15 Growth Hacking Strategies for SaaS Startups in 2019
A sustained rate of growth is quintessential for all kinds of business. Those that can’t withstand the ever-increasing competition might soon disappear from the market in no time. Start the ignition of enforcing successful growth hacking strategies to notice a sustainable and progressive upward swing in your customer base.
The 2017 State of the SaaS Powered Workplace Report by BetterCloud says Software-as-a-Service will turn out to be the de facto model for core business applications. Going a step ahead, it says, organizations rely on 16 SaaS apps on average per day. BetterCloud estimates nearly 80%+ conversion to SaaS apps by 2020.
The BetterCloud survey is a clear indicator of the shape of things to come shortly. It professes an undeniable growth for SaaS products or applications.
But to ensure healthy growth of the user base, all SaaS Startups need to raise to the occasion by resorting to time tested growth hacking techniques.
We mention a possible list of such hacks below:
1. Sign-up and Onboarding Process
Every SaaS Startup must ensure to facilitate an easy and simple sign-up process to receive a considerable number of user registrations on each day.
Design a friction-free sign-up flow that lets them easily complete the steps. Having said that, the sign-up flow of Airtable seems to be amazingly simple with its two-step user registration flow.
The growth hacking technique that has been adopted by Airtable is showing a visible, “Enter your email address and Get started” tabs on its website’s home page to ensure the quick and simple sign-up process to the users.
The Airtable team understands the value of designing the best customer onboarding strategies. To see their users happy, they extend a great product help and customer support right from the application purchase.
2. Freemium Strategy
Freemium strategy is a business model where it offers both free and paid versions of products or services. These days, more and more SaaS companies are relying on the freemium marketing strategy to captivate the user base.
Why Troop Messenger opted Freemium model?
We made this as a market entry strategy to gain more traction from users. Troop Messenger offers a freemium pricing model to its users to extend real value to both free and paid customers. This technique looks to be one of the market opening strategies for it to test and understand product viability. We chose to offer the concept of zero-cost pricing approach as one of the best times tested growth hacking strategies to the users to gain the first-level of market traction. This freemium model allows users to try our product to seamlessly integrate themselves for a great collaboration.
Troop Messenger is known to be the relatively low-cost application, offering an unlimited free plan, a premium at $1/per user/per month, and an enterprise pricing model at $3/per user/per month with a great functional set of team collaboration features. This growth hacking strategy made them receive a phenomenal number of per day registrations.
Let the user sign-up to your great product for free and let them have a detailed walk-through, and convert them to your paid plans.
As the competition within the corporate sector is ever acute, the first strategy that any SaaS company should adopt is implementing SEO to stay ahead, as advised by 44.6% of the experts in a GoodFirms survey.
Just as Organic search results have longer durability, so is the case with implementing great SEO strategies. Improve your product or service online visibility by executing On page, Off page, etc., to boost your customer base.
Figure out the valuable and targeted keywords, and build your website business content accordingly, before you start initiating any campaign for your SaaS company. In general, Try to target long-tail keywords, get easy ranking in the Google search engines as they have limited competition.
Traditional SEO practices like keywords, backlinks, and informational content marketing are still making wonders in gaining organic search results. But, for SaaS businesses, as the agility retains as a stand-alone factor, they could certainly implement the practices of Inbound Marketing.
4. Referral Program
Acquire a meteoric growth like DropBox, Uber, Airbnb, and Paypal with Referral programs. These were the ones which made them billion-dollar companies from just ordinary Startups.
SaaS startups would not afford to invest more in paid marketing. When it comes to referral marketing, it stands out as one of the effective types of quick and low-cost marketing techniques that generate effective leads.
Formalized referral program practices are followed by only a few of the SaaS companies around the world. There is a promising scope of higher customer acquisition rate with this kind of growth hacking strategy. Hence, never take it for granted!
What you can achieve from this?
- Builds positive brand awareness
- 16% higher lifetime value of customers
- Minimal cost per acquisition
5. The Skyscraper Technique
Dumping tons of content in your website is of no worth unless it is consumed.
It is mandated to have a high-quality backlink to your SaaS product website to convert viewers into potential leads. One of the effective methods to achieve this is through the skyscraper technique as recommended by 23% participants at GoodFirms survey.
This technique has been designed to build premium-quality links to your website's content, thereby increasing the organic referrals.
It was designed by Brian Dean of Backlinko in 2015. High-quality backlinks are important in the SEO world, as they inform Google about your site’s reputation and relevancy.
The skyscraper technique doubles your search engines traffic in just no time. Incorporate the Brian Dean 3-step skyscraper technique as discussed below, to land first page Google rankings.
Find link-worthy content that has already done well in terms of attracting links, comments, social shares, and traffic with the help of competitor keywords. Pick and choose the content which has already bought a ton of backlinks.
Make something better. Improve existing content on every level, in terms of length, layout, the inclusion of cutting-edge content, etc. Write and publish articles, those are simply longer and, try including as many as items, avoiding outdated content.
