You’re on the startup path. You’ve done the research. You’ve validated your idea, created an MVP, and got some funding. You’re ready to launch into creating a software as a service (SaaS) business that will take the world by storm. And yet you’re still not quite sure how to market your service. Here are five tips for finding your first SaaS users.
Start early and get feedback
The beauty of SaaS is that you can start marketing early. Before you set your developers to work consider creating a simple document that explains your service and engages early prospective investors. Consider turning your summary into a landing page and seeking traffic from peer sites and communities. If possible, offer a beta release in exchange for feedback. Consider targeting Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit communities to get your product out into the prospective marketplace and get advice for your next iteration. The more marketing work you do early the easier it’s going to be to line up subscribers when the service is ready.
Launch with a “Freemium” Offer
The “freemium” model allows you to offer your service for free for a trial period of time. It’s also quite popular with the young people, such as Millennials, who are expected to have a spending power of $1.4 trillion per year by 2020. The idea is once a customer has used your service for a set amount of time life will be unbearable without it and he will pay to use the entire service. Even if you experience a lot of churn with your freemium offer, the offer will help you build a customer list that you can use to try to win back prospective customers in the future. Consumers appreciate a chance to “kick the tires” before “buying the car,” so it’s wise to consider the freemium model for your early marketing.
Create an Email List
An email list is a more traditional means of finding your first SaaS users. Consider acquiring your email list through social media or the above-mentioned free offers. Once you have a list, make sure you put it to good use. Carefully think out your strategy before sending out a bunch of content. For example, construct the first two emails to educate your audience and help establish yourself as an authority on the subject matter. For a third email, describe your product and present it as a way to solve issues you’ve presented in your preliminary emails. The fourth could be the launch email, followed by the fifth, another educational email with a call to action. Use subsequent emails to “hard sell” the service.
An influencer is someone in your industry who your prospective customers look up to. If you can convince him to endorse your SaaS service you can win over a lot of his followers and hopefully convert them to customers. First, build an influencer list. Brainstorm and research who are the leading figures in your industry and start communicating with them online. Once you’ve gotten their attention, share your own content with them. Consider using a personalized email. The email should be concise and convincing and, perhaps, include collateral such as blogs, infographics, or an eBook. Influencers likely get a lot of email so make sure to not inundate an influencer with materials.
Content. Content. Content.
Whether it’s through social posts or blogs or whitepapers, content marketing is a great way to prove to prospective customers that you know what you’re talking about. Especially at first, concentrate on educating your audience on a topic that’s relative to your SaaS business and steer clear of making any “salesy” statements. It’s a great way to engage prospective customers in a pressure-free manner. Moreover, if your readers like what you write they’re likely to share the content with their network, thus helping you grow your business potential. Most of the time, you can just write the content yourself. If need be, consider hiring a freelance copywriter to do the work for you.