Have a great idea for a new internet startup? Think you can revolutionize an industry if you made the perfect SaaS product? To effectively execute your SaaS product launch plan you need to first make sure you have a viable audience. Selling your early adopters on key features and functionality can give you the blueprint for building the best version of your SaaS product.
Below we’ve outlined two product launch scenarios to help you better visualize why an in-depth SaaS product launch plan is necessary. Then you’ll find the 11 key steps to a successful SaaS product launch to help you put your idea into action.
Saas Product Launch Scenarios
Mario has a great idea for a web application that will give plumbers an easy way to track leads, schedule jobs and invoice customers. He has some unique ideas that will save plumber’s time and make them more money.
He decides to invest $40,000 of his own savings to have his application brought to life. Then he will start hitting the streets and sell it.
Mario is risking $40,000. He has to think of all the features to add, assume that is what people want, and then go sell it once he is completed.
Luigi has a great idea for a web application that will give plumbers an easy way to track leads, schedule jobs and invoice customers. He has some unique ideas that will save plumber’s time and make them more money.
Instead of deciding to use his own savings and building the application immediately he decides to call on 20 plumbers to learn more about their specific pains and needs. During these calls he gets some very valuable feedback and builds some rapport with people who deal with the problems he is starting to solve. He works with his prospects and involves them in the process of drafting the specifications for his application. He listens and turns their thoughts and ideas into possible application features.
Once Luigi has all of the features documented that he wants to implement, he asks his 20 plumbers to each pay $2,000 and they will get a copy of the application in 6 months. With a one time fee of $2,000, they can use it for life at no additional charge.
That’s a pretty good deal to his prospects; it’s going to save them hundreds each month in convenience. It also puts money in Luigi’s pocket immediately. This process validates Luigi’s ideas, gives him seed money to build his application, provides better information for what to include in his app, and gets him his first customers. By involving his prospects in the early stages, they feel involved and have contributed. They are more committed to the project and will almost always buy it.
Luigi is living risk free. He has collaborated with industry experts to add features he knows they need, he has found his first paying customers, and those customers have also funded his project completely. He has zero out of pocket expenses and can continue to sell to all the other plumbers in the world and make his millions.
Here are 11 key steps to a successful Saas Product Launch
1. Perfect your SaaS Product Idea
When thinking of SaaS product ideas, chances are you’ve started with an idea that fixes a problem you experience in your day to day life. Although this problem may be relevant to you, it may need to be perfected to reach a larger audience. Before you begin to share your idea and identify an audience, you need to perfect it. To get your SaaS product idea down on paper you’ll want to write out it’s main purpose, key features to aid that purpose and potential competitors that currently exist in the space.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
Once you have your initial SaaS product idea on paper, you’ll need to identify your target audience. Create buyer personas of users that could benefit from your SaaS product and use that as the foundation to base your outreach and messaging on. Depending on how niche your SaaS product is, you may have one buyer persona or seven different buyer personas.
3. Find a Viable Audience of Early Adopters
The next step toward launching your SaaS product is to use your buyer personas as a guide to identify early adopters. Taking the information you’ve gathered during your research you should now have a pretty clear picture of who is a good match for your product. Now you’ll need to put faces and names to the personas you’ve created. Create a list of people who would potentially be interested in your SaaS product concept within your network and beyond.
4. Create a Way for Early Adopters to Sign Up
Once you’ve built your list of early adopters, you’ll need to create a way for them to engage with your SaaS product, even though it doesn’t exist yet. One option is to create a minimum viable product. This is essentially building an extremely minimal version of your product that