Growth hacking is a broad term used to describe various strategies solely focused on growth. It is most often used when talking about startups that need to generate a lot of new customers on a limited budget.
A growth hacking strategy for SaaS startups can be a multi-pronged approach that uses various marketing strategies to keep the sales funnel full and flowing.
Some strategies will be more suited to your company than others, and it will depend a lot on your target audience, their needs, and the pain points your SaaS is attempting to solve.
This article will go over some of the growth hacking strategies you can use to fuel your growth, build a community around your brand, and improve your market share in an increasingly competitive SaaS industry.
Growth hacking will be different for each company, but most of it comes down to figuring out what has helped you grow so you can focus on doing more of it.
Much of growth hacking is related to creating brand awareness, but the main point is to get traffic to your online properties so your content can work at converting visitors into paying users.
Growth is a critical part of the growth equation, but learning how to retain your users as happy customers is also crucial to ensure your revenue generation remains on an upward trend.
The first step in your growth hacking journey is to develop a product that people want and are willing to pay for. Once you have your first group of users, the data they will generate will be invaluable in helping you formulate the rest of your growth hacking strategy.
Use customer feedback to continue updating your product and monitor the results, so you always know if you are on the right track. Continue marketing your product to generate more leads and use conversion optimization techniques such as A/B testing to fine-tune your efforts.
Releasing a half-baked product will destroy your growth efforts. Long-term success requires in-depth market research into the demands of your target market. This way, you can be confident your product fulfills their needs.
Once you have your product, the next step is to develop a business model that continuously delivers value and recurring benefits to make your product more attractive to a broader audience.
Slack provides an excellent example of how to create a SaaS product that becomes an indispensable part of a company’s workflow.
One popular traffic generation strategy is to offer a limited trial version of the software. It’s a strategy that can work well, but the Slack team decided to try a different tactic.
New users get access to fully featured software for free, with the option to upgrade when they realize how essential it is to the business. The icing on the cake is that even users on the free tier get access to the same premium-level service as everyone else. There’s no reason to leave and every reason to upgrade.
The strategy proved fruitful and generated a tsunami of goodwill towards the company. As more people came on aboard, mentions of the product reached viral status online, was often talked about through word-of-mouth, and managed to become a popular topic in print media as well.
If you are wondering, Slack’s freemium growth hacking strategy managed to significantly decrease churn while increasing freemium conversions to 30%.
The secret to their success lies in Slack’s choice to implement message limitations for free users rather than impose a time-limited trial. Once the message limit is reached, business users have seen enough to know that an upgrade is an investment rather than an expense.
Getting prospects and leads into the sales funnel often takes precedence as the be-all and end-all of achieving growth, while the onboarding process is relegated to a low priority.
A populated sales funnel is excellent, but if most of your leads drop out because of an unpleasant onboarding experience, taking steps to plug the leak will improve your growth outlook.
Remember that hard-earned leads who drop off will still be looking to fill the gap in their workflow, which means you are likely sending them off to a competing product.
People will quickly give up if your SaaS offering is challenging to master, and they won’t have anything positive to say on review sites or social media.
In short, first impressions count and set the tone for what they can expect when venturing into the other features of your software. If it doesn’t match up to expectations, they won’t engage with your product long-term.
Impress your users by investing in your onboarding process. Users should immediately see why continuing to use your product will be a good investment and worth paying for a monthly subscription.
A welcome video goes through your software’s main features while showing how much more efficient it will make your customer or how well it will solve their pain points.
For example, Canva regularly educates customers with simple tutorials on how easy it is to produce professional-looking graphics without design skills or the expense of hiring a designer. AI content creation software like Frase shows new customers how the software will save them hours in content creation or get them through writer’s block when they are stuck for ideas.
Your customers are busy people. Let them know how long a process will take before they begin, and keep them appraised of their progress, so they don’t get frustrated. Customers should also have the option to save their progress and resume the setup process later.
Chatbots are a growing trend that makes your business more accessible to its customers. Live chat works great, but few startups can afford the full-time staff for around-the-clock service. AI chatbots are a decent alternative that can reduce your costs. The chatbot AI can handle many of the frequent issues your customers will face. When the conversation gets too technical, a live operator can take over, or the bot can send an email for your support team to follow up on.
You can use emails to share links to tutorial videos and articles to help your customers get up to speed with your software. A few case studies showcasing your previous customers and how they are using your software can help drive home the value it will provide.
