What sets the successful SaaS companies apart? Sometimes, managing a SaaS startup can feel like a balancing act. You know you need to grow your company, but there are so many different ways to do so that you often lose your grip along the way. Growth is essential, but you also can’t just blindly rely on the old traditional strategies of the past.
Like any avenue of marketing, growing your SaaS startup isn’t easy. There are no guarantees. The internet moves fast, so you can’t assume something that worked before will continue to work in the future.
Believe it or not, SaaS companies invest anywhere between 80% and 120% of their revenue in sales and marketing in the first five years of their existent. This goes to show how vital it is to grow.
With all of this in mind, how do you grow your SaaS startup in 2019? What strategies work, and what’s the latest way to reach your audience? In this guide, we’ll explore 5 SaaS startup growth strategies you can’t afford to miss.
1. Start with Content Marketing
This strategy wouldn’t be a list of growth strategies without content marketing. In many ways, content marketing is the backbone of any marketing strategy. Without content, you have nothing to promote to your audience. As they say, content is king.
If you create the right content that’s evergreen and relevant to your customers, you’ll prove your authority in your niche, become a source of insights, and build trust. These are all essential things you need to grow your customer base.
How powerful is content marketing? Let’s put things in perspective. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and it generates about 3 times as many leads. You’ll truly get more bang for your buck than you would have earned with traditional or native advertising.
Whether your goal is to increase brand awareness, engagement, or lead generation, content marketing can make that happen. However, think beyond the “traditional” when it comes to content marketing. New forms of media like video and even podcasts, are proving to be a successful way to leverage content.
2. Use Email Drip Campaigns
Do you have a way to onboard your customers? Collecting leads at the right time and then acting on them rapidly is essential, but there are only so many hours in the day. Implementing an email drip campaign lets you prevent the loss of any customer who stopped engaging with your brand.
A drip campaign is when you automatically enable a campaign once a user signs up for something. It could be triggered by them signing up for a free download or even a free trial of your software. Either way, your drip campaign will continue to engage the user, bringing them into the product, and answering key questions.
The ultimate goal of a drip campaign is to keep your users engaged. Through an email campaign, you can educate your users, upsell your services/products, and show your value.
3. Encourage Referrals
What better way to get new customers than to leverage your existing customers? Offering customers an incentive to refer someone knew can be an effective way to get the word out about your SaaS business for free.
An example of this in action is Dropbox. Dropbox started by offering customers 2 GB of free cloud space, and they’d provide an extra 650 MB for any referral. These referrals spread quickly, and now Dropbox is one of the leading cloud storage solutions on the web. If you’re considering your cloud strategy, don’t be afraid to learn from the pros.
Referrals are a low-cost solution to growing your SaaS company quickly. However, make sure you’re offering incentives that trigger your current users to find you new customers. You don’t want to incentivize your audience over, thus decreasing your value.
4. Free Trials or Free Premium
Who doesn’t like to try before you buy? The free trial SaaS growth strategy is a prime example of growing with Millennials in mind. The Millennial generation (and subsequent generations) are used to a self-serve, pay-and-you-go model. They’re open to upgrades, but they don’t want to feel pressured.
With Millennials having a buying power of over $600 billion, it’s worth putting them first. You need to build trust and show that your product has real value to your users. By offering a free trial or free premium, such as the application logging tool from Loggly, you show that confidence to your users. Users get to try something with no strings attached.
Also, a free trial or free premium strategy is an effective way to earn more email signups, giving you more fuel for that drip campaign we talked about earlier. You can continue to reach out to those that didn’t keep their free trial, and you might even have the opportunity to upsell.
5. Leverage Influencer Marketing
We usually think about influencer marketing as something that’s limited to the retail sector. In reality, influencer marketing is an ideal fit for SaaS as well, and here’s why. When you’re strategic about the influencers you collaborate with, you get the word out about your software while building a long-term relationship.
To get started with influencer marketing, first consider the types of influencers that matter in your industry. They can also be in other industries sectors as long as it makes sense. Once you know what influencers to target, contact them directly via email. It’s tempting to send out an automated, mass email campaign to several influencers, but this is nothing but a sinking ship.
You might need to build a relationship first before you collaborate. You might need to seek out influencers already using your platform or influencers using your competition. From there, keep your relationship going even after you’ve collaborated. Many influencers are willing to work with SaaS companies in exchange for free products or a small publishing fee, so this is an affordable option.
As a SaaS startup, you need any edge you can get on the competition. These methods above are proven to be a success when done thoughtfully. While you shouldn’t throw your marketing budget 100% into anything, playing around with these ideas above will give you a foot up over the competition.
It’s all about connecting with the right customers, knowing what they want, and delivering value. If you can do those three things consistently, you’re in an excellent place to move forward into the future. While no business is ever future-proof, especially in the SaaS world, the more you can focus on these growth strategies above, the less you have to worry about it.