Now that you’re at the Product-market fit stage of your SAAS product, and have your first paying customers, it’s time to analyze traffic flow and identify winning strategies to improve it.
At the same time, you need to think about profitability.
You may think it comes naturally to a successful, growing SaaS, but start-ups constantly struggle to reach profitability. For a good founder, the goal would be to reinvest in the software for better growth and profits but to get there, you need to know how to calculate income and what to measure. Many companies, even if they’re successful from the start, lose money. They go public but might remain unprofitable even after the initial public offering or IPO. that’s why having the right knowledge on how to analyze the performance of your SAAS is essential for a business owner.
1. Analyze Traffic performance to maximize conversions
Once you learn the trends in your marketing funnel and start analyzing the conversion flow, you might notice that only a small percent of visitors complete the target action. Here is the time to think about improving conversion rates using methods. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of visitors to take action when they visit the company’s website.
Using CRO techniques, you can multiply income without increasing the advertisement budget. Knowing these practices provides the knowledge of what ideas to test on your SaaS, and you can save thousands of dollars on marketing consultations.
On the other hand, methods that work with one SaaS might not work with another because of different target audiences and interests. Never copy other business techniques completely, even if you sell similar products to similar target audiences.
- Google Analytics
This app has been mentioned dozens of times and is essential for all types of websites, not only SaaS companies. As for SaaS, the use of Google Analytics (GA) will help you identify all traffic sources, allocate drops and trends, and act accordingly. Although there are other, deeper tools for software companies to measure the attribution of your campaigns, GA, together with correctly set up goals and events tracking, is a good solution for newbie companies because it is free and reliable.
- Amplitude or Mixpanel
These are event-driven analytics data tools, meaning you can analyze data in any format. They allow a deeper analysis such as tying a user ID to a specific person and following him through the entire user journey. It provides the ability to segment, visualize funnels, and control retention.
As for the segmentation, these apps allow cohort analytics and analyze separate user flows. If you want to see user behavior before subscribing to a specific plan, you can segment your data by relevant events or user properties. Funnels allow it to track the flow of users along important paths of your product, see actions users take to get to the conversion, and drop-offs along the way.
Another important feature these apps provide is retention analytics. Retention is the continued use of a product over time. The other side of retention is user churn — the churn rate shows the number of active subscribers who are falling off your SaaS. While the retention rate is something you want to improve, the churn rate should also be considered. According to Quettra research, 80% of users don’t live up to the third day after the registration. After the launch, your top priorities should be reducing churn rate and maximizing retention.
This tool brings together several hundred of the most popular analytics, marketing, and product tools. It has a lot of options to gather data from the web, mobile, and server libraries.
2. Analyze user behavior.
User behavior and product use analysis includes ways to keep track of the number of registered users, the operation of the website, and behavior analytics.
- Heatmaps and Behavior Recordings
Heatmaps tools record the activity of the user on the page, generates heatmaps, conversion funnels, runs surveys, and other helpful tools. It is essential to monitor behavior of the user on the page and find gaps for improvement. Using Hotjar’s recording feature, you can see the behavioral patterns and spots users tend to click. These places might not have converting content or the header of the table they click on might not have a link, so you can fix it to guarantee a seamless flow.
- Uptime monitoring
Any website can crash or fail for a variety of reasons — hackers or database downtime. Monitoring tools like Pingdom or Uptime Robot will notify you when the site is down, is slow, or has an error. Most of them offer free plans, so budget isn’t an issue.
- Custom tracking
While third-party tools can provide multiple ready-to-use solutions, certain features of the product built from scratch can be tracked only by custom backend analytics. You can choose the SaaS dashboard template and implement it with the developer. Then, collect any data you want to track into the table and visualize it with graphics, for instance, the multilanguage website you want to track the platform they subscribed to, plan, spent credits, etc. Specific features of external tools cannot be monitored. This way, you’ll keep track of the vital internal indicators of the SaaS.
Once this is covered, you want to aggregate and visualize different sources of data and bring it together into one place. A good solution is Grafana, which is an open-source analytics and monitoring platform that can connect to and visualize data from a variety of sources like AWS, any payment processor, email service, or analytics platform.
3. Conduct Competitors Benchmarking Research to Identify Growth Tactics.
Studying the results of past successful campaigns can help SEOs adopt winning search marketing tactics. That’s why competitive benchmarking skills are crucial for your long-term SAAS Strategy.
What Is Competitive Benchmarking?
Competitive benchmarking is a process of comparing metrics, KPIs, and outcomes of other companies in your niche. Founders can have competitive benchmarks for the overall business and even SEO.
Competitive benchmarking will help us implement winning strategies from industry leaders. However, competitor research isn’t competitive benchmarking. In this case, we’ll learn how to do benchmarking in SaaS SEO.
