  • what content you should develop for each stage of the buyer’s journey to help your potential customers
  • how to position your product or service in your copy so that potential customers understand if you’re the perfect choice
  • who to target with your advertising in the Qualification stage to build up your initial audience

And notice that in that second bullet point I said ​IF ​you’re the perfect choice.

As you’re working through the rest of these exercises, remember:

No product or service is right for everyone.

Be laser-focused in your pursuit of the people who are the perfect fit for what you have to offer. 

According to a survey conducted by Marc Wayshak, “at least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell.”

People who aren’t a good fit should know within three seconds of landing on your landing page that they should look elsewhere.

You’ll do that by avoiding what I call “sloppy copy.”

Sloppy copy is copy that wins the contact information of someone who isn’t a good fit for your offering. It’s a detriment to your lead generation efforts.

If you don’t nip it in the bud?

Its negative effects will echo throughout your entire sales process. 

​It will cost you time and money. 

​Time that you could be spending on people who are likely to buy. And money you could spend on ads to move those people down the funnel. Oh, and don’t forget all the time wasted on onboarding and offering support to a customer who’s just going to churn.

So don’t write sloppy copy!

​Audience Segmentation for SaaS Marketing

Audience segmentation is a crucial aspect of the SaaS Marketing Funnel. Let’s talk about how to segment your audience according to the stage in the buyer’s journey they’re in.

“Audience segmentation is the process of dividing (or segmenting) your overall audience into smaller audiences based on demographics, behavior, and other factors.” —Advertoscope

To make the SaaS Marketing Funnel work, you need to segment your visitors into buckets based on where they’re at in your sales cycle so that you can target them with contextually relevant information.

Examples

The best way to segment your audience is to determine what behaviors visitors will exhibit in certain stages of the buyer’s journey and what pages they’ll be on. For example, if a lead visits your sales page, that’s one indicator that they might be in the Decision stage.

The more traffic you have, the more specific you can be. 

Getting More Specific

For instance, you might only put someone in your Decision audience if they’ve done multiple things that indicate that they’re towards the bottom of the funnel. 

But don’t be any more specific than you need to be. You don’t want to slow-roll your sales.

(By the way, the reason the amount of traffic you get matters is because if you don’t have enough traffic in each audience you won’t be able to serve ads to them.)

One way you’ll deal with this problem is by generating a lot of top of funnel traffic from your Qualification audience.

Your qualification audience is a broad audience made up of traffic generated from third-party data and any traffic that doesn’t fit into one of your other audiences. 

SaaS Marketing Tools

A lot of audience segmentation can be done without any special tools. You can set up remarketing audiences in Google Ads, AdRoll, Facebook Ads, etc. without having to use any third-party tools.

 If you want to go a little deeper, you can use Google Analytics to analyze segments of your audience based on new and returning users, traffic source, demographics, geography, device, and behavior.

You can use that information to determine what you should prioritize when building your remarketing audiences. This also plays a role in how you nurture your leads.

How to Grow Your Audience

​So I’m sure all of this sounds great, but what if you don’t have an audience yet? That’s where digital advertising comes to the rescue.

As you’ve noticed, the SaaS Marketing Funnel relies heavily on inbound methodology. Although inbound marketing is usually considered to be almost synonymous with content marketing, the SaaS Marketing Funnel relies heavily on what I call “inbound advertising”. 

Advertising is inbound when its focus is on developing valuable content to educate potential customers, with audiences segmented based on the buyer’s journey.

The strategy allows you to nurture your leads through ads, while simultaneously nurturing them through traditional methods (e.g., email marketing).

For display advertising, paid social, and any  other ad channels you choose to use you’ll create four campaigns:

  1. Qualification: This campaign targets a broad group of people who might be interested in your product or service (using interest targeting on Facebook, third party data through a demand-side platform, etc.)
  2. Awareness: Your Awareness campaign identifies people who are becoming aware that they have a problem by remarketing to anyone who has been anywhere on your website in the past 180 days (but excluding people further down the funnel, i.e., in the Consideration and Decision stage campaigns below).
  3. Consideration: This campaign targets people whose website activity over the last 90 days indicates that they’re considering solutions to their problem (e.g., if they visited your “Features” page or an article comparing different solutions).
  4. Decision: This campaign targets people whose website activity over the last 30 days indicates that they’re ready to make a purchase (e.g., if they visited your “Pricing” page).

