Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a booming market and is usurping all major markets with no sign of slowing down soon. In fact, it is expected to grow exponentially - up to $60.36 billion by 2023.
These numbers are an indication that if you have a great SaaS startup idea, then now’s the time to put your head down and get to work.
Having an idea is a great beginning. However, there’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into building a SaaS business. In this article, we discuss 10 ways to build and operate a SaaS company to give you the head start you need in this exciting new entrepreneurial journey.
1. Find the right problems and start small
If you look at any successful startup, you will see that they began as a solution to a problem.
Amazon started as a book delivery service but realized the demand for other products and expanded into being the behemoth that it is today. Dropbox realized the problems that USBs pose and the inconvenience in transferring data amongst colleagues. The company built an intuitive model that allowed people to share on-the-go.
When analyzing problems, consider diving deep and understanding what the core issue is for the user (emotionally and practically). Then try to build a product that addresses and solves that problem the best way possible.
SaaS will solve almost 80 percent of organizational needs by 2022. So while there's definitely scope, you need to start today and gradually expand to be able to sustain.
2. Get a great domain name
Every startup, be it SaaS or a small online fashion boutique, needs an online identity - a great domain name. Your domain name forms the nucleus of your business and it requires serious thought.
As a SaaS business, you need to show your innovative side not just in your product but also in the brand that you build around it. When it comes to your domain name, consider opting for a more refined and contextual domain extension--one that communicates the essence of your product.
3. Market your ideas
Gone are the days when marketing began after launching a product. The digital age is about building an idea amongst your potential customers and developing hype before you launch a product.
Consider the example of OnePlus Nord. The brand created an ominous hype months before the launch. The smartphone brand went on to release a documentary for the product and collaborated with multiple well-known personalities and brands to inform and excite the user of what is to come.
4. Consider pre-selling your product
The idea of pre-selling (also called blind sales) has been employed in a variety of fields. This is where brands try to excite the user into trying the product and encourage them to pre-order it. Having people pre-order your SaaS product can be great for gaining initial reviews.
There are several ways in which brands pre-sell their products:
● Creating a waitlist
● Blind sale in a limited quantity
● Creating fake landing pages to gauge customer intentions
● Creating simulation to give an overview
5. Find the right strategy to enter the market
Depending on your target market, create a plan on how you would generate interest for your product. If you are looking for quantity, you can create a low-fee subscription model for a considerable number of customers.
If your primary focus is quality, you can opt for a moderately higher fee for fewer potential customers. You can also provide a trial version to specific key markets to see their response and modify your product and adjust your strategy accordingly.
The best example would be how smartphone brands usually test and promote their products. They make market-specific products, launch in key markets, and then expand.
6. Partner with the right people
When you start, you need an initial boost (the nitro effect), and portals such as Product Hunt are a great way to begin. Premature growth is an important aspect to focus on, and a SaaS startup is no different.
Partnering with the right people will allow you to grow your idea and expand your legroom. It can include influencer marketing, exclusive access, giveaways, and more.
7. Prepare a launch plan
Once you have gained all the experience from your pre-launch endeavours, it's time to put them all into use. Prepare a detailed launch strategy, including market research, and a large pool of ideas to work with.
Your launch could either be a large virtual event of a detailed digital marketing campaign that includes ads, videos, social media engagement, product landing pages, and more.
Find ways to gain traction, such as guest posting on other blogs, exclusive interviews with influencers who’ve used your product, and tactics that could drive more people to look into the product and possibly buy it.
8. Find ways to drive traffic continuously
When you’re doing business online, you need to think about traffic. What’s the point of creating a groundbreaking product that no one knows about? Of course, you’ll be spending marketing dollars to get the word out, but don’t underestimate the importance of organic search.
While you need to have a well-oiled website, you could also use a blog and video as a means to improve your SEO and drive organic traffic to your product. Having a keyword-rich domain name will add immense value here.
9. Track consumer behaviour
An ongoing process in SaaS product development is to track consumer behaviour continually. It doesn't matter if your product is cloud-based or offline, you will need their help to improve and expand.
You can call up some customers, send them survey links, ask your sales partners to share relevant data, and employ other ways to get a hold of consumer behaviour. It will help you take a holistic approach and make all-around changes to the product to better cater to the end-users.
Hire a team to do that on your behalf and focus on your key competencies to improve your services and user experience. Classify subscribers into several key categories and build a strategy for each group.
10. Add features most-requested by your users
Building a product is no longer limited to its launch. The consumers expect much more from you, and you must bring them improvements that make sense.
There are times when organizations have to bring back products due to excessive demand or introduce a new feature to meet the many requests of customers.
Developing and operating a SaaS startup is a continuous process. You will need to get a lot of things right, and even if certain things don't pan out well the first time, you can use them to learn and grow. Don't be afraid to adapt your business and product as you discover new things.