Difference Between Benchmarking And Competitive Research
Unlike competitor research, where we establish keywords to blog about, competitive benchmarking involves collecting valuable industry metrics.
Here are some key differences between these two processes.
The main aim of competitive benchmarking in SEO is to make process improvements. Once we improve key marketing processes, it will make us ready for the hyper-growth and scaling stage.
Similarweb highlights 6 steps to an effective competitive benchmarking process.
- Plan The Process: The first step is to plan the process. Begin by running a quick survey asking your audience about the best content marketing sites they’ve ever come across. This user feedback gives you access to top sites and sites with the best user experience, top content, and engagement metrics. You must also plan for an internal benchmarking process to improve SaaS workflows. Arm yourself early enough with the tools and metrics you want to track. You’re now ready for the next step.
- Collecting Data: How do you get critical metrics from competitor sites? You can use business intelligence tools to collect valuable metrics from competitor sites. In SEO, web crawlers index millions of pages daily. For example, Google algorithms track public data like the number of visits to a website, page sessions, duration on site, etc. You’ll need free tools like GA or a premium tool like Similarweb Pro. Try to take outliers out of your data before moving to the next step.
- Analyze Data: Analyzing SEO data can help uncover hidden insights, which, if implemented, would give you a competitive edge. You can calculate each metric’s mean, median, mode, and standard deviation. We’ll discuss this in detail below.
- Implement Valuable Insights: What can you learn from industry leaders that would help improve your site? How is their page speed? Do they use lightweight themes? How long is their content: longform or bite-sized? Do they use video content or a combination of video and audio? After a competitive analysis, you’ll notice some consistent trends across industry leaders. Founders should implement these insights to keep up with the competition.
- Do Continuous Monitoring: At SearchEva, we recommend doing periodic competitive benchmarking. As you probably know, data is volatile. There’s always a new change in SEO algorithms. Keeping up with the latest updates keeps content alive and evergreen for search engines.
Benefits Of SEO Competitive Benchmarking
By now, you know studying the results of our competition helps us identify best practices and other areas of process improvement. Other benefits include:
- Knowing Your Numbers
Common SaaS KPIs – Product Marketing Alliance.
SaaS founders should always have KPIs and OKRs at their fingertips. Any tiny improvement on a metric could result in an exponential growth of your SaaS. In fact, companies achieving hyper-growth always focus on improving small KPIs. In addition, knowing your numbers assists in identifying opportunities for horizontal and vertical partnerships. Metrics helps founders make realistic valuations of their businesses to attract potential buyers later in an exit.
- Set Realistic Goals: Competitive benchmarking helps founders set realistic goals for a marketing department. Marketers will no longer feel overstretched with huge unrealistic objectives. You can use competitive benchmarks to make logical and data-driven decisions on your next quota. Businesses that do competitive benchmarking have found that they reduce marketing mistakes and can use these benchmarks to get new VCs on board.
- Exceed Industry Norms: If you’re in a specialized niche, chances are there’s much less competition for your SaaS. A competitive benchmarking process can help you exceed industry norms and position your product as the leading authority in content marketing. You can also identify business threats and plan ways to overcome such threats in advance. Some business intelligence tools have machine learning capabilities to help forecast an upcoming SEO trend. A thorough benchmarking process can make you flexible, prevent disastrous mistakes, and open new opportunities.
- Measure Brand Awareness: One of the major marketing challenges is measuring marketing KPIs. While it’s much easier to measure downline sales, it isn’t easy to measure brand awareness. Traditionally, measuring brand awareness involved using focus groups and conducting one-on-one surveys in a particular area. With new digital tools, however, we can know websites that get the most traffic in minutes. Note that competitive benchmarking metrics are relative. Using such metrics for comparative purposes rather than an absolute figure would be best.
- Acquire New Customers: Founders using competitive benchmarking can develop new customer acquisition sources for their SaaS. Are your Advertising costs over the roof? A competitive benchmarking process reveals what your competition spends on buying paid traffic. You can also view social media sites that yield quality traffic by each niche.
In this next section, we highlight different approaches on how to do competitive benchmarking for your website.
The Ultimate Competitive Benchmarking Framework
A good competitive benchmarking framework should cover all types of SEO metrics.
There are 7 types of SEO competitive benchmarks.
1.SEO Competition Benchmarks: This is a collection of industry SEO metrics like average session time, dwell time, web traffic, and bounce rates.
2.SEM Benchmarks: Search Engine marketing benchmarks include CPC values, PPC impressions, PPC click-through rates, web activity, unique visitors, and much more.
3.Content Marketing Benchmarks: These benchmarks include publishing frequency, editorial calendar, trending posts, viral content, engagement, and social media metrics.
4.Quantitative Benchmarks: Founders should also understand how the top-of-funnel metrics affect product line metrics like Monthly Retention, Cost of Goods, and Annual Recurring Revenue.
