Top 10 SaaS Growth Hacks in 2022
Did you know that overall spending for public cloud services is predicted to reach $482 billion in 2022?
Even before COVID-19, the SaaS market has been growing exponentially. And when the pandemic happened, businesses have been forced to take their business operations online.
The demand for SaaS solutions skyrocketed. And even as we’re steadily going back to normal. A lot of businesses are considering retaining at least some remote roles.
That’s right. The SaaS market isn’t going anywhere.
So how do you take advantage of such an opportunity?
You grab a large share of the market.
Still, that is easier said than done. After all, you still have hundreds (if not thousands) of competitors who also want a big slice of the SaaS market pie.
Let’s explore the top SaaS growth hacks that can help you get ahead.
Growth Hack #1: Keep Building Your Email List
Email marketing is a timeless SaaS marketing strategy that has historically proven itself effective.
But getting people to opt into your email list is no joke. You need to find a way to get their attention and make them want to subscribe.
Here are some things you can do for that:
- Offer free stuff
- Use popups strategically
- Optimize your landing pages
Offer Free Stuff
The word “free” is one of the most attractive words for a potential customer to see. And you should use that to get their attention.
You can offer freebies in return for them signing up for your email list. You can offer things like eBooks, training audio files, mini-courses, and printable infographics/images.
Offer something that can add value to your customers’ lives. If you’re selling a B2B SaaS solution, offer something that can help them get better at their jobs and businesses.
Use Popups Strategically
Popups were pretty much the SaaS growth hack no-no in 2018. That’s because they can be annoying and intrusive, which makes users click away in a heartbeat.
But there is a way to use popups without ticking off potential customers.
Use them strategically, not randomly.
Exit-intent popups are great because they show up when users are about to click away. And that gives them the chance to subscribe to your emails before it’s too late.
You can also pair your popups with your freebies. Offer those free stuff in your exit-intent popups to attract visitors’ attention even more.
Scarcity marketing can be a potent strategy to motivate your potential customers to click and opt-in to what you’re offering. So let’s kick it up a notch and add a timer on that popup. Offer the freebie, but it would only be free for a limited time.
Optimize Your Landing Pages
You should optimize your SaaS web pages as much as possible. After all, you only have seconds to capture web traffic. And if they don’t like what they see on those SaaS pages, then that’s it. They’re gone for good.
Firstly, if you want more people to subscribe to your SaaS email list, your landing page should load in an instant.
Around 57% of your website visitors will leave your website if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Trust me, you don’t want that to happen.
Second, make your landing pages and website attractive. If you’re trying to attract a B2B crowd, make your pages look clean and professional.
What’s more, your landing pages should be easy for your visitors to understand. Don’t cram it with too much information. Or else, they’ll start glazing over it and will forget everything you told them before (or after) they click away.
Growth Hack #2: Develop Referral Programs
One of the best SaaS growth hacks you should look into is referral programs. These programs encourage your customers to convince other people to use your SaaS solution.
You can offer bonuses or discounts for every new customer that was brought in by a referral link. This way, you’re incentivizing them to spread the word about your SaaS product even more.
So how do you actually implement referral programs? There’s no “one-size-fits-all” program or strategy that works for all SaaS businesses out there.
However, the most common form of bonus is a temporary free upgrade. Who knows? If they enjoy the upgrade, it might even be an opportunity to upsell your higher plans.
Your referral bonus could also be something that your customers can actually spend. Make it real and attainable.
Common bonuses include gift cards or cash.
You can tweak your bonuses depending on the nature of your SaaS solution. If you are in the finance niche, you can give out money or cryptocurrency. If you have a VoIP solution, you can offer additional call minutes.
Growth Hack #3: Have A Killer Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing has been one of the biggest trends in building brand awareness in the SaaS market. As many marketers would say, “Content is king.”
Content marketing is all about creating valuable content pieces that are useful to your customers’ lives. Think of things like blog posts, infographics, and videos that educate them on business processes or current SaaS trends.
Don’t focus on selling them anything just now. Sure, it’s okay to do some subtle advertising here and there. But focus on educating them about the key concepts in your niche.
The more you educate them, the more likely they are to trust your brand and use your SaaS solution.
Here are some things you need to consider for your content marketing campaign:
Your Target Audience
The prospective customers in the SaaS market can be very diverse. You can have regular consumers who are just looking for convenience. Or you can have business leaders looking to take their companies to the next level.
Because of this diversity, there is no single marketing channel or content type that can best reach all your potential customers.
Having a specific target audience will determine everything else in your content marketing strategy. That includes your topics, content types, tone of voice, and marketing channel.
