Launching a SaaS is a big deal. There are about a million things to do, and if you don’t have the right combination of determination and thick skin, your company doesn’t stand a chance.
Different business ideas are a dime a dozen, but they often fall flat when it comes time for implementation. A study shows that 90% of startups failed in a short time. No matter how great the product is, that’s only a single piece of a much larger puzzle.
It’s easy to get carried away in the details (let’s face it, there are a lot of them), so we are highlighting the most important things to do before launching your SaaS.
1. Start with a Solid Product
It may seem like this goes without saying, but your product must be exceptional to survive in the turbulent SaaS sea. An ongoing CB Insights study of failed startups shows that the majority of companies fail because it does lack the marketplace for the product.
Do market your niche by talking to everyone you have access to. Be sure people not only like your idea, but find it useful and will use it, and most importantly, will pay for it.
Determine what your customers’ problems or needs are and solve them with your product. You must offer users a unique value they won’t find elsewhere.
A fantastic product doesn’t guarantee a sustainable business, but it’s a good start.
2. Make Plans
Again, this one seems obvious, yet many SaaS founders launch their product ill-prepared. They skip over many crucial steps and begin creating prototypes and running campaigns without forming even a basic plan.
Having a solid strategy mapped out beforehand can be the difference between moving your startup beyond a successful launch and turning it into a successful long-term business. Answer questions such as: Who is your target market? What marketing tools will be used? What will your customer support strategy be? And have backup plans A, B, and C.
Beyond needing to have a definite plan for your launch, you must also secure funding. One primary reason startups fail is that they run out of money, often because they didn’t raise enough from the beginning.
The moment you have your product idea, start figuring out how you’re going to fund it. It is a lucky few who don’t need to seek investors. This isn’t entirely bad though – Investors typically have a great deal of experience running businesses and can be incredibly valuable mentors.
Whether you’re bootstrapping your SaaS or raising capital, figure a safety net and contingencies into your projections.
3. Create a Pre-Launch Presence
You are building an online presence before your launch is crucial – the sooner, the better.
One of the best ways to create your pre-launch presence is to design a microsite. It should tell people, in simple but eloquent language, what problems they need to be solved, and how your product is going to do it.
You also need a basic form to capture visitors’ contact information, which is like gold. Use it to create email and text campaigns and connect with people on social media. Getting those early followers involved and asking for their opinions helps get them attached to your brand.
When setting up your microsite, an SSL Certificate is essential.
Functionally, it provides security for sensitive personal information. Beyond that, having an SSL certificate gives your company credibility and enables your future customers to be more confident in you.
Having an SSL Certificate also provides an SEO boost because Google gives preferential treatment to sites using them, ranking them much higher in search results.
Taking it a step further, Wildcard SSL Certificate enables owners to secure the main website and its multiple sub-domains with a single certificate.
No matter what type of website you have, an SSL Certificate is an absolute must.
4. Be Versatile
Not only does the team need to roll with the punches, but the entire company’s mindset needs to be flexible.
In SaaS companies, roles and responsibilities often overlap, requiring collaboration. Everyone in the company must be willing to make changes – quickly – if something isn’t working: Marketing strategies, branding, or even scrapping a product or idea altogether.
A company that has a versatile mindset is far more likely to survive than one unable to adapt.
5. Use Free Resources
Startups often fail because they don’t consider the most critical part of the equation: Customers, who exist virtually everywhere today. With nothing more than some effort on your part, you can access a tremendous number of them.
Social media and discussion sites, including LinkedIn and Reddit, as well as your startup’s blog, are great places to start generating buzz. According to HubSpot, companies with a blog generate 67% more leads than companies who don’t.
Take part in community discussions and build a rapport to leverage your brand’s ideas. Remember that your readers are potential customers, so avoid being “salesy” and instead illustrate how your product will fulfill their needs.
Think outside the box and attend conventions and networking events related to your product’s niche as well.
6. … And Paid Ones
Paid social media and Google ads can be highly effective in generating customers. Just remember to think like a customer and don’t be too pushy. Show your audience that they have a problem, and you happen to have the product that will solve it.
Give Your Product Away
Your SaaS’ primary goal early on is to create a good user base by getting people to use your product.
Give away free trials, then let early adopters keep using it. Find influencers and get them involved emotionally, so they are tied to the success of your launch.
Create a customer-centric culture around your brand by encouraging (and heeding) honest feedback, and continuously refine your product.
While it can be daunting preparing for your SaaS launch, the tips discussed here will help you focus on what’s most important. Think like your customers and start and end every process with them in mind.
Lastly, good luck.