If you are the owner of an SaaS startup, you are likely trying to promote your business in a tricky market. On the one hand, your online applications are much needed and will make the lives of your customers a whole lot easier. On the other hand, SaaS services are no longer a novelty, and you will be joining a space that already has plenty of competitors. How, then, can you break through the noise, elbow aside other providers, and show potential customers why you are different and the solution they are looking for? The answer is PR. Done right, it can shine the light on your company and lead to the growth you’re seeking to achieve.
Tip #1: Use PR to articulate the problem that you solve in a way that the customer can relate to.
SaaS, as you know, is about making someone’s life easier. Accordingly, when you bring your application to the public, be sure to focus on its before-and-after value and to think about your audience.
Let’s say that you offer an online diary that anyone can use. In talking about its value, you might use humor or empathy. Anyone who has kept a physical diary knows the importance of privacy, especially if they have a nosy sibling. Explaining that someone who keeps an online journaler no longer has to worry about their brother or sister seeing their deepest secrets is relatable to a lot of people and can make your app stand out in the minds of consumers.
The same is true for a business platform. Salesforce is an example of one SaaS company that has connected with businesses for many reasons, one of which is the reduction of paper and different applications that they have to grapple with. Before Salesforce and platforms like it, companies had their customers’ information stored in physical and online files, making keeping up with so much data cumbersome and more time-consuming. Helping companies to understand that before/after value is likely one reason Salesforce has done as well as it has.
Tip #2: Use PR to get statistics in front of consumers.
As an SaaS startup, you are already keeping track of crucial data, including the number of platforms your application replaces, how much time you can save for users, how many people are using your application, and other metrics.
Getting those statistics into your PR campaign is important in part because numbers stand out. In a sea of words, the fact that your app improves a company’s efficiency by 40% is likely to grab the attention of a potential customer. They will be much more likely to keep on reading to see just what it is that you offer so that they can experience the same benefits.
Tip #3: Use a PR campaign to overcome lengthy, complex sales cycles.
Public relations strategies for a company that sells clothing will be very different from those that offer software as a service. With shirts, for example, people often make quick buying decisions. Not so with SaaS. Consumers have to hear about an application, learn about it, get their questions answered, think some more, and then buy. That’s why the sales process tends to be a little longer.
Public relations can help you navigate this cycle and guide consumers through it potentially faster. You can use a series of articles or even webinars that proactively answer any questions ahead of time. The right approach will target each part of the sales funnel, giving readers or listeners the information they need to move on to the next stage until they visit your website and order your application.
Tip #4: Craft PR strategies that tie your company’s product to a bigger trend.
SaaS is all about relevance: it must solve a current, ongoing problem, and if you can tie it to a larger problem or bigger trend, you can hit gold. This takes commitment, as you must monitor industry developments and the news in general, always looking for stories or events that potentially tie into your product.
Let’s throw out the hypothetical example of the diary application. Suppose that the cost of journals was going up because of supply chain issues. You would then be able to leverage that story by reminding the public that your app was free or low cost, so anyone who was concerned about their finances could switch to your online journal and save money.
Tip #5: Use PR to see and understand analytics, patterns in data, and make changes accordingly.
You can use your public relations campaign to gain valuable information about the effectiveness of your strategies, including the types of approaches that resonate the most with potential consumers.
Remember to keep track of the articles, blogs, podcasts, and other PR strategies you use to connect with the public. Document their dates, times of the day that they were released, and number of sales you received in the days and weeks afterwards. Also valuable will be the demographics targeted by each method.
Then sit down and see if you can spot patterns. You will likely see what worked and what didn’t, and you can use that information to refine future campaigns.
Tip #6: Leverage PR strategies to keep yourself visible in a saturated market.
Public relations is awesome for helping your SaaS startup to rise above the crowd. One thing to remember to include is your why. Why do you care about the issue you are solving? Why is it personal to you? The more you can humanize your product, the more unique you will feel out in the world of software as a service.
Consumers also love to hear stories from behind the scenes. Consider allowing the founder of your company to give a guided tour around the office, for example. This can be particularly impactful because SaaS is a bit faceless: it is a product on their computer vs. something they can actually touch. That human connection can help make you more memorable in the minds of consumers.
Tip #7: Host webinars so that there is an expert face behind the company and non-tech people can feel reassured.
We may live in a technologically advanced society, but there are still a lot of individuals who recoil at the thought of another piece of software to learn. Humans instinctively pull back from what they don’t understand, so webinars can be a wonderful way to bridge that gap.
Consider putting a friendly face in front of the consumer, someone who can explain in layman’s terms who the company is and why the application matters. Avoid technical jargon and take the viewer through your software, showing how simple it really is to use.
Once the webinar is done, don’t forget to embed links to it in any press releases, blogs, or articles that you create.
Tip #8: Remember to go beyond the obvious in your PR approach.
SaaS has been around long enough that most people expect you to focus on low costs and ease of setup. These benefits are important, of course, as it would be pretty strange if you didn’t have them. However, try to mention them just briefly before you move on to deeper details. That way, you will focus more on what makes you truly unique and less on what most applications have in common.
Tip #9: Don’t forget about journalists when planning your PR campaign.
Attention from a reporter, local or national, can expand the reach of your SaaS company. The key, of course, is to get the attention of one that is in your field and to give them a newsworthy reason to write about you.
When approaching reporters, remember that they likely won’t be interested in what your company does in general. Instead, try to focus on real news, including product launches, seminars you may be speaking at, upcoming releases, expansions, or other major milestones. Remember to answer three questions: why it matters for your company, why it matters for consumers, and why it matters for your industry.
Some final pieces of advice as you develop your PR strategies
All of the above is true and can help you generate buzz for your SaaS business. In the end, though, PR is a marathon, one that is beset by unexpected difficulties that will lead you to throw your whole plan out and start over (coronavirus, anyone?). So, keep a good sense of humor, be flexible, and go with the flow. You’re going to need all of it, but then again, you got into the business world for the challenge, so have fun!
Imperium Group is an American public relations and marketing consultancy firm. Founded in 2016, it specializes in guaranteed placements, creating utmost transparency for its clients. Imperium Group generates over 15M impressions a month for its clients. Its team is based out of New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
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