5.Process Benchmarks: Try to understand various SEO strategies implemented by your competitors, whether it’s link building, on-page optimization, eCommerce SEO, or paid strategies.
6.Internal Benchmarks: Businesses should also check their month-to-month progress on critical SEO metrics. Internal benchmarks identify our strengths and weaknesses.
7.External Benchmarks These benchmarks identify areas of opportunities and any external business threats.
Example Of Competitive Benchmarking
The following screenshot is from Google Analytics.
Direct Traffic – DataBox
As can be seen, the quantity of traffic originating from direct traffic almost doubled from 2020 to 2021. As a result, companies should have focused more tactics on acquiring direct traffic than other web traffic sources. Let’s see another benchmark:
Conversion rates by Marketing Channel – Semrush
Another study by Semrush for the financial services market reveals conversion rates by customer acquisition source. As can be seen, referrals have the highest conversion rate.
The Competitive Benchmarking Matrix: SEO Benchmarks For Tech Industry
SEO Benchmarks by Industry – FirstPageSage
The table above shows that visitors in the medical technology niche have the highest buying intent.
How To Do Competitive Benchmarking
Use these steps to do a competitive SEO benchmarking for your startup.
Google Analytics setup at least 6 months to actively collect information
Any other premium SEO business intelligence tool like Similarweb PRO.
Step 1: Preparation.
In our preparation stage, we’ll choose our competitive benchmarking metrics. For example:
- Revenue: Revenue refers to the total sales attributed to SEO efforts, especially when doing internal benchmarking.
- Conversion Rate: You need to measure conversion rates for all stages of your marketing funnel, from traffic to a marketing qualified lead, to a sales qualified lead. Set conversion goals for the number of lead magnet downloads, new organic sign ups, and eCommerce sales. Also, compare the conversion rate of organic content marketing with paid search.
- Keyword SERP Ranking: These rankings show your blog page ranking on the Google search engine. The goal is to rank for several long-tail transactional keywords on the first page.
- A/B testing Metrics: Compare metrics testing different types of content like Listicles, How-tos, Guides, Video content, and many more.
- SEO ROI: The return on investment made in SEO efforts is the SEO revenue minus all content marketing costs, including paid ads, content writers, SEOs, agencies, publishing, and blog maintenance fees.
Other valuable metrics include the number of backlinks in competitor sites, average bounce rates, Organic MRR, and quantity of traffic.
Step 2: Data Collection.
Configure Google Analytics for free and set up conversion tracking by adding a tracking pixel on essential pages of your website.
From the Google Analytics dashboard,
- Go to Admin>Account>Account Settings.
- Check the box to share your analytics data with other users.
- You can access benchmarking reports in the left navigation.
Google Analytics introduced new benchmarking reports, which come in 3 categories:
- Filter reports by Channel: You can compare your performance across various channels in your industry, ranging from eMail, Direct traffic, Social traffic, Referral, Organic Search, Paid search, and display Ads.
- Filter reports by Location: This report compares web traffic by country of origin.
- Filter Reports by Device: Use this report to view how web traffic varies from mobile, through tablets, to desktops.
Step 3: Data Analysis.
Google analytics lets us collect all data ranging from traffic, sessions, page views, traffic, and many more. We can also filter by date, channel, location, or device. There are various ways to get meaningful insights out of this data.
- Use default Google Analytics insights, and click the notification icon for the latest insights.
- Use Similarweb’s industry analysis feature, as this is the best SEO tool for comparison purposes. You can get a list of top referring sites, keywords, and social networks. You can also analyze specific websites.
- Present your data to an SEO agency for analysis. SEO agencies have in-house tools, resources, and capabilities to help you make impactful decisions from your Google Analytics account.
Step 4: Improving Your SaaS SEO With Competitive Benchmarks
Here are a few practical ways to get started with the industry benchmarks.
- Make tactics to get your traffic from where the competition gets their traffic. If they get this traffic from a particular source for sustained periods, chances are it’s a proven system. There are 2 approaches to this:
1.Identify sites that link to the competitor site using Ahrefs site explorer tool. Try to get a guest post on such sites.
Site Explorer by Ahrefs – Guest Post on Top Referring Domains.
2.Alternatively, key in your site in a similarweb competitor intelligence tool, scroll down to “Social Media Traffic”. Make marketing strategies for each of these sites.
Market where competitors get most traffic.
More ways to improve your SEO KPIs include:
- Optimize your web pages for all devices using AMP. Also, analyze your sites through Google Page speed insights and make any improvements on page speed. Ensure your page speed is above 90 on both desktop and mobile.
- Use video to increase dwell time.
- In real life, B2B SaaS get the most traffic from LinkedIn and Google, while Consumer SaaS get traffic from social sites.
