Tried-and-tested ideas may be synonymous with a sense of security, but in SaaS marketing, the winners are those who step outside their comfort zone. Bold ideas allow you to stand out in a competitive industry. So, today we are going to show you the most inspiring examples of how to think outside the box.
1. A quiz…y way to gain the audience
Who doesn't like quizzes? From Jung's personality test to the Gallup Strengthsfinder tool (widely popular among HR professionals) ... tests like these are all designed to help an individual define themselves in their life and career.
As a marketer, you can take advantage of this human need to categorise and make sense of life by offering a unique quiz experience on your landing page. The key to a successful quiz? Interesting questions, straightforward answers, and a short time span. Plus an aesthetic layout. It’ll lead to engagement which comes from a sincere desire to take part and not a sense of obligation.
As part of a recent Semrush campaign, which Rhapsody was tasked to create, we used a personality quiz to boost interaction. Not only could users learn about their marketing personality, but they could also receive a comprehensive guide to SEM/SEO activities after completing the quiz as well as being entered into a prize draw to win a one-year subscription to a business package.
2. A guide to the unknown
If your product requires users to not only have creative skills but also to master all of the wizard functions, then it's a good idea to give them the chance to try its different functionalities from the moment they show interest in the brand.
A product tour, which reveals the internal workings of the software in question, is helpful in this respect. Customers get to judge for themselves whether the system is intuitive, whether it has all the desired functionalities or whether it is similar to another popular product. They’ll be able to understand the advantages of the platform in practice.
Various dashboards with educational content will also help the customer through the trickiest steps and achieve the 'ah-ha' effect.
A Canadian software company has created "Builder Basics" for its users. It's a template that enables you to get the full builder experience in a few minutes, with the view of showcasing its initial value and improving your Time to Value (TTV) metric. The solution also works well for those features that have the potential to trigger those lightbulb moments.
3. The power of video
Video is one of the most engaging forms of digital marketing. As a type of audiovisual content, it is educational, memorable and effective.
According to a study conducted by Ascend2 in partnership with Leading Marketing Solution Providers, the top goals of an effective video marketing strategy are to raise brand awareness, increase online engagement, enhance customer education, and boost lead generation.
By using video, brands can present the strengths of their products on their own terms and it can even be done in segments with one single product feature being the focus of one video. It’s a surefire way for a brand to present itself as an expert.
In addition, audiovisual materials are also well-received by tools such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. You can also harness their potential in mailings or opt for viral marketing, in the form of challenges and calls to action. There are countless ways you can go with the video...
A few years back, Wistia, a video hosting platform made for B2B marketers, launched a video series entitled 'One, Ten, One Hundred'. This four-part documentary series was created to promote Wistia's new webcam and screen recording tool, SoapBox. In one of the films, a team of Wistia specialists challenges Sandwich Video, a Los Angeles-based production company, to create three films with three very different budgets: $1,000, $10,000, and $100,000. The series garnered a huge amount of interest, to the point that it was nominated for a Webby People's Voice Award for branded entertainment series in the video category. The 100-minute series can be viewed on the Amazon Prime platform.
4. A game changer for your business
Many companies around the world use gamification. It’s a strategy which consists of implementing gaming mechanisms in non-game settings.
Why not harness the potential of interactive game-like competitions in SaaS marketing? By doing so, you can build many positive habits in the process of winning over an individual or a whole team. Above all, you can create positive associations with the brand and link it to an interesting and entertaining experience. Once the user has completed the game, you can give them added value, for instance in the form of a subscription to a premium service. That makes it a game definitely worth playing, right?
For this campaign, Rhapsody developed a mobile game called 'Hop to the Top'. The fun and engaging game created value in itself, but there was more to it than that: through the experience, the brand could demonstrate the benefits of certain product features. Users were also encouraged to share their achievements on social media and anyone who played at least one game could enter a prize draw to win attractive prizes such as a 6-month subscription to Semrush marketing services or an annual business subscription worth $9,000.
5. Action and (immediate) reaction
Knowing how to listen to your audience is a valuable skill that characterises every successful marketer. It goes with having a good sense of humour and the courage to approach certain subjects in a slightly contradictory way.
If you know that the functionality of a certain product is questionable or the name itself is a challenge for customers, don't treat it as a crisis: see it as an opportunity. React before there’s even time for anyone to make negative, critical comments: use your weak point to your advantage and transform it into something of value.
A few years ago, MailChimp, a leader in email marketing, decided to put a positive spin on its name being mispronounced in a sponsored podcast. They launched a creative and humorous mini-campaign called "Did you mean MailChimp?", thus giving a playful nod to their somewhat confused audience. The risk paid off: the campaign was not only appreciated by customers, but it also won the Grand Prix at the 2017 Cannes Lions Festival. It generated over 67 million organic searches and $3.52 million in media acquisition value.
6. Supercharge your content
Don't underestimate the power of content marketing, especially when it comes to SaaS marketing. Why? Because it's the most effective inbound marketing strategy that can generate leads.
When we talk about content, we mean the various forms it can take: short and long formats (blog articles, reports, whitepapers), materials available for download by email, newsletters, infographics, or explanatory videos. All this generates traffic, creates engagement, and builds good associations with a brand.
InVision is a graphics software consisting of a complex set of design tools. It is also a competitor of conventional, cloudless graphics editing software. The brand has established a strong community and InVision's offering is promoted through advanced content marketing, mainly in the form of compelling infographics. An internal tool on their blog, the Inline Tweet Sharer, makes it easy for users to instantly share this content on social media.
7. Getting real with social media
Humans are social creatures and anthropologists believe that our development would not have been possible without... gossip. This shows how deeply entrenched our need for interaction is and how important emotions are. That also stands true in SaaS marketing.
You probably don't need to be told about the importance of being present on social media, but you can always be one step ahead of your competitors. For instance, by creating reality TV on LinkedIn as a form of employer branding. It can encourage interaction and build a community that eagerly awaits the next 'upload' and discusses how future episodes will unfold.
Digital learning platform 360Learning decided to hire a new employee. Instead of posting a simple ad on LinkedIn, the brand specialists went even further by creating a multi-episode documentary series, which already has two seasons, entitled "Onboarding with Joei". It provides an insight into how 360Learning carries out onboarding, and how it trains and manages employees. One episode is equal to a week of adventures. The project was well-received on LinkedIn and Twitter platforms and it also generated traffic on the website.
The world looks better outside the box
Using tried-and-tested ideas can be beneficial, because it allows you to use methods that have already been tested in practice.
The truth is that in a world dominated by really good ideas, sometimes you have to risk everything to not simply be "very good", but to be "the best". At least in some areas. So... Do you want your customers to experience the world from a different perspective than inside the box?
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