Note: You should tweak the membership duration of the list based on the length of your sales cycle.

​Next, we’ll cover the sort of content you’ll need to create for each campaign.

4 Stages of Content for the SaaS Marketing Funnel

Did You Know?

Do you know how many companies have developed a content marketing strategy?

only

37%

of B2B brands

only

38%

of B2C brands

According to these statistics from The Content Marketing Institute, developing a content marketing strategy will put you ahead of more than 60% of your competition!

That’s a nice advantage! So let’s talk about each stage of content and how you can get the most bang for your content marketing buck.

Qualification

Should ​appeal as specifically as possible to the ideal customer you identified earlier in the workbook. This content exists to get likely customers onto your remarketing list, so more specific you are, the less money you’ll spend on wasted clicks further down the funnel.​​ 

Awareness

Identifies potential customers who are at the beginning of the buyer’s journey. They’re just starting to become familiar with their problem, so use this content to help them understand it better.

Consideration

Provides value for your audience with information on possible solutions. It’s OK to mention your product or service at this point, but it shouldn’t be salesy. Instead, subtly focus on why the areas you’re strong are more important than the areas where you’re weak (without mentioning your company or your competitors).

Decision

​Here’s where you make your pitch. Why are you the best choice?

SaaS Marketing Funnel Content Map

You’ll need a strong foundation of valuable content to fuel your funnel. Based on your understanding of the buyer’s journey, develop content ideas based on their wants, needs, questions, and concerns.

Below is a template to facilitate the process. And if you struggle to come up with ideas I’ve written on article on how to develop blog post ideas, and I’ve created a freewriting tool to make the process easier for you (learn more about freewriting here).

Buyer’s Journey StageBlog TopicOffer​Format

Example Content Map

​Here’s a brief example of a content map for an imaginary SaaS company that sells a productivity app called Producktive. Put a map like this together​ upfront, then continue to add onto it as your business grows and you learn more about your target market.

Buyer’s Journey StageBlog TopicOffer​Format
​AwarenessAre You Spending Too Much Time On Social Media?​10 Things You Should Do Every Day to Increase Your Efficiency​Checklist
​Awareness​​My Favorite Tool for Organizing my Life
​5 Ways to Stay Organized​Resource Guide
​Awareness​​Are These Time Wasters Killing Your Productivity?​How I Tripled My Productivity in Just 10 Minutes a DayVideo​
​Consideration3 Tips to Make You More EfficientEisenhower Matrix TemplateTemplate
​Consideration​​Productivity Tools: Software vs. Paper​The Effect of Organization on Productivity​Whitepaper
​Consideration​​3 Productivity Strategies from Busy Billionaires​How to Increase Productivity with the Pareto Principle​Webinar
Decision​​How Producktive Increased ACME’s Efficiency by 143%​N/A​Demo
​Decision​​Producktive vs. NAHTN/A​Free Trial

Pulling Leads Down The SaaS Marketing Funnel

What’s the hardest part of the sales process?

According to sales reps surveyed by HubSpot:

Qualifying

22%

of Sales Reps

Closing

36%

of Sales Reps

Prospecting

42%

of Sales Reps

Prospecting is the process of initiating and developing new business by searching for potential customers, clients, or buyers for your products or services. The goal of sales prospecting is to move these people, or prospects, through the sales funnel until they eventually convert into revenue-generating customers.” —HubSpot

It’s not enough to create your content, build your ads, and wait for things to happen. You have to design your funnel in a way that pulls people through the process.

To do that, the SaaS Marketing Funnel segments your visitors into buckets based on where they’re at in your sales cycle so that you can target them with contextually relevant information that holds their hands throughout the buyer’s journey.

Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral targeting helps segment your audience based on the buyer’s journey. Based on the pages they’ve been to on your website, how frequently they’ve visited, when they listed visited, etc., you can get a good idea of whether they’re at the top, bottom, or middle of the funnel.