Your Content Topics
This is already a given when it comes to content marketing. But remember that the content strategy itself should be guided by metrics.
You can’t just choose your content topics at will. You have to make sure that those you choose are the ones that your potential customers actually want to learn about.
You can do that by doing keyword research. Keywords are basically the topics that your SaaS customers could search on Google to find valuable content. And you can find out which ones have the most searches.
Higher search volumes mean more people are interested in that topic. Keywords with high search volumes can be great topics to make content about.
But not always. You should still look out for the keyword difficulty. The higher it is, the harder it is for you to rank in Google for that keyword.
Your Content Structure
Readability is also a huge factor in the quality of blog posts and text-based content.
You can’t just dump all of your content in a few bulky paragraphs and expect your readers to read through it in one go.
Large paragraphs tend to be visually intimidating. That will scare your potential customers away.
So you should break down your blog post into bite-sized paragraphs. Two to four lines should be enough for each. As long as the thought still holds up, of course.
Using a structured set of subheadings will also greatly improve your readability. You can use H2 and H3 subheadings to group the points that are related to each other.
Another great way to improve readability is by adding images and videos where you can. They add context to your points and sometimes even explain things more clearly than plain old text can.
Growth Hack #4: Leverage Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a very powerful SaaS growth hacking strategy that SaaS businesses can use to increase their web traffic.
With affiliate marketing, you give third-party content producers a commission on sales they helped produce for your SaaS company. In return, those affiliate partners will publicize your SaaS brand throughout the web.
And as a result of this increased exposure, more people will discover your SaaS solution and even sign up for it.
This is a sustainable and scalable marketing strategy because of its commission-based nature. You can have low customer acquisition costs because the affiliate partners do most of the work.
Your affiliates can be bloggers, podcasters, industry experts, or social media influencers.
Just make sure that they have a large enough following to actually get you referrals.
Growth Hack #5: Have A Strong Social Media Presence
SaaS social media marketing is all about engaging your SaaS prospects and customers where they are.
What’s more, people spend more and more time on social media nowadays. That makes it a great platform for promoting your brand and growing your market share.
Here are some things you can do to establish a strong social media presence:
- Pick your target buyer personas
- Interact with your social media followers
- Form a community
- Run paid social media ads
Pick Your Target Buyer Personas
Like content marketing, your social media marketing efforts depend heavily on your target audience and buyer persona.
B2C customers and B2B end-users may spend more time on Facebook and Instagram. While company executives and decision-makers may use LinkedIn the most.
You should engage your SaaS prospects and customers where they are most likely to be.
Speaking of engaging your potential customers…
Interact With Your Social Media Followers
It’s important to be active in SaaS social media posts, especially on your own business page. That means posting regularly, commenting on other people’s posts, and starting discussions with others.
Those are called organic SaaS social media engagement. It’s free but it takes time and consistent interaction for you to establish a strong social media presence.
But if you do it right, your social media efforts can build your brand and get you a large pool of potential customers.
Form A Community
Another thing you can do through social media is build a SaaS community for your brand.
Sure, you can bring a lot of people together through your company pages on different social media platforms. But having them in Facebook Groups can really build their relationships with each other. It can create and develop a culture centered on your brand.
This community can be made up of existing customers and prospects, depending on its purpose.
You can build it as a peer-to-peer support platform, a lead generation channel, or any purpose that would help your SaaS business grow.
Having a well-knit SaaS community can help foster brand loyalty among your customers. This results in them becoming advocates and bringing in more customers.
Run Paid Social Media Ads
Even as you build organic engagement through your page and groups, you can further improve your social media presence by running paid ads.
You can set up SaaS social media ads through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other SaaS social media platforms.
But keep in mind that you shouldn’t just go spamming people with your ads. Remember your target buyer persona. You need to craft your ads based on your buyer personas and specifically target them.
Growth Hack #6: Offer A Free Plan/Trial
Now, this may not necessarily be for everyone. But the freemium model has proven itself to be an excellent strategy for raking in a lot of users.
The SaaS freemium model lets existing customers use your SaaS product for free. But you still offer a lot more features at the cost of an upgrade to a paid plan.
What is more common among B2B SaaS solutions is offering a free plan. Users can sign up for a limited-time trial, usually 14 days, and use your software.
The key to this growth hack is delivering value to your users. They won’t buy your SaaS product unless they see the value in it.
So make sure that your free plan has enough features to bring considerable value to your free users. For free trials, make sure you give them enough time to explore and enjoy your SaaS solution.
Once they do see the value in your SaaS product, some of them will be quick to upgrade to a paid plan.
