For Software as a Service (SaaS) and other managed service providers focused on the cloud, defining specific budget parameters is difficult. There are just so many no-cost/ freemium marketing apps and it’s difficult to assign a specific figure to inbound marketing.
There are actually about 3,900 marketing technology solutions out there, as you’ll find on this Chief MarTec SuperGraphic. It is mind boggling how many options there are and you need a competent agency to help you select the ones which will deliver the most impact.
Digital marketing tools aside, inbound marketing campaigns for SaaS companies usually involve a mix of Paid, Owned and Earned content. Paid content includes not just Pay-Per-Click, or Pay-Per-Impression advertising, but it revolves around the foundational pillar of content and content assets such as infographics, video and webinars etc.
The following post will guide you through creating a realistic budget framework based on your goals, and how to measure your return on investment.
Identify Your Goals First
It may seem obvious, but many SaaS companies both in the UK and abroad have jumped into their content marketing initiatives before defining what their inbound marketing objectives really are.
You first want to answer these six questions about your campaign:
- Is your campaign to generate net new cloud customers, retain existing subscribers or win back churned clients? Is this a “mindshare” or “market share” campaign?
- Who is it Is targeted at? End users, C-level executives, IT managers or VPs etc
- Are you pitching to potential integrator partners, resellers, or other complementary ISV SaaS vendors?
- What is your average deal size, campaign revenue objective and how does what you are marketing contribute financially to your company’s overall revenue streams?
- Are you looking to have a short campaign with immediate results, or will this be a long-term promotional strategy?
- Will your campaign be delivered only to your existing marketing leads database, or will you be looking to build your contact lists?
Answering these questions are the very foundations to any campaign and will define their success.
Budget estimate: £1500 - £2500, one-off
Creating and curating content is at the very heart of your SaaS inbound marketing strategy. However, it is vital that your content does not just add to the noise out there and clog up the airwaves.
Your written content and content assets need to add value and keep your readers returning for more. To create note-worthy assets takes time, energy, effort and a keen design eye.
Budget estimate: £1,000 - £3,000, per month ongoing
Strategy, Project and Results Management
Whilst creating and curating content and the associated content marketing tools are key considerations of an inbound marketing budget, managing the planning, ongoing governance and results is a pivotal role.
An inbound marketing agency can advise you on specific demand generation tactics, audience segmentation and lead nurturing strategies from a SaaS industry perspective.
Budget estimate: From £3,000 upward for initial and ongoing strategy reviews and project management
Invest in the Right Tools for the Job
If you took the time to check out the matrix of marketing apps linked above, you might have identified some effective marketing tools to:
- Create digital content (Content Management Systems, Social Media microblogging platforms, email marketing engines)
- Analyse the quality of what you create, before you publish or send it to your audience (Machine Learning content analysis tools)
- Track the success of your content, such as traffic, social signals and conversion rates (Content Performance Analytics)
- Manage lead or contact interactions with all of your company’s touch points, marketing, sales, customer service and operations (CRM)
- Listening tools, to alert you when your SaaS company or service is mentioned online
When you are choosing marketing automation tools, there are vendors such as HubSpot, Microsoft and Salesforce.com that offer a large slice of the “marketing stack” above within their suite, or have partner products which integrate seamlessly.
[inline-form]40 of the Top SaaS Marketing Automation Tools[inline-form]
Your business can benefit from the integrated reporting capabilities of a single-vendor marketing “ecosystem”. As a SaaS vendor though, you’re likely aware of business cloud analytics tools which can provide an integrated executive dashboard view.
Potential budget estimate: Varies based on quantity of tools and user counts, however average costs start from £500 per month.
In the “thought-leadership” era of content marketing, creating content can be a full-time job for one or a team of people in your company. Or you could choose to outsource all, or part of your content creation, syndication or editing. Key content assets/tasks include:
- Blog/landing page/content
- eBook and whitepaper writing
- Video production
- Social media management
- Case study or success story creation
- Award submissions
- Proposals for tenders, bids, and/or unsolicited proposals
- Lead nurturing e-mail marketing
- Web/digital graphic design updates, infographics and animated explainer videos
Potential budget estimate: From £1500 per month upwards
Inbound marketing campaigns for SaaS companies tend to be higher than traditional brick and mortar companies, as marketing often replaces many of the traditional product manufacturing costs and is so critical to creating industry and business authority and credibility.
A recent US Gartner CMO study said that inbound marketing, social media, research and analytics plays a significant role in most B2B product and services companies. The biggest investment areas for this year are (in order):
- Content creation
- Campaign Management optimisation
- Social listening
- Community engagement
B2B service companies for the most part feel they are inbound marketing leaders, and they tend to spend the most on digital marketing, between about ten and fifty percent (Salesforce.com) compared with their total annual revenue intake. Many marketing analysts recommend around three percent for a typical company.
These are estimates are purely based on research, leading SaaS vendors and our experience with SaaS companies like yours. Depending upon the amount of “heavy lifting” you would like to manage internally, these numbers will vary.
Do you need help getting your SaaS or inbound B2B marketing budget right? Contact the Incisive Edge team soon for an inbound marketing strategy which fits your goals and objectives.