When you have a new SaaS company, one of the biggest aspirations that you have is to reach the 1,000 paying customer milestone.
Figuring out how to get those first 1,000 paying customers is really hard. However, there are some effective ways to grow your company that you can use to guide you towards that goal.
Often, the most effective way to grow a new SaaS company is to embrace the power of content. Content is more than just writing a blog post and hoping that it does well, it needs to be part a well-thought out plan aimed at helping you achieve your desired goal of 1,000 paying customers.
Let’s go through how content can help you get your first 1,000 paying SaaS customers and then browse some other great SaaS growth tactics.
1. Content marketing is the best, and often cheapest, way for a SaaS startup to get more customers. By writing about the topics that your target audience is interested in they will discover your brand and eventually your product. Additionally, if you are writing about the topics that interest your target audience it becomes much more likely that they’ll share your content with their network. This can create a high quality readership base around your blog. If you have a high quality and targeted readership base, it becomes likely that many readers will end up becoming paid customers of your product. The key to having a good content strategy is writing content that is relevant to your audience. Find common problems that your target audience faces and write about them.
2. Supporting your content marketing is the only way for your content to thrive. Building up a large blog readership can take years, so supporting your content marketing is the only way to accelerate the success of it. You need to actively promote and come up with creative ways to drive traffic to your content efforts. Sites like Reddit and Hacker News are great starting points for your attempts to turn your blog posts into popular blog posts. Using communities like Hacker News and Reddit can prove to be great for building readership up because users of these sites are often quite passionate and, when they really like something, will become hardcore advocates of it.
Supporting your content marketing efforts on the communities that matter most to your company is easiest when you write about your industry and the topics relevant to it. Tell stories and give suggestions based on your own learnings and you’ll find more readers.
3. Engaging with the communities that matter to your business is a very effective way to get customers, not just support your content marketing efforts. This doesn’t mean just posting something on various communities, but it means coming up with smart ways to get community generated content around your brand. For example, if you’re a SaaS company that sells sales software, you might go to /r/sales on Reddit and try to start a post along the lines of, “what are your favorite sales jokes?” and see if you can get the community involved. If the /r/sales community gets involved, come up with a subtle way to promote your brand in the conversation.
4. Make sure your happy customers are referring others. When you have a good product, people will naturally tell others about it. You can use things like survey existing customers to understand satisfaction rates. When you see that product satisfaction rate is extremely high, you can gauge if it’s time to try to accelerate organic referrals. To accelerate organic referrals, you can do things as simple as asking your best customers to tell their friends or create a smartly planned out referral program.
5. Generate press coverage to introduce your target audience to your brand. This is harder said than done, but there’s always a clever way to discover press coverage opportunities. One massive benefit of press coverage is that you can discover some impressive link building opportunities to improve your search engine rankings. For example, if a newspaper such as The New York Times writes about your company and links to your website, you will receive a noticeable increase in search traffic over time (in addition to a bunch of new customers at the time of publication).
Will these tips really get you your first 1,000 paying SaaS customers?
The five ideas above will all be very helpful for you reaching your first 1,000 paying SaaS customers. However, none of these tips are an instant magic bullet for obtaining customers.
When you do all of the right social campaigns, content planning, and other engagement tactics, combined with the ideas above, it becomes a lot more likely that your company will grow faster and you’ll find business success.