Developing any marketing strategy starts with knowledge. Before you can pitch your product to the people who need it most, you have to know who those people are, what they need the product to do, and what type of pitch will reach them best. Partnering with influencers to market your SaaS product is no different—influencer marketing is just one more strategy to help you connect with your ideal audience.
That’s not to say it isn’t a powerful tool, though. Social media usage increased during the pandemic, and surveys indicate that users trust their social network—including influencers—when it comes to product recommendations.
Influencers have reach and credibility, and can help you efficiently bridge the gap between your SaaS product and your best customers. But in order to get the most out of influencer marketing, you need to approach it with a solid strategy. Here’s how.
Understand your audience.
Brand authenticity is a high priority for today’s consumers. For your marketing efforts to succeed with your target audience, they need to feel like they can trust you. Otherwise, your message will have a hard time getting through.
Creating that trust involves demonstrating that you understand your customers’ needs and priorities. When you can speak directly to their pain points and show them a compelling solution, consumers will be eager to engage with your brand.
To reach your audience effectively, you also need to know where they spend their time. Where do the key conversations in your field happen? Do they center around long-form explainer videos on YouTube, or shorter recommendation snippets on TikTok? Are your potential buyers discussing in-depth articles by anyone in particular on LinkedIn?
Social platforms each have their own particular character. Different types of content thrive on each, thanks to differences in community, format, and features.
Understanding the kinds of conversations that your audience is already having, and where they tend to have those conversations, will help you narrow down both the influencers you want to reach out to and the types of content you plan to produce.
Shortlist the right influencers for your brand.
Even the highest-quality parts won’t produce a functioning machine if they don’t fit together well. It’s important to select influencers who are a good fit for your SaaS product and your brand, who are experienced in the social platforms and type of marketing content that you want to target, and whose audience are interested in what you have to offer.
Consider the “three R’s” of influence:
- Reach: the size of the influencer’s audience, or the number of people you could potentially connect with through the influencer. It’s easy to think that bigger is better here, but as we’ll see, that isn’t always true.
- Relevance: how closely the influencer’s content aligns with your industry and brand image, and how closely their target audience overlaps with yours.
- Resonance: the level of engagement you can expect from the influencer’s audience on a piece of content.
When seeking influencers to market your SaaS with, you should target ones whose content and audience align with yours (relevance), who can increase your pool of potential customers by a little or a lot (reach), and whose audience are enthusiastic enough to pursue recommendations by the influencer (resonance).
Broad awareness versus deep enthusiasm.
Reach and resonance can interact with one another in unexpected ways. After all, targeting as broad of an audience as possible won’t necessarily create conversions if very few of those consumers are interested in your product. But a well-targeted message that reaches a small, but highly-engaged, group of consumers is a potential goldmine.
When thinking about reach and resonance, it’s important to consider the role your product will play in the lives of your various customer personas. Some SaaS purchases involve a big commitment—a lengthy data migration, for example, or an end-user training initiative. If that’s the case for your product, then you might have more success targeting a smaller group of consumers who are more ready to take the leap.
But on the other hand, many SaaS products are an easy value add that don’t ask much of the purchaser. And in these cases, spreading the word as far as you can makes a lot of sense. Consider your product, and where your ideal customers are in the buyer’s journey. That knowledge will help you target the right potential influencers.
Taking advantage of unexpected synergies.
Resonance, too, has its caveats. Yes, it’s a good idea to target influencers who have an audience you know will be interested in your product. But surprise is also a valuable element of marketing, and an unexpected influencer partnership can drive high levels of engagement.
Beauty brands have partnered with gaming streamers. Starbucks worked with Spotify to create a “musical ecosystem” within their coffee shops. These brands identified the value that they bring to their customers, and then broadened their scope to find new customer segments that might need or want the same value proposition.
When identifying potential influencers to work with, there’s nothing wrong with keeping your approach straightforward. But these examples show that there’s room to think creatively, too, and that doing so can prove successful.
Decide what kind of content you’ll produce.
Which social platform you use will impact the types of content you’ll choose to produce. The preferences of your audience and the expertise of your target influencers will also shape your choice.
Clearly, video will work best on platforms like TikTok and YouTube. Written content will work for blogs, and audio for podcasts. There is some overlap across platforms, but in general, the message should be a good fit for the medium.
However, you should also be considering the goal of your content. Long-form explainers, whether as guest blog posts, YouTube videos, or other formats, are a great way to communicate your product’s value to new prospects. Sponsoring influencer content or providing branded materials can raise brand awareness. Interactive content like polls or contests can help you create lists of new leads.
The reality is that you’ll want to create content across most or all of these categories, to target potential customers in various stages of their journey with your product. But as you plan your content, be sure to publish each type in proportions that align with your marketing goals.
Approach influencers with a plan.
Once you’ve laid out the broad strokes of what a SaaS influencer marketing strategy looks like for your brand, you’ll be in a good position to make contact with potential influencers. Like any potential business relationship, it’s important to have a clear vision of the process you want to undertake together, and the benefits for both sides.
Before reaching out to an influencer, you may want to spend some time in their social media communities. Promote some of their content if it’s relevant for you, comment on or otherwise interact with their posts, and demonstrate that you are an engaged part of the industry’s social media scene. This will help build a baseline relationship before making your pitch.
When you do pitch an influencer, treat it like any other business pitch. Focus on shared goals and actionable strategy points, be transparent about your scope and budget, and keep your pitch short and sweet. If you decide to move forward, set metrics for measuring the success of your efforts up front.
Establish and track influencer KPIs.
As your SaaS influencer marketing strategy matures, you will need to know what works and what doesn’t for your unique audience. To that end, it’s crucial to establish early on what metrics you will use to measure the success of your efforts.
Shares of your marketing content and engagement with it in the form of likes, comments, and other dialogue are all standard metrics to keep an eye on. You can use social media analytics tools to help you track the performance of individual pieces of content.
Harder to measure, but just as important, are more nebulous metrics like brand awareness and customer sentiment. Keeping track of these involves checking in with your audience regularly. That can come in the form of general interaction, or explicit customer surveys. You can also leverage AI tools like GapScout to ingest and analyze customer opinions across the market, which can save you time.
Influencer marketing has a lot to offer your SaaS.
Brands are increasingly opting to partner with influencers in today’s marketplace. Trust and authenticity are valuable currency with modern consumers. Influencers make it their job to cultivate both, and are an important link for marketers.
At its best, partnering with an influencer has benefits for both of you. Your brand gains access to a new audience of prospects who are familiar with your field and primed to understand the value your product offers. The influencer gains a high-quality solution that can help their followers, expands their reach, and bolsters their credibility.
An influencer marketing strategy for your SaaS has a lot of potential. The most important thing as you consider an influencer approach is to go in with a robust plan, and for that, you need good information. Knowledge of the value that your product offers, and a deep understanding of your customers’ pain points, needs, and goals, will provide the foundation for success in your influencer marketing efforts.
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