With 2018 already in full swing, it’s time for every business owner to stop and take a moment to ask yourself “Are we hitting the numbers we need to for 2018 to be a success?”. In most cases, as business owners need to allocate our time across many areas and we tend to lose focus on the key metrics that really define what drives growth.

The key metrics that define growth can generally be broken down into five stages:

  • Traffic
  • Subscribers
  • Leads
  • Conversions
  • Revenue

The most important thing that we tend to overlook is how each of these stages can be optimised to improve your online performance across the board. For example, driving more traffic to your website will inevitably result in more leads and more revenue. However, it may not be the most effective way to reach your target sooner.

With that in mind, here are 7 actionable strategies to grow your SaaS startup by 2018.

Create a viral sign up campaign

Everyone remembers Dropbox, right? They were the king of cloud storage before Google and Microsoft joined the party.  And while their market share may have dropped, one of the main reasons for their long time clients is their viral marketing campaign.

How Dropbox acquired 4 million users through viral sign ups

Dropbox created a viral sign up campaign which enabled users to gain extra storage space each time they shared Dropbox with their friends and colleagues through a respective marketing channel and for every new signup they received, you received free storage space. Everybody wins!

 

Grow SaaS Startup – Video Marketing Campaign

Automate your onboarding process

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could educate every new signup on how they can get the most out of your product or service from the moment they signup? Can you imagine the retention rate! Thankfully, with marketing automation, you can.

Marketing automation allows you to deliver targeted emails based upon how your new signup interacts with your platform, ensuring they get the best possible experience while using your platform resulting in a higher chance of converting them into a paying customer.

How Groove automated their onboarding process

“Groove provides simple online helpdesk software enabling users to delight their online customers using awesome, personal support” so it’s natural that they wanted to create personalised onboarding experience to match.

30,000 emails later and Groove has mastered the art of creating an onboarding experience that educates new sign ups on how to use their platform while nurturing them through the sales funnel from new signup to paying customer 24/7, 365.

In the event that users need individual assistance, Groove’s support team are standing by.

 

Grow SaaS Startup – Marketing Automation

Create a competitor comparison page

Every startup likes to demonstrate why their product is the bee’s knees on the market. It’s not only what gets you your first customers, it’s also what steals your competition’s customers!

For you to do this, you need to be able to convince your target audience why your product isn’t just better in terms of price or features. You need to find the pain points and problems they may be experiencing with their current SaaS solution and show them how your product can solve their problems.

How Zarget beat Hotjar at their own game by creating an all-in-one solution

Zarget did exactly this by creating a Zarget vs Hotjar comparison page outlining 4 compelling reasons to switch from Hotjar to Zarget. The targeted Hotjar’s customer pain points and outlined how their platform solves each of them while doing it at a more competitive price.

They then ran targeted campaigns through Google Adwords using phrases like “hotjar vs” or “hotjar alternative” to find Hotjar’s most likely to change customers and lured them in with a free trial. From there, all that’s left to do is let them see the difference first hand.

 

Grow SaaS Startup – Competitor Comparison Page

Repurpose your blog articles

If you run a SaaS company, you’ve probably been blogging for some time now. After all, quality content is one of the best traffic and lead generation methods available. It also turns you into an educator in your industry, not someone peddling the next best thing.

Unfortunately, gaining a loyal audience on your blog can take a substantial amount of time and effort. Thankfully, there are websites out there who already have a large audience which you can use to harvest your first readers from to turning them into subscribers and eventually, paying customers.

LinkedIn Pulse, Medium and Flipboard are just a few. Leading tech and business blogs are also a great option but can take additional time be published in. And don’t worry, repurposing your content won’t damage your search engine rankings. Google is smart in detecting the original source for any articles you publish across different channels.

How Buffer gained over 180,000 Medium followers repurposing their blogs

Buffer not only provides one of the best social media sharing tools on the market they are a leader in providing readers with insightful and actionable advice on social media marketing so it’s no surprise they know how to increase their brand awareness and attract more traffic without having to invest a lot oftime and budget into doing so.

Buffer’s Medium channel has attracted over 180,000 followers and 1000s of article views simply but repurposing their own blog articles to Medium.

 

Grow SaaS Startup – Repurpose Blog Articles

Optimise your free trial period

Do you know what the optimal free trial period for your product is for turning free trial sign ups into paying, lifelong customers? In-fact, providing a longer trial period for your SaaS product may actually be damaging your sales and revenue.

Research has proven that only 20% of SaaS sign ups are actually true evaluators, and that you may find that by completing simple split tests such as reducing the trial period of your product, removing the requirement for credit card details or creating an automated onboarding sequence to educate new sign ups on how to get the most out of your product can play a huge role in increasing your signup rate and churn rate.

How Flow optimised their signup process and increased sales by 17%

By reviewing previous data they discovered the key identifying patterns of their highest converting customers and redesigned the sign-up and onboarding process to include an email address or ‘Sign up with Google’ option only, an email address verification step to reduce spammers and non-interested sign ups, an introduction video after sign-up, a profile completion window after email verification and an option to invite team members in Flow’s signup process.

They then ran this test for 30 days and it resulted in a 17% increase in sales.

 

Grow Saas Startup – Optimise Free Trial Period

Target your competitor’s traffic sources

Another way to beat your competition at their own game is by finding which websites are providing linkbacks to your competitor’s websites. There are a number of tools available on the market which will allow you to do this including Ahrefs, Serpstat and SimilarWeb (all of which provide free trials to get you started).

How to steal your competitor’s backlinks by creating better content

Once you have determined which websites are driving the most traffic to your competitors it’s time to develop a strategy on how you can do the same. Find which content they are using for each backlink and create more valuable, updated content then reach out to the website providing them with the backlink.

This can take more time than some of the other methods outlined but can prove lucrative for generating long term, organic traffic to your website.

 

Grow SaaS Startup – Backlink Analysis

Create a free relevant industry tool

What better way to entice your customers by providing them with a free tool that can be used alongside your main product. It allows you to give users immediate value and experience what your brand has to offer without paying for it.

Unlike a free trial which only lasts for a limited period of time, they have this free tool for life. Just be sure to create something that is relevant to your core business. Your objective is to turn people into paying customers.

How Clearbit generated 100,000 leads using their free Chrome extension

Clearbit created a free Chrome extension that allows you to find the email address of key company employees (CEO’s, CFO’s and managers) as well as providing you with a basic profile of them allowing you to build sales pipelines.

This provides users with a teaser to their main product which includes profile enrichment, company profile overviews and more. By creating this simple Chrome extension it resulted in over 100,000 inbound leads that they can then pitch their main product too.

Grow SaaS Startup – Create Free Industry Tool

 

And there you have it, 7 actionable strategies to grow your SaaS startup in 2018. Why not test one (or all) of them for yourself and let me know how it impacted your marketing results.

 

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