Startups do not achieve success overnight. It takes a couple of months, years even, to really get the ball rolling for your budding business. This is especially true for startups offering a product or service that’s first of its kind.
Take SaaS as an example. The idea around Software as a Service or SaaS has been around since the 1960s, but it is only in the past two decades that it has gained considerable traction. The SaaS market is growing, but promoting your SaaS business, especially in its early stages, still proves to be a difficult endeavor. Although there is an increasing awareness about the technology, getting your service known and adopted by customers is still a challenge.
B2B lead generation at the early stages of your SaaS startup is crucial. Your initial marketing efforts will allow you to improve and refine your product as you gain valuable insight and feedback in the process of building your customer base. Moreover, the money you will generate from your first customers will help keep your startup afloat.
With these in mind, here are some ideas on how to get your first 100 leads for your SaaS business:
Use your existing network
Reach out to your existing connections. Talk to your family, friends, and former colleagues and ask for their suggestions and feedback. Your primary goal here is to learn about how you can further tweak your product so that it can effectively address the problems of potential customers.
Once they understand your product, make sure to ask them to share the news about your SaaS on their respective social media accounts whenever you have a press release, promo, or a video explaining your product.
If you’re working on a product for a specific industry, it won’t hurt if you ask your connections to introduce you to people they know in that industry.
Starting a blog is a great way to tell your product’s story and how it could provide meaningful solutions to a host of problems. In the process of doing so, you can establish your online presence, drive traffic to your website, and increase product awareness.
Creating high-quality content is a significant long-term investment for your startup, as it helps you cultivate relationships with your target audience, as well as influencers who have the capacity to connect you with more potential customers.
Through a solid content marketing strategy, your chances of attracting leads are significantly increased. Just make sure that your blog is setup and designed to generate leads and to rank for the keywords you want your SaaS to be associated with.
Offer a free trial
44% of SaaS companies offer a free trial. Offering your product for free at its beta stage allows you to compete with other brands and entice customers and gain insightful feedback from beta users.
To attract attention from your target audience, you can offer your free beta product tester to an exclusive list of initial users. A lot of startup companies found success from recommendations of their trial customers. The key here is to select users who have a certain level of influence in specific communities or industries you want to target.
You can also offer discounts to your free beta users when they purchase the product during its full launch.
Try paid ads
Some are skeptical about investing in paid ads for startups, but this technique is an easy way to drive traffic and leads as long as you observe industry standards and practices.
If you are aiming for immediate results, try Google Adwords since people who are searching are most likely ready to buy. For a wider and more specific reach, look into advertising on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social media platforms.
Different platforms offer various advantages and disadvantages. It also goes without saying that not all platforms could be applicable to your business. A good way to know if a platform could work for you is to check if your competitors are using it.
Create optimized landing pages
Image courtesy of Malandarras
The landing page is the last and most important thing you need to get the leads for every type of digital marketing effort, especially for SEO and paid ads. It is very important that your landing pages are designed for maximum conversion.
A high-converting landing page features a quick overview of the services or products you offer, a form, and a strong call-to-action. You may also include a few testimonials from your customers to reinforce the value of your product.
Tap online communities and forums
Join relevant conversations in forums like Quora and Reddit because these online communities can connect you with people who are looking for a service or product similar to yours. You can also find groups on social media sites like Linkedin and Facebook who might be interested in your offer.
Don’t be hasty in promoting your product and instead, establish yourself as a thought leader by answering questions and regularly participating in the discussion threads.
Generate social proof
Get your story heard in relevant media and publications even before your product launches. How? Skip the email blasts to all the reporters on your contact list and instead, build rapport and lasting relationships with only a selected few.
Choose people whom you know will be genuinely interested in what you offer so that you can create successful media attention for your product. Aside from tapping media coverage, try looking into influencer marketing as well. This will help create some buzz for your product across social media platforms.
Write a free e-book
Offering a free informational tool like an e-book is a great way to get your product known. You can also use this to collect email addresses, grow your blog readership, and increase social shares.
The key to a good lead-generating e-book is to offer helpful information that does not exist on other websites as regular blogs yet. Otherwise, people won’t be interested in downloading your content. Put yourself in their position by asking yourself “Is this content valuable enough for me to give my contact details?”
Host a meetup
A meetup is a great venue to expand your network. You can use a website like meetup.com to organize community events where you can discuss your product more, meet influencers in your industry, and get potential customers interested in what you do.
Most startup companies start by organizing a short seminar about their industry expertise then introduce the product as a solution to a common industry issue or challenge.
Send a thoughtful email
Cold emails may be deemed as an outdated marketing technique but, when done right, they still work.
But before you send those emails, take the time to research about the people on your mailing list so that you can personalize your messages. If you can find mutual connections, then the better.
Keep your email short and conversational, but make sure that your proposition is clear. Don’t forget to end with a CTA too.
These are just a few ideas to generate leads for your SaaS startup. Of course, not every item on the list will work for everyone, so it is best to carefully consider which ones will be more cost-effective for your business.
There is no magic formula to startup success, but with strategic planning and the willingness to do the legwork, you are well on your way to building a thriving startup business.
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