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How SaaS Startups Can Leverage Influencer Marketing

influencer marketing in SaaS banner (1)

 

Influencer marketing for SaaS is an art form. It’s a creative exercise in connecting a SaaS company’s goals with powerful persons and/or complementary brands in the industry. Integrating these interests may appear simple in theory. In reality, however, it needs a little imagination, a little luck, and a bunch of alignment.

The work is not insurmountable though. Fortunately, there are numerous approaches to jumpstart your startup’s marketing strategies.
Influencer marketing is among the best marketing tactics available today. By 2020, the influencer marketing business is expected to be worth $9.7 billion, up from just $1.7 billion in 2016. By 2021, this is anticipated to rise to $13.8 billion.

Although it is widely used, many organizations are still afraid to use it as a marketing tactic because they are unsure of its full potential. So, the real question is: What exactly it is and does it really work?

Influencer marketing has shown to be a highly effective strategy for a plethora of business endeavors. Hence, this article will present you some tips to help you create your influencer marketing strategies.

 

What is Influencer marketing in SaaS?

 

Hundreds of websites define influencer marketing, but what is the important takeaway? Influencer marketing is about collaboration with an industry thought leader. An influencer introduces your brand to an audience likely to be interested in your SaaS platform and is paid for his/her contribution. His compensation can be in terms of freemium software access, commission, or fixed fee.

 

Why use influencers?

 

According to IDC, SaaS accounts for about 28%of the global enterprise app industry. It was valued at $51 billion.

So it’s no surprise that many SaaS businesses are vying for market share. Unfortunately, most SaaS firms fail within a year or two of launch or simply cannot find ways to take off.

The shocker? No, it isn’t because of competition. Most SaaS firms fail due to poor growth hacking tactics.

It’s rare to learn about a SaaS firm that attempted and failed at influencer marketing.

Growth hacking using influencer marketing isn’t a new concept. Yet recent developments have provided best practices that help it outperform other channels. There are also new knowledge and technology that boosted its use.

Did you know that influencer marketing outperforms other digital marketing methods by 11x?

Influencers leverage their knowledge and personal ties to keep audiences engaged and motivated. This suggests SaaS influencer marketing may generate ROI in the long run.

 

What works for B2B SaaS startups?

 

But do B2B and B2C trend the same? Does a strategy that works for B2C influencer marketing also work for B2B?

“Emotions, not things.” This statement is untrue in the B2B buying process. So, what works? Rationalism. Do we really need that software to work more efficiently? Does it help us stand out from competitors and make more money? Perhaps this is the most critical distinction between B2B and B2C businesses.

But that’s not all! The B2B buying process is more complex. It needs more due diligence and takes longer. It could take months or even a year.

What do B2B decision-makers consider before making a choice? How can we increase our quality of service and expand faster? The cost-benefit ratio must be favorable. It’s not like purchasing a face cream and utilizing it for a few days.

Influencer marketing platforms for B2B SaaS companies are also distinct.

Instagram is a popular medium for influencer marketing. But this is only true for B2C enterprises, especially in food, fashion, and physical products like cosmetics.

Instagram influencer marketing is worth a try if your:

  • B2B SaaS company’s financing is more flexible
  • Final aim is not direct sales

Consider another case. Snapchat is a popular social media platform for young people. However, it’s not in B2B SaaS sales and lead nurturing.

B2B and B2C influencer marketing strategies differ and B2C has a longer history. Partnering with a relevant influencer, nonetheless, is a powerful strategy for any organization. Provided, of course, it is done professionally.

Influencer marketing in SaaS is undoubtedly booming. Let’s examine the main reasons to consider working with niche influencers.

  • While your startup has a limited targeted audience, that of the influencer is vast.
  • The influencer knows his audience.
  • The influencer has gained trust and fame.
  • B2B buyers rely heavily on reviews.

 

How to Use Influencers to Promote SaaS Products

Many SaaS businesses serve a wide range of industries. Thus, creating a powerful, cohesive campaign from beginning to end can be difficult. Here are some tips to bear in mind…

Finding the right influencer to promote a brand, whether B2B or B2C, is the most challenging task. A study found three-fourths of respondents said this was their biggest difficulty.

 

Blogger/Influencer

 

Typically, SaaS products struggle with finding the right influencer because their target demographic is so diverse. As a result, market research must be approached with extreme caution. Finding connections amongst potential clients takes real skill and attention to detail.

Most of the target market looks up to prominent, important personalities. So it’s important to know what outlets they employ to spread their message.

In B2C organizations, there are usually a few prominent channels that produce the best outcomes. For example, clothing brands use Instagram as a key medium to reach influencers.

Sadly, SaaS organizations cannot always rely on Instagram influencers. They often need to perform significant research to find out where their target audiences hang out.

Consider social media scheduling tool Buffer. It allows users to create updates and schedule their publications. Because 9 out of 10 marketers say social media is critical to their business, their service is needed by MILLIONS of businesses worldwide.

As you can imagine, finding particular influencers that cater to such a large pool of potential clients is a difficult task. Instead of focusing on real individuals, Buffer chose topics that apply to practically any business. That includes relatability, creativity, life hacks, psychology, etc. Influencers were targeted as media outlets and writers already discussing these ideas and implementing them on social networking sites.

