Building SaaS App for Marketing - Why It's Worth It?
SaaS has become one of the most popular business models of today's startups. According to annual statistics, the global SaaS market grows by 18% each year. So building a single application that allows multiple independent companies access seems to be exactly what you need as a SaaS company investor.
What is Software as a Service?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud-based software delivery method. Typically, SaaS product has a subscription fee depending on the number of features selected or users using the software. SaaS customers do not have to create internal IT departments or develop software independently. Instead, the software development is the responsibility of the SaaS provider, and updates are available on an ongoing basis, thanks to the delivery of applications in cloud computing.
This solution allows users to use the application anywhere and anytime, on any device with an Internet connection.
The difference between SaaS and cloud
Cloud computing combine complex infrastructure technologies into a highly complex network. It is based on servers, databases and other infrastructure elements connected within a network and delivered to the public through the Internet. Users can use the cloud to share the same power. It can increase or lower computing capacity in real-time. Cloud can mean anything hosted remotely.
The SaaS industry focuses specifically on business software hosted and delivered in the cloud.
What are the SaaS app limitations?
SaaS has one major disadvantage: it requires a strong internet connection.
But if your business has an isolated address, you don't need to connect to SaaS solutions. Although many users consider premises systems more reliable, none of these systems will go down without any issues throughout the day. On-site software could be affected by electrical failure or hardware failure.
Some vendors are developing "off-site" functionality to enable users to stay active if the Internet goes down. Once a solid connection is established, it syncs everything to the network.
Critical features of custom SaaS application
When developing SaaS MVP, you need to determine what functionality is required. The new functions increase the overall software delivery cycle the longer each feature is implemented. The cost of delivering MVP is likewise growing, so adding non-essential features later is the best option.
User authentication and authorization
Your SaaS product should be able to authenticate its users. It's vital since many SaaS services have a user interface that allows them to take specific steps in their profiles to do certain things. Authentication prevents users from getting access to your SaaS application but in order to control theirs roles, you also need proper authorization. Thanks to that, you'll be able to limit the specific parts of the application to given user types (like admin, manager or standard user).
Frequent updates on the app
It's very unlikely that your SaaS application will not have any competitors in its market. If you want to stand out of the crowd, you have to update its functionalities as frequently as possible. Listen to your users, align their feedback with your vision and develop new features as a result.
If you created your SaaS as a web application, you have to keep in mind that in this very demanding world every second counts. Updates have to be smooth and don't break the system (users pay for operational status). Test your system extensively, and you'll limit these mistakes.
Subscription-based billing model
Monthly or annually subscriptions with specially designed bundles are the main monetization models for SaaS apps. Make sure your customers have a free offer with your subscription to try out its functionalities..
You need to secure your and your users' information against unwanted attacks. Caring for cybersecurity is not only a MUST HAVE for every SaaS application in terms of data security, but also an indispensable element that inspires trust for the entire application.
What should SaaS apps contain for the user?
When you know the SaaS business model and what critical features the SaaS product should have, I guess you are interested in creating such an application. Maybe you already have an idea, know core features, and fill a market need.
Planning a SaaS startup, you must be aware of its benefits to the user. First and foremost, an effective SaaS marketing app should be necessary, understandable and easy to use for your client.
Here are the essential benefits that an excellent SaaS marketing platform should bring to the user.
Usage fee in marketing SaaS tool
The first aspect you should consider is SaaS pricing. Usually, there is a free trial period so that the user can check the advantages of your software and whether your SaaS is the one they are looking for. In addition, the different pricing thresholds should offer additional options for users who are willing to pay for a higher plan that will provide the missing features.
An additional option for upselling your application should be extending the plan with the number of users using the tool in one plan, which works well when the tool is used by bigger corporations that have not decided to build their own custom marketing tools.
Buying an annual or monthly subscription plan is a permanent feature of SaaS products. You can ensure customer loyalty for a given period of the plan or allow him to cancel at any time.
Adjusting the plan to the needs
Using SaaS marketing tools makes your job easier with the apps you really need. As a founder of the SaaS marketing tool, you can create an application tailored to a different target audience - for companies, freelancers or large marketing agencies with the same functions but other possibilities.
For example, if you want to create a social media management tool, a company that uses b2b SaaS will need one account for each communication channel. A freelancer usually has several clients whose social media is managed from the level of one user on the account. At the same time, a large agency takes care of the accounts of several dozen clients and a few to a dozen employees of the company work on it, each of whom should have an account.
Low cost of the marketing tool
Another advantage of using the SaaS marketing tool by your customers is the relatively low cost of the tool compared to the production of a custom marketing tool.
We wrote about the advantages of a custom marketing app earlier. Still, it is no secret that such a solution can be afforded by rather large companies with a specific resource that allows the production of software just for their particular needs.
From the founder's perspective, the cost of producing SaaS applications and software is spread over several thousand customers. Therefore the actual price of using the application by users is low.
