10 SaaS Video Marketing Examples That You Should Hack

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Thursday, October 05, 2023

Newspapers only cover startup stories when there’s millions raised or billion-dollar valuations.

But it’s not an accurate representation.

The majority of SaaS startups have no venture capital at all.

In fact, according to Kalungi’s 2023 B2B Saas Marketing report, the biggest problem facing SaaS CEOs and founders is ‘limited resources’.

This creates a problem for SaaS video marketing.

For most people reading this, spending $100,000-1,000,000 on a professional marketing video is not an option.

You’re bootstrapped.

You need SaaS video marketing strategies you can use right now.

If that’s you, then you’re in the right place!

Keep reading for 10 SaaS video marketing examples you can hack without a huge budget.

10 SaaS Video Marketing Examples That You Should Hack

It takes an average of 2-4 years for B2B SaaS startups to become profitable.

But here’s the thing.

Most SaaS video marketing examples you’ll find online are from companies that became profitable a long time ago.

If you’re still in the early growth phase those examples won’t help you.

But… video marketing examples from companies that aren’t profitable won’t help you either.

How do you know the strategies work?

In this blogpost, we’re going to cover the top 10 SaaS marketing video types.

But with a twist.

We’ve picked some of the world’s most successful SaaS companies and identified how they used one of these strategies for fast growth.

Ready to hack your idols?

Let’s get into it!

1. How 20 Demonstration Videos Kickstarted Airtable’s Growth

Airtable uploaded a professional SaaS product demonstration video in September 2016 to their YouTube channel.

By then, Airtable had already launched an iOS app, created a Slack integration and raised over $10 million – including from the actor and investor Ashton Kutcher.

But Airtable’s video marketing story started in July 2015.

Airtable’s first 20 marketing videos were simple product demonstrations with titles like:

  • Uploading a Spreadsheet to Airtable
  • ​Adding and Storing Attachments in Airtable
  • ​Calculations in Airtable: the Formula Field

The videos are under a minute long and are simple screen videos.

It might not even seem like video marketing…

But Airtable co-founder Howie Liu figured that salespeople only needed to see his product once and become instantly hooked.

Liu famously pitched to Ashton Kutcher on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles between filming for Two and a Half Men, and Kutcher later said:

“I can really see this taking off, beyond Hollywood. Even in my own world, I could see hundreds of different use-cases. They have spreadsheets tracking all these different stuff, it’s one giant organizational problem.”

It wasn’t until 2017 that AirTable had seen enough organic growth to start pursuing enterprise clients with a billboard strategy in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

It’s hard to tell how the demonstration video series boosted Airtable’s user base as they only recently began releasing user data – today, over 300,000 businesses use Airtable and revenue is over $100 million.

But as 2015 was the year Airtable received its first major funding and launched the app, we can assume this simple SaaS video marketing strategy worked.

2. How Dropbox Got 70,000 Users off a Single Explainer Video

Dropbox owes almost all its success to SaaS explainer videos.

This was as true in 2007 as it’s still true today.

You see, Dropbox’s homepage for the past 15 years has been a single call-to-action with a single product explainer video.

Obviously the explainer video has been updated over the years…

But the first Dropbox explainer in 2007 was a screencast with a voiceover from Drew Houston – he released it to Hacker News and won the first 70,000 users to the beta version of Dropbox.

Houston also used the video as part of his application to Y Combinator.

The video is so simple you wouldn’t believe it.

It really does prove that your marketing message is more important than your production.

But because they knew it worked, in 2011 Dropbox spent $50,000 to get a professional version of their explainer video.

The results were amazing.

The new video won Dropbox 10 million new customers which, as each customer was worth $4.80 dollars, netted $48 million for the company in revenue.

3. How Shopify Grew from Customer Testimonials

You might be surprised that Shopify’s first-ever marketing videos were customer testimonials.

That’s right.

Even though the Shopify platform was the product, Shopify marketed itself with testimonials.

It’s because Shopify’s early target audience was small businesses who wanted a solution that took the stress out of building a website online.

In fact, the 2008 Shopify homepage had written in large font:

“Shopify has a super-clean design that makes setting up a store incredibly easy.”

That’s all Shopify wanted new customers to know about the product.