Buffer’s strategy is among the most successful influencer marketing examples to date. It began guest writing on a variety of specialty websites, forging ties with their particular audiences. As a result, their content was shared four times more. They went from a small startup with little investment to a market leader with more than one million users via a series of targeted websites!

The lesson for SaaS solutions as far as content marketing is concerned is to look for shared interests rather than personalities who relate to your target market and then focus on the channels or individuals who are talking about them. Whatever the scope of your service, there will nearly always be topics that are relevant to everyone.

 

Identify an Influencer Who Has the Right Audience

 

When you decide to deal with influencers, you must select someone who has the appropriate number of followers for your software. In working with potential influencers, this phase is critical.

You can’t ask someone to promote cafes and pastries who do not eat sweets. Same with someone who leads an active and healthy lifestyle. This is the primary reason you should seek out an influencer who is a good match for your requirements.

We all know that influencer marketing is sweeping the social media landscape. It is among the most effective methods for promoting your company. However, finding the right influencer to push your brand might be difficult sometimes, which is where tools come in helpful!

Yes, you read that correctly: some tools can assist you in finding the ideal social media influencers to promote your company! Some of the influencer marketing software available are as follows:

  • Heepsy
  • Awario
  • Traackr

We strongly suggest taking a look at them to make your hunt for the ideal influencer much easier.

 

How to Contact Influencers

 

You’ll need to contact your ideal influencers now that you’ve completed all of the processes to identify them. To promote your SaaS service, you must be clear about your influencer marketing goals.

Remember to try things like following them on social media or subscribing to their blog before simply reaching out cold. To put it another way, you’re making yourself obvious to them.

After you believe you’ve gained brand awareness among your influencers, you can….

 

Contact them

 

Your goal will determine the method you use to contact an influencer. If you’ve had a piece of information you’d like to post online, for example, you can offer it to them as a bonus to their viewers while also implicitly requesting a favor.

If you want influencers to promote your SaaS solution on social media, on the other hand, you may need to reach out to them differently.

 

Pitching by email

 

The secret to succeeding with email is to avoid writing generically. Be personal with your emails to them.

“Dear influencer” or Dear Blogger should not be the first words in your pitch letter. The vast majority of the time that will be ignored because it sounds spammy.

You might be unsure where to start when composing an email. However, you can look at email templates to get some inspiration.
In exchange for reviews, give out free products or services.

Startups typically operate on a shoestring budget and seek out the most cost-effective ways to sell their products. As a result, startup influencer marketing strategy is a good fit.
If you can’t afford to pay in cash, seek some influencers who will take free things instead.

You can provide free trials to influencers in exchange for evaluations and recommendations.

Nonetheless, not all influencers would be interested in such a collaboration. Thus, ensure you clearly communicate the deal ahead of time.

 

Conduct interviews/host events

 

You may invite influencers to corporate events and promotional events to help boost your startup. You can even have an interview with the thought leaders, who are the influencers.

The idea here is to get influencers to share the news and tell their followers about their experiences. This will draw attention to your new brand among their fans, maybe resulting in new followers.

There are other various influencer marketing models to consider:

Collaborate with a marketing agency. Unlike outsourcing to an automated influencer marketing platform, an influencer marketing agency crafts a highly customized strategy for your company and manages outreach and engagement with influencers. Influencer marketing agencies help brands in managing influencer-generated content.

Procedure for submitting an application. Make it simple for potential partners to contact you by flipping the equation. You may filter and pick partners who correspond with your aims by having an application web form that allows influencers to contact you directly.

Keep track of organic User-Generated Content (UGC). Recognize your current consumers as powerful influencers. Don’t allow those positive reviews to go unnoticed because happy consumers frequently share their experiences on social media. Instead, use some tools to track and display this crucial UGC on your online and social media feeds. Your best influencers might already be loyal customers who are gushing about you at zero cost.

 

Make a budget and keep track of your return on investment

 

It’s critical to make a budget before getting too enthused and influencing your way into bankruptcy.

According to a recent survey, businesses make $5.20 in revenue for every dollar invested in influencer marketing. Put another way: Influencer marketing delivered almost 5 times the number of engagements and impressions as sponsored advertising for every dollar invested.

If it is your first time using influencer marketing, start with minimal expenditure to see what pays and what does not. You’ll be able to see what’s working and what isn’t through several marketing metrics, allowing you to adjust your plan and boost your spending in the future.

 

5 simple stages in launching an influencer marketing campaign

 

Here’s how to get started with your influencer marketing campaign for SaaS products, step by step.

  • Determine what kind of influencer program is ideal for your short- and long-term performance in the SaaS industry
  • Specify a particular strategy that contains the program’s goals, essential outcomes, and a plan for accomplishing them.
  • Develop and implement a Content Collaboration Plan as part of a larger SEO strategy and audit to identify high-value backlinks and opportunities for content sharing.
  • Create and implement a lead generation plan including a marketing qualified lead (MQL) sharing strategy to boost high-quality sales and leads enablement programs.
  • Develop and implement an influence program that positions your organization as a vital player in a favorable industry transition, besides other like-minded and purposed brands and influencers.
  • Finding the perfect influencer is a difficult task. It’s important to evaluate where your SaaS company or startup is, and determine what you need and who you need for your influencer marketing campaign.

For more SaaS marketing articles, check out our blog here.

 

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influencer marketing in SaaS banner (1)
Ken Moo
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