Customer acquisition for B2B Saas has shifted over the years. A few years ago, an effective customer acquisition strategy was to offer a freemium package for your Saas product and upsell your users on your premium features. Free was a great hook to get initial users.
But these days, the Saas market is becoming inundated with new Saas products. Nearly every Saas company has either a free trial or a free package, so free software no longer a unique factor that distinguishes your product from the competition. Professionals are no longer jumping at the opportunity to try every new free Saas tool that is on the market.
The customer acquisition funnel that many Saas marketers relied on looked something like this:
Send relevant traffic to your website. Let users sign up for themselves. Upsell your free users to paid. Aim for about 3-5% conversion from free to paid packages. For many Saas marketers, this strategy still works well today when you’re acquiring traffic from your content marketing efforts and search traffic. Your leads are already searching for a solution like yours, so the traffic coming to your site is highly qualified.
However, this strategy will only scale up your business so much. There’ll be a limit to the amount of search traffic you can buy (as it becomes cost prohibitive or just not enough volume exists), and there’ll be a limit to how much you can saturate the web around the problem you solve. Moreover, with the rise in Saas all of these channels have become extremely competitive, so the amount of volume you may have been able to capture before may no longer be available at the price you’re willing to pay.
In order to expand further as a fast growing or enterprise Saas company, you start turning to other channels including display advertising. However, in these channels, this strategy no longer works for many other customer acquisition channels such as display advertising. People in these other channels know nothing about your solution nor are they actively looking for your solution today. This makes your job as a Saas marketer harder. Sending people to your website without context reduces your conversion rate at the first step, which will likely ruin the economics of your model. To take full advantage of ad channels without intent, a lot of successful Saas marketers are turning to a funnel that looks like this:
Instead of trying to get a free sign up right away from people who don’t care or know about your product, their call-to-action is around an email signup for a white paper or ebook that talks about a problem. Ebooks and white papers are a lot easier of a call-to-action, and the most successful Saas companies can do upwards of 45% conversion rate on their landing pages.
So, as your company scales, it may make sense to have different customer acquisition funnels for different types of traffic.