The new customers were actually sold by watching others succeed on Shopify.

We went back through the Shopify video library on Facebook.

The first marketing video dates to November 2010 and is a customer testimonial of DODOcase, a small business making iPad cases.

The video has some production involved.

But, if you’re a SaaS company in the early stages of growth, you’ll probably find a customer testimonial more affordable than a creative product explainer from a top production studio.

4. How Ahrefs Bootstrapped to $100 Million ARR with Tutorial Videos

The SEO and analytics platform Ahrefs do SaaS a little differently.

Founder Dmytro Gerasymenko is critical of fast-paced growth in the SaaS industry and the typical advertising strategies that scale fast.

In its early years, Ahrefs spent nothing on marketing.

Ahrefs still has no sales team.

Gerasymenko believed the product would sell itself if only the right audience could find it and then share it with friends and partners.

That’s why in August 2015 Ahrefs launched their YouTube channel with a 20-video playlist called ‘Oversimplified SEO’.

Rather than shouting about their product, the videos have titles like:

  • ​Can you rank on Google WITHOUT links?
  • ​How to find the keywords to rank for
  • ​Link-building 101

Of course… in the tutorials, you see the Ahrefs product at work making SEO look easy.

But some of the videos have over 100k views because they answered important questions the target market wanted answering.

Ahrefs is a good example of using how-to or tutorial videos can be used to sustainably from your SaaS business – and how it’s possible to bootstrap your growth to $100 million ARR without VC funding or big marketing spend.

5. The Webinar that Took ClickFunnels to $1 Billion in Sales

ClickFunnels is a web application for building sales funnels and is famous for growing without any venture capital backing.

In fact, the first year of growth came from one webinar.

Russell Brunson tells the story how he struggled for months to get people to sign-up for a free trial of ClickFunnels.

And then…

Something clicked and he closed 60% of the room after giving a presentation on a paid subscription deal to use ClickFunnels.

Here’s how Brunson describes the breakthrough in a podcast:

“We had a presentation that converts. I want you to understand how important and how powerful that is. I was like, ‘I can go home now and I can do it a thousand times, over and over and over again. We’re gonna be rich!’”

He turned the presentation into a webinar and did between 1-5 times a week for a year between 2014 to 2015.

In 2024, ClickFunnels will hit $1 billion in sales.

According to Russell Brunson this success was all built off the back of one webinar that converted.

6. Why Salesforce Grew Faster with Case Studies

We know what you’re thinking.

“I’ll never be the next Salesforce.. What’s the point in learning from them?”

Hear us out.

In the early 2000s, Marc Benioff was just another software vendor who couldn’t get people to sign up even to a free trial.

Until he hit upon the ‘beachhead’ method.

Marc Benioff realized that if one prominent customer in a market started using Salesforce, he could leverage the news to bag lots more customers.

But what’s surprising is that Salesforce’s initial target market was SMEs.

Here’s where the SaaS video marketing strategy comes in.

We went back in time to Salesforce’s first ever upload on YouTube – a case study video.

And it’s not for an enterprise client.

Salesforce’s marketing video on YouTube was about Fireclay Tile (a small 27-person manufacturer of ceramic tiles) and how they grew revenue 15% using Salesforce’s SaaS tools

That was March 2011.

It wasn’t until a few years later that case study videos from enterprise clients like O2, Activision and Phillips started popping up.

Case study videos are great to get new clients in your target audience thinking… If the software helps this kind of company, then it can help my company too.

7. How CSS Tricks won $87,000 from a Behind-the-scenes Video Series

The story of CSS-Tricks throws traditional marketing strategy on its head.

In 2012, Chris Coyier realized he needed a better website to promote his business.

But he didn’t go and pitch to investors.

Instead, he came out with a Kickstarter campaign.

The idea was this.

Chris didn’t have the cash runway to spend the month he needed redesigning css-tricks.com, so he asked small investors to help out with the $3,500 he needed to cover his bills.

As a reward, he offered a behind-the-scenes video series showing investors everything he learned during the redesign process.

The campaign didn’t hit the $3,500 he wanted..

It raised $89,000!

In 2022, Chris sold css-tricks.com to Digital Ocean for $4 million.

