First things first: Don’t take this list as law.
It’s not set in stone.
That’s not saying there’s not data behind it. There is. But it is saying that the top B2B SaaS marketing channels for your company may not align with the channels we’ve listed here.
The top channels for your company are the ones that allow you to best reach your audience.
With that said, these are good places to start.
1. Organic search.
When it comes to building awareness and getting reach, there’s generally no better B2B SaaS marketing channel than organic search.
Here’s a crazy stat (pulled from a wonderful post by Mike Sonders): the biggest SaaS companies get over 26% of their traffic from search engines, which is almost 16 percentage points better than the next most attributed channel, referrals. (Don’t be bothered about direct traffic in the chart below; as Sonders notes in his piece, it’s almost certainly skewed upward by incorrect attribution.)
Organic search works to drive relevant traffic, because site visitors are looking specifically for solutions that your software provides – and a lot of those visitors become leads and then users. For example, Kevin Indig of Atlassian notes that organic search drove half of the company’s sales in 2017.
One caveat to all of this, though, is that if you offer B2B SaaS to a very niche market, you may find organic search to be slightly less effective, simply because you’ll find fewer people searching. Note that the data above is taken from the largest 50 B2B SaaS companies; for the most part, these are firms that are relevant to big markets with huge search volumes.
If you’re selling OT asset management software to Fortune 500 firms, for example, there probably aren’t many people searching for your software. You may be better off building ABM campaigns rather than trying to dominate search rankings.
2. Paid search ads.
Paid search ads take advantage of the same platforms (search engines) that organic search does, but they come with three key differentiators:
- Paid search ads cost money every time someone clicks.
- You have more control over the keywords your company shows up for.
- You can jump to the top of results right away (rather than waiting for SEO rankings to build over time).
Why’s this a top channel? Well, like organic search, paid search allows you to meet potential clients when they’re looking for a solution. It’s not evergreen – you’ll need to continually invest in it – but this is a proven channel. 49 of the 50 biggest B2B SaaS companies use it.
The bottom line is that it’s a great option to jumpstart your B2B SaaS marketing.
3. Paid social ads (LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook).
Social media can be incredibly powerful. It can also be an incredible waste of time.
The key here is to know your audience. If the software you’re selling is almost B2C (think Slack, or MailChimp, or Notion), then you’ll likely find consumer-facing platforms like Facebook do pretty well. If you’re selling enterprise software, it’ll be harder to win on those channels – but you might be surprised by the success you can have on LinkedIn.
In general, social media is a higher-funnel channel. Unlike search, where potential customers are looking for solutions, social media ads are often shown out of context; for example, you might be scrolling through your LinkedIn feed when you see an ad for a CRM. It’s not that you’re not interested in a CRM – it’s just that you weren’t necessarily looking for it.
With that said, if you’re looking to build awareness of your B2B SaaS offering in the market, there are few better channels. The world is on social media – and you can pay to reach it.
If paid social ads are more geared toward awareness marketing, email is more geared toward engagement. In fact, it’s incredibly good at generating valuable action; Constant Contact, for example, estimates that the average ROI on email marketing is $42 for every $1 spent. That’s almost certainly optimistic – but still.
Email can help pull users through your sales funnels – from driving sales after free trials or demos, to reminding users to revisit your platform, to winning back unsubscribed users, it does it all. As Inbox Army writes, “Email marketing enables you to educate users so they get more value from your product, send targeted messages at the right time to increase conversions, and reduce churn with retention strategies.”
This is a channel that every B2B SaaS company should take advantage of. Build your email list with content offers and free trial signups, then use it.
Want help picking the right marketing channels for your B2B SaaS company?
This list is a good starting point, but if you want to make sure you’re on the channels that best fit your business, let’s talk.
At New North, we’re one of the top B2B marketing agencies in the US. We’ve helped B2B SaaS firms to build user bases, drive more sales, and grow using the right marketing channels – and we’re confident we can help you, too.
Schedule a free consultation and let’s get into the specifics, so you can craft a B2B SaaS marketing strategy that stands out from the pack and gets you the results you’re looking for.