How SME Startups Can Acquire Early SaaS Adopters
Every SaaS founder is apprehensive whenever their solution is ready to onboard clients. For there’s always something wrong with the product, isn’t there?
A feature might not deliver its intended purpose. An unknown bug is causing some inconvenience somewhere. And the overall impression of your product could be a solid D+.
Thankfully, there are early SaaS adopters.
These customers are incredibly important to the growth of a Saas startup as they can provide valuable insights that’ll improve your solution.
But what exactly are these early SaaS adopters?
How do you acquire them to drive growth to your fledgling SaaS company? And where do you even find them in the first place?
This blog covers those questions and more.
We’ll first start with the definition of early SaaS adopters.
What Are Early Adopters?
Every young founder’s product eventually finds its way into the market.
Sadly, while the essential pieces exist, the beautiful design superstructure does not. The added features enhancing the user experience are also absent.
Many founders struggle to turn an unknown product into a large software solution. But there are those who can easily skyrocket their growth.
Do you know how they’ve done it?
The answer is early adopters. Early adopters are clients willing to risk trusting you and your program without social proof. They’d even trust it before it even launched.
The tradeoff is they only pay once and they gain access to your solution forever. That particular SaaS sale is called Lifetime Deals, by the way. We’ll cover those in a separate blog post.
For now, let’s focus on these SaaS early adopters and what makes them so important.
Well, one of the reasons is they can provide invaluable data and feedback to help improve your product. They can also stress-test your system to evaluate its limitations.
So are early adopters rare? Well, not exactly. But they are difficult to find.
But not to worry. This post will show you how to get them to sign up for your service.
Continue reading and boost your product adoption.
Create a Website
Publish your website before the product is complete. These days, you can quickly get a domain for your work. You don’t need a flashy website at this stage either.
Only one landing page with a captivating image and “Coming Soon!” is enough.
This helps you establish an internet presence. It can also generate some curiosity from your early adopters.
Check Out Expert Communities
Specialists, tech enthusiasts, and your common company grunt can experience the same problems. Problems that your solution can solve.
These are channels where you can find these potential early SaaS adopters:
- Quora forums
- Slack channels
- Facebook groups
Your customer acquisition campaign should start in these areas.
For instance, suppose you’re developing a work organization or project management software and want to search for specialists to test it. In that case, you may list down names of experts who could enjoy your service. Then contact them through online communities. Introduce your app briefly and provide trial links for them.
Website traffic from online communities could have a tremendous impact. It only takes a handful of people to adopt your product to get things started.
Shopify’s SEO lead Kevin Indig uses social media groups to showcase his content and gain visitors. He claims that not being overly forceful with sales messaging and not advertising straight away are the keys to his success.
The best strategy is to produce high-quality content and contribute useful insights and expertise to the community.
Simultaneously, you can take note of the members’ general sentiment of the industry, their pain points, and their desired remedies. Those are incredibly important data to gather. It may even help shape your product roadmap and feature planning.
After building some credibility, make your pitch. Encourage your audience to try your software by solving their difficulties.
Remember to ask for user adoption feedback. While most of your early SaaS adopters may not participate, some might. Especially if they see the potential of your solution that could help their company’s growth.
Immersion in online networks to locate early adopters takes time and effort, but it pays off.
Only a few alternative sites can deliver premium users eager to adopt your program and provide valuable input before a full launch.
Connect Through Early Adopter Channels
Additionally, we advise IT or SaaS entrepreneurs to leverage specialized channels that connect breakthrough solutions with early adopters.
Promote your SaaS company on these platforms by posting a pitch with videos, photographs, links, and special offers. These should focus on your potential client’s pain points and how your solution could address those pain points.
Offering limited but free advanced services is a great way to get your initial clients.
Early adopter channels are a fantastic tool for SME SaaS firms offering B2B or B2C solutions. They attract techies and software users eager to check out new products, even if they are still in their beta phase.
Generating a following for your product is no easy task. It takes time and energy, and you only gain a few early adopters out of hundreds of followers.
As such, getting influencers involved is a quick way to build an army of fans and early adopters.
Influencers share three traits:
- They are gurus.
- They have big, like-minded audiences.
- They can influence their followers’ opinions (to some extent).
Influencers can expose your solution to large audiences of potential customers.
Their followers like to listen to them because they are experts in their industries. With high-profile endorsements, you might expect a rise in followers.
Influencers are usually thought of as celebrities hawking skin care products or the latest spa. But there are certainly those who are operating in the tech space. However, the realm of tech influencers is more complex.
A lack of reputation to pursue these influencers isn’t an issue. No, in most SaaS startups, financial compensation is the obstacle.
Now, how much these influencers charge may vary. And as such, you’ll need to plan accordingly if this is a marketing strategy you want to pursue.
There’s also the solution itself. Generally speaking, tech influencers only endorse things they think their audience would like.
In short, you’ll need to develop your product so the influencer could see its potential value. They could then use this narrative as a hook to their audience.
So, approach them with a polished pitch and product to persuade them that your solution is worth their time.
So how can you identify a few good product influencers?
There are several avenues to explore. First, as an expert in your subject, you should already know who the thought leaders are.
You may already know them through LinkedIn or Twitter, so use those networks to contact them.
Find the most active authors in your product’s category using content analysis tools like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.
Do you have a marketing budget and 100% faith in your product? Influencers can help you reach your target demographic and early adopters.
B2B SaaS Founder Cold Emailing
As you might expect, influencers are more valuable when pushing simpler, more visually appealing software items.
When designing something complex for a niche audience, it’s difficult to get influencers on board.