Reach out to the right people. Instead of reaching random people, reach out to site owners who are linked to similar niche.
6. PPC - Targeting Competitor Keywords
Acquire a great customer base from pay per click ad campaigns. Small SaaS startups can gain many benefits from PPC. As against any other digital marketing strategy, PPC campaign tends to derive profits faster.
PPC model allows you to run your product or service ads through Google Ads and Bing Ads, and you pay the service provider only when someone clicks on your ad. The advantages of PPC include:
- Quick, Fast and quantifiable results.
- Reaches the target audiences
- Improves brand recognition
- Not dependent on SEO and Google Algorithmic changes
- Highly reachable to local customers.
- It targets the right users at the right times.
The concept of competitor targeting on Adwords is very simple:
Firstly, list out the competitors of your industry where you can bid on their terms and conditions. Say, for instance, if we take Freshdesk, we can notice that three different competitors are bidding on that search item.
Why are they doing so? despite being distinct companies. The answer is simple, these competitors wanted to gain potential traffic and leads from users who are looking for Freshdesk.
This simply means that the people who are aware of the Freshdesk will also look after these competitors. This indicates that without being paid, these competitors are at an advantage of getting free brand awareness with constant contact click approach.
To conclude, the concept of targeting competitor keywords would be; simply bidding on the branded search items.
7. Approach Vlogger of Your Industry
Product or service tour videos are becoming an integral part of growth hacking. Ensure to create short and crisp product video to provide quick product demo to your customers. If the video length crosses 1min, allow your customers to skip the video to retain them in your website.
The recent statistics show that most of the users are interested to watch the product video before making the purchase. Hence approach a popular vlogger to create your product video or get endorsed with them to increase the views across popular media like YouTube. It is advised to reach out to a tech vlogger to get your product videos done. Let’s look into a few tips to how to approach a vlogger of your industry.
- Browse Google and Youtube of your industry. Watch an unlimited number of Youtube vlogs to figure out the best Vloggers.
- Everyone might have their terms of engagement. Respect them.
- Identify the best who does your product review by comparing it with your competitors.
- Never ask them to contact you just by leaving your contact info in the comments section of their blog post.
- Reach them directly with an email by referring to their name. If not the real name, at least with a handle that they use.
- Brief your product/service. Provide them with the essential support links to have a walk-through of your product.
- Explain your expectations and inform the legalities.
8. Facebook Ads
Even after the backlash over privacy issues, Facebook Ads creates valuable information which helps you target your marketing strategies. This concept facilitates you with tools to monitor your products and performance, ranging from a single ad to a product whole ad campaign to show you how those ads are converting into potential sales leads.
Segmentation of audience in Facebook ads is considered to be one of the key successes. The potential reasons for Facebook campaigns that deliver low CTR could be poorly targeted ideas. Create unique buyer personas to target the granular audience, and push your ad copy only to them. Research thoroughly to identify your target audience and accordingly reach your ideal users.
Try the following ways to reach your target audience:
- Find out the interests of the users based on; the most frequently liked pages, posts that they’ve shared, and the Ads they’ve clicked.
- In the behavior section, figure out the user's behavior based on their digital activities.
- Target the employees of the companies when you know the employer.
- Create tailored ads for groups with different job titles.
- Create separate ad copies for Mobile and Desktop.
- Try A/B bidding strategies
- Experiment with the ideal time frame.
9. Product and Startups Listing
Now that you have developed a powerful SaaS application and a great website to promote it, it is the time to showcase your product to the world.
The power of online reviews is ruling the world. Right from, booking movie tickets, deciding the best travel destinations, trying new retail products, to the B2B and SaaS solutions. Consumers are choosing online reviews as the deciding factor, and hence they are the deal-makers or deal-breakers.
These days, the buying patterns of the customer has changed drastically. We see a wide range of B2B review products and startups listing websites such as GoodFirms, G2 Crowd, Capterra, etc, where the SaaS companies are writing about their products and services.
To present a complete detailing about your product or service, write about your product functionality, its pros, and cons, and the value-addition it extends towards the consumer, etc.
According to GoodFirms research, 72.7% of the buyers look-out for product reviews and recommendations. Before purchasing a new product, B2B consumers research the internet and read reviews to understand the merits and demerits of your product.
The best growth hacking strategies to promote your SaaS software product in online review website:
- Ensure to give all the important specifications of your product in a simple and easily reviewable way.
- Request your loyal customers to give genuine reviews on your B2B SaaS software product. You send them the review format to rate on the product features, pricing comparison, ease-of-use, merits, and demerits. You can even reward them with incentives, as they occupy a crucial role in your company’s growth.
- Consider a paid listing, where you can receive real user reviews.
10. Promote Your SaaS Product in Quora and Reddit
They stand out as the best platforms to promote your product globally. SaaS product owners must realize that Quora and Reddit, as free marketing platforms are absolute gold mines for promoting your products to find the best leads.
