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How We Launched a SaaS Application in a Competitive Market

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User Growth
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Launching any business is not something to take lightly, especially in a competitive market.

Description

Our customer is a SaaS application that helps website owners to get more subscribers from their website.

The idea for the product is not something new, but their take on it showed that they were ready to tackle a piece of the market share.

When they approached User Growth, they were still building the product, together with the founders we came up with the concept for the build-up to the launch, the launch strategy itself and the aftermath of what to do after their product was successfully launched.

Challenges

  • highly saturated market;
  • complex technology; and
  • the product was still being built (resulting in terrible user experience with onboarding after the first signup).

Solutions

After analysing the product, we found that our customer’s biggest bottleneck in the customer journey was activation.

Activation is when users have a great first experience with the application and hit the WOW moment.

In this particular case, the data showed that customers did signup but in the end never really implemented the product on their website and knew what to do with it.

The data, however, showed that when users did implement the solution on their website within the first 30 minutes after signup and saw the power of what the product could do on their website, they were more likely to stick around and keep on using the product.

Yet, we found that only 7% of users did implement the product on their website within the first 30 minutes.

As a consequence, activation became our primary focus.

Before we could open the water tap and let in a flood of new users, we first had to fix the leaky basket.

Activation

Normally in a standard funnel setup, activation comes after the acquisition.

However, since we knew there was a leak in the funnel during the activation part, we decided to first focus on improving the activation process before starting any awareness and acquisition strategy.

We first proposed changes in the onboarding flow. Making the onboarding easier, more direct, accompanied by instructional videos on how to implement the tool on your website. Combined with a plugin for the most common used CMS out there (WordPress), we made the process of installation a lot easier.

This resulted in an increased activation rate of 300% in just under a month.

Awareness

Now we knew how to activate our users, it was time to slowly start ramping up traffic.

For this, we mainly used email marketing as our customer had already a significant email list available but we also used other channels where we had great engagement such as social media and especially through content marketing.

The key was to build awareness around a newly to be launched product before the product was even live so we could test our hypothesis around the activation more thorough, and generate interest on how the product could be used for gaining new subscribers on your website as part of any company’s overall marketing strategy

Acquisition

When the moment arrived to go all-in on the acquisition, we came up with an extensive launch strategy, based on the Rule of Seven.

The Rule of Seven is a marketing principle that states that your prospects need to come across your offer at least seven times before they really notice it and start to take action.

The “seven” touch-points we used for our customer were:

  • YouTube/LinkedIn/Facebook and other existing social media platforms on which our client was active
  • Email Marketing
  • Podcasts (guest posts)
  • Display Bannering and Search Engine Marketing
  • Push notifications from existing owned web properties
  • General Content Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing

This strategy resulted in their first 3000 customers within the first seven days of the launch.

Retention

For the newly acquired users to not just sign up but keep on coming back, we designed a drip campaign.

Drip campaigns are automated sets of emails that go out based on specific timelines or user actions. They enable you to stay in touch with groups of people based on events like when a user signs up for an account or how often that user visits your site, when they don’t return, etc.. Each time a drip email is sent out, it comes from a queue of already-written emails—there’s no need to manually write and send each one.

We used ConvertKit for these drip emails.

Drip emails were sent, on activation, after onboarding, and in the following days and weeks after signup.

Revenue

Obviously, revenue is key for any business. Without revenue, you will not have cash flow and without cash flow, your business will die from lack of cash, which is the oxygen to any business.

Without it, you will not be able to pay for all the other functions, and you will go out of business very quickly.

Revenue trumps all.

For our customer, we had a little bit of runway. As a result, we proposed to first stay free for a little while to gain as many insights as possible still on how people were using the application.

After a period of six weeks, we came up with a pricing strategy that consisted of a free tier and a two-tier premium offering.

Reviewing the UX/UI on the checkout process, making sure the transition was as smooth as possible and upgrading to higher tiers was very easy were the main focus points.

Referral

The goal of this stage is to get happy customers to recommend the product to others so that you create viral loops, increase the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of these customers so that you can afford a higher Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to reach out to new audiences.

The next steps would be to start implementing referral mechanisms the moment their customers have the WOW moment.

This strategy and implementation are currently in the works.

Impact

  • Successful product launch, with a steady flow of 400 subscribers per day after launch.
  • Funnel fully optimised.
  • Increased activation rate of 300%.