The first thing you should bear in mind is that the consumer acquisition process is expensive, complicated, and time-consuming. If we compare customer acquisition to retention data, the stats will tell us that:
- To acquire a new customer, you have to pay five times more than you spend to retain an existing one.
- The 5% retention rate increase can result in up to 90% profitability growth
- The existing customers are five times more likely to repurchase and seven times more likely to try a new product
OK, it's all clear with that, but what if you have neither customers nor even an acquisition marketing strategy yet? The figures above should have evoked the thoughts to approach the customer acquisition process with all the seriousness and responsibility.
In this article, you’ll learn how to prepare for the active acquisition and what strategies to take to acquire new quality customers.
And what you should start with is to…
Polish your website
Your company’s website is a link between your product and your potential customers. It’s a visit card, a pitch, a catalog, and an explanation brochure simultaneously. Looking from this perspective, needless to say, that the website should be informative, user-friendly, and engaging.
It should be a no-brainer for a user to understand on which page they will find the necessary information and what will happen after clicking the buttons. For sure, your website must be fast-loading and mobile-friendly. Nobody will wait 15 seconds until the page loads.
Mind customers needs
Successful businesses follow one rule - talk not about how great you are, but how great your clients will be using your product. You may be endlessly proud of your services created by using cutting-edge technologies. However, when a lead is contacting you to enquire about your product, you should stop thinking about promoting your brand. What you should really focus on is how you can help customers achieve their goals.
Speak clients’ language
That’s the common flaw of many tech companies to communicate their customers’ solutions benefits using complicated terms. When we try explaining the definition of “data export feature value”, it’s much better to say that this feature will enable building a bunch of reports. At the end of the day, customers want their jobs to be done. Show them the result they will get instead of how it is realized within your product.
Showcase success stories
We live in a world where social proofs are the new currency. If you worked with notorious companies everybody knows, you could add their logos on your main page. Create the case studies elaborating who your customers were, what problem they had, and what solution you offered with your product or service. For example, as we did for TextMagic or HabitSpace.
Ideally, you can show exact figures of the results instead of vague wordings like “they improved, they grew, or they reduced.” Also, it’ll be great to spice up your customer success stories with testimonials and honest recommendations to use your product.
Automate conversations with bots
“If a user is already on our website, what is the point to make them fill out the form and wait for salespeople to get in touch in a few hours or even days,” smart SaaS startups thought and decided to use automated conversations with chatbots. The bots can make the preliminary screening of a prospect’s inquiry and route them directly to the sales or support team using automation workflows. Here is what Intercom does.
Insert speech recognition tools
Speech recognition keeps spreading beyond solely the inclusivity purpose. Voice searches and podcasts are gaining traction, and a Clubhouse, a new voice social network, has recently blown up the world! SaaS business owners embed speech recognition tools into their websites to enable a machine to read a text out loud for those who can't or need to ease the reading process for themselves. Despite these changes in users’ behavior, conventional blog posts won’t disappear any time soon, so keep writing and updating your content pieces.
Optimize pricing page
The pricing page is probably the most important page on your website. The way the pricing packages are organized and how accurately they correspond to customers’ needs defines if a lead will push a purchase button or not. We devoted the whole article to the best SaaS pricing page examples you will definitely get some valuable insights from.
In the customer acquisition strategy frame, it’ll be relevant to mention the SaaS customer acquisition models, namely paid upfront, freemium, and free trial. The paid upfront requires a subscription payment before you try a product. It usually demands a long “high-touch” selling process with demos and sales talks. The free trial and freemium are the “low-touch” models where customers can test and try a product within a limited period (in case of free trials) or within a limited feature set (if this is freemium). By the way, if you want to learn more about freemium pricing, you’re welcome to deep dive into the separate article.
OK, we’re done with a “technical” part, so let’s move to the content, an indispensable and crucial step of SaaS customer acquisition.
Create valuable content
If you asked me what “valuable content” means, I would say two words - high-quality and diverse. Your content should not be limited to the promotional materials but embrace guides, blog articles, ebooks, videos, infographics, and whatever else you find useful for your target audience. Zendesk gathered all useful information under the Library, where users can find relevant content on various topics.
