In the book ‘The Startup Owner’s Manual’, the authors cover all the important aspects of starting a business (including acquiring customers) and in my experience, I have found it very hard to come across a more useful resource.
In this post, I will be covering the most effective way to acquire SaaS customers for startups that works.
As you might have guessed, this is not an easy topic to cover, because it requires me to define the most effective way of acquiring SaaS customers for startups that works for every startup.
This means that each startup will need their own unique strategy as they are at different stages in their business lifecycle and have different target segments and customer acquisition goals.
There are many strategies that can be used to acquire SaaS customers for startups, but these strategies do not always work well for startups, and sometimes they don’t even work well for established businesses.
So I am going to try my best to list some of these strategies below along with a few examples of when they can be used effectively.
So let's begin…
High-Level Acquisition Strategies
- Build a self-service product
- Build a simple, good-looking website.
- Provide excellent support and good customer service. This is the most critical part of your SaaS business lifecycle.
The customer will only continue to use your product if they are satisfied with your service.
So you must always be on the lookout for ways to improve your support and customer service.
And then you have to make sure that everyone working at your company has incentives in place to provide good customer service, so it isn’t just left up to one or two people in the company.
If you are targeting consumers or small businesses, Facebook marketing is very effective and cheap, so I would recommend using it for these segments of customers.
You can build a basic website and then spend $100-$500 on Facebook ads per month to start acquiring customers — this may not seem like much but if you get even 50 signups from this amount, then it will be well worth it!
Paid Search Engine Marketing
For B2B products, I have found Adwords to be very effective. You can use this to acquire customers directly on your website or you can use it to target potential customers who are searching for related keywords.
This is a great way to attract people to your website and interact with them.
This is not so much for the purpose of acquiring customers, but for providing value to your target audience and building trust and credibility for your brand.
So if you are not using content marketing already, I would highly recommend that you start implementing it into your strategy today!
If you are targeting just B2B customers, then trade shows can be a great way of meeting these buyers in person and building relationships with them (if done correctly).
So I would recommend attending at least one every year. (Here is an article that covers what trade shows you should attend)
For those who have built up a blog before they started their business, this can be a great way of getting attention from people in your industry or potential leads.
Otherwise, if you haven’t started a blog before, you should start one as soon as possible.
This is probably the most painful way to acquire customers, but if you are targeting a specific segment of customers who don’t want an online product, it can be very effective.
I would only recommend doing this when you are going after a very specific target segment of people (e.g. a B2B customer who only has 5 to 10 people on their team and no online presence).
Speaking at events can be great for meeting potential leads and building relationships with them.
However, it is important that you do this strategically so that you are not wasting your time speaking at events that don’t add any value to your business.
This is where you promote someone else’s product/service and get paid when someone purchases from them using your link.
It is very effective for B2C products because there are many websites out there that allow entrepreneurs to promote their products or services and earn commissions from the sales they generate.
And if the website is big enough, they usually don’t charge you to use their platform.
If you are targeting small businesses, then it is very possible that they will need a product other than yours.
For example, if they are using your product to automate their email marketing, then you should consider partnering with another company that offers them a way to send out their physical mail campaigns.
In summary, there are many strategies that you can use to acquire customers for your SaaS startup, but some of them just don’t work well for startups.
The ones listed above are some of the most effective strategies that I have used myself or read about from other entrepreneurs, so I hope this has given you a good idea of the different things that you can do to acquire customers!
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.