Here’s a checklist for pre-launch of a SaaS product
Every business owner dreams of rapid and explosive growth in a small period of time, yet, very few manage to achieve it. Growth is a phenomenon we mostly misunderstand in our struggle to win ROI.
Those who look beyond the imminent challenges and focus on building a useful product or service instead grow better than their competitors. The SaaS market is booming with the speed of light. Business owners come up with great new ideas all the time, but fail at the execution level.
Astonishingly, 90% of SaaS companies ultimately end up at the SaaS graveyard. These cold numbers aren’t there to demotivate passionate entrepreneurs; they are there to give them a reality check.
Once you come up with a great new SaaS product, you can’t wait to go out there and announce it to the world. To create a hype and build anticipation before the launch, business owners employ well-thought out pre-launch strategies for growth. There are plenty of techniques that can do the job for you, and you need to pick the right ones from the lot.
Therefore, we have prepared a checklist for you to follow when planning the pre-launch campaign of your SaaS startup:
Build a strong product
It goes without saying that your business idea must prove its mettle to survive and thrive in an ocean of SaaS startups. Look for ideas that solve key issues in the lives of users.
When Autopilot - a visual software to automate the customer journey - was about to launch, its founders decided that it is best to promote the most powerful thing about the platform, rather than emphasize the unimportant facts.
The company went from 0 to 2,500 customers, signed up 24,500+ subscribers to free trials and experienced a 21% overall revenue growth in just a period of one year. They managed to escape the SaaS graveyard by boosting what they are best known for:
- Monthly free trial signups
- Activation rate (% that achieved key in-product milestones)
- Conversion rate (% of trialists who buy)
- Average sales price (MRR/customer)
- Monthly recurring revenue (duh!)
- Gross churn MRR
- Net Promoter Score (measure of customers’ success and willingness to refer)
They made the process of purchasing the product and interacting with its customer service both online and offline much more convenient for customers.
Figure out the funding sources
As soon as you come up with a SaaS startup idea, one question will start to bother you: how am I going to fund it? If you are capable of funding your business, you can skip on to the next item on the list. But for those who don’t have solid resources, look for businesses and conventions to pitch and re-pitch your ideas.
Investors are not just people who pay for your ideas; they are experienced professionals who have seen the ups and downs of business over the years. They can become great mentors and guides in your endeavors. Not to mention, they can even come up with a word of advice to help you launch your business in a better way.
Design a ‘coming soon’ page or a microsite: (server)
It is essential to have an online presence before you officially launch your service in the market; A microsite is a great way to build an online presence. Make sure it is simple and asks for the email addresses and names of people who visit it. The page should be minimalistic - including just a simple description of your business and a form for people to leave their contact details.
However, you must put some thought before choosing a server for your site. If you want people to interact in real-time with your site and want this interaction to be smooth, invest in a solid hosting plan.
The continuous action dashboard of service providers should be preferred, since they give an overview of your site in just a quick glance. Your website or microsite should be built to perfection and be able to host a large number of people in a short period of time.
Hire an expert
If you are a business owner who is not very tech-friendly or looking to expand your promotional insight, you must hire an agency that can do the job for you. They will guide you and provide you with useful advice from the very beginning. You can also appoint an in-house team of professionals who have the passion to take your project to new heights.
Create free resources
Encourage feedback: One of the most important factors in the success of your SaaS enterprise is your customer-centric approach. If you start and end your thought process with the customer in mind, you will be able to pick the best strategy out there. Think like a customer. Why would someone use a new product which has just launched? Provide free resources on your website that are meant to educate the audience about your business.
Free resources include reports, statistics, ebooks, whitepapers, webinars and so much more. You can go offline in your promotional efforts and attend a convention that is related to your niche. Speak to influencers and business managers in these conventions to promote your service and its efficiency once it is going to be launched. All the free resources you provide your audience, both offline and online, are going to position you as an authority in your niche.
If your startup wins the pre-launch phase, you are lucky. You tried to avoid the 90% failure rate and powered through. It is time to launch your product in the market for real and make a lasting impact. In any case, you must have a powerful product which can shape people’s lives.
Use the tips mentioned above to craft a pre-launch strategy that can be impactful and touch the lives of its users. SaaS startups fail because they fail to cater to the most important part of the equation - the customer. Keep your efforts customer-centric to make sure that your pre-launch phase is moving in the right direction.