These platforms allow you to reach niche audiences, increases traffic to your product’s website, boosts brand reputation, etc., Quora and Reddit are normally referred to as user-generated content platforms. It doesn’t matter which industry you are in, these platforms leverage your potential leads for your business.
Let’s look at the statistics:
Reddit ranks 11th in the US, and 26th across the world, with a 250 million active monthly users in 2016, but the current statistics say it has crossed 500+ million active users.
And now when we talk about Quora, it has 200 million active monthly users and ranks in the top 60 websites in America, and stands in top 120 across the globe. Reference
Below are the few strategies to follow on Reddit:
- Find out a subreddit that suits your niche. Give informative solutions to their problems in the form of answers.
- Create better content than your competitors based on the number of the Reddit upvotes they receive.
- Add news, share blog posts, links,etc., in your products subreddit.
- Engage with millions of people with the most relevant content with the help of Reddit paid Ads.
The best way to connect with people is through WikiAnswers. The moment you find a question related to your industry, like ‘what are the best slack alternatives?’, press on the three dots menu and select ‘Create Answer Wiki’. The answer you posted will be reviewed by Quora staff, and it is accordingly approved. This hack is just known by few, so make use of it at the earliest.
11. Guest Blogging
Another growth hacking technique to introduce your product to the world is through guest blogging. Incorporate the practices of guest blogging to have online visibility, to receive more traffic and to build good relationships with other SaaS businesses.
Guest blogging is considered one of the best online marketing strategies that build powerful backlinks. The concept is relatively simple when compared to other content marketing strategies. Let your content writers post a high-quality blog that suits the requirement of a particular blog site and receive a backlink in return.
A few methods to find guest blogging sites:
- Search Google with search strings of, ‘Your industry keyword’, +, write for us to find out guest blogging sites, and lots of variants will be suggested by google at the bottom
- Send a good guest article pitch with your samples article
- Try to implement “The Splintering Technique” for creating long and detailed articles
Build a high-quality content blog by inserting a relevant backlink that directs to your SaaS website to improve your SEO. Write an SEO optimized blog to boost your website traffic.
12. Email Marketing Strategy
Though they are many strategies available around the social media for marketing your SaaS product, email still stands out as the powerful marketing channel to promote your solution.
Drive user engagement, lead conversions and customer retention with one of the most cost-effective Email Marketing. This strategy lets the SaaS companies boost their ROI with certain tried and tested methods such as,
- Decide the goal of the email
- Design an effective strategy to generate high value from these emails
- Segregate Emails according to the buying patterns of the user.
- Make standout format
- Know and understand the right email frequency
- Use Automated Tools
Each SaaS company designs a sales cycle to promote their product. According to the PersistIQ findings, it is noticed that they send one email per day for the entire sales cycle. It further suggests, sending out an email campaign at the start of the Sprint would be a deal maker.
13. Customer Retention Strategy
No businesses run or exist without customers! Despite developing an amazing SaaS product, you can’t sustain the competition unless until you create the best customer acquisition and retention strategies. Besides gaining a new user base, it is mandated for all SaaS businesses to incorporate the optimum practices of customer acquisition and retention to achieve high ROI.
Follow the below customer retention strategies:
- Design innovative customer on-boarding strategies to impress your customers.
- Extend great customer support
- Think like a customer
- Surprise them with offers, discounts, and rewards.
- Send them a newsletter or release notes on every version release.
Have a real-time and interactive product information sessions with your customers with webinars. Webinars allow you to build a community to share product content across an unlimited audience. This concept is increasingly gaining popularity, as streaming live broadcasts have become a smart digital marketing strategy.
An image has the unmistakable potential to create a long-lasting impression as compared to a text. The same way webinars leave a long-lasting impact on the audience's mind for months and years with the feature of replay. They allow replaying the content in series thereby providing more user engagement.
Advantages with Webinars:
- Extends high value to the customers
- Generates more leads
- Showcases your product.
15. The Competitor Comparison Page
Before building a product comparison webpage on your website, firstly you need to identify the keywords which users are looking for by using the tools like ahrefs, Google keyword planner, etc.,
Then accordingly prepare the informative comparison table or chart between your and the competitors as to how are different and better from your competitors. Present them the solutions and value-additions from your product to answer their concerns.
Built an enriched competitive product comparison web pages with targeted keywords inserted in it, to draw more user traffic. Many of the audience knew what they want.
Say, for instance, if they are looking after the information of any product alternative, they simply search Google, with the targeted keywords such as, ‘Slack Competitor’ or ‘Hipchat alternative.
And hence if your webpage is target keyword optimized, Google will display the search results of all those product comparison web pages accordingly.
Target the competitor keyword or alternative keyword as users search for the industry they are aware of. This ensures good quality conversion leads.
In SaaS Startups, growth hacking is a must-follow practice that has to be inculcated with the marketing team. It isn’t a set of principles that needs to be followed, it is all about redefining, reworking, and innovating again. Check out the above-proven growth hacking strategies to save time, money and effort to successfully grow your user base and revenues. Convert your one-time visitor to life-time customer with simple yet powerful growth hacking strategies.