- Improve the landing page by adding or subtracting elements from the landing page, as seen in the competition.
- Change your keyword strategy and improve intent based on SERP results.
- Focus on best-performing keywords, articles, and trends.
- Write guest posts and get backlinks from sites that link to the competition.
Step 5: Continuous Monitoring.
Automate periodic generation of Google Analytics benchmarking reports. You can get daily, weekly, or monthly reports.
Toolsets: Ahrefs, Semrush, Similarweb, and Google keyword planner.
Best Practices In Competitive Benchmarking
Competitive benchmarking in SEO can help you accomplish marketing goals faster, easier, and cheaper. We developed a set of best practices to help you identify growth tactics.
- Use the PDCA Cycle – The Plan, Do, Check, and Act cycle. You only check to see if small incremental changes yield results before scaling.
- Replicate best practices in your product line, which help increase product quality, save time, and increase revenue.
- Formalize processes of replicating best practices to reduce bureaucracy and delays in decision-making.
- Track common metrics agreed upon by your team. Track valuable metrics and ignore vanity metrics.
- Do internal benchmarking and optimize accordingly before introducing new innovative ways of growth.
- Create a key phase of questions and checklists for each phase of your benchmarking process.
- Avoid frequent and over-detailed benchmarking, which may affect execution. Instead, prioritize benchmarking actions.
- Integrate benchmarking tools like Google Analytics early enough so you can collect a large sample of data to get started.
- Once you exhaust all possibilities, look for insights and trends from other industries. SaaS businesses can implement different SEO strategies from eCommerce, news websites, and other niches without compromising the original strategy.
Overcoming Challenges In Competitive Benchmarking
Help! I’ve Never Done Competitive Benchmarking.
You can easily do an SEO competitive benchmarking exercise by enabling benchmarking reports on your Google Analytics dashboard. You don’t have to be a digital marketing pro. Google analytics presents results in an easy-to-understand manner.
Help! Which Metrics Should I Track?
Critical SEO metrics include traffic, conversions, and revenue. The latter is more important than others. Strive for a good conversion rate because getting traffic is the easiest part. Even with high traffic but low conversion rates, your SaaS may not get good leverage.
How Can I Do Competitive Benchmarking for a New Website?
Unlike established websites with enough resources to do competitor analysis, new websites lack the funds, time, and skill sets to do a complete experiment. Guides like this can help you set a competitive benchmark for a new website.
Help! I Don’t Have Enough Resources For Competitive Benchmarking.
You can use Google Analytics to do an SEO competitive benchmark for free. Other tools are also available for a free trial. There are several free books, guides, and tutorials on how to do competitive benchmarking.
Help! We Can’t Implement Practices From Outside Sources.
Mid-level managers may face resistance from top-level management on their competitive benchmarking ideas. All you have to do is explain that this isn’t a criticizing exercise but a proven process to help you acquire customers and improve services.
Help! How Can I Get Value from Benchmarking results?
A continuous monitoring strategy gives you simple action items you can do each quarter to get quality results. Follow the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle in execution, and you’ll see tangible results from many data points.
4.Build Brand Authority And Personal Authority.
Most of your free and paid customers come from your network in the product-market-fit stage. But a personal network can be too small for you to build off a profitable business.
That’s why you need to build a personal brand. A personal brand positions you as an expert in a particular niche. If you have a cold outreach automation SaaS, you want to position yourself as a person with the best advice, knowledge, and resources in cold emailing.
Building your brand authority typically takes at least 6 months. A personal authority sets a good foundation for both inbound marketing and creating a tribe of awesome advocates of your product.
In the SaaS landscape, referrals and word of mouth are big growth factors. As you build a personal brand, you also want to integrate referral and word-of-mouth marketing techniques.
A person with authority gives people a reason to listen. If you write a blog post, speak at an event, or appear before investors, you have to be a credible person.
Claude Hopkins, the father of advertising, reminds us that as we sell a person, we sell the products associated with the person.
So, the founder is as important as the product itself.
You can also infuse your personal authority into the blog posts you write. Here are examples:
- Elon Musk has the best brand to tweet about space, mars, and electric cars.
- An ex-Google engineer has personal authority over several aspects of SaaS
- An ex-AWS engineer has the authority to publish articles on optimizing cloud costs etc.
Let’s say we have two founders. One, an ex-AWS engineer, the other a self-educated startup founder. They all write a PR article promoting their cloud management SaaS via a publication. Which founder gets the most traction?
- An Ex- Aws Engineer Reveals A New Architecture To Help Cloud Users Get Real-Time Monitoring Insights.
- A Self-Learned Engineer Reveals A New Architecture To Help Cloud Users Get Real-Time Monitoring Insights.
Of course, the AWS engineer, option A gets the most views, clicks, and traction because he has a personal authority. Personal authority can also make your content and Ads unique.
