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SaaS marketing tactics and case studies (apollodigital.io)
212 points by noelceta on Jan 20, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 31 comments

If you're a founder scanning this list and feeling overwhelmed: Don't worry, this is not a list of strategies. It's a list of tactics that your marketing team may or may not deploy as part of an actual strategy.

(If you tell a Sand Hill Road audience that your go-to-market strategy is, say, "Strategy #31 -- Launch Your SaaS on ProductHunt," or give a list that's 43 items long, you'll get laughed out of the room before you can pop open the lightly flavored seltzer they gave you.)

You can safely ignore this list until you figure out a real strategy, and once you do just hand this list over to your marketing manager in case they run out of ideas.

Agreed - I've had a lot of conversations around marketing for SAAS companies and tried to put them into more of a visualization:


Should be noted that this is really from the perspective of B2B SAAS.

Do you have any resources that help with developing a strategy for a small SaaS?

I'd suggest adding time to this. For example, Content Marketing is great but won't do anything significant for at least a year but PPC is instant.

Sometime you need it fast :-)

These are all tactics / campaigns, not strategies. A LinkedIn ad is not a strategy.

I am genuinely curious about this. If Linkedin Ad is tactic, what would be the corresponding strategy ? I am asking because currently, my B2B SAAS business is totally lost on digital Marketing and we are trying to figure out how to solve the problems.

I think it's important to realize that there isn't a 1:1 mapping of LinkedIn Ad <-> Strategy.

LinkedIn, to stay with the example, is going to give you a certain set of tools. How you use those tools is going to depend on your strategy. What that strategy is is going to depend on goals.

If you haven't or can't articulate your goals, you have to start there. Once you know what exactly it is you are trying to achieve, you can evaluate different strategies on how to achieve them (here it helps to also have a good idea of timelines or other constraints too).

So you have a goal (say, double engagement* with mid-career engineers in the next 12 mo), and a strategy (direct communication with targeted individuals, tailored by demographic), you can evaluate a tactic (post LinkedIn adds) and understand how it fits into your strategy based on the tools they give you.

* or some other metric, better if less handwavy

The corresponding strategy would be to have an overarching campaign narrative which was aimed at achieving a specific goal (registering interest, requesting a demo, signing up for a trial account, visiting a campaign page and going further down the funnel), or establishing a specific position for your brand in the market. This would be mapped to specific KPIs or metrics that you wanted to achieve.

A LinkedIn ad (or a Facebook ad, microsite, TikTok, Snapchat), targeted at a specific audience or audience subset, might be one tactic amongst many that you used to drive people toward achieving this goal. You would have different tactics for different parts of the funnel (i.e. an ebook for someone at the top, and a demo or webinar for someone at the bottom). You would then measure the success of these tactics to determine where to direct spend to achieve your goal.

Thanks. That clears it a bit more. Do you do consulting on the side ? Would love to talk more about this.

Not parent, but I could help you out. carl@ my username .com

Happy for you to email - email is in profile.

Define the goals of your strategy, map that out to KPI / Metrics.

Trying to get sign ups? Track landing page conversions, forms filled, optimise, rinse and repeat.

Ok, we've put tactics in the title.

Some of them are strategies, some are tactics. We had to come up with an umbrella term. :)

Most of them are tactics. Your "tomato/tomat-o" comment makes it seem like you actually don't care that much about the distinction or can't be bothered thinking it through. And that's a shame because this is a great list of tactics, but presenting them as strategies diminishes their credibility.

Can you elaborate? I agree there is no strategy here, just tactics but I am open to having my mind changed!

tomato / tomato-o

Noel: your cofounder has written an excellent roundup article on marketing tactics that has gotten good engagement with your target audience. Why demolish a substantial fraction of the goodwill you were accruing with a remark like this?

In point of fact tactics are more generally useful and can be employed in a number of different situations. They need to be in service of your objective and strategy but are where the rubber meets the road.


To me the distinction between strategy and tactic is exactly the opposite of a tomato/tomato-o distinction. They exist at different levels of abstraction.

On it's own, that's not important. What is important is that many companies, especially young ones, waste a bunch of time and/or do ineffective things precisely because they haven't made this distinction, and are thinking at the wrong level of abstraction for the problem they have (if they have even managed to frame it properly).

Um ok? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

> “Install an email-tracking tool.”

No, please don’t do that.

Great list, would love to see a budget range for each of the tactics, the definition of small/medium-high budget can vary greatly depending on who you ask!

We actually wanted to do a budget range, but it gets real complicated real fast. A micro-site, for example, can cost you anything from (technically) zero because you have an internal team, to 6-figs because you're using an overpriced dev agency. The same applies to most things. You can build links for nearly free with an outsourced link-building team, or you can hire freelancers that charge 1k / outreach

Nothing costs you zero. Everyone on your team (I assume) is paid but even if they are not compensated with cash or stock, their time is not free

My point exactly, that makes it even more complicated.

You're really getting into semantics here. Yes, an internal team does NOT mean zero costs. I was just trying to make a point.

Want to discuss content? Make a comment about content, not the way something is worded

I asked you about content strategy vs tactics in another comment and you responded with “tomato tomat-o”. Not the most engaging of replies. It’s apparent this was click bait to begin with.

I don't think it's click bait. There is a lot of practical advice in the article and real examples of implementation. His "tomato" answer is a refusal to engage and be helpful, but the article itself is a very good roundup of marketing tactics. I am not affiliated with Apollo, but I do help startups with lead generation and can recognize quality content in an area I have expertise in.

I agree there is some useful content in the article however there is nothing original. The article is a compilation of marketing tactics that can be found when you search for "marketing tactics". It just feels like a lazy and thrown together attempt to push site traffic for them. Maybe I am being overly critical, if the HN community as a whole likes the post and content then great!

When you say something costs "(technically) zero because you have an internal team" I can assure you we are not on the same page. Based on this and your other replies I can only assume you made this post in hopes of generating more traffic to your site since you seem to have no interest in discussing the content.

Thanks for a great resource!

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