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11 Online Marketing Techniques to Attract and Retain Customers

11 Online Marketing Techniques to Attract and Retain Customers

As a CEO, you’re no stranger to the twin challenges of customer attraction and retention in the fiercely competitive SaaS landscape. Captivating new customers and retaining existing ones isn’t just crucial to survival; it’s pivotal for consistent growth.  

But there is a challenge – which one to choose? There are hundreds of marketing strategies listings on the web. For instance, Loom attracts users with video tutorials. SurferSEO provides regular live classes, self-serve guides, and live chat support. Among the customer retention tactics of my team are chatbot lead generation templates, email marketing, and personalized onboarding. 

Curious about where to start? 

In this article, you’ll find 11 proven online marketing techniques to attract customers and retain them in your product 👇

6 Online Marketing Techniques to Attract Customers

Attracting new users is crucial for any SaaS business. But it is not only about revenue. An inflow of new users validates your offering in the market. Together with a team, I’ve tested a plethora of approaches.

What you’ll find below are the ideas that inspired our best marketing plan campaigns, a collection of the most effective strategies for attracting new users to your SaaS platform. 

1. Spread the word about your product on socials and messengers

The social media platforms are perfect to connect with ideal prospects via posting on company accounts and in relevant communities. Tell about the value of your solution, invite for a free consultation, share lead magnets, etc. 

But just posting isn’t enough to make these channels work. Communicate with people: engage to share their thoughts in comments, polls, or DM you. Reply to these comments! Ask for reactions, etc. 

Look at Spline social media marketing👇 They nurture LinkedIn prospects with a video of a design created on their platform.   

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Image source. 

Potential clients receive answers to their comments not from a company but from a real person profile – the author of that design on the video. 

By the way, this is an excellent approach for SaaS communication with a target audience on the company profiles: post from a company name and answer from the profile of real people like a company CEO or managers.

2. Leverage search engine optimization (SEO)

Organic traffic is a great source of high-quality leads. For example, if you offer chatbots, the place in Google’s top three SERPs on the “how much does chatbot cost” keyword can bring you 170 visits/mo of people who are almost ready to buy your chatbot. 

The HelpCruch article includes 147 relevant keywords. As a result, the number of people who visit it increases to 2-3 times per month.

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Now, apply that to your product. Sounds great, heh? 

Where to start: 

  • Define a list of key pain points and tasks your product solves. If you’re an email marketing solution, you are definitely about lead generation, sales, customer retention, customer communication, etc.
  • Add keywords related to your product searches, like “email marketing tool”, “automated email marketing platform”, etc.
  • Use tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to check the SEO potential of each. 
  • Check the SEPR. If you see guys with over 100 backlinks and high DR in the top three – send the keyword to the backlog until your site grows up. 
  • Collect a list of keywords, group it by relevance, and prioritize.
  • Share it with your content marketing manager to define what value and content to offer. 

3. Spark audience interest with expert content

SaaS clients don’t make spontaneous purchase decisions. Before, they spent much time researching for expert advice on how to solve their issue, for example, how to reduce churn, increase website conversion, create landing pages, etc. 

Here is where you can catch their attention. Prove you’re a real expert in what you’re offering by offering a free consultation, PDF guide, video tutorial, checklists, mini-courses, and success stories of your clients.

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There’s much room for creativity, but the idea is a mutual exchange of valuable information. You give people knowledge. They give you their contacts. 

The main thing is how you share that lead magnet. It can be ads, a website popup, social media, SEO, or partner blog readers👇

4. Collaborate with influencers

As a digital marketing manager, I follow Gary Vaynerchuck, Neil Patel, and Rand Fishkin. Each expert has millions of followers ready to buy anything they advise. There are people like them in your field who proved their expertise and gained the trust of the relevant audience – your potential clients. 

Imagine they post a testimonial or review of your product, share discounts, etc. Even a simple repost made by a blogger on his LinkedIn page can bring you a fantastic boost in audience. 

I can only imagine how many new users received Reforge after this post. 

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Image source. 

I can only imagine how many new users received Reforge after this post.

Start your influencer marketing efforts here: 

  1. Set your goals and KPIs. 
  2. Confirm your budget. 
  3. Choose a social network where your target audience is. 
  4. Find influencers who match business goals or strategies. 
  5. Develop and share marketing campaign content. 
  6. Monitor performance.

5. Create affiliate or referral programs

Another option to get new clients is by turning your partners into brand sales managers through the best affiliate programs. In the SaaS field, an affiliate is a person who receives monetary compensation for every sale or referral that comes to you by their link. It can be published on affiliates’ blogs, socials, etc. Affiliates put much effort into spreading the word about your products. Thus, SaaS companies expand brand awareness and get new customers. 

For example, as Figma’s affiliate, an owner of the Lucidspark blog has a personal link. He posts an article on the six best UX design tools and puts Figma first in a list. 

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An affiliate link. Image source. 

Each time readers click the unique affiliate link, both the blogger and the company gain from the relationship.  

Start with choosing a solution to run an affiliate program, determine commissions, choose an affiliate management platform, and recruit your affiliates.