Here at SearchEva, we compiled a set of 7 principles of magnetic brand authority.
7 Principles Of Brand Authority
Use these principles to create a strong brand presence.
1.Truth And Authenticity: You always want to be an authentic founder by making believable promises to the customer. Always deliver new software releases to the customer on time. A Sales Level Agreement helps define software vendor and consumer relationships. SaaS founders should fulfill all promises made in their SLAs. As a result, people will always make positive comments about you, building a good brand through word of mouth and online reviews.
2.Create A Personal Branding Plan: Because branding means sticking to certain ways of doing things, some potential customers may not like your personality. You have to create a personal branding plan that goes beyond a personal life. Ideally, you want a plan for each C-Level executive. The CEO, the CMO, the CIO, and CFO. This is how to account for differences in personalities.
3.Get Authority Over Profits And Revenue: You also need to create small campaigns to increase your MRR and ARR. When you try to land speaking engagements and podcasts, producers will respond well if you have heroic achievements and accomplishments to share with their audience. You should have already seen these types of content: “How a CEO grew SaaS from $0 to $1M MRR in 6 months.” The facts are that people like listening to founder stories: Both success and failure stories have valuable lessons.
4.Brand The ‘CEO Talk’: Leading tech personalities use distinctive language in their branding. While some of it comes naturally, chances are, others are intentional. If you plan what to speak, people will listen to you. Jeff Bezos, for example, is well known for his phrases on customer obsession. Typically, a CEO uses the second person ‘We’ to present a collective effort. You can also launch your brand with a well-branded TED talk about a best-selling book you have.
5.Brand With Customer Research: Just like politicians, a founder with a good brand must understand customer pain points. However, founders should not present flimsy solutions to customer problems. Regardless, you need a roadmap to address some of the most difficult problems your customers experience. You can do customer research on:
- Customer problems: Their needs, wants, and desires.
- Customer beliefs and feelings about the problem.
- Knowing ideas, facts, and phrases that excite the customer.
6.Case Studies, Testimonials, And Personal Documentaries: A track record of success stories about your product is the perfect way to build a brand authority brand. These case studies show how your product changes people’s lives. It acts as third-party validation for your claims. You can easily get these by letting others experiment on your product for free.
7.Choose From Any Of Branding Angles: You can tell your personal stories through various branding angles. These angles include:
- Sharing a secret.
- Expert interviews.
- Childhood memories.
- Day in the life of…
- Success stories.
- Useful tips, shortcuts, and techniques.
- New industry trends and innovations etc.
The next step is to craft true, personal, and impactful branding stories you can tell at any opportunity. These stories should be real and shouldn’t appear artificial, salesy, or manipulative. Instead, a good story only aims to engage the audience. It’s equally important to categorize brand stories by the points you want to emphasize, so you pull them off at the right time.
You can source your brand stories from several sources:
- People whom you met before making the product.
- Places you visit.
- Your childhood, school, and work memories.
- Rag to riches stories.
- Your discoveries.
- Your philosophies on money, business, time, and other topics of common interest.
Branding is like PR. You can have controversial and negative stories, but nothing illegal. The goal of a brand is to create a mental imprint on a potential customer so that when the time’s right, they buy your product.
Once you have 30-50 well-crafted stories with consistent messaging, you can use several methods to take your message out there.
Modern Channels For Building Your Brand
Some branding methods are outdated and may not be good for SaaS founders. These methods include speaking in a local chamber of commerce and publishing in magazines and newspapers with low circulation.
The best methods of personal branding have a long shelf life. For example:
1.Personal SEO: Personal SEO involves pushing your personal blog on page one of Google ranking. You always want to be the first result to pop up on Google for your name. You can create a good author profile on your blog and publish it in the mainstream media. You can also write an Amazon book, which automatically creates an author profile on Google. You can also have a personal GMB account with several reviews and services you provide. If you have several reputable references, consider creating a Wikipedia page.
2.Live Podcasts: Podcasts have gotten much traction recently, especially in the Tech space. People like listening to podcasts when driving home or whenever they can’t put much effort into reading something. You should have identified places your customers hang out and the podcasts they listen to from customer research. You can Google Tech podcasts, SaaS podcasts, Software podcasts, and many more. Each niche provides a wide array of podcasts to feature you. Always use a script for a fireside chat to keep users engaged. The script can be a narrative story, Q and A, motivational, or instructional.
3.Local Networking Events: You can speak and network at in-person and virtual events. Local networking is a good opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and potential customers. You can set your networking goals like:
- The number of customers and investors you want to meet per week.
- The number of events you want to speak about every quarter.
- The number of leads to generate per speech.
To network effectively, prepare dynamic ways to answer common questions. You should have a good elevator pitch and detailed answers to questions. However, approach networking as a conversation rather than an interview.