Responsibility for SaaS software
The difference between a custom marketing tool and the use of SaaS is the responsibility for updating the software on the manufacturer's side.
This is an immeasurable benefit for users and is the basis for building a SaaS marketing tool.
Thanks to the cloud environment, additional functions, improvements, extensions - all SaaS updates are delivered to the user in real time.
That is why SaaS users appreciate such solutions - the entire infrastructure and costs related to employing programmers, server maintenance and platform architecture are on the side of the application developer.
You should take this into account when building SaaS and entrust the project to the best developers as a SaaS provider.
Scalability of SaaS marketing app
Working on many accounts within one organization is a convenient solution, especially for a large marketing team or marketing agencies.
From the software producer's point of view, you must think about scalability of your application - many users using SaaS simultaneously are a challenge that you can quickly solve by choosing the appropriate language in which your platform is written.
Just think what a tragedy it would be when thousands of people would have a trouble to use your application. Therefore, if you are planning a SaaS-based business, remember to choose a technology that can handle parallel and concurrent processing.
Read more about why Elixir is the best solution for your SaaS product.
Integration with the primary domain
Depending on the domain of your SaaS application, it might be a good idea to consider creating a public API that will allow users transfer their data to your system. This technique is a clever way to extend your users' current system with more comprehensive functionalities.
This solution gives you the ability to combine available data from different sources and analyze it in your application - it is an excellent value for users because they have access to all data in one place.
Customer service in SaaS marketing app
Last but not least important thing that users of the tool appreciate is excellent customer service. The great advantage of SaaS, especially the marketing ones, is the access to an account manager who will analyze your problem in real-time and help you deal with it, responding with tips on what you can do to use all functions properly.
Of course, the intuitive tool will be easier to use. Still, you have to remember that not every recipient has the same level of knowledge, and solving problems as quickly as possible is a great advantage when it comes to a SaaS tool.
Marketing SaaS companies examples
The SaaS development is becoming more and more popular year to year, which gives investors the potential for a profitable business. In addition, the potentially large number of users and companies using SaaS encourage investment in such a business strategy.
Nevertheless, there are many forms of SaaS marketing applications on the market, which have become an indispensable element of the work of every marketing department. For example, many applications report, analyze marketing activities, brand books, teamwork, search engine optimization and content marketing activities.
Below I will present a few companies operating in the SaaS model that remain necessary in the work of every marketer.
How often have you used the Google browser today? I can bet that most of the websites you have visited on your domain had tools such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager or Google Ads Conversions Tracker.
Many of Google's marketing tools are free - search engine listing, site analytics, and even email. Thanks to such free tools and a plugin in the domain, Google can allow you to view the number of website visitors, engage users on the website or the number of returning or new users.
However, as the largest search engine globally, Google has achieved tremendous sales through paid advertising through Google Ads. As a result, companies invest thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, to get the best search engine rankings through an online marketing campaign.
Another Google sales opportunity is creating a workspace and teamwork for companies, where you can exchange necessary documents with your colleagues for a relatively low fee.
Google has leveraged its reach and strength to make it one of the vastest companies with various SaaS products portfolios.
Another SaaS app that helps marketers in their daily work is HubSpot. A complete tool for CRM, marketing and sales management are perfect for website analysis, collecting data about users and their habits.
HubSpot allows you to connect to your website's primary domain and thanks to that it collects data about new and returning users. For example, it provides information on which pages users have visited and forecasts their sales potential.
Thanks to the combination of marketing, sales, service and CMS functions, as a user, you get complete information about the prospectus of visitors to your website.
Specific HubSpot pricing plans allow you to take full advantage of the SaaS tool or access certain features. HubSpot also provides free plans and tools for email marketing templates, email footers, and conversion traffic analytics. The free tools encourage you to use the higher Premium plan, which allows for marketing automation, analytical dashboards, and SEO tools.
By investing in the complete HubSpot package, you can easily replace a custom marketing tool, providing a customized SaaS to the user's needs.
Canva is an example of a tool that no one asked for and everyone needed. Canva, as a freemium model example of SaaS software, is a tool used not only by marketers but also influencers, most companies owners or ordinary users who want to create an excellent profile on their social media.
Canva was founded in 2012 as a response to the growing interest in fan page feed design.
Initially offering dimensions tailored to individual social media, it has developed a lot of templates template, such as photos for email marketing, business cards, flyers and forms. In branding, such a tool satisfied the market's needs for creating consistent graphics and brand books. Most importantly - it does not force the owners of companies or employees of the marketing department to use Photoshop, which is still a puzzle for many marketers.
Canva as a marketing tool in the SaaS model is available to users in a free version. Still, you can access many stock graphics, adapt the same pictures to many dimensions, or work in groups by subscription to premium plans that will help you take care of outbound and inbound marketing.