Growth Hack #7: Aim For A Product-Led Growth Model
Like the freemium model, product-led growth is not for everyone. But if you manage to do it for your business, it could skyrocket your growth.
It’s the SaaS business model that has grown Slack from a tiny startup to a powerhouse that can compete with companies ten times its size.
What is product-led growth? It’s selling a SaaS product with little or no sales effort. You focus on relentlessly improving your product and delivering value to your customers.
And as a result, the SaaS product sells itself.
The main target buyer persona for this growth model is the end-users. Yes, even if you’re a B2B SaaS solution. If you want product-led growth, you need to target the end-users.
The reason for this is that a lot of them now have the initiative to look for SaaS solutions to help them with their jobs.
They do their own research about what they need. They themselves look for products that meet those needs.
Sometimes, they even buy the SaaS solution they need out of their own pockets.
If your product can truly pull off a product-led growth model, then it would really deliver value to these end-users.
It would help them improve their performance and possibly even make more money. When their competitive friends and colleagues see that, they would be inclined to buy your product as well.
Et voila. The product sold itself.
Growth Hack #8: Offer A Lifetime Deal
Growing a SaaS business requires funding.
A LOT of funding.
The majority of growing SaaS businesses turn to venture capitalists to secure the necessary investment for their growth.
Others choose to grow their SaaS company using its own generated profit. This practice is called bootstrapping.
Generally, bootstrapping is a slow process. Your budget for growth is limited to the monthly or annual revenue that your SaaS business makes.
This is in comparison to venture capitalist funding where you get a big load of money dropped on you all at once.
But bootstrapping doesn’t have to be so slow. In fact, there are SaaS business owners that choose to bootstrap their startups and earn more than $100,000 on the get-go.
“How?” you ask?
By offering a SaaS lifetime deal (LTD).
A lifetime deal is when you temporarily offer lifetime access to your SaaS product for a one-time fee. Usually, the SaaS company sets it to $49 or $99. For some SaaS buyers, this is practically pocket change.
The best way you can offer an LTD is to list it on platforms like AppSumo or ProductHunt. That way, you get exposure to an already well-established audience that trusts these platforms.
If your product meets their standards, AppSumo can even market your products for free. That includes email and video marketing.
In return, these platforms receive a commission every time you sell an LTD for your product.
An LTD campaign in itself can bring huge growth to your SaaS company. After all, you get to promote your product to thousands of people.
And if you do it right, a single LTD campaign can generate more than enough revenue to secure subscribers and fuel further growth.
Growth Hack #9: Track The Right Metrics
Your SaaS business is a never-ending numbers game.
Every SaaS company must have a cycle of measuring, improving, and scaling its operations. Because otherwise, your SaaS product could be going downhill without you even knowing.
As a SaaS founder or marketer, you need to know which metrics are the most reliable indicators of growth potential for your SaaS company.
Here are some key SaaS metrics you should monitor:
- Annual recurring revenue (ARR)
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
- CLV:CAC ratio
- Net promoter score (NPS)
- Churn rate
- Retention rate
Let’s discuss them one by one.
Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
ARR is the total amount of revenue that your SaaS company generates in a year.
It’s the most common SaaS growth metric because it literally tells you how much you are making per year.
You can also measure your recurring revenue in shorter intervals. Some SaaS businesses also use monthly recurring revenue (MRR) in their reports.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
CAC is the total amount that you spend to acquire one SaaS customer. You compute it by dividing all your marketing and sales spending by the number of new customers you’ve gained.
For example, you spent $10,000 and gained 10 new customers. That gives you a CAC of $1000.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
The CLV is the average amount of revenue that a SaaS customer will generate for your SaaS product from their first payment up to cancellation.
To calculate your CLV, you need two more metrics: your average customer lifespan and your average revenue per account (ARPA).
The average customer lifespan is the average length of time that your customers subscribe to your SaaS product. While the ARPA is the average annual revenue that your customers bring to your business.
You can compute for your CLV by multiplying these two.
CLV gives you a clearer look at how much you are actually making per customer. Unlike ARR and MRR, it accounts for the fact that your customers will cancel their subscriptions in the future.
You can compute the CLV:CAC ratio simply by dividing your CLV by your CAC.
This ratio represents how much revenue you gain for each dollar you spend on customer acquisition. The standard for SaaS businesses is a CLV:CAC ratio of 3:1 or more.
Having that ratio means you’re making $3 out of every dollar you spend on acquiring new customers. Sweet deal, right?
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
The Net Promoter Score is a SaaS customer satisfaction metric. It’s a performance indicator that you can use to gauge how happy your users are with your product.
