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The Anything as a Service (XaaS) market is projected to exceed $ 340 billion by 2024. Companies in nearly all established industries, from home maintenance to health and wellness, have embarked on the XaaS business model train. Sectors such as contactless technology, education technology and telehealth, which are seeing explosive growth this year, offer promising opportunities for entrepreneurs. The value of recurring income is crystal clear. But the marketing strategies aren't that obvious. This is because marketing for XaaS brands requires a different approach than marketing products, be it to businesses or consumers. Here are four reasons why and what you can do to ensure your XaaS business model is successful.
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Step 1: woo your audience
It has been said that advertising is a one night stand while content marketing is a long term relationship. When you are dealing with long sales cycles like that of a retainer-based, ongoing service business, you need to earnestly court your prospects. You wouldn't suggest on a first date. Similarly, when they first interact with your brand, don't ask a prospect to make a purchase. Use unique content and social media engagement to treat each customer like a potential long-term love interest. Take it slow, let them learn about you, share lighthearted anecdotes, show your expertise, ask questions to learn more about them, and share information that will answer their questions or pique their interest. The idea is to build trust and that requires more content touching to move them from awareness to consideration. With world-class thought-leading content, you can begin to position yourself and your company as an industry expert and a trusted source of information. Build a community around your social presence and invite followers to get involved and ask questions. Keep your messages consistent, but change your content formats to appeal to different audiences. C-suite managers may prefer the deep dive that an e-book offers, while small business owners prefer an easy-to-digest infographic or animation. Customer stories help potential customers understand how you've helped others like them and are an opportunity to see what a long-term relationship with your brand can do for them.
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Step 2: Rely on Reviews
Online reviews have an impact on purchasing decisions for over 93 percent of consumers. The potential doesn't just apply to consumer brands: 92 percent of B2B buyers are more likely to buy after reading a trustworthy review. Especially when considering a big purchase or long term contract, buyers want confirmation that they will not be disappointed and they want to know the potential dangers of signing on your dotted line. If higher-priced services show positive customer ratings, the conversion rate increases by 380 percent.
In addition to looking for positive reviews in online reviews, your audience is also looking for bad reviews. In fact, nine out of ten people look to bad reviews to see how your company deals with dissatisfied customers. Many brands continue to delete or ignore negative reviews, but the truth is that a larger percentage of consumers consider one-star reviews to be the most trustworthy. Don't think of them as hidden, but as an opportunity to show your brand's character by responding with respect. It's worth your time: Seven in ten consumers changed their mind about a brand after the company responded to a review. The bottom line is that customers are willing to spend 31 percent more on a company with excellent reviews. Encourage each customer to write a review about your company. According to Moz, not only is reviews about 15 percent of the way Google rates local businesses, but you can also turn those reviews into unique content that motivates potential customers to buy along the way.
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Step 3: remove the fear of engagement
Buying a piece of jewelry on an end cap doesn't require much foresight. Signing a 12 month contract the size of a mortgage payment takes a little more planning. As consumers, we don't all have a warm, fuzzy feeling about long term contracts – just look at the cable TV or cell phone service model. These companies persuaded consumers to enter into long-term contracts by threatening to raise their prices if they did not and making it difficult and expensive to break their contracts.
While a lot has changed in the past few years, consumers and B2B buyers can still be click-shy when it comes to persistent calls to action like "buy now". Even as they get near the bottom of the sales funnel, they are more likely to click on a softer call to action, e.g. B. "Request a Free Trial" or "See in Action". They also want to have conversations before making a commitment. Give them options in the form of text messages, phone calls, emails, and chat windows. With this omnichannel approach, potential customers can decide how, when and where to connect with your brand. So you can add value instead of increasing sales. And if consumers can start or continue a conversation without missing a beat, they're more likely to get a "yes" in due course. This "covering marketing" helps potential customers on their way to purchase and creates authentic relationships with your audience, which leads to trust. Eliminate the fear of commitment by offering free trials, mini-subscriptions, discounts, and other value-added benefits.
Step 4: from repentance to renewal
Signing an extended contract with you does not mean that there will be no more doubts at some point. Anytime customers face a slow month resulting in low income or lower profits, they can rethink large, recurring expenses. Because of this, "Buy" shouldn't be your end game. The proliferation of social media recommendations and online reviews has turned the sales funnel into a 360-degree circle that leads beyond purchase to loyalty and then back to awareness. Turn your loyal customers into brand ambassadors and give them a reason to recommend your service to their social circles. Content in the loyalty phase should often remind them of the added value of your services. Put customers in the spotlight and make them heroes with customer stories, social media acquisitions, or AMAs (Ask Me Anything’s) that give them a voice. Sprout Social is a great example of this in action. The company built its agency partner program to help marketing agency clients grow their business through programs, webinars, and events that offer insights to use year round and to find a dedicated rep to reach out to if they have any questions, concerns, or just want to spit ideas. Delivering a customer experience that has a higher perceived value than the actual hard cost of your services is an ideal way to avoid buyer remorse and even get higher renewal and referral rates.
Forrester predicts 2021 will be the year companies “double their technology-based experiences, operations, products and ecosystems”. If you are thinking of starting a new business or looking to grow your XaaS business this year, now is the time to start implementing marketing strategies.