Trapdoors

Trapdoor offers are offers that you promote to an audience that’s earlier in the buyer’s journey. For example, you might have a Decision offer (e.g., an offer for a free demo), for your Consideration stage audience. That way you can nudge them along the funnel.

SaaS Marketing Software

As I mentioned earlier when I was talking about audience segmentation, a lot of audience segmentation can be done without any special software. You can set up remarketing audiences in Google Ads, AdRoll, Facebook Ads, etc. without having to use any third-party tools.

But to build really sophisticated funnels, you will need a software solution like Drip or Zapier (both have free options) to set up behavioral targeting, trigger emails, and run workflows. 

Almost everything you’ll need can be found for free, so don’t let money get in the way. You can wait to invest in software until you begin to see consistent revenue.

Essential SaaS Marketing Funnel Components

First, let’s discuss the key components of any funnel.

Traffic Source

This is how you fill your funnel. It includes paid traffic (e.g., Google search ads or Facebook ads) and organic (e.g, social media or blog posts).

Call-to-Action

This is the copy you’ll use to entice people to take advantage of your offer.​ It should be very clear about what you’re looking for them to do.

So… You’re Just Blogging for Fun?
According to Emily Byford, “36% of SaaS blogs have no CTA.” They’re just blogging for the sake of blogging.

You know what that means. Another way for you to get ahead of the competition!

Landing Page

This is where you persuade prospects to download your offer (and give you their contact information). It will include a form through which you’ll collect your prospects’ contact information.​

Offer

Also known as a “lead magnet,” this is the reason your prospects will hand over their information. It can be anything your potential customers will find valuable.​

Thank You Page

Here’s where you say thanks and provide the download. You can also use the thank you page to drive them deeper into the buyer’s journey by serving up another offer for a later stage of the buyer’s journey here.​​​

Confirmation Email

Provide the download via email as well. Like the Thank You Page, you can use this email to drive your leads deeper into the buyer’s journey or get more information with another offer.​​​

Follow-Up Email

Send emails to see where your prospect is in the buyer’s journey. You can send offers from the current stage of the buyer’s journey and later stages.

Remarketing

Remarketing ads allow you to advertise to website visitors who didn’t convert, and you can promote offers from later stages of the funnel.

SaaS Marketing Funnel Template

Qualification Stage Content

Your Qualification content exists for one reason and one reason only: to identify people who might be a good fit for your product or service. You want to get these people on your remarketing list. (Bonus points if you get their first name and email address!)

Who is a good fit for your product or service? What separates them from the rest of the population?

Who is not a good fit? 

What information can you provide that will be compelling to the first group, while the second group scrolls by without a second thought?

Qualification Funnel

Based on your answers to the preceding questions, answer the following questions.

  1. Where you’ll get your traffic (organic search, paid social, etc.)
  2. Where you’ll send that traffic (blog posts, landing pages, etc.)
  3. How you’ll get their contact information (e.g., downloadable content behind a form)

Traffic Sources

With every funnel that makes up the SaaS Marketing Funnel, you can use any traffic source you want as long as they make sense when considering your objective. For example, if you use Facebook Ads, you could use broad interest-based targeting.

In the Qualification stage, make sure your ad copy, where you’re sending the traffic, and any content offers would only appeal to people who might be a good fit for your product or service.

Blog Posts​

Blog posts in this stage will be more general interest, but they will only be of interest to people who you want in your funnel.

Content Offers

Simple offers like checklists and top 10 tips are effective at this stage of the game.

Qualification Diagram​

Drawing a simple diagram can help get everything straight in your head so you know what you need to get started.

​Here’s an example of what your diagram might look like if you were a mechanic who specialized in foreign cars:

Since this is the top of the funnel, he’s going to focus on content that is specific enough to only appeal to people who’d be a good fit for his shop.

But he’s also going to make sure it’s broad enough not to exclude anyone who might be interested.

If he’s able to get their contact information at this point, he’s going to follow up with a coupon for an oil change to see if he can’t get them into the shop. If that doesn’t work, he’ll follow-up a few weeks later offering a free inspection.

It’s important to set up marketing automation so that you move people out of your funnels when it’s time (for example, once someone takes advantage of your oil change coupon, you wouldn’t want to send that to them again until they’d actually need another oil change).

