SaaS (Software as a Service) companies can be prone to overspending on their marketing budget because, instead of measuring quality SaaS metrics, they’re chasing vanity metrics like total website traffic.
A lot of the information out there surrounding SEO and content marketing relates to high-growth startups or ecommerce sites that need to shift a lot of products, and quickly.
Of course, when you’re producing all these blog posts, podcasts, infographics, lead magnets and newsletters, you want to see return on investment. That’s why you’re doing it.
But even if you manage to achieve high numbers of traffic, is it really translating into more conversions for your SaaS company?
The myth of lots of traffic
For example, a lot of high-quality SEO and content marketing resources focus on creating growth through marketing.
These include such industry favourites as Backlinko, Quick Sprout, Moz, Hubspot, Search Engine Watch, Inbound.org and Kissmetrics (two of which involve famous marketer Neil Patel).
Their techniques usually require intensive resources and marketing budget to see the fruits of your labour, and make it all worth it.
They focus on getting the biggest bang for your buck through a combination of keyword optimization and shareable content (to put it extremely simply). This is great, and helps many companies tap into the power of the web to sell their products and services at scale.
For ecommerce companies and some software companies, these are the right growth tactics. For many other types of companies like SaaS companies, this advice will lead you astray.
Selling lots of products or having lots of eyeballs just isn’t as important for you, and could even be detrimental to your business.
If your software requires a relatively high level of support, you have a limited number of customers you’ll be able to take on sustainably at any given time. If you exceed sustainable levels, your customer support satisfaction suffers.
Your software may also be quite specialized, which further narrows your customer pool. It’s not so much about the quantity of traffic in your marketing funnel as the quality.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Don’t get caught up in vanity metrics
It’s easy to get caught up in vanity metrics without actually appreciating whether you need to spend so much time and energy generating lots of traffic.
Is it really producing ROI?
Work out if the time you’re spending on your content marketing strategy is worth the resulting traffic. If you’re getting decent traffic but you’re pouring too much resource into it, look at what is giving you the most ROI and scale back on unnecessary channels.
For example, if your audience loves your podcasts, keep doing that. If your blog posts get lots of shares, keep producing these regularly by hiring quality freelance writers.
Which channels have the highest conversion rate to a free or paid trial? If your email marketing drip campaigns have off-the-chart conversions, allocate more of your budget to these. Pour your efforts into these to do more of what’s working.
Especially in B2B SaaS marketing, overall numbers will be much less important than the quality of your leads. More traffic can result in more leads, but not if this audience just isn’t interested in using your product.
It’s nice to be able to say that your website has 150,000 unique views per month, but for lots of SaaS companies this just won’t be that important.
What you should be focusing on
What is important is creating high-quality, targeted and emotionally satisfying content to build a long-term relationship with your potential customers.
Long-term customers pay your subscription fee every month and become more valuable over time. It’s also much easier to upsell to these customers.
You need different SaaS marketing metrics to measure whether or not you are successfully building long-term relationships with potential customers.
Of course, there are some instances when having lots of traffic can be beneficial. For example, when negotiating a partnerships with another brand, your traffic numbers can be used to add value to the deal.
This is only because a potential partner is much more likely to want to cross-market on your channels if you can boast a high level of traffic that they can take advantage of.
Traffic can also demonstrate value to potential investors and is key to the rapid growth that SaaS company needs. But it shouldn’t be chased for it’s own sake. It should be a byproduct of great content and product.
SaaS marketing metrics
Think about what your goals are when it comes to the marketing funnel and your content marketing strategy.
Having more traffic boosts your SEO because pages that have lots of traffic are ranked more favorably by Google. This means you widen the reach of your content because it’s appearing first in more search results queries.
But there are better SaaS marketing metrics for you to measure.
The time users spend on your website and the actions they complete is also taken into account. If a user visits only one page of your site and then leaves, they are considered to have ‘bounced’.
Having a low bounce rate is as important as having lots of traffic. Look at your results in Google Analytics if you have it installed.
Number of single sessions / total number of sessions
1000 single sessions / 1500 total sessions = 66% bounce rate
More than building an audience for your SaaS product, you want to turn your audience into customers.
Take into account the conversion rate for signing up to a trial of your software (or some other indicator) and what channels are your best converters.
You calculate your conversion rate by dividing the number of leads by the total number of website visitors.
Total leads / Total website visitors
10 leads / 1000 website visitors = 1% conversion rate
You can track how much your Marketing Qualified Leads grow over time, or people who would be suited to using your product. For example, if:
Month A = 50 MQLs
Month B = 75 MQLs
You have a growth rate of 50% because 75 is an increase of 50% of 50. OR,
[(B x A) / B] x 100 = 50% month-on-month MQL.
This post was written by Catherine Heath, freelance B2B SaaS writer available for hire. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can work together.