They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and that couldn’t be more true than in the competitive SaaS market. According to Crunchbase, there were a staggering 15,529 SaaS companies worldwide as of last June. So, how do you set your new product apart?
A strategically-planned new product launch gives you an advantage from the very outset. As you prepare to send your fledgling product out into the world, take a look at our step-by-step guide for garnering your product the attention — and adoption — it deserves.
1. Suss out the competition.
Unless you’re one of the truly unique SaaS companies that is inventing a whole new product category, you’re going to face competition. Perform some market research to understand who’s operating in your space and how they’re doing it. What are their marketing strategies and pricing models?
Next determine what you can offer that your competitors can’t. A unique selling proposition will let you compete with companies that are more experienced and potentially better funded. While you certainly don’t want to discount the competition, there’s no reason to fear it either when you can offer a distinct advantage.
2. Identify your target customers.
Here’s another area where researching the competition will serve you well. It’s likely that your competitors’ customers will be your target audience, so figure out who they are.
Perform market research to gather not only the typical demographic data (age, gender, location, and job role), but information on interests, social media habits, and pain points. Besides conducting surveys and focus groups, using tools like SimilarWeb and Follow can help as well.
3. Create buzz strategically.
Nothing gets the word out like the right marketing campaign. Now that you know who you’re targeting, consider the how and where.
- Public Relations — Create a media kit, draft up a short and succinct press release, and plan your strategy for pitching select media outlets.
- Email Marketing — Build out an email list of current contacts and prospective customers, and send out a riveting announcement of your launch.
- Social Media — Follow prospects to secure your own following. Then tease your product across your accounts to build suspense pre-launch.
- Influencer Partnerships — Speaking of social media, find influencers in your field, and get them on your side with free trials, paid advertising, or a brand ambassadorship.
- Landing Page — A big product launch deserves a big landing page. A/B test yours to see what messaging works best, and consider using video to get users engaged.
- Blog Posts — Share information on your product to build excitement, along with thought leadership pieces that establish you as an expert in your field. Posts can live on your own site or on public blogging platforms like Medium.
Of course, not every marketing channel is right for every launch. Focus on the ones that will gain you the most traction so that you don’t spread yourself too thin.
4. Make it easy.
All the marketing in the world can’t make up for a lousy product experience. Conversely, the ability to be there for your customers when they need help can set you apart from the competition.
Make sure that customers can onboard themselves easily with step-by-step checklists and implementation guides. Then offer customer support that solidifies the user experience with a self-service customer portal. Finally, customer feedback surveys allow you to gauge what works and what doesn’t in order to continually improve. Candu offers customizable templates for all of it — no code required.
5. Update and iterate.
Attention falters, and messaging gets stale; it’s the natural course of things. Understand your product lifecycle, and be prepared to update it to meet customer demand. Refresh your message and content whenever your analytics signal a dip in engagement. A launch, after all, is only the first step, and continual iteration of both your product and your message will keep you going for the long haul.