Since the advent of cloud computing technology in the mid ’90s, the software as a service industry has grown exponentially. In fact, SaaS industry review is expected to grow from $50 billion in 2015 to approximately $70 billion in 2018. That said, there is no better time to get involved in the SaaS industry than now.
However, people don’t just appear magically out of nowhere and buy your product — it must be revolutionary. Along with the inception of your business, you must also anticipate that you have a lot of competitors. Each passing day, innovative ideas and fast-paced tech continue to sprout like mushrooms, so to say that starting out is challenging is quite an understatement.
During the pre-launch stage, you should set up a foundation for your business in order to ensure that your product will achieve success and not fade in oblivion. To give you a better idea of how entrepreneurs in this industry strategized this particular phase, we’ve rounded up some tips below to give your first version launch a head start.
Test the Waters First
Don’t go public just yet, at least not for now. Start by signing up your family and friends. This should come easy, considering you don’t need a special marketing technique to reach them. Friends and family can provide you with feedback concerning the usability and how their experience was when the product was used. Although there’s the tendency of a biased feedback, they still prove to be quite insightful. Consider this as your initial testing before your actual public launch. Listen to their feedback and acknowledge any faults, or anything that might be considered a drawback in your product later on. This will help you save a lot of cash and time.
Consider Content Marketing
We are living in a digital age, so it just makes sense to start building an audience online, and what better way to do that than content creation? Newbies in the SaaS industry will greatly benefit from blogs or sites that talk about your product and how it can improve everyday life.
Start a blog and write content for people who will likely need your product. It’s one way of grabbing people’s attention, but you can’t achieve that if your blog doesn’t stand out. Make sure the ideas you pitch are relevant to user needs, and you can find that out by listening to immediate feedback.
Your goal is to be the authority in your niche, so always listen and be observant to the needs of the masses. Generate content according to the response you get online and make sure your copy not only bring value, but also entertaining as its engaging.
Always Beta Test
Launching a beta product is the common practice of every company looking to introduce new software or programs in the market. Every successful company did so, and so should you. Your beta product is your way of learning what needs to be improved or what should be taken down. Once your software or app is fully-functioning and bug-free, you’re free to release it once and for all.
Don’t worry to much about your product launch getting delayed. It’s import to ensure its usability first, and the best way to test that is by listening to feedback. As the creator of the product, you must be open for criticisms as well and never shy away from asking comments.
Let the Press Know About Your Beta Product
Since you are a startup and nobody knows you just yet, try and pitch your beta version to the press. Not all press are willing to cover beta products, but if they find yours interesting, your product and services will be covered, which will build up anticipation.
Nobody can help you better but yourself, so doing your own PR in this phase just makes sense. Nobody knows your business better than you do, so find time to go online and check forums, social media, or any site that will find your product relevant. The goal here is to let them know that you have created something worth checking out, so start commenting on relevant topics, participate in discussions, and gradually introduce your product.
Always be polite and be patient — answer each question until they understand and see what the whole point of your product is.
Try All Sorts of Marketing
The way to know what works best is try a bit of everything. There are many ways to market your software, and doing all of them at once won’t be feasible for you and your company. To know what works for you, try them and see which one is performing best.
Marketing requires budget, so you must be smart about your choices. Don’t make the mistake of dropping all your eggs in one basket. Always check your conversions and stick to the marketing channel with the highest rate of conversions. You can start doing PRs, email marketing, paid search engine ads, and social media marketing.
Find Out the Competitive Advantage
As a new product, the question you’ll be asked often is, “ How is your product any different from the competition?” If you still don’t have the answer to this, you’re in big trouble. You should have a good answer in mind with a convincing competitive advantage. In order to find out what this is, narrow down the niche based on the size of the industry or business, as well as the geolocation. Start with the smallest, but become the best in this niche.
Always Deliver Value
Don’t think of your earnings just yet. In fact, don’t expect to earn millions of dollars if you’re app or software leans onto being sub-standard. Instead of chasing the money, make sure that your product create value to those who may buy or use them. Listen to feedback, be responsive, and maintain contact. Don’t be discouraged by the small numbers, and keep in mind that the better your product will become, the more people will flock right into it.