SaaS Startup Strategy: 5 Steps To Get Your First Few Customers

June 10, 2014By
Startup Productivity

Need to grow your SaaS startup? Here is a SaaS startup strategy that will help you grow.

Previously we talked about basic SEO for your SaaS startup.

That’s one of the first things you can work on to get your SaaS website ready for prime time.

But the next step from there is to start growing your start with a strategy aimed at getting customers. There are a few key ways to get those first few customers. From there you can expand the channels that work best and continue to test other channels.

In business, it’s all about getting new customers. You obviously have to put effort into pleasing the customers you have, but most startups don’t focus enough on new customers.

Here are the steps to take to build your SaaS Startup Strategy.

Step 1: Talk To Friends, Co-Workers, Colleagues, Etc.

You don’t need to spend money building the best website possible or even spending money on advertising. Those things can work and advertising can work, but if you’re strapped for cash it’s best to tap into your network.

Chances are you’ve started your SaaS product because you work in the industry and you recognized a need for something. Reach out to the people you know and introduce them to the product. Ask if they’re interested. Ask if they know anyone that’s interested.

At the very least you’ll get feedback on if they think they would use the product. You can make tweaks to really make the product fit with the needs of a target customer segment.

Step 2: Search Forums And Social Media Groups For Questions

If you don’t have a network then start working on making connections.

In the meantime, start searching around on Google and social media networks like LinkedIn for groups that your target customers belong to. You’re looking to see if they’re discussing a need that your product can solve.

When I started GBW I noticed that some people on LinkedIn would ask about blogging services on business groups. Some would even ask about the service on Twitter. I would respond with details about what GBW offered and offered to reach out via email or phone with more info.

If you find someone asking directly about a problem you solve then you can cut to the chase and introduce your product.

If they’re asking something more general then you can offer advice and build the relationship before you mention your SaaS product.

Step 3: Write Guest Articles For Industry Blogs

When you start your SaaS business you have 0 followers at least in most cases.

You can start a blog from scratch (good idea) and you can start building your social media following (another good idea), but these things take time.

To get more traction right now you can write guest articles on popular industry blogs.

No, guest blogging is not bad. It’s bad if you think about it in terms of SEO. It’s excellent if you think about it in terms of getting exposure to your target customer segment.

You probably know a few popular blogs in your industry. Create a list. Go to each and look at their most popular articles. Then form a few potential titles that they would love to have on their blog. Reach out via email pitching your ideas.

If they’re interested then write one that goes beyond the level of the posts they typically publish.

Step 4: Guest On Popular Industry Podcasts

I recently did a interview with a popular industry podcast. As with guest writing, the audience for the podcast fit my target customer demographic. I talked about the growth of GBW, but what you talk about doesn’t always matter.

Find something you can provide expertise on as it relates to your customer and your industry. You’ll be able to offer something valuable and that will earn trust. And your customers will see who you are and what you do. If you’ve targeted the right podcast you’ll be in front of people that have a need for your product.

They’ll seek out your website, learn about your product and contact you.

That’s what happened with that recent podcast. Now I wish I would have done more of that early on and it’s now higher on my priority list of marketing efforts for GBW.

Step 5: Partner Or Integrate With Complementary SaaS Companies

Many software companies get their early start by integrating with larger software companies or even with hardware companies. Think of Microsoft integrating with computer sellers like Dell and Gateway. People wanted a computer. They purchased a Dell and got Microsoft included.

This way Microsoft could piggyback on the sales efforts of Dell and Gateway.

Identify complementary software companies. See if you can find a way to improve their software by integrating yours. If you can help them make money they will gladly sell your product along with theirs.

It can really cut down on your sales and marketing costs.

Final Thoughts

Early on for any startup it’s not going to be entirely about advertising, social media or content marketing. Getting your first few customers is more about doing guerrilla things for your SaaS startup strategy. You can test these out and get your first few customers. After that you can start testing the advertising and online marketing things.