In that scenario, you should email potential early adopters personally.
In this day and age, cold emailing is a bit challenging. Its value in SaaS marketing is said to be dwindling. In 2021 for instance, its click-to-open rate was only around 14%.
However, B2B SaaS founders can still use cold emailing to acquire early adopters.
Also, cold emailing won’t cost you anything but time and nerves. It’s still one of the best value marketing options out there.
Make a list of candidates for cold emailing. It may comprise team leaders from diverse companies who potentially benefit from your offering.
How to Find Early Adopters Via Cold Emailing
First, consider which experts would most benefit from your program.
Next, make a list of companies you’d like to partner with. We’re looking for B2B SaaS marketing heads.
Search for the marketing director’s LinkedIn profile on Google. You can then look up the person’s email address or contact them directly on LinkedIn.
Finding early adopters isn’t that difficult. The problem is getting them to notice you and your offering.
That’s why you should write personalized pitches. They must convey value to each unique prospect based on their industry and work.
But even so, it may not be enough. As you may guess, giant company department heads get flooded with pitches. So getting someone to open your email is difficult.
To overcome this difficulty, look for connections on social media. Try visiting the company’s staff page. A personal introduction or referral from a common friend is one of the best ways to get someone’s attention.
It may sound like a lot of work for just one early adopter, but it’s worth it. Especially if that early adopter endorses your solution to their professional circle.
Release early, and don’t wait for perfection. You need to launch the product sooner to get early adopters’ feedback and market risks.
This way, you can evaluate if the product’s features are serving its correct audience. And if it’s not, you can adjust accordingly based on the data you’re receiving.
Afterward, you should release a product roadmap so your audience knows their voices are heard. You can even launch a poll asking which features should be implemented first.
This is a powerful way of creating loyalty with your early SaaS adopters. And as a result, they might recommend your solution to other people, effectively turning them into advocates.
Blog About Your SaaS Product
Blogging is one of the most challenging yet enjoyable types of marketing. Not to mention it’s a low-cost strategy to get the best early adopters for your product.
You probably think about your SaaS product 24 hours a day. And you know how to make people’s lives a little easier.
As such, your expertise in the subject qualifies you to write for your SaaS company’s blog and submit guest posts to other blogs on related topics.
Those are the two primary forms of blogging. They both increase inbound traffic, brand exposure, and search engine ranking.
To be more specific, frequent blogging (16 times or more per month) can increase website traffic by 3.5 times.
How Blogging Could Attract Early SaaS Adopters
Imagine developing customer booking software for hotels. In that situation, you’d write about hotel management, effective booking methods, service sector team leadership, etc.
Your posts would then attract hoteliers, tour agencies, and hospitality managers. Then they may visit your features and pricing pages after reading your blog.
Some of those visitors may even decide to try your program. And voilà! You got some early adopters.
This is an overly simplified process, of course. But the idea still stands.
Also, you shouldn’t confine your SaaS blogging strategies to your site. You can also guest write to other websites that have larger audiences.
But always make sure your pieces are relevant to both your product and the blog you’re writing for.
You want to provide quality content, non-advertising information. Mention your product and how it solves the issue you’re addressing.
Writing content regarding business or technical pain points, and the newest trending technologies and tools are critical. You can use it to entice repeat visitors to your website.
Remember to include a modest link back to your page, as building a network of links back to your site is the main benefit of guest blogging.
That’s vital because backlinks are still the most important SEO factor in 2021.
To start guest writing, evaluate blogs in your field. Then, read their guest blogging requirements and submit an interesting piece.
If blogging seems like an excellent approach to gain early adopters for your product, start thinking about topics now.
Remember to post frequently. And ensure that you’re providing the best value for your target audience to increase your conversion rate.
Note, though, that you can’t just start writing about a topic and expect your rankings to improve once you hit publish. That’s bad SaaS content marketing.
You need to plan your approach before you start writing. Then evaluate everything using appropriate SaaS content marketing metrics.
Leverage ‘Freemium’ Model
Many successful SaaS businesses use a “freemium” model. There is no commitment to pay for the solution although the features will be limited.
The brand provides value to the customer. And the customer, having experienced those benefits, might switch to a subscription payment to enjoy more useful features.
But you should tread carefully here. A lifetime freemium model might work for some SaaS companies. However, you still want to target a subscription model to achieve exponential growth.
If you are going to offer a freemium model, you should only confine it to a limited period. One month is usually the industry practice. But shortening that to two weeks is even better for your sales funnel strategy.
Reward Early Adopters
Working with early adopters of your product will allow you to gather feedback and understand their pain points.
Client feedback is incredibly important in the SaaS industry. The best improvement approach is to learn from your errors and listen to your customers. Encourage your customers to provide suggestions and constructive criticisms to help enhance your product.
But a caveat: you cannot, and should not, implement all client input as you expand. It’s not just possible.
Always remember that you are the captain of your ship. Your plans have already been laid out even before you acquired your early SaaS adopters.
Sure, you can tweak your plan a bit for path correction. But other than that, you should follow your roadmap and trust the research you’ve done years prior.
There are numerous approaches to attract early adopters. Some are enjoyable, like joining online communities and blogging about your profession. Others, like cold emailing and studying influencers, are laborious.
But either way, both of these are needed if you want to hit the ground running.
Remember that early SaaS adopters are your ticket to fame. And even if your product is flawed, you can still provide outstanding service by listening to your audience and constantly improving your solution.
In return, you could be rewarded relevant feedback and positive word of mouth, which will bring in more clients.
This is the potential of acquiring early SaaS adopters.
For more SaaS tips and strategies, visit our blog here.