Are you looking for an extra “something” when it comes to growing your SaaS?
As long as you have good strategies in place for retention and reducing churn, growth is a focus for most SaaS. The only problem is everyone else is trying to get attention too, so you need some innovative ways to cut through all the noise.
While “hacks” may be a bit of an overused term, we wanted to take a look at some post-launch strategies which are working for boosting SaaS growth. Strategies which give you exposure and help you to carve out a unique voice in the market.
Let’s check them out:
Get Yourself Featured…
If you can get your company featured outside of your own platforms and social media, it’s a great chance to tap into a wider audience. This doesn’t have to be a costly strategy for SaaS such as the old-fashioned methods of print media. There are many places with substantial audiences online where you can get featured for free if you play it right.
Here are some we like:
#1. Getting Featured on Product Hunt
Product Hunt has become a sort of “holy grail” for startups wanting some extra exposure, probably because it can drive large numbers of eyeballs to your product as Tristan Pollock points out.
It’s not an easy task getting featured however, many have tried and failed to get a spot on the coveted site. Your product has to be awesome for a start, (you’ve got that, right?) and you can’t simply submit it for consideration.
For starters, you need to be an invited member to comment on or submit products, so if Product Hunt is looking like a good strategy for your SaaS, then you need to have got the wheels turning well before wanting your product featured. Being a participating member early at least gives you some kind of voice on the platform ahead of time.
Whether you choose to be a member or not, you only get one shot for submitting your product for consideration and it’s much better if your product is submitted by someone outside of your company who has significant influence on Product Hunt.
There are already some excellent guides available online to take you through the whole process of a successful Product Hunt launch, so we won’t labor this for too long, but check out Ovi Negrean’s post on Foundr or Tristan Pollock’s post on 500.co.
A universal lesson is that you need to be building up your communities ahead of time and get to know key influencers, particularly any who have plugged products within your category before.
The law of reciprocity tends to hold true; don’t simply message them and ask them to promote your product, see what you can do for them first instead. For example, you might email them and offer them free access to check out your new software because you think it will be able to help them with …. Build the relationship first and then ask if they will submit to Product Hunt for you.
#2. Getting Featured on Hacker News
Hacker News is another great place for finding large numbers of early adopters, however, like Product Hunt it’s not easy to get yourself featured. Successfully nailing this one again tends to involve getting to know the right people and having good timing.
Hacker News works in a similar fashion to Reddit in that you want to rise up the list by having the highest number of upvotes over a short period of time. You want to have influencers on your side who are prepared to upvote and perhaps comment on your product.
Again, you’ll need to identify those people early and build a relationship with them. Ask for their feedback on your product and give them free access. Once you’re at a point where you’re submitting to Hacker News, as them to find your website on the “newest” page and upvote it (note: upvotes from direct link visits don’t count, so you need to ask them to find it).
Your aim is to get a number of upvotes in a short period of time so that you’re elevated to front page status. Groove wrote a great piece about their experience getting to the front page here.
#3. Guest Post Features
Many startups have had great exposure through writing guest posts for other sites, but there are some caveats if you want to ensure doing so is worth the effort:
- Pick sites which serve an audience that includes your target market.
- You’ve got to have well-written, informative content which delivers some kind of value to the audience. Your piece can’t be a giant sales pitch (you probably won’t get it featured otherwise).
- Choose sites which have a substantial audience and are always publishing and promoting content.
You may not get your first pick of the most well-known blogs (TechCrunch and Mashable are worth pitching, but difficult to get onto), but make a large list of contenders by googling your appropriate keywords along with terms such as “guest post”, “submit a guest post” or “write for us.”
Look out for guest post guidelines on the websites you come up with — an instant way to be rejected is to breach those in some way. Oftentimes, the best way to get an “in” is to have built up some kind of relationship with a key influencer there, something Benjamin Brandall of Process St. discusses in his comprehensive piece on guest posting here.
Building up a good presence and community on social media should go without saying for SaaS who want to boost their visibility, but here is another social media strategy that can help:
#4. Host Twitter Chats
Twitter chats are a great way to build brand advocacy, community and awareness around a brand. They are an opportunity to build your audience quickly and gather a bit of data on them. Like many other methods of exposure, they aren’t easy to set up (successfully) though.
A successful Twitter chat starts by having a good level of participation on the chat, something that is not always easy for startups who are just beginning to grow their following. One way to get around this is to identify a couple dozen key influencers in your space and send them an email prior to the chat.
You may wish to incentivize them, but in any case, you need to give them a compelling reason to participate. Send calendar invites and confirm attendance if you can — this can provide extra impetus for a wider audience to get involved if they know who’s going to be there.
Before your chat:
- Determine a good hashtag.
- Promote the chat.
- Send a reminder to confirmed participants an hour beforehand.
- Remind your list an hour beforehand.
- Create images of questions with the hashtag so that you can post these during the chat and encourage shares.
Twitter chats done well can generate a lot of valuable discussion. Make the most of them by rounding up the best answers and creating blog content or other social media content from them. Promote them far and wide and make it worth any influencer’s time who did take part.
If you want to boost growth for your SaaS, you’ve got to start looking for some of those “road less traveled” strategies which can really help you to stand out.
Leveraging platforms which already have large audiences, such as Product Hunt, Hacker News or sites where you can guest post can provide significant exposure. Setting up a well-planned Twitter chat can also be rewarding.
One of the key things to remember for any of these methods is that success tends to come down to building good relationships with influencers. Make the effort to get to know people and find out how you can help them. Hopefully, the law of reciprocity will be on your side.