4.Interview On Local TV Stations: Most TV stations have interview sections focusing on emerging tech and business trends. You can secure such interviews by reaching out to TV producers. In real life, you want to talk about a recent accomplishment for your viewers or how you do things differently. If you published a book, you could use it as a tool to get featured even on national and multinational TV networks.
5.Digital Newspapers, Magazines, And Trade Journals: Digital publications get more readership than print publications. Publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and NYT switched to digital versions to help offset printing costs. Digital publications often rely on freelance contributors to keep up with their schedules. There are several proven ways to get your way into leading publications.
- Apply as a freelance contributor.
- Pitch article ideas to editors.
- Pay for a sponsored post.
- Publish in the opinion section.
- Check the upcoming editorial calendar and pitch a featured article.
- Visiting locations like San Francisco can help you meet journalists who’ll be happy to interview you.
6.Social Media: LinkedIn Marketing Plan: LinkedIn is an ideal platform startup founders can use to build a massive following. Begin with optimizing your profile with relevant keywords and experience. You want a clean title, headshot, and a branded background image. All these depend on the story you want to tell. Note that Personal profiles perform better than company profiles. Study LinkedIn profiles of leading influencers in your niche and replicate their process. You want to check for:
- The type of content they post.
- The frequency of publishing.
- Their comment patterns.
- The number of followers they have.
7.Social Media: Facebook Marketing Plan: You want to give unique tips and hassle-free tutorials on your personal profile. You can also create a public Facebook group. Network with other admins to create cross-functional posts and get people to join your group. Making a marketing or coding challenge is a sure way to get your group traffic. Instead of asking for a direct sale, ask questions and build rapport. Questions, memes, before and after examples, and personal stories often get more engagement than plain informative posts. The key to success is knowing that Facebook isn’t for information but for social search.
8.Social Media: YouTube Marketing Plan: Vlogging may take significant time, edits, and effort before you see any results. There are two quick ways to use YouTube to your advantage in the PMF stage. You either get featured on other people’s shows or make a channel interviewing another influencer. You always want a strategy that gives you more exposure. When you interview an expert, you also become an expert. You get a chance to network with leaders both in-person and virtually. You can learn a lot about building your brand by following their example.
9.Speaking In Conferences: Each conference event has a call for a speaker section. Getting speaking engagements is as easy as applying for these engagements. Alternatively, you can sponsor a small event. Most conferences have different sponsorship packages to suit various budgets. The success of a large conference depends on speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and volunteers. Each of these options gives you a chance to grow your tribe and build your brand.
10.Form Your Networking Club: Are you finding difficulty in leveraging other people’s networks? Perhaps you can form your networking club. It could be a golf club, an award program, or a publication. The aim is to have your own media platform so you don’t have to rely much on other audiences.
11.Raise Money For Charity: You can also do an integrated marketing campaign with non-profits. These campaigns typically serve to do fundraising for local charities that struggle to get a consistent donor base. One approach involves planting a tree for each free trial or giving a meal for each paid subscription plan. Consumers are now making conscious buying decisions; you, too, should use this to position your SaaS as a caring, green startup. We’ve seen Tech brands respond to BLM, Covid19, and BLM. The non-profit approach is a hit or miss; it can also work against you.
Online Branding Tactics To Help Build Your Personal Authority
Successful brands stick to the principle of omnipresence. According to brand advertisers, you must always present your products in front of the customers. There are interesting phenomenons that shape how you should sustain your online brand. As of now, we know the following:
- Branding is all about taking your message out there. Your message should be unique to distinguish you from the noisy marketplace.
- The number of people who remember your message is your brand. Out of these, you’ll get some customers.
- You have to do branding frequently, as humans always forget. The more you remind, the more you make a long-lasting imprint.
- Some PR branding strategies can work for your good or against your brand.
Before diving deep into more online branding tactics, here are some DON’Ts of online branding.
- Don’t have messages all over the place. Instead, focus on making one memorable branding message. This helps in brand retention.
- Posting messages against the competition only serves to improve the competitor’s brand.
- Branding goes beyond slick pictures and puffery wordplay to creating supporting a strong promise with a unique, memorable story.
- Presenting your image, hoping that it will sell, isn’t branding.
- Don’t change your brand message, USP, and taglines frequently. Instead, promote one message consistently over a long period to be known for one major thing.
7 Steps To Creating A Personal Brand
1.Create Your Target Audience: Customer research is key in building a branding personality because you want to pay attention to whom you want to attract. While you always want to cast your nets wide, you want to attract qualified prospects for your low-barrier-offers. If you attract the regular Internet surfer, it may not result in any business success. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What does the prospect believe about existing industry influencers?
- How can you show your prospect respect, appreciation, fame, and exclusivity?
