ne of the most common questions asked by SaaS Founders when they meet their peers is how do you find your customers? This question always makes me smile because there is no easy answer to it. The truth is that if you have identified the problem that your target audience is facing, then finding them should be much easier than you may think. But sometimes things don’t work like that and you have to try different approaches until you finally figure out what works.
Finding SaaS customers can be challenging, especially if you're starting with no marketing budget or experience. These tips can help you get your first customers and even help you find your 10th or 100th customer!
The first step is building an effective link marketing strategy. As with most things in life, there are no shortcuts or easy answers for how to create an effective link-building strategy. You have to get into the weeds and learn as much as possible about what works and what doesn’t.
Reaching out to build links from authoritative sites in your industry should be a priority. It will improve your search rankings and make your site appear more trustworthy, which will lead to increased sales and revenue. The worst thing about link building is it’s often seen as an activity for people with too much time on their hands. However, it is incredibly valuable and doesn’t need to take up a lot of time if you are smart about how you approach potential partners. For example, have you ever heard of content curation? This strategy involves finding relevant posts on similar topics and curating them with additional information on your site.
If your target customer is a tech-savvy decision-maker, then content marketing may be a good fit for you. By making helpful contributions to popular channels, like LinkedIn, Medium, and other Social Media Platforms with thought leadership content, it’s possible to reach these buyers in your space with no direct sales effort at all. But before marketing or selling to tech-savvy SaaS customers, you must prove out your business model with a core group of paying customers.
When building a SaaS business, it’s tempting to go after low-hanging fruit—businesses that are actively looking for a new solution. These traditional prospects will take time and money to convert into SaaS customers. However, instead of investing in long sales cycles, consider investing in cold calling or direct marketing efforts to reach non-traditional prospects. This is an excellent strategy if your product is ideal for early adopters and innovators within organizations. It’s worth remembering, though, that many non-technical founders end up taking on sales themselves once their businesses scale. If you don’t have a background in selling, it can be a good idea to get additional help from experienced salespeople as quickly as possible. By teaming up with outside experts who knowhow to sell high-priced enterprise software solutions, you can reap all of the benefits while sharing only some of your risk.
The Walk In The Door method: Prospects aren’t going to come knocking at your door, so you need to seek them out. If you have extensive relationships with individuals at targeted companies, by all means, leverage those contacts! But if you don’t, try running ads aimed at executives via LinkedIn or use InMail emails. Once they open your email and click through to your website, they might just become engaged in your content; especially if it contains valuable industry insights. While there isn’t much precedent here (yet), one study found that 54% of B2B buyers preferred online self-service tools over personal interactions when researching products. So give cold calls a shot for now and start prospecting.
Social media marketing
The key to finding SaaS customers is in understanding their day-to-day challenges. In today’s digital world, social media marketing is one of, if not THE best way to do that. Entrepreneurs who build their businesses using social media know-how to leverage platforms like Twitter and Facebook for peer-to-peer engagement. Once they’ve got a following, they can harness these connections by getting their users’ feedback on features and price points. Two great resources are Product Hunt and Startup Stash: Product Hunt allows users to connect based on common interests; Startup Stash provides information about online software, apps, APIs, libraries, games, and more. If someone has taken time out of their day to write an intelligent(non-spammy) comment on your piece, get down there and engage them! This is an excellent opportunity for building relationships and networking.
Most SaaS companies start with very little cash in their bank account, so they look for a way to get leads without paying a lot of money. Solo ads are one of those ways. What is a solo ad? A solo ad is an advertising method where people pay for subscriptions to send out email ads for your business or product. They do all of the legwork and deliver emails to you ready to be sent out. You just pay them monthly based on how many emails they sent out per month and that’s it! Say you have $100 and want to run a solo ad campaign for your SaaS. Instead of asking people to opt-in directly, these solo ads have to subscribe buttons at the bottom so subscribers can subscribe to see what kind of offers come through. If you attract enough subscribers—say 500—you may end up paying around $1 each (the average amount per lead). If 10% of those subscribers buy something from you, then 50 x $1 = $50 profit each month($500/month). It’s kind of like Amazon's Affiliate program but much less risky since there's no upfront investment involved. In other words: awesome!
Following these steps will give you a good starting point when trying to figure out where to start in your customer search. It may seem daunting at first but with some experimentation, you'll find what works best for you. These days it's never been easier to get real-time feedback from customers so make sure that's part of your process too! What do I mean by real-time feedback? Answer those initial questions and then keep refining until they stop responding; just keep asking questions until there's nothing left on which they can offer feedback.