Experiment with content types
What worked good in the past doesn’t necessarily perform the same nowadays. In the SaaS world, ebooks and whitepapers used to be “classical” educational materials, but what if someone simply doesn’t want to read? You should not follow the common way just because it once proved to be effective. Use a data-driven approach to find out what works best for your audience. If the data doesn’t prove that a particular content type moves people through a sales funnel, focus on producing another content and test if it works as you need.
Let’s say you used to generate leads with a downloadable ebook. Check what CPL (cost per lead) you had with this content. And now, change the direction and try attracting your leads with a webinar partnered with an influencer. Recheck the CPL. I bet you’ll see the difference.
Useful content checklist
Look at the list below and put a checkmark in your mind whether your content is:
- educating your customers
- pursuing the defined business goal
- attractive and easy to access/download
- based on your buyer personas’ needs
- engaging and up-to-date
- metrics-aligned and testable
For sure, the lure is high to keep using the content format that once worked and not to bother your marketing team with creating conceptually new approaches. Just treat it as a necessary evil - if you want to grow, you should watch market trends, pick out what can be applicable to your business, try, implement, analyze, and repeat the cycle.
Utilize content-driven approach
You may ask - so what about good old social media or PPC ads? Don’t they work? Of course, they do. However, in terms of SaaS customer acquisition, the content seeding and spreading the word may turn to be more effective than paid advertising and bring significant long-term results.
Get published on tech blogs
TechCrunch, Mashable, The Verge are popular tech websites with a considerable followers’ base where you can tell your SaaS story, win over admirers and attract new customers. There is a delusion that only developers read these resources. The audience of the platforms mentioned above is tech geeks and people interested in reading about the tech industry’s latest achievements. If you’re doing something remarkable, let the world know about it.
Make use of review websites
The review sites are one more battlefield for the competitive struggle. If on Google search companies compete to be ranked on a first page, on review sites, they crave to get high-starred reviews. Create a profile on Capterra, TrustPilot, or G2Crowd, ask your loyal customers to leave positive (fingers crossed!) feedbacks, and receive your company’s high rating. As soon as you have it, you’ll be able to leverage the score as a proof point that your product or service is excellent and welcomed by customers.
Join Facebook groups
The online communities are a great tool to increase brand awareness, reach potential clients, share your experience, and improve your thought leadership position in your field of expertise. You can get precious insights from users or SaaS business owners like you, promote your product or service, or get support if you decide one day to make a buzz on ProductHunt.
Launch referral programs
In times of the SaaS market saturation, a “word-of-mouth” strategy is one of the few marketing acquisition strategies that seamlessly works. If your customers are ready to advise your service, it’ll help significantly reduce CAC (customer acquisition cost) and boost brand awareness. To encourage people to share their positive experiences with your SaaS, you can offer them and their friends a discount for service usage or some additional functionality they can enjoy within your product. For example, Dropbox offers extra storage for both a Dropbox existing customer and a friend the customer refers, once new user signup is confirmed. It’s said that with referrals, Dropbox went from 100,000 to 4,000,000 users in 15 months.
Leverage influencer marketing
Find an influencer in your niche who will tell about your company in their blog or write an article uncovering your product values. You may pay the blogger per post or per lead who signs up for your free trial - this is up to your mutual agreement. Don’t chase big blogs with the hope to embrace as many people as possible. Remember that micro or nano influencers usually have more loyal and engaged followers who trust their opinion.
Be active on Quora
However, this tactic is often overlooked, by being active on Quora and answering people’s questions, you may attract qualified leads to your company. The more often you give smart and professional replies to your business-related questions, the higher interest you may raise to your product and company. For example, the founder of SaaStr.com has strong opinion leadership on Quora. At the time of this writing, he has already given 3,600 answers and gathered 49,800 followers.
The acquisition process may not be easy and sometimes even challenging, especially at the early stages of your SaaS business. You should be well prepared before your start chasing potential customers. Do you have a website or landing page to welcome your prospects? Do you know who your target customers are and how to engage them to move to the next stage of the sales funnel?
Test different content and analyze the results to understand what works best for your audience. The truth is not all leads you acquire will eventually convert. Don’t be upset. Better concentrate to retain those customers who you already won. Read the article about user engagement strategies to learn how you can increase your retention rate.