Neither of these figures might make a newspaper headline… but it’s a unique SaaS video marketing hack for anyone growing on their own.

The video was produced with basic production techniques and wouldn’t be hard to replicate.

8. How Zapier Shot to Unicorn Status Thanks to Video Updates

Updates don’t sound like much of a SaaS video marketing strategy.

But wait until you see the story of Zapier.

The SaaS unicorn valued at $5 billion started out as another bootstrapped software company desperate for customers.

Founder Wade Foster found these customers by engaging with people in forums and social media and asking them what integrations they wanted.

Enter the video updates.

Zapier’s first youTube videos date back to September 2013 and features a co-founder announcing a new integration: Google Glass and Zapier.

The following videos are all updates:

  • Zapier integrates with SendLoop
  • ​Zapier integrates with Balanced Now
  • ​Zapier integrates with Vimeo
  • ​Zapier integrates with Tumblr
  • ​Zapier integrates with Soundcloud
  • ​Zapier integrates with Instagram

You get the idea…

But you’ll be surprised to see how low-budget these announcement videos are.

In fact, it wasn’t until 2018 when Zapier was already at $50 million ARR that professional-looking animated videos started appearing.

9. How User Onboarding Videos Were the Key to Loom Winning its First 1 Million Users

Loom co-founder Vinay Hiremath says that onboarding was at the heart of their reaching 1 million users back in 2019.

In the business’ early days, Vinay thought that a new subscriber recording their first video was the ‘moment’ that locked that subscriber in for years to come.

But it wasn’t

It took Vinay months to figure out that subscribers only saw value in Loom after they started getting people to view one of their screencasts.

As he told Business Insider:

“That learning (and experiments that followed) help set adoption strategies going forward.”

This learning sounds basic, but it was important.

Many SaaS companies approach onboarding videos as just another feature they need to add.

But if there’s a clear goal to your onboarding process, it becomes a SaaS video marketing method to improve customer retention and drive paid subscriptions.

In Loom’s case, they didn’t focus on content marketing or explainer videos, or other hacks.

Instead, they created custom URL links each time a user recorded a screencast.

Instead of having to download a video file and send it…

A user could quickly share a Loom URL, have the new viewer sign up to Loom, and then the new viewer follow onboarding videos to record their own videos and get a view on it.

This kind of onboarding video marketing strategy requires very little advertising spend and can be just as effective.

10. How Canva Leveraged Short-form Social Media Videos for Rapid Growth

Canva is the world’s leading SaaS tool for design with a $6 billion valuation.

But Canva was not profitable for its first 4 years.

Things started to shift only after Canva recruited social media expert Guy Kawasaki as their Chief Evangelist.

While such a big hire might not be relevant for all SaaS startups…

The social media strategy that Kawasaki introduced is.

Just 12 months after Kawasaki joined, Canva pivoted to launch Canva for Work and the company began focusing on marketing materials as their core offer to drive subscriptions.

They spread this message through short social media videos.

That’s why one of the first videos on Canva’s Facebook channel introduces the flagship Brand Kits.

The 52-second video showcased a brand-new way for marketers and businesses to keep all their brand assets in one place – and the video got over 100k views.

The video was a simple screencast video with minor editing.

But Canva used this video marketing approach until they brought in $23.5 million in 2017 and became profitable for the first time with 294,000 paying customers.

Final Thoughts

Video marketing is one of the best ways to drive sign-ups, new users and revenue for your SaaS company.

But… so many SaaS video marketing methods require a huge budget.

And here’s the problem.

Very few SaaS startups have the kind of budget they need to produce high-quality marketing videos until after they’ve become profitable.

So does that mean SaaS startups should ignore video marketing?

Not at all!

The 10 SaaS video marketing examples in this blogpost are methods that some of the most famous software companies today used before they ‘made it’

These methods are tried and tested

We hope they give you inspiration to take your SaaS to hitting your revenue targets and beyond!

Oh… and one more thing.

Voomly Cloud offers the fastest and highest quality video streaming of any video hosting platform on the market… and for the lowest cost!

You can quickly start uploading, editing, sharing and embedding SaaS marketing videos with Voomly.

Check out our subscription plans and start a 14-day free trial today!

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