A friend of mine put it perfectly:
“Unless you’re Apple, no one gives a crap about your product.”
I chuckled when I heard it, but his words were true.
And if you plan to create and successfully launch a SaaS or software product, then you’d be wise to take those words to heart.
Unless the product you have is truly revolutionary, people won’t buy it — not at first.
I don’t want that to sound like a bummer. It’s honestly just how things go.
Creating and developing your product takes a lot of time and energy, but getting people to care enough to purchase it is a long trek that many aspiring entrepreneurs don’t fully consider or understand.
Many have a product that is amazing and truly unique and when they release it they get nothing but crickets. The growth they thought they would see is non-existent and now they’re wondering what they did wrong.
So what happened?
The problem is simple:
They believed the initial launch was a stopping point instead of viewing it as a starting line.
By fixing that mentality and shifting focus a bit, your product launch is going to do much better than you think.
Launching a SaaS Product the Right Way
I’m all about online transparency when it comes to my knowledge and skillset. As that’s the case, let me just be clear:
I’m not Neil Patel. I don’t own any SaaS Product, yet. Therefore, I’m not an expert on running a SaaS company.
However, I think that gives me a similar perspective to just about everyone else out there who has never done this before and wants to know how to get a product out there.
And even though I don’t personally run a SaaS startup, I work for and with people who do. I know and have worked with people who have done just this and as a web copywriter and aspiring Growth Hacker, I’m slightly obsessed with this topic.
I asked myself, “If I was going to launch a product, what would I do? Who would I ask? Where would I need to start?”
After that, I started reaching out to friends and others that I knew who had been doing this or had managed to launch a software that was doing well. Their insights were quite enlightening.
How to Launch a SaaS Product: Tips from the Experts
Be Realistic and Realize that Soft-Launching is The Way This Works
With everyone I spoke to and the research that I did, one term kept coming up:
This means that you release your product first and then build buzz from there. Though not strictly a SaaS Product company, I talked with the guys that created the Beaver Builder plugin to get their thoughts on launching a software product:
This is the question I had: Did you guys launch you product with a lot of buzz around it or did you create the product and then build buzz from there via outreach?
We launched with very little buzz! It was actually a bit disheartening … It wasn’t until our customers started talking about us that we started getting noticed. Of course everyone hopes their product will catch a viral buzz on launch, but in reality I think that’s very rarely the case. More often than not (and for us), getting buzz is a long, calculated, and time-intensive process. ~ Beaver Builder
The folks at CSSHero, SendinBlue, and ThemeIsle had something similar to say:
We soft-launched [CSSHero] without creating huge buzz at first to be ableto beta-test it on a limited number of people and follow directly user issues and desires,to make our product better and more compatible. ~ CSS HeroFor all our products I prefered to launch slowly, basically just launch something basic and build around it based on users feedback, freemium model is particularly good for this. SendinBlue did the same, they launched initially something very simple for their agency clients and expanded slowly on top of that. ~ Ionut with ThemeIsle
In every case, soft-launching was the method used and they built on it from there. This allowed for beta-testing and feedback to better the product for the end user.
Create content that draws in your end-user
Believe it or not, content creation is your best friend if you’re a nobody in the SaaS Product world. Starting a blog and then writing and creating content that speaks to the people who need or might want your product is a great way to grab attention about your brand and product while also build you as an authority in your desired space.
CoShedule is an amazing example of this. They created blog posts, infographics, and free downloadable PDFs to boost their email opt-ins. Since their initial launch, they grew their email list to over 50 thousand subscribers.
Even though those people might not initially buy their product, they now have a way to keep themselves in front of these potential customers and turn them into one.
Create an outreach campaign
Identifying influencers and bloggers that will help spread your product is a must. You don’t want to just shoot at everything that moves, though.
You should be strategic about this. My absolute favorite tool for this is NinjaOutreach. This it THE tool for this and makes everything easier for you.
Get a growth hacker’s mindset
Growth hacking makes me all kinds of happy. Growth is amazing to see and to be a part of, but it takes a shift in mindset and requires you to really think out of the box sometimes.
Where are your potential customers right now? YouTube? Forums? Pinterest?
What other products do they use? Could you piggyback on those products success to grow your own?
Don’t aim to do whatever one else is doing — go further, dig deeper, research, and get out of your own head. Better yet, hire someone to do this for you and help you do this.
Growth Geeks is a rather new online space that lets you find quality and vetted growth hackers to help you with every marketing corner you could imagine.
Wrapping it up
Startr put it perfectly:
Depending on the size of your team and your marketing budget, that may need to double in time. The reality is that it can take years for your SaaS Product to catch up. And even though that can be disheartening, that is normal.
Soft-launching allows you to get your product out there while giving it time to turn into a mature product. Developing your content helps your bring potential customers to you. Outreach helps you get in front of your perspective audience. Growth hack marketing helps you go beyond the obvious and allows you to drum up unique ways of getting people to come to your product.
Launching a product isn’t the last step in your journey — it’s usually the first. Launching it means that you’ve taken it in the right direction, but you need to keep it moving. Before you even launch, though, you should have a plan in place of what you will do, what your goals are, and how you plan to check them off.
What tips or posts have you read that other would find helpful on this topic? Be sure to share in the comments below.