Can you believe it’s already 2019? That can only mean two things: We’re less than a year away from an epic New Year’s Eve 2020 party and it’s time to get serious about your SaaS growth. After all, you want to have something to party about next year, right?
Sure, you can implement time tested strategies to grow your SaaS. Strategies like investing in SEO and offering free trials can’t hurt your SaaS growth. But everyone’s doing those things and it’s pretty much the bare minimum. To quickly grow your customer base (without spending a lot of money), you must be willing to try experimental tactics that fly in the face of old school “professional” marketing.
One of the most popular (and also one of the first) examples of growth hacking is from the now-defunct email service Hotmail. In an effort to grow its user base, Hotmail attached a single line at the bottom of each user-sent email. The line:
PS: I Love You. Get Your Free Email at Hotmail
With just 10 words, Hotmail took over the 1996 Internet landscape. Hotmail went from a decent 20,000 users before to an astounding 12 million users within one year after the campaign began. Slow clap.
Instead of buying an ad and getting exposure the traditional way, Hotmail grew through free viral messaging on the backs of its users.
That’s the kind of thinking we’ll focus on in this post: ways to growth hack your SaaS as quickly as possible for as cheaply as possible.
Here are 5 additional growth hacks to consider for 2019 and beyond.
Research, Research, Research
Okay, at first glance, research doesn’t sound like a shortcut, but hear me out.
The more you research, the faster your SaaS will grow. When you truly understand your customers and don’t have to guess what they want, you’ll save so much time in marketing, nurturing, and ongoing engagement.
But the sad truth is that very few companies spend time talking to their customers in a non-sales capacity. According to Profitwell, 70% of businesses speak to fewer than 10 customers or prospects per month for research purposes. That includes surveys and “how you doin’?” calls.
Are you still guessing what your customer wants? Why not ask them? You’ll save a lot more time that way. And it’s a heck of a lot easier.
The number one reason why businesses fail is not because they run out of cash or have too many competitors or suck at marketing. It’s not even because they don’t have a quality product. The top reason for failure is that a business builds a product that people simply don’t need.
The best way to avoid that type of embarrassment is to research the market and understand what drew the customers that you do have. Then set about improving your product (and/ or your messaging) to better solve your customer’s problem.
Add a Chatbot
Most SaaS work on a self-serve model which can benefit both the company and the customer. The potential benefit to the business is obvious: Instead of paying a full-time staff to convert each and every prospect into a customer, you can invest in a system that empowers the prospect to convert themselves. With strategically placed content, your prospective customer can educate themselves into choosing your solution.
However, in your zeal to create the ultimate hands-off SaaS, don’t forget that some people may still want to reach out to you. Not everyone is willing to spend hours searching through your knowledge base for answers. And, in the mind of your prospective customer, waiting the minimum 24-48 hours for an email response from your customer support team takes too long.
This is where chatbots shine.
By installing a chatbot on your site, you encourage visitor interaction on your site. But don’t just tuck your chatbot quietly away in a corner of your site. Set it up to speak to your site visitors. Prompt your visitors to ask questions via your chatbot so that you can help them solve their problems.
I know what you’re thinking. Chatbots are computer programs. They’ll sound hopelessly robotic and can rob the visitors of a human interaction.
While chatbots definitely have their limitations, their benefits far outweigh their drawbacks. Here are a few:
Chatbots are cheap and never complain. One chatbot can effectively deal with 1,000 or more visitors at the same time. Show me a human that can do that. And chatbots are always at the ready. They don’t need to put you on hold to take another request and their recall is almost instant.
Furthermore, chatbots can solve up to 80% of customer queries without involving your human staff. Chatbots can help you grow because you’re reaching people who would otherwise give up and click away from your site.
If that’s not enough to convince you that chatbots are the way to go, consider the flip side. In addition to helping your site visitors navigate the site and address their concerns, the chatbot is also helping you learn more about your prospective customers. You’ll get insight into the types of needs that your average site visitor has so that you can build a better site or service.
Are you still counting your coins in order to afford a top name influencer to promote your SaaS?
I have good news for you: That’s no longer necessary.
While it’s not a bad thing to get a shout out by Gary Vaynerchuk (love you, Gary), there’s no need to pin all of your hopes and dreams on big name influencers to get the word out.
These days, micro-influencers are really gaining steam.
Micro-influencers are just like the big name influencers minus 10 years. And millions of dollars in the bank. Micro-influencers are everyday people who have a thriving social media platform. But instead of reaching an audience of millions, your average micro-influencer reaches somewhere between 2,000 to 50,000 followers.
However, they’re small and mighty. Here’s the power of micro-influencers: Their followers are really, really engaged. Because micro-influencers aren’t jaded (yet) and aren’t swamped with brand deals (yet), they have an honest passion for their cultivated community. They don’t see their followers as fans (or dollar signs) but as friends. Micro-influencers take pride in being accessible and transparent.
As a result, their friends are much more likely to trust the micro-influencer compared to the big name influencer who doesn’t even take the time to respond to their comments.
To grow your SaaS, activate half a dozen or more micro-influencers instead of investing all of your money into a big shot influencer. You may reach fewer people, but the connection will be stronger.
Think of this as a way of hacking the traditional model of referral marketing.
When working with micro-influencers, be sure to assign them each a different discount code for tracking purposes.
Fix Your Pricing
Chances are, you’re not just selling to folks in one country. The Internet is global and so is your business. You can’t afford to be narrow in your marketing presentation. In an effort to appeal to customers from other parts of the world, regionalize your marketing.
For example, show your price in the local currency. Also, adjust your price based on the current exchange rate.
Going back to research, be sure that you understand your customers from different regions, too. They’re more likely to buy from you if you know how to reach them.
Before you go, check out these related posts:
- Best Practices for SaaS Subscription Renewal
- How to Price Your SaaS Product
- 6 Essential Ways to Improve Your SaaS Conversion Rates
Don’t forget to download this list of 5 additional growth hacks to implement for 2019.