10 SaaS Marketing Costs To Expect

June 19, 2017By
One Dollar Bill

Do you have enough budget allocated to creating content?

My first job out of college was as a marketing manager for a catalog company.

I guess the official title was Catalog Manager.

Brand manager. Marketing manager.

Basically it was managing marketing activities. That included budgeting for costs. Expected returns. All kinds of things. It was a great first job and I learned a lot. Both from the work and from the people.

The company was very good at managing costs. Spending on the things that worked. Avoiding wasted expenses while still leaving some room for experimentation.

Are you looking at your SaaS marketing expenses and costs?

Here are some things to expect along with a few tips that might help you round out your marketing budget.

1. Managers

Labor and salaries are big expenses. And you almost always need someone to manage your marketing efforts.

If you’re a brand new company that person might be you.

And you might get by without much focus on marketing and sales for a little while. But it’s good to look forward to hiring a marketing manager as one of your first hires.

As time goes on you’ll build a team with specialities in different marketing areas. A tip for this is to bring people on board that are good organizers and good with understanding return on investment. As well as people that understand lifetime value.

2. Design

These next two are often overlooked in the marketing world.

Yet they’re probably two of the most important.

These, along with managers, can certainly be contractors too vs. W2 employees.

Anyway, a good marketing program needs a good designer. Someone that can help with everything from:

  • Logo
  • Website
  • Adds
  • Email
  • And so much more

All of those things, including your website, are not just one-time efforts. They’re ongoing. You need someone that can be there to make sure all your marketing materials are cohesive and effective.

Anything that’s public facing should be professionally designed. You don’t want to skimp in this area.

3. Development

The same goes for development. You need someone to handle your website. And someone there when things go haywire with the website. Someone that knows how to fix the hosting issues that come up. Someone that can fix your site when an update makes things a little screwy.

Poor development can hurt your SEO. It can hurt the performance of your emails and ads. It can hurt the conversion on your website.

A good developer should be part of every team.

4. Vendors

One way you can go at any point in time is with vendors. There are specialists that can handle just about all the marketing efforts you could ever dream of doing.

I kind of like leaning on specialists for things. That seems to be what many businesses prefer too. Even when it comes to things like software. We don’t want one agency or software to handle anything. We want specialists that really know what they’re doing.

Jerry Seinfeld had Will Ferrell on his show Comedians In Cars and they ate at a diner that had a huge menu. Will Ferrell commented sarcastically:

I love eating at a restaurant with a large menu. Then you know that they’re really good at everything.

The same sarcastic joke could be used about vendors and software. You want to look for the specialists. It’s a little more to manage and organize, but you know you’re getting the best for each task.

5. Software

Speaking of software…that’s an expense too. And it’s really easy to find yourself using a lot after a year or after multiple years.

I like to audit the software I’m using throughout my business each year to see what really isn’t necessary.

Another tip I’ll give you for software is to go with things that are common or popular. When you’re working with vendors, contractors and employees you want things people are familiar with. At least within reason.

This can cut down on training time and frustration.

Also watch out for unnecessary features. That’s something common with software. Unnecessary features might seem cool, but they’ll often just make the software slower and more difficult and confusing.

6. Content Creators

There is all kinds of content to create for marketing.

  • Website
  • Ads
  • Blog posts
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Procedures
  • And so much more

One thing to expect is that it’s usually more difficult to create marketing content that you might assume.

Usually the thing business owners and managers get to last with their website is the content. Yet it’s one of the most critical components.

Having your content ready before the design occurs can improve the design.

Many businesses have launched blogs on their website. They’ve stuck with it for a few months and then the blogs have gone dormant.

The same with social media and all kinds of marketing efforts.

Plan on having someone, either on your team or a contractor/vendor, there to handle content. Specialists are good to have here too.

7. Advertising

This one is usually expected. The tricky thing is there are so many different advertising avenues you can take.

PPC, print, etc. etc.

All kinds of things.

My former boss, the CMO, was great with his approach. He always liked to look at what the competition was doing and work from there. It doesn’t mean you have to do what they’re doing, but start with what they’re doing. Odds are good that they’ve had some trial and error figuring out what’s working.

You can build on their trial and error with your own and find the channels that work best.

8. Salespeople

Salespeople are some of the most important people in just about any business. It’s a difficult job. Seems to take special skill. And not everyone wants to do it because there can be a lot of rejection.

I don’t really have the definitive answer on how to hire salespeople. The best tip I’ve heard is to hire two at the same time to start.

If both do well…great!

If one struggles and one doesn’t it’s probably a sign that one is good and one isn’t so good.

If they both struggle it’s probably a sign that something is wrong more with your company, product and service.

9. Customer Service

Customer service for new companies will probably be built-in to what the founder is doing. Or what the account manager or salesperson is doing.

But it’s important. It’s an expense even if that expense is time.

Software usually comes with issues. People don’t know how to use it. Little quirks and bugs will pop up.

A good approach is to assume that any issue is never the customer’s fault. Always see what’s occurring and figure out what you can do to improve the situation.

Let’s say a user doesn’t read the knowledge center. Why aren’t they’re reading the knowledge center? It’s not because they’re lazy. It’s because you’ve made it too cumbersome to use.

10. Experimentation

Finally, leave room in your marketing budget for experimentation.

That’s another thing my boss taught me at my first job.

You always want to look for things that might become the next big things. Most won’t, but you only need one game changer to really help your business.

Conclusion

These are some of the main expenses you’ll find with your SaaS marketing. They’re similar for many businesses. Some you probably knew would occur, but hopefully these have got you thinking about things that maybe you didn’t expect.

I see it happen often where businesses don’t anticipate enough marketing costs. Then they end up ignoring it and losing out on potential sales.