If you’re a SaaS business owner, you’re probably aware that the SaaS industry is saturated. Gaining a competitive advantage here not only means making great software but also making customers happy to keep them coming back (particularly important for subscription-based businesses).

Enter inbound marketing. A model that revolves around creating a remarkable customer experience throughout the marketing flywheel. When done right, it helps you build strong customer loyalty and grow business consistently while optimizing spend. 

In this blog post, you’ll learn eight proven inbound marketing strategies used by other SaaS businesses that can help you attract and retain your customers. 

We’ve grouped these strategies according to how they can improve the customer experience in each phase of the flywheel. So, let’s dive right in! 

How Inbound Marketing Flywheel Grows SaaS Business

But first, a short introduction about the inbound marketing flywheel. This cyclical model, first conceptualized by James Watt and later on popularized by Hubspot, is made of three phases: Attract, Engage, and Delight. 

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) marketing flywheel that follows HubSpot's Attract-Engage-Delight cyclical model with Customers in the middle.
The cyclical inbound marketing model ensures consistent SaaS business growth (source).

This inbound marketing flywheel works so well with SaaS businesses because it focuses on applying enough force (e.g., generating quality content assets) and reducing friction (e.g., continuous A/B testing) in each phase to have a steady momentum that will automatically keep the flywheel moving (e.g., improved ARR). 

With the right inbound marketing strategies, you’re creating an awesome customer experience and leveraging the momentum from happy customers to drive subscription renewals and referrals. 

8 Proven Inbound Marketing Strategies to Use in Your SaaS Business

Now, let’s explore the proven inbound marketing strategies throughout the flywheel that can help to grow your SaaS business. 

Attract Phase of the Flywheel

The Attract phase of the flywheel is all about attracting new and right prospects to your SaaS offerings. 

Strategy 1: Create Optimized Content to Gain Organic Traffic 

Also known as content marketing, using high-quality, search-optimized content to gain organic traffic is a good strategy to attract the right prospects. 

Create content on topics that are frequently searched within your industry and tailor them to your target audience. This means understanding the pain points that your target audiences face and explaining how to solve them using your products. 

Conduct routine content performance reviews to know the content types, formats, and topics that resonate with your prospects. 

We’re Expert at SaaS Inbound Marketing

At Brighttail, we’re expert at crafting marketing strategies that help SaaS companies scale consistently. Check out our success story with SEMrush—an online digital marketing tool—to know how we delivered 2,191% traffic growth using SEMrush tools and optimized content for one of our SaaS clients.

Strategy 2: Invest in Digital Advertising 

Complement your organic traffic with paid traffic obtained through digital advertising. This can be further divided into four types which are search ads (AKA pay-per-click or PPC), social ads, display ads, and influencer marketing. 

With paid ads, you can target high-quality prospective customers with appropriate content as they’re browsing the web. Since it’s highly scalable, you can also tweak the ad spend to get the most ROI. For example, not targeting people who are searching for free software is a good practice because they’re not the demographic with the highest lifetime value.  

If visitors leave your website without converting (i.e., trying your SaaS product), you can try retargeting. It’s a process of showing ads to them when they’re on different websites and, hopefully, bringing them back as potential leads. 

Engage Phase of the Flywheel

The Engage phase of the flywheel focuses on connecting and nurturing prospects into qualified leads. 

Strategy 3: Sandbox Your Software

Before free product trials and/or freemiums, there’s the software sandbox. 

Since it’s a mock version of your SaaS product in a controlled environment, prospective customers can explore and understand how your software actually works before they choose to become paid users. 

Screenshot of a software sandbox landing page that Brighttail created for Ricksoft, an Atlassian app vendor.
Our SaaS client offers their flagship app in a sandbox as a way to nurture leads into trial users and, later on, paid users.

Strategy 4: Put Your Products in Third-Party Review Sites

Besides having customer testimonials on your website, earning authentic reviews from users in third-party review sites like Capterra and G2 Crowd means stronger social proof for your brand. 

Make it easy for existing users to submit reviews. Consider sending an email with a link to your product on these review sites. Users would only need to click on the link and then start giving their honest feedback.

Strategy 5: Create On-Demand Product Demos 

Whether it’s for onboarding newly acquired customers or letting prospects know how your products actually work, on-demand demos ensure that your users will get the most value out of your SaaS offerings. Regardless of the complexity of your software. 

And since they’re in on-demand format, customers can always revisit these videos should they face issues while using your products. Remember to highlight how your software can solve their pain points and make them better at their jobs. You can either host it on a dedicated YouTube channel or even on your website. 

Delight Phase of the Flywheel

In the Delight phase of the flywheel, you steadily delight customers with quality services and content to reduce churn rate. Another objective is to convert these existing customers into promoters that will help to bring in more customers to power the Attract stage of the model.   

Strategy 6: Make Use of Referral Program

A 2015 Heinz Marketing research found that referral leads not only close faster and at a higher rate, but they also have higher lifetime value than other lead sources. This makes a referral program a good method to grow your SaaS customer base. 

Set criteria (e.g., job title, company size, industry) that will help your existing customers refer only high-quality leads to you. And then clearly explain how your customers will be incentivised for each successful deal (e.g., free subscription for a month). 

Strategy 7: Start a Customer Champion Program

Not all your customers are equal. Some of them don’t just subscribe to your product, they also actively let others know how amazing your software is. This is when you can turn them into champions or advocates for your brand. 

With the customer champion program, provide a platform for them to showcase their success and how others can emulate it using your SaaS offerings. 

Screenshot of a SaaS champion program landing page that Brighttail created for Avontus, a leading scaffolding software maker.
We helped to kick off a successful Customer Champion Program for one of our clients, Avontus.

Strategy 8: Automate the Marketing Process

Automating the marketing process is part of a seamless customer service experience. When you do so, customers are not only delighted by fast and accurate responses, but you also get to spend more time and effort on higher-value initiatives like nurturing leads. 

Here are some strategic marketing process automations: 

  • Crafting email campaigns that automatically send emails based on triggers (e.g., clicking a blog post link in an email). 
  • Using chatbots on the documentation page enables customers to quickly find solutions to their issues.

Grow Your SaaS Company with Us

It’s critical to identify and implement strategies that can grow your SaaS business consistently. 

At Brighttail, we use data-backed insights to determine the right inbound marketing strategies for SaaS clients. Contact us if you’re interested in a personalized SaaS marketing campaign.