Many developers and marketers out there are wondering how to sell SaaS and get the best ROI for their efforts. This is a bit of a polarizing topic, because there are numerous methodologies one can employ for marketing their SaaS, and none of them is truly right or wrong. The real meat of the issue there is that it depends on the demographics and the type of SaaS being marketed, which ones are going to work the best.
With this in mind, let’s take a moment here and look at how to sell SaaS, and the best methods for a few different categories and demographics. Perhaps then we can put an end to the polarization this topic brings about in UX and SaaS industries once and for all. But probably not … this is the internet after all.
Gaming was pretty much the market that began the SaaS movement in any level of volume, and it seems to be the one which most people stake their interests in, so let’s look there first.
With gaming, how to sell SaaS and get the best bang for your investment is going to be one way. Most likely, it’s going to be best to go free to play with your game. Many game development studios fear that being free to play means they will not be taken seriously, but it’s just not true. In fact, many people are flocking to free to play, as they expect some genuine unfettered creativity and no responsibility to AAA regulations in this topology.
Market some added features or game assets at decent prices, which will quickly earn a serious ROI for your efforts, when the serious core gamers pick your title up. It sounds like this is a gamble, but if you know the gaming community, you know this to simply not be true. Be careful, though, that these optional purchases do not give their buyers unfair advantages over basic free users. This polarization is calamitous. Look at WoW for an example of that.
For cloud software and business solutions, how to sell SaaS can actually go in two directions depending on how much of the business demographic you are targeting. For business solutions, a flat subscription rate at a reasonable low price is going to be your best option.
Businesses will use this software on a daily, if not hourly basis, and will view their investment of monthly subscriptions as a good ROI for them. Setting up dedicated servers to supply fully-functional software for them is an investment on your part, but considering their willingness to adhere to long term plans, you will see a healthy ROI yourself in this department.
For user-end cloud based systems, to get the best ROI, you should go ad-powered most likely. While ads are a tricky fish to keep from annoying your users and bringing about some bad UX scenarios, when done right, this isn’t going to be a problem. The ads, if the software is used heavily enough, will generate significant revenue.
Give your users the option to buy out of ads for either a very miniscule monthly fee, or a larger annual fee. This gives them the feeling of choice, so when the ads annoy them, it will annoy them far less since they feel they have chosen to have them grace their presence at that point. Those who do buy out will pay handsomely to do so, so either way, you get a good ROI.
Marketing, finance and statistical/logistical SaaS are another can of worms altogether, and not one that needs to be discussed here. Honestly, when it comes to positive ROI for these, it’s probably going to best match the business software model mentioned above, but in truth, this sort of SaaS isn’t even classified as SaaS any more anyhow.
So, it all depends on your demographic and business model when it comes to how to sell SaaS.