- What’s your prospect’s urgent problem?
- What’s the typical demographic avatar of your prospect?
- Who are the heavy users of your product? The 20% who yield 80% of revenue?
- Where do these prospects hang out online and offline?
Ensure that you support each of these answers with proven facts. In branding, guesswork is expensive.
2.Create Your Branding Assets: A brand identity is a visual representation of your product, values, and philosophies you stand for. It could be a simple flower, an animal, an icon, or anything in between. Your brand assets include brand identity, colors, logo, and collaterals. You need a clear photo of yourself with a perfect background for selling to a customer. If you’re a hotel and tour software, a hotel should be your background. You can make other collaterals like branded pens, cups, socks, T-shirts, coats, bags, and many others. Choose at most 4 color combinations and use them consistently. Always avoid cheap designs as cheap quality portrays brand customers can’t trust. Once you have your branding assets, deploy them both online and offline.
3.Post Valuable Content: The next step is to make meaningful connections with humans online. If you do customer research, you’ll easily identify the best people to reach out to. There’s also an old-school tactic of having a team of brand ambassadors. We’ll discuss this in the influencer-marketing module, where you partner with influencers and support each other’s content. Remember that what you post is more important than how you say it. Post consistently at least twice a day. You also want to be known as the most helpful person in forums and groups. Provide practical answers and comments to help solve people’s problems.
4.Have Consistent Calls To Action: Help people find you online by linking your social sites. You can have links to your social sites on the footer page of your website. Your emails and newsletters should also have social links. Also, use social-specific and relevant hashtags on your profile. You can also create a background image of each social site inviting followers to download valuable content posted on your website.
5.Engage With All Followers: Founders should engage with all followers on their 5 main social sites. If you want people to like, engage, and share your posts, you must like, share, and engage with others’ posts. While you can only focus on growing one account at a time, always check for brand mentions, tags, and messages, and be resourceful.
6.Turn Your Team Into Brand Advocates: Internal marketing is just as important as inbound marketing. Your team should be able to provide answers on how customers can get easy access to you. They can tag you in relevant threads, recommend you, and even suggest that people follow your profile to get meaningful updates.
7.Measure Brand Authority: Finally, measuring brand authority is the only way to know if our efforts are worth it. Try a basic search for your brand name yourself. See if you pop up in the first search result. Check for media coverage, and if popular sites quote your name. What do they say about you? What do people say about your stories and startup ideas? Most of your data would be qualitative.
Important Concepts of Building Brand Authority
Identity – A visual representation of who you’re, what you do, and what you stand for.
Logo – A fraction of your brand authority. It helps to distinguish your brand from other brands.
Colors – Colors create meaning and enhance the ability of clients to remember and associate content with your brand.
Trademark and Patents – These are legal mechanisms to protect competitors from stealing and replicating your hard-earned reputation.
Marketing Collateral – Branded freebies you can give potential fans so they can always keep them on their desk to help recall your brand.
5. Implement Pillar Content which increases the authority, expertise and trust of the company in the niche.
Pillar content covers all aspects of a particular topic closely related to your brand and target audience. As a rule, it provides the readers with top-quality answers to all questions they may be searching for.
The pages with pillar content range from 2,000 to 5,000 words. Nonetheless, they may be even longer depending on the specific features of the topic. Consider that usually pillar content is represented by the following pages:
- Service pages;
- Resource pages;
- 10x pillar pages (they aim to be way better than the top-ranking search result for a particular keyword).
Take into account that the implementation of pillar content is essential for your brand’s successful promotion. It can improve your website’s relevance and increase your company’s authority. So, if you want to write attractive pillar content, please, follow five simple steps:
- Choose the core topic. Analyze your target audience to write the content, which will be useful for your readers. Besides, make sure that you’ve chosen a topic broad enough to add links to your content clusters.
- Use subtopics as cluster content. Probably, you already have some pages, which you can use as supporting content. Provide links to them from your pillar page.
- Find specific keywords. Spend some time performing research for specific keywords related to your main topic. It may be a wise decision to check out your competitors’ pages. Also, don’t forget about important aspects such as keywords difficulty, search volume, and competition.
- Pay attention to the page’s layout. You should outline your page during the development of the pillar content strategy. Make sure its layout includes an introduction, table of contents, definitions of the core terms, proper sections, and headings. Additionally, use popular and reliable sources to support all your statements.
- Add media. No one will be pleased by a bunch of words. Thus, you should add images, engaging infographics, and videos to support your content and catch your readers’ attention.
Marketing stats will help you know which marketing channel converts and how to optimize your marketing strategy. Which tool you use depends on the type of the SaaS you have — desktop or mobile app.
6.Run niche-targeted outreach.
