Launching Hacks: How to Get Your First SaaS Users

  • Written By:
    Ann Smarty
  • Published On:
    December 19th, 2021
  • Read Time:
    5 Mins
  • Category:

Launching can be overwhelming and intimidating: Your project never seems quite ready to launch!

I know the feeling but delaying the launch is never a good thing. As soon as you have your first users, working on your SaaS product is going to be much more motivating and satisfying!

But how to get those first users? Here are a few launching hacks:

Start Early

Depending on how new you are to the niche, it is almost always a good idea to start early. Exploring your niche will also give you more ideas of demand and product development options.

Don’t wait till your launch! Start developing your marketing strategy while still developing your project:

  • Come up with a brandable name that will be easy to market. This cool business name generator makes it easy to find a name that will be easy to remember
  • Identify niche influencers and learn more about them. What’s the best way to reach out to them? Can there be any common friends to introduce you to them? 
  • Research your future competitors’ users and where they are active. Here’s a solid guide on how to analyse your competitors properly.
  • Find email lists and popular blogs in your niche. Many of those offer sponsorship opportunities. Others will gladly help you for free.
  • Join niche groups and listen to what people are saying there. Get to know the moderators and ask them about promotional content rules and/or sponsorship opportunities
  • Set up your branded social media profiles early and start building them up slowly. This way they won’t be empty when you launch, and you will be able to start building niche connections early.
  • Create a consistent monitoring routine to keep an eye on your growth. Use Link Checker to organize and track your newly acquired links:

Even if your site is not live yet, you can still use its URL to generate some initial sign-ups and let people apply for an early-bird access. All you need is to set up a “Coming soon” page which literally takes minutes to put together.

By the time you launch, you should ideally have a clear plan for your next steps, including who the first people are you are going to email to and invite to your platform. The more you do while your product is being developed, the faster those first users will come.

Launching is tough because you need to suddenly be everywhere while being on top of all the operations, so it is better to come as prepared as you can. Pre-launch is crucial for acquiring new users quickly and smoothly.

Reach out to Friends and Influencers and Invite Them as Beta Testers

Inviting beta testers accomplishes a lot of goals:

  • It builds your initial core userbase (many of those beta testers may later become your brand ambassadors as they will always feel part of product production)
  • It helps you identify critical product bugs and evaluate initial product satisfaction
  • It will help you to engage your first users even prior to the launch

There are all kinds of methods to find your beta testers but probably the most efficient one is to find those who mentioned or reviewed your competitors and reach out to them inviting them to check out an alternative.

Further reading: How to Use Email Marketing to Grow Your Subscription Customer Base 

Set up a Referral Program

Launching is so much easier when other people are interested in your success, and there’s no better way to make them part of your launch than by paying them a referral fee. 

Affiliate marketing has long been one of the most effective ways to promote your business. It is claimed that a whooping 85% of all businesses are involved in affiliate marketing but there’s still a demand for promising well-paying affiliate programs in the industry.

Starting your own affiliate program is quite easy with PayKickstart and an additional perk is that your platform gets listed in the Marketplace for experienced affiliates to be able to find and promote your business.

To set up an affiliate program: Go to Campaigns inside your PayKickstart dashboard and select the Edit button (blue pencil button) for the Campaign and click “enable” next to “Affiliate program.” From there you will be guided through your new program settings:

You can enable an affiliate program on the campaign level

Here are a few additional resources for you to read:

Here’s your affiliate management dashboard inside PaykickStart

Further reading: How To Start An Affiliate Program For Your Small Business 

Keep an Eye on Your Competitors

How are your competitors utilizing seasonality on their landing pages? How often do they update their pricing page? How are they promoting their special offers?

Keeping an on your competitors is key to understanding how they are getting their users. Visualping is a great tool to monitor your competitors’ landing pages to get alerted of their promotional campaigns and learn from those!

As well as for competitive intelligence, website monitoring tools can be used to monitor regulatory changes for compliance and to produce regulatory intelligence.

Further reading: What is Competitive Intelligence?

Plan Your Advertising Budget

There are quite a few option for a SaaS entrepreneur to achieve higher product exposure:

  • Google Ads may be costly but they are highly effective
  • Facebook Ads are cheaper but may take time figuring out your best targeting settings
  • Linkedin Ads are costly but may work well for B2B businesses
  • Twitter offers lead generating ads that may work well as well
  • SaaS review platforms: Most of well-known SaaS review platforms like Capterra and Get App offer premium membership that comes with increased product visibility
It is worth registering your platform with as many SaaS review platforms as you can and explore advertising opportunities on the most popular ones

Again, it is a smart idea to start planning your budget early. In many places you have to acquire before you know the costs. On social media platforms you can start by advertising your early-access page or your whitepaper. 

When it comes to PPC ads, it is always a good idea to start slow with very low daily budgets until you feel more comfortable with your engagement. Plus, you will be able to re-target your previously engaged users with new ads after you launch. This will help you build traffic and leads fast.

Keeping Your First Users Is What Really Matters

Starting a new store or launching a SaaS startup is always tough. While getting your first users seems tough, the real challenge is to keep those people, and moreover keep them engaged. There’s no simple answer here. Instead there’s a collection of resources we wrote previously:

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Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, as well as co-founder of Viral Content Bee. Ann has been into Internet Marketing for over a decade, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Ann is also the frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of a weekly Twitter chat #vcbuzz

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