Five on Friday: SEO Influencers, SaaS Conversions and Social Sharing
Featuring Business2Community, Diginomica, Small Business Trends, Fierce Retail and Search Engine Watch
As high winds blow, floods rage and wildfires burn across the country, we’re here to distract you with some helpful advice on growing your subscription company. In this week’s Five on Friday, Business2Community shares three ways SaaS companies can increase conversions, Jon Reed for Diginomica explains why social media sharing is not an adequate content distribution strategy, Small Business Trends offers 30 alternatives to PayPal, Fierce Retail gives B2B companies lessons to learn from B2C subscription companies, and Search Engine Watch recommends top SEO influencers and resources to follow.
3 Ways SaaS Companies Can Increase Conversions
According to Business2Community, conversion rate optimization (CRO) for SaaS companies is more forgiving but also more challenging than CRO for a single landing page, product page or checkout process. Why? Because SaaS has key differences including business cycles, purchasing decisions and metrics. Also, with free trials, SaaS companies must always work at converting prospects into subscribers.
But there’s no need to stress, because Business2Community offers seven ways that SaaS companies can improve their conversion rates. We’re sharing three of them here.
- Identify strategic touchpoints and key performance indicators (KPIs). Because the customer lifecycle for SaaS is complex, you have to determine (a) when to reach out to prospects and subscribers and (b) how to measure your ROI throughout the relationship. For example, Business2Community recommends that you convert free trial customers into subscribers with a thorough, well-designed onboarding process. Don’t let those newbies slip through the cracks!
- Generate high-quality leads. Having a great landing page is helpful, but the key is to send high-quality leads to that landing page, not just banking on the landing page itself to do the job. Business2Community says you can do this a number of ways, including the right messaging aimed to attract your ideal customer, and creating multiple versions of your landing page to match your messaging with the source’s messaging.
- Active free-trial users. According to Business2Community, 40 to 60 percent of trial users will try an SaaS app once and then never try it again. Yikes! Those are grim statistics. To keep those users active, create an engaging experience, so users can see the benefits of your product right away. Keep the user interface simple and offer short demo videos to explain how key features work.
For more great conversion tips, read Shane Baker’s original article, ‘7 Ways SaaS Companies Can Increase Conversion Rate,’ on Business2Community here.
Social Media Sharing is Not Enough to Get Your Content Out There
In a recent article on Diginomica, ‘Hoping for Social Media Shares Isn’t a Content Distribution Plan,’ Jon Reed shares a revelation about content – hoping you’ll get social media shares is not enough to get your content out there. After listing to a podcast, Reed concedes that ‘if you build it, they will come’ doesn’t work anymore. In fact, we have to work a lot harder to get B2B content shared than we realize. Here are a few other nuggets of wisdom from Reed:
- The real problem is getting the attention of readers who will, ideally, subscribe or opt-in to your content.
- Good B2B content requires these four components, says Reed: quality/relevance, distribution/platform, user experience, and engagement.
- Meet your customers where they are, which may not be your website (e.g., Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram).
- Content should be relevant and helpful.
- Lure readers in with quality content, and engage them enough that they will opt-in to get similar content.
- Pay attention to the success of your platform. Is your solo blog attracting people, or is a publishing platform like LinkedIn or Medium better at drawing in potential customers?
5 Alternatives to PayPal for Small Businesses
When I started my own small business in 2004, PayPal and a traditional Visa/Mastercard merchant account were about the only options for accepting credit cards from customers, sending invoices, etc. A lot has changed in 13 years. In fact, businesses of all sizes – including subscription companies – have a multitude of options for processing debit and credit card payments online and on the go. In a recent article, Small Business Trends identified 30 alternatives to PayPal. We’ll cover 5 here.
- Google Wallet: With Google Wallet, users can send and receive money with just an email address and phone number. Like with PayPal, you can connect your Google Wallet directly to your bank account for easy transfers. You can also track expenses.
- Stripe: This software platform enables businesses to accept credit card payments online and via mobile app, including subscription payments.
- Venmo: Owned by PayPal, Venmo allows businesses to accept online payments and to link to their bank accounts or debit cards. Venmo can also be used as payment in mobile apps.
- Square: Square is used with point-of-sale systems and can accept payments in person or via ecommerce.
- 2Checkout: Now owned by Avangate, 2Checkout allows businesses to accept mobile and online payments from buyers worldwide.
I still use PayPal and couldn’t be happier with how easy it works, the features and benefits, and how reasonable the fees are. I’ve priced it against other services, including a traditional merchant account, and I haven’t found a comparable option. That said, I haven’t tried these other services, but they offer some interesting features and are worth a look. You can read about the other 25 PayPal alternatives at Small Business Trends here.
Lessons B2B Subscription Companies Can Learn from B2C
B2C subscription models in the retail world (think Blue Apron, Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club) are growing exponentially, but the B2B market is lagging behind. According to Fierce Retail, the B2B e-commerce market could be as high as $6.7 trillion by 2020. But how will they get there? Fierce Retail interviewed Bob Moore, head of business intelligence at commerce platform Magento, to get his insight into what B2B can learn from B2C subscription companies. Here are a few highlights from Moore:
- B2B subscription companies need to make meaningful investments in marketing, advertising, user experience and technology to ensure that customers have a good experience and are willing to become repeat customers, Moore says.
- Successful onboarding is critical to introduce a subscriber to a B2B subscription product and to ensure retention beyond the trial period.
- Implementing a subscription program can have positive, long-term financial impacts on a B2B company. While the transition to a subscription business model can take time, the payoff is worth it. [See our recent article on Autodesk’s successful transition to a subscription-based company as an example.]
For more insights from Moore, read the original article, ‘What B2B Can Learn from B2C Subscription Models,’ on Fierce Retail here.
Get SEO Advice from these 3 Top SEO Influencers
As Search Engine Watch points out, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to SEO. In fact, it is often based on opinions and on what different experts believe to be the ‘right’ mix of tools and techniques. Here is a list of a few SEO experts that Search Engine Watch says ‘continually provide excellent, reliable, actionable SEO advice.’
- Backlinko: good tips on link building
- Stone Temple Research: an SEO agency that focuses on content quality
- Search Engine Roundtable: breaking SEO news
For more top SEO influencers, read ‘The Best SEO Influencers and Resources to Follow’ by Clark Boyd on Search Engine Land.
As always, please email us with your feedback on this week's column and with your ideas for future Five on Friday columns. Have a great weekend!