6. Host webinars

This is an excellent tool SaaS marketers use to get the attention of the target audience and turn them into clients. This form of public speaking is one of the quickest ways to demonstrate your expertise on specific topics and get potential customers’ trust, especially when you’re on a budget.

For instance, one of the main Userpilot launches is product analytics. To engage people to use it instead of Google Analytics, they launched a series of webinars on relevant topics. Here is how they announce one of them:

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Image source. 

In addition, you can engage the target customer to register for such events by launching advertising or posting on socials.

Ready to try this approach? Start with defining your ideal customer, their interests, online presence. Then, select a topic that would reflect their pain points. Ensure you provide them with valuable content and clear CTAs like “Sign up to try it for free,” “Schedule a consultation,” and “Get your 40% off on a monthly subscription.”

5 Online Marketing Techniques to retain current customers

Look around your desktop folder. I’m sure you’ll find a program created by a business near the forefront of its industry. Such success is impossible with one-time customers only. Compared to them, returning clients spend 67% more

Let’s find out the best tactics SaaS companies use to engage in repeated purchases. 

1. Provide premium feature trials

There are different pricing plans for users. Sure thing, companies try to engage them to switch to more expensive plans. But money is only one of the reasons to do that. The deeper users dive into the service, the more features they adopt, and the more chances that they stay with you. 

One of the methods to offer a premium feature is to make it available on the menu. When people click it, launch a popup like Asana did: 

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The Asana’s time-limited free trial offer on the premium feature.

In addition to a customer retention and pricing plan upgrade, this tactic is an excellent way to convert freemium accounts. 

2. Personalize customer onboarding 

Set clients’ needs and expectations at the core of your onboarding process. The more personalized experience they have, the more likely they stay.

Follow the Notion example and start users’ JTBD research with a short questionnaire. Ask at most 4-5 questions. Otherwise, they’ll abandon registration at the very beginning. 

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Based on the collected data, define the user’s use case and provide guidance on key features they need. For instance, when Notion users choose the team option on the “How do you plan to use our tool?” question during onboarding, they start with the “Projects” tab – the main use case for teams using this service. 

Notion-onboarding-page
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This approach will help you to increase product adoption and reduce time to value – one of the key factors leading to the high retention rate.

3. Add gamification 

People love games. It makes them feel happy. You definitely know that happy customers buy more. So, add gamification elements or mechanics to their experience with your product.

SaaS, EdTech, and eCommerce businesses use this strategy to increase user engagement and motivation to master and use product features. Implementation of the gamification tactics brought eBay both engagement and loyalty rate growth by up to 30%.  

Here is an excellent example of how the Duolingo language learning app uses it to retain users:  

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Since Duolingo is a subscription-based pricing model, its main goal is to engage users to keep learning in the app. Here is a list of gamification elements they use: 

  • Points reward for completing lessons and challenges.
  • Count of learning days without absenteeism.
  • System of experience levels and progress achievements. This gives users a sense of accomplishment.
  • Competition element with leaderboards based on the collected points. 

You could see businesses adding elements like points, timers, badges, and leaderboards to user onboarding.  

4. Capture user’s feedback 

You know how important it is to monitor customers’ well-being. That’s why SaaS companies constantly analyze customer satisfaction data at different steps of the user journey.

CSAT surveys, interviews, usability tests, focus groups, customer reviews, and analytics are some of the most popular methods they use. 

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Each helps you understand customers’ needs and satisfy them with the most targeted solutions. The better you segment a customer base (whom to send a survey), the more effective feedback you’ll get. 

But the most essential thing is When and Where to send it. 

  • You should choose the ideal time for your client’s interaction with a product. It can be an after-purchase moment, at the end of a customer service chat, trial end, or after using a specific feature.
  • The best communication channel depends on its time and your user preferences. Usually, companies send surveys in-app, by email, in website popups, live chat, or chatbot.

5. Offer contextual upsells 

Upsells and cross-sells aren’t about eCommerce only. This is an excellent tactic to apply to existing users of your service or product in-app. Offer an upgrade at the moment when the user approaches the account limits. 

Let’s look at how this strategy works on the Slack app example. 

  • 10K message point is the first moment when its freemium users see the first upsell message. This time is enough to experience the product’s value and make a purchase decision.
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  • Slack repeats this message in other places, for example, when clients try to search for something in a dialog history.
    11 Online Marketing Techniques to Attract and Retain Customers 4
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  • The similar upsell message popups in user settings as well. But this time, with a different offer – a neat chart that visualizes current usage on the free plan.
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    Image source.

Final thoughts

In essence, there’s a whole universe of ways to draw in and keep customers, and the trick is to pick what fits your business best. Say your product doesn’t lean towards the visual side; Instagram might not be your best bet. 

Conversely, if your product screams luxury and carries a hefty price tag, spreading the word through local flyers might not cut it. (Unless, of course, you’re nestled in a high-roller’s neighborhood). The choice of strategy is in your hands, but remember, winning over customers doesn’t necessarily mean instant sales.

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