Your diagram doesn’t have to look exactly like the one above, but you should sketch something out to make sure you’re covering all your bases.

Awareness Stage Content

In the Awareness stage, your potential customers have a problem. It’s your job to help them understand that problem, its ramifications, and possible solutions.​​

​What problems does your target audience have that are relevant to your product or service?​

Where can you find those people? (Examples: trade shows, Facebook, shopping malls, etc.)

What compelling information can you provide about the problems you solve? (For example, the consequences of not dealing with the problem.)

Awareness Funnel

Based on your answers to the preceding questions, answer the following questions:

  1. Where you’ll get your traffic (organic search, paid social, etc.)
  2. Where you’ll send that traffic (blog posts, landing pages, etc.)
  3. How you’ll get their contact information (e.g., downloadable content behind a form)

​Content Offers

Pretty much any format that works in the Qualification stage should work here, you’ll just want to make sure your content is focused on the problems your potential customers have.

Awareness Diagram​

Here’s an example of a funnel our European car mechanic might use to generate leads in the Awareness stage:

You can see that he’s focusing on a problem, and highlighting the consequences of ignoring that problem. 

Then he’s offering some advice to help his readers take care of their Audis. If they take advantage of that, he’s sending them to a Thank You page offering a free inspection because that’s more relevant to the blog topic than an oil change.

Even if they don’t take advantage of the offer, if you’ve got their contact information and you know they’ve looked at relevant content, it’s good to have emails triggered with related offers from time to time.​

Consideration Stage Content

In the Consideration stage, your potential customers are exploring different solutions to their problem. Provide value by helping them better understand their options.

What are some possible solutions to the problem(s) you solve?​

How do the solutions compare to each other? What are the pros and cons of each?​

What sort of information can you provide to help people choose the best option for their needs?​

Consideration Funnel

Based on your answers to the preceding questions, answer the following questions:

  1. Where you’ll get your traffic (organic search, paid social, etc.)
  2. Where you’ll send that traffic (blog posts, landing pages, etc.)
  3. How you’ll get their contact information (e.g., downloadable content behind a form)

Content Offers

Whitepapers, tools, and resource guides are some of the best options for this stage of the buyer’s journey. But ideally, your offers will educate your visitors about the solutions to their problem.

Consideration Diagram​

Is everything starting to make sense? Here’s an example of a Consideration stage funnel:

Decision Stage Content

In the Decision stage, your potential customer has chosen a category of solution, and they’re looking for the best product or service within that category. Provide honest educational information to help them determine whether or not your offering is a good fit.

Why is your product or service better than competing products or services that solve the same problem in the same way?​

Why is your product or service better than competing products or services that solve the same problem in different ways?

What information can you provide to help people determine whether or not your product or service is the right choice for them?

Decision Funnel

Based on your answers to the preceding questions, answer the following questions:

  1. Where you’ll get your traffic (organic search, paid social, etc.)
  2. Where you’ll send that traffic (blog posts, landing pages, etc.)
  3. How you’ll get their contact information (downloadable content behind a form)

Content Offers

This is a good time to offer a free trial, live demo or something else that will give them a closer look at your product or service to help them determine if it’s the best fit for them.

38% of SaaS companies surveyed by Totango don’t use free trials or freemium tiers to generate new business.

Decision Diagram​

SaaS Marketing Funnel Prioritization

Unless you have a specific reason not to, you should prioritize the Decision funnel above all else. That’s because it’s closest to the bottom of the funnel, which means it will almost always lead to revenue before the other funnels (unless you have less expensive offers along the way).

That means:

  • Build your Decision stage funnel first.
  • If you only have the budget to send ad traffic to one funnel, it should be your Decision funnel.
  • Don’t start building other funnels until you’ve completed your Decision funnel.
  • Invest most of your resources in your Decision funnel until you begin to reach a point of diminishing returns ​.

Then, once you’ve got your Decision funnel firing on all cylinders, you should move on to the other funnels in reverse order (i.e., Consideration, Awareness, Qualification).

Have You Succeeded with the SaaS Marketing Funnel?

Send us your success story and we’ll feature your company on the front page of Advertoscope!