Onboarding emails are an excellent resource to get new users started, but there’s always the risk they will go unnoticed and unread. One of the best ways to teach your customers how to get the most out of your software is from inside the software itself.
Add tooltips over menu items to describe functions and create tutorials they can access within the app.
When a new customer first logs in, a series of tooltips detailing the process of how to get started can be a huge time saver. When the customer has read the current tooltip, they click a button that takes them to the next step or feature. Products like Dropbox and Hubspot are great examples of how user-friendly you can make your software with this feature.
Webinars presented by an experienced user or developer provide an opportunity for your company to connect with customers in real-time. The presenter can take the audience through the software’s various features and answer questions should anybody need further clarification. A recording ensures clients can still access the content even if they couldn’t make it to the live presentation.
Every time someone uses your software, it provides an opportunity for improvement. If people are getting so far into the onboarding process before dropping out, you can quickly identify the problem areas and take steps to simplify or improve the software at that point.
You can also learn a lot by asking those customers who dropped out what they struggled with or didn’t like. When they see you are willing to address their issues, they may return as paying customers again.
Any business that operates online needs a content marketing strategy, but it does require good keyword research as a foundation.
Each keyword a searcher types into the search engines to find your business is an opportunity for you to show how you can solve one or more of their pain points with your software. Your content also puts your expertise and experience on display, which can generate a lot of confidence in your brand.
Keywords will also ensure your business shows up in the search engines. The more your name is seen in the results, the more recognition and authority you will generate for your brand.
Gated content is another content marketing strategy to get high-quality leads into your sales funnel. People who are willing to give away their email for your ebook or report are looking for solutions. If they are impressed with what you give away for free, they are more likely to try out your products.
Content is also an excellent method for introducing new features of your software and how to use them, while also increasing your exposure in the search engines.
Email marketing is too effective to ignore and still reigns supreme as one of the most cost-effective ways to fuel rapid growth.
Some of the most important advantages of email marketing include increased conversions, improved engagement, and customer retention.
Email marketing can be incredibly efficient when you add automation to the mix. Email marketing software will take care of the delivery, thank you notice, payment notifications, or whatever content you choose to add to the funnel every time someone signs up to receive your gated content.
You can segregate email subscribers and set different triggers to send content that is relevant to their progress through your sales funnel or based on their interactions with your software.
For example, if someone gets partway through the onboarding process and leaves, your email marketing campaign can kick in after a suitable time period to send a friendly reminder, a survey, or remind them that customer support is available if they ran into problems.
You do your best to collect emails via your content marketing efforts, but what do you do when visitors leave without signing up?
Fortunately, retargeting ad campaigns means these anonymous visitors are not lost to you forever. Retargeting gives you the ability to show ads to people who have visited your website after they leave and visit other locations on the web.
Customers can leave your site without converting for a whole host of reasons. Maybe they weren’t convinced about your pricing. Retargeting gives you the option to entice them back with a free trial or a heavily discounted offer.
Retargeting is an excellent tool for getting customers back to your website, but it is invaluable for improving brand recognition. It often takes several connections with a prospect before they convert, and retargeting helps increase your exposure after the initial engagement.
Small development teams can be overwhelmed with everything needed to develop new SaaS products, launch them, and ensure they experience rapid growth.
This is why sites like Flying Donkey exist. Experienced teams of developers can help you fine-tune your UX, create your website, augment your development team, provide comprehensive testing environments, and a lot more.
There’s a lot to developing a new SaaS product beyond code, and Flying Donkey is there to fill in the gaps. They can provide the skills your small team might lack and avoid the cost of bringing on full-time staff.
You may have a great idea but lack the skills to bring it to life. Flying Donkey has the expertise and experience for a much faster development cycle than you could hope to achieve by assembling a team of unknowns on your own.
The types of SaaS services you can take advantage of at Flying Donkey include:
- Web Development
- Software Architecture Design
- Custom Software Development
- Project Rescue
- Source Code Upgrades
Growth hacking strategies work best when you continuously monitor your results, test, tweak, and test again. Collect your data on every campaign and use analytics software to find areas where you could improve.
Make sure you engage with your customers and show your commitment with superb support. Your customers will be an excellent resource for discovering new opportunities and new feature ideas that will attract even more paying customers.
Augmenting your small team with development professionals like Flying Donkey will enhance your capabilities far beyond what you can do on your own. Project management is included at no extra charge, so be sure to get in touch to find out how they can help your startup achieve rapid growth.