The process of the outreach consists of the following steps:
- Finding an appropriate website
- Finding contact details of the responsible person
- Analyzing the website for the content they publish
- Craft email according to publisher’s preferences
- Follow up
- The easiest way to find a suitable website for the outreach is manually through the Google search box. First, pick keywords you’ll use to find potential publishers. For this, you need to:
- Choose the topics of the relevant websites related to your SaaS. For an employee scheduling app, these could be business, human resources, and small business blogs, or productive and lifestyle websites.
- Choose the main keyword and expand it with third-party SEO tools or Google Keyword Planner. If you need business sites, the main keyword would be “business blog;” then we can choose similar keywords such as “business guides” or “how to start a business.”
- Use Google search operators for the most effective search.
Examples of search operators for mass search:
-keyword + intext: “become a contributor”
-keyword + “guest post with me”
-keyword + “submit a guest post”
-keyword + inurl:guest post, and many more.
You can combine them and specify exact keywords or domains to search for:
-keyword + intext:”contact” OR intext:”advertising” OR intext:”sponsored post” + site:.com OR site:.net OR site:.org OR site:.us
-keyword + intext:”write for us” OR intext:”guest post” OR intext:”submit a guest post” OR intext:“write for me”
Improvise and search for suitable search queries for your case. You can find many others in open access on the internet. This search will narrow down potential websites; the next step is to identify whether or not they’re suitable.
To understand if the website will fit, scale its theme. All websites that you look for should be relevant to your website or have a topical category. If your SaaS is in a business niche, outreach business-related websites or portals in this category.
Cases when the theme of the website isn’t relevant:
- The website has high search metrics: high similar web traffic, DA, DR, SEMRush traffic
- Famous trusted websites: TechCrunch, CNN, NY Times
- When you have a lot of similar backlinks from similar topical sources, and you want to dilute it with one to two links per month from not relevant sources, but from relevant articles
- Sites with domains .gov, .edu
Then check the SEO metrics of the website: SEMRuch, Ahrefs, LinkResearch tools, Majestic. Go with one or combine sources from a couple to get a bigger picture.
Search for the contact details of the responsible person. Usually, websites that accept guest posts leave email for general inquiries or pitches in the contact section. But if you find only a general email, look for the contact of the specific person responsible for content publishing.
You can search for the contact details manually; it is the easiest way to start. Contacts can be hidden in various places:
- Website footer, i.e., at the bottom of the page
- Sidebar: it can have the author bio and his contact details
- Contact Us or About Us page: link can be in the menu or in the footer. Or search for it using the operator site:domain + contact us, put the website name on the place of the domain.
- Social pages: check Facebook information on the website and Instagram or Twitter profiles for the email.
If you want to go deeper, here are the tools to help you with the search:
- Whois — service that shows the contact details of the website owner. This method isn’t popular because sites are usually registered with other emails, but you can try.
- Services to auto-detect emails as hunter.io. They try various spellings with a branded email to detect the right one. In many cases, you’ll find at least one personal email, but check their live status before sending an email.
Manual searches improve your chances of getting a working email, so I recommend starting with the first method.
- Analyze the website to identify topics and writing style of the platform. Pay attention to the frequency of publications, whether they use formal or informal style, and how long has it been since the last time they wrote about the topic relevant to yours. That will help you come up with the proposal that might interest the publisher — what topic you can offer that might interest their readers? If it has been three years since they wrote about SMM and you have an SMM-tool, don’t forget to mention it in the email; use links for references.
- Crafting an email is an important step since it has to be short, yet it should show your level of proficiency. The subject should cut right to the essence like “Guest post opportunity” or “I found a broken link on NameoftheSite.” Use the brand and individual names in the subject to make it look personal. The body of the email varies according to the link building technique, but each should demonstrate your proficiency. For guest posts, include links to your previous publications; for broken links, include a link to the piece you have published, etc. The ideal situation is always to give value to another person.
- Then comes the most important part — outreach itself. You can send emails one by one, but to scale it and get a decent amount of publications per month, use other tools like Mailshake, Prospect.io, or BuzzStream and send it in bulk. To use this method, you’ll need to have two to three draft emails with variables, to change the name, topics offered, or any information you want in one excel file, while the program will substitute these variables. An example of such an email:In the end, it will look personalized, but you’ll save time on copy-pasting.
- Once the initial outreach is done, the last step is a follow-up. Do not overspam the blogger with your emails and send no more than two follow-ups within three to four days. If no response, try in a couple of months. The advantage of using third-party outreach tools is the ability to automate the follow-up process; the program will follow up with prospects automatically and will not send an email if the person replied.
In conclusion, analyzing traffic permanence, user behavior, and competitors should give you enough background to build an online brand. You can also add branding elements as you publish pillar content. This way, you write both for the customer, and the search engine.
The product-market fit stage is a very critical stage where we introduce new ways of growth. This should set up a foundation for the process improvement stage.