Are you gearing up to launch your next SaaS product, but not sure how to do it correctly?
It makes sense. Even though you may have other SaaS products, launching your next one can be an intimidating prospect.
Debuting your first SaaS product was a lot like being dropped off at kindergarten for the first time. You felt unsure of yourself, disoriented, and you probably didn’t know what you should be doing, so you just wandered aimlessly, wondering what in the heck you’d gotten yourself into.
While launching your first product can be exciting, it’s mostly overwhelming because you have no clue what you’re doing and if you’re doing it right.
But when it comes to your next SaaS product, you can do things differently. You can take control of your launch so that you no longer feel like an abandoned six-year-old. Instead, you can launch your next SaaS product with the confident maturity of someone who’s been there and done that.
Whether your first SaaS product was a runaway success or a crushing failure, your next product has unlimited potential to change the world, as did Zoom, MailChimp, and Google. And now that you’ve launched a product before and made mistakes, you’re in prime position to win.
If you already know the quick and dirty way to launch a product, this post is for you. Below, we share tips on how to polish up your next product launch so that you can practically guarantee the future success of your upcoming product.
Let’s get started.
Understand Your Target SaaS Customer
Do not pass go until you know everything you can about your target customer. Identify exactly who will benefit from using your product. Why will they benefit? What pain do they have that your product can resolve?
Many businesses create products that no one asked for, and that no one will buy. Make sure that your target audience actually wants to buy your product (or at least has a need for it—the want can come later). When you search relevant forums, you should see posts from potential customers who are desperate for the solution you provide.
And what happens if you don’t find that? You pivot.
Slack was a multiplayer online game. Twitter started out as a podcast directory. YouTube was an online video dating site.
After assessing the market, these companies pivoted. So, if your product doesn’t have good product/market fit, consider pivoting.
Also, take a good look at your competitors before launching your product. Do a competitive SWOT analysis where you identify the following:
- Strengths – What are your advantages? What do you do well?
- Weaknesses – What are your disadvantages? In what areas do you need to improve?
- Opportunities – What possibilities are open to you?
- Threats – What may become a problem for you in the future?
By performing a SWOT analysis, you can get a better understanding of your unique value proposition. It helps you identify what you offer that no one else does. You can use this knowledge when it’s time to market your product.
Set Up Beta Testing
Up until this point, your product has only been tested by you and your team. Now it’s time to find out what people really think about your product. And not just any people, we’re talking about the people who actually need your product.
That eliminates friends and family, unless they’re truly your target audience. And, even if they are your target audience, eliminate them anyway. Here’s why:
Your friends and family aren’t objective. They love you. They want to support you. And that’s why they’re lousy beta testers.
Beta testers should be people who have no ties to you whatsoever. This way, you know that they’re not just saying nice things because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Or saying hurtful things because they want to crush your entrepreneurial spirit (some of us have toxic family members).
Beta testers are purely there for the product. If it works or doesn’t work, they’ll tell you.
There are a lot of solid ways to find beta testers for your product. You can fish for users from relevant industry forums. Or you can set up a landing page to solicit beta testers. (Set up an ad campaign on Facebook for beta users and link it to your landing page.)
Beta testers are an essential part of the pre-launching process. Before introducing your product to the world, find out what people think. Also use beta testing to discover any errors, hiccups, or missing steps that may confuse your customers.
Market Before You’re Ready
A lot of businesses make the mistake of putting off marketing until after the product launches, but they’re missing out on an opportunity to generate excitement.
When you market before your product is ready, you can build awareness for your business, collect email addresses of prospective customers, and start nurturing them towards purchase.
You don’t have to wait until later to do the following:
Build a Landing Page
A landing page is a must. With your landing page, you can ask prospective customers for their email addresses. This way, you can keep in touch with them until your product is ready to launch. But don’t just ask for their email address. Give them something in exchange for their email address (i.e. a lead magnet). This can be a relevant ebook or quiz. The goal is to create a resource that helps them get clarity about their problem so that they’re one step closer to buying your product as a solution.
Build your landing page right now, as in immediately after you finish reading this article.
Create a Content Marketing Plan
Your next step is to plan out your content before, during, and after your launch. Your content marketing plan should include the following:
- Blog – Plan out blog posts to educate your target customers about their problem and your solution. Create written content for every stage of the funnel, from awareness to interest to decision to loyalty.
- Social media – Use pre-planned social media posts to “humanize” your business. Show your culture, your mission, and your team behind the scenes to connect with your target customers.
- Email newsletters – Since you’ve collected emails from your target customers, remember to stay in contact. Send out emails at least once per week to stay at the top of their minds and get them excited about your product.
- Video – Using video on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and others will help you reach people who wouldn’t have found your product otherwise.
Create a User Onboarding Process
Before launching your product, it’s essential that you have a new user onboarding process in place. This way, you can help users find success through your product.
This step is easy to overlook or rush through. You are very familiar with your product, so you already know how to use it. But your new customer won’t know what they’re doing and they need your guidance.
Before launching, create a process for all of your users to follow. The onboarding process can last a week or it may last longer, depending on the complexity of your product.
When onboarding, do the following:
- Walk them through setting up their account.
- Explain the basics of your product.
- Highlight your product’s top features.
- Show them how to access help or your knowledge base.
The goal is to create an onboarding process that takes your user from newbie to expert.
To aid in your onboarding, create a series of daily emails that encourage your new user back onto your app. If you’re able to keep new users engaged regularly, you’ll increase your product’s stickiness and reduce churn.
Oh! And be sure to celebrate your user’s small successes throughout the onboarding process. People like to get virtual pats on the back when they’re on the right track.
Beyond onboarding, make a plan to check in with your users regularly through their journey with you. Their continued feedback can help you continue to tweak and improve your product.
Make It Free at First
From your prospect’s perspective, your new product is unproven, untried, and risky. This is why you should give it away for free, at least at first.
Instead of asking your product’s first users to pay right away, give them free access. This leads to two important benefits:
First, increased feedback. Your first users tend to act like beta testers (even if you’ve gone through a beta testing stage). They can help you improve your product even more.
Second, increased word-of-mouth marketing. Your first users are more likely to tell others about your product, especially if you create a community-type atmosphere and encourage their feedback. Because they’ll feel more invested in your product, they’ll spread the word to others.
You can charge these customers at a later time or keep them free for life and then charge your next wave of customers. But, either way, it’s a smart idea to give away your product at first. It’s the quickest way to gain awareness and generate a huge number of leads.
Get Listed on Product Review Sites
Don’t forget to get your product listed on popular review sites immediately after launch. This way, you can market your product to early adopters. And early adopters tend to be the best referral sources.
Here are a few sites to consider:
Use the above tips when launching your next SaaS product, and pave your path to success. Before you go, check out these related posts:
- SaaS Content Marketing Tips for 2021
- Using Surprise to Delight Your SaaS Customers
- Perfect Your Pitch: How to Cold Prospect for SaaS