NPS is computed by asking your customers this question:
“On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our product to your friends or colleagues?”
Users who give a rating of 9-10 are called Promoters. They are loyal customers who will keep subscribing to your SaaS product and even advocate it to others.
Those who give a 7-8 rating are the Passives. They are somewhat satisfied with your SaaS solution. But they may still opt to switch to your competitors.
And those who give scores lower than 7 are the Detractors. They are unhappy with your product and may hurt your brand through negative word-of-mouth.
You can compute for your final NPS by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters.
The lowest possible NPS is -100 if all are Detractors. And the highest is 100 if all are Promoters.
The churn rate is the percentage of users who cancel their subscriptions within a certain period. You could look at monthly, quarterly, or annual churn rates.
It’s one SaaS metric that you must always keep an eye on. You need to always watch the churn rate because it tells you how fast your SaaS business is losing customers.
Customer Retention Rate
The retention rate is the opposite of the churn rate. It is the percentage of customers you keep within a certain period.
Your SaaS retention or customer retention rate would help you know whether your current SaaS customers are still using and paying for your product.
If they’re not, then all those SaaS marketing and sales costs would go down the drain.
Growth Hack #10: Focus On Customer Retention
The growth of a SaaS business isn’t just acquiring new customers. It’s about keeping them as well.
In fact, retaining a customer is more profitable than getting a new one.
Remember your CLV:CAC ratio. Acquiring a new customer costs you money. It raises your CAC, which would lower your CLV:CAC ratio. On the other hand, retaining your customers increases your CLV.
Sure, the recommended ratio is at 3:1. But pushing beyond that standard is one of the keys to rapid growth as a SaaS business.
Here are some things you can do to improve your customer retention:
- Ensure a smooth onboarding process
- Provide multichannel customer support
- Monitor user reviews
- Win over your unhappy customers
Ensure A Smooth Onboarding Process
Every SaaS product has a specific learning curve.
That means it takes time for SaaS customers to learn how your SaaS solution works and get them to achieve their goals with the help of your SaaS product.
When you make this process as easy as possible, SaaS users will be more likely to stick around.
So keep improving your onboarding process. Make sure that they really learn the ins and the outs of your SaaS product. Answer every single question that they have. And make sure you answer them in detail.
If you do it right, your customers will have a great first impression of your product and will be happy using it for a long time.
Provide Multichannel Customer Support
Just like SaaS onboarding, SaaS customer support is also a critical component of SaaS retention.
Keep in mind that SaaS customers may get stuck anywhere during the customer journey.
So it’s not enough to provide them with an FAQ or knowledge base articles. You should also make your SaaS agents available to handle any queries they may have.
Your agents have to be as reachable as possible.
Your customers need to be able to contact them, not just through email and phone. You can also add a live chat tool on your SaaS platform where they can reach out to a customer success agent.
Monitor User Reviews
These sites are where you can find both positive and negative feedback about your software. And these reviews will tell you what you need to keep doing and what you need to improve.
In other words, these user reviews tell you the current demand from your existing customers and possibly your whole target market.
That will tell you what it would take to keep them happy. What’s more, responding to these reviews will help you build relationships with your customers. You can thank those who left you a positive review.
As for those who left you negative ones, you can prevent it from blowing over by responding politely. Depending on the validity of the review, you can either nicely explain your case or assure them that you’re making the necessary improvements.
That way, you can still save your relationship with your unhappy customers.
Speaking of saving your customer relationships…
Win Over Your Unhappy Customers
Your unhappy customers are the ones who are on the verge of canceling their subscriptions.
But as long as they haven’t canceled yet, there’s still time to win them over again.
First, identify their issues with your SaaS product. Then start assuring them that you are on track to improving their experience.
But don’t just promise it. Make those improvements as soon as possible.
If they do cancel, however, you can still set up layers of confirmations before they can complete their cancellation. And in those layers, you can offer discounts or other offers that may help change their minds.
Final Thoughts About SaaS Growth Hacks
The SaaS market is rapidly growing. And for SaaS businesses, the pressure is on. You need to grow your market share as fast as you can.
In fact, the T2D3 framework follows that you can triple your ARR for two straight years and then double for three. That’s going from $0 to $100 million in just five to six years.
Using the right growth hacks can help you grow that fast. But it needs to be a sustainable growth.
Make sure you have the necessary IT infrastructure to sufficiently accommodate all of your customers and protect their data. See to it that you have a big enough customer support team to meet all of their needs.
That’s how you can make sure that you can maintain and support the growth that you experience.
For more strategies and guides on growing your SaaS business, take a look at our SaaS marketing blog here.