We’ll talk about nine marketing strategies that are perfect for achieving and maintaining sustainable growth.
Product-market fit (PMF) is when a business has confirmed signals that its product can satisfy an existing demand in a market with high potential.
The usual sign of achieving PMF is when people are willing to buy the product (even if it’s not perfect yet), actively use it, and recommend it to others.
This is a sustainable strategy because it allows you to make sure you’re building something meaningful that will actually get paying users.
PMF automatically makes your messaging more effective. You’re promoting a product people want. And you already know who you’re talking to, so your marketing dollars are better spent.
Conversely, if none of your marketing efforts seem to work, the problem may be the product and not how creative or well funded your campaigns are.
You can find SaaS companies with product-market fit all around. These will be companies that still offer the same kind of products that made them profitable: Slack, Atlassian, Shopify, etc.
How it works
The general idea is to ship a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and iterate on it based on real user input until you see that people actively use it and recommend it.
There are five steps in the process:
- Formulate the value hypothesis: Why is a customer likely to buy your product?
- Specify the features of your MVP: The right quantity and quality of features needed to verify the value hypothesis.
- Build your MVP: There are many ways to present your product to your audience; you don’t necessarily need to develop a fully functional product.
- Test the MVP with real users: In other words, get feedback.
- Learn from your users and iterate: Some ideas will need more work, while some are probably destined to fail. Gather your data and make the decision.
When you achieve PMF, it will be time to scale your company and marketing efforts.
This strategy doesn’t need an introduction. We’ve all used product trials and free tools. That said, this strategy can be looked at from different angles. What’s important from a marketing perspective are these three benefits:
- Reduced friction – This means there are fewer objections to trying your product.
- Time to experience the value of the product and get hooked – Reading about a product on a landing page is not the same as experiencing it. Your potential customers will likely expect the possibility to put their hands on the product before they buy.
- Direct marketing channel – You can ask users to sign up for a newsletter or send them messages concerning the product.
For instance, HubSpot carves out parts of the platform for free usage (e.g., CRM, CMS). It does this, as it explains, to increase the force of its marketing flywheel. Or in other words, to propel its entire business model.
How it works
Start by weighing the pros and cons of free and freemium products.
Getting users in front of free products is only part of the job. The harder part is getting them to upgrade.
First off, you need to set the right expectations—you won’t convert all of them. For the ones that are “convertible,” here are some tactics you can use:
- Never stop improving customer satisfaction. What your product does and how it does it is absolutely fundamental.
- Educate users about the product. Use blog posts, videos, or quick in-app tips.
- Offer limited access to all newly developed features. For instance, you can allow everyone to use each new feature for five days for free.
- Provide excellent customer service.
- Offer flexible payment options.
When looking for ideas for free products that will generate traffic, try a keyword research tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. You can:
- Enter features of your product.
- Go to the Matching terms report.
- Use the Include filter with keyword modifiers pointing to tools, for example: “tool, check, checker, finder, analyzer, builder, free.” Set to “Any word.”
To illustrate, our free website traffic checker tool generates an estimated 33.4K organic visits each month from ranking for keywords like “website traffic checker” or even “website traffic.”
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content to attract and retain customers.
If you add search engine optimization to the equation, you get a framework for creating content relevant to your business and the reader. You also get a built-in distribution engine that generates almost free traffic.
SEO is one of the most sustainable marketing strategies because it generates passive traffic that accumulates over time and can generate traffic even years after. To put it differently, SEO results are continuous—and you don’t get that with all marketing strategies.
Our blog is an example of such a strategy. It brings an estimated 628K organic visits each month, worth around $860K in ad money, through regular publishing of SEO content.
How it works
SEO is generally worth it if at least one of these is true:
- People are searching for what you sell or do.
- People are searching for solutions to problems your business helps to solve.
- You can give a better solution than the conventional one people are searching for.
In any case, the core of this strategy is to find relevant keywords with traffic potential. The right keywords can connect you with your target audience and create an opportunity to pitch your product. And if you’re not ranking for these keywords, your competitors will.
The process of finding the right keywords for your website is called keyword research. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Go to Keywords Explorer
- Enter industry-related seed keywords, e.g., “seo, digital marketing, keyword, backlink”
- See keyword ideas in the Matching terms report
- Use the filters to refine results if needed (e.g., look only for low-competition keywords or keywords with a certain minimum traffic potential)
Other elements of the SEO process are building a sound technical foundation, creating optimized content, and building links. You can learn how to start with the entire process in our beginner’s guide to SEO.
A user community can help your SaaS product in a number of ways:
- It helps to make the product better through feedback.
- It helps to spread word of mouth about the product even if the community is exclusive.
- It offers added value to the user—they can learn from others in the community and network.
Building a user community is a sustainable strategy because it leverages existing customers and can help facilitate long-term engagement with the product.
A famous example of a community with a price tag on it is Behance, acquired by Adobe for $150M. It generates over 10M search visits each month and allows the parent company to bring the design community very close to its product.
How it works
11 Creative Marketing Ideas Suggested by 18 Marketers
10 Things You Can Do in Ahrefs for Free
In a nutshell: create a place where people can meet online, build a constant presence there, and animate the community (feature launches, discussions, polls, etc.).
For example, at Ahrefs, we offer access to our exclusive community, Ahrefs Insider, with every subscription. All we needed to start it was a regular community feature on Facebook. Now it gathers a total of 17K registered users.
Earned media is publicity gained organically from promotional efforts, like press coverage, social media mentions, and search engine rankings.
Earned media is a sustainable form of marketing for these reasons:
- It’s cheaper in the long run compared to advertising (sometimes even free).
- It’s long lasting.
- It earns your brand awareness and credibility.
Here’s an example that checks all three boxes. A while ago, we published a data study showing that 90.63% of content gets no traffic from Google. This article was mentioned by multiple reputable websites, including NY Times, Forbes, and main SEO blogs. All of that coverage gave us free brand exposure and backlinks.
How it works
Earned traffic covers a wide range of marketing tactics, so there’s no silver bullet here. Besides SEO content, which we already touched on, the tactics that are repeatable and will probably have the most impact over time are:
- Creating link-worthy content (e.g., linkbait) – We cover this tactic in our guide to link bait content.
- Sending your product for reviews – Try the product feedback technique.
- Responding to journalist requests – We’ve got a full guide on how to use journalist request platforms to get backlinks.
When vetting which site to pitch your product, story, or quote to, you can use Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar. For instance, say you’re looking for websites that review SaaS products like yours. Just search for your competitors’ reviews in Google and look at the metrics to see which sites can send you stronger links and considerable traffic.
Multi-channel marketing is basically about interacting with your audience using different marketing channels: social media, search, podcasts, email, etc.
Using multi-channel marketing will have the following advantages:
- A broader reach.
- Channels can work to support each other. For example, social media can help you to get links to websites and boost your SEO.
- You create convenience for your audience to interact with the brand.
- There’s less risk, thanks to diversification.
The idea behind this strategy is that your audience is likely scattered across various websites and social media platforms. So even if one marketing channel works exceptionally well, you probably shouldn’t drop all other channels.
How it works
Here are some ideas on how to find the best marketing channels for your business:
- You can see where your competitors promote.
- Do keyword research to estimate organic traffic for relevant keywords (we discussed it in point #3).
- Use audience research tools like SparkToro. Below, you can see a screenshot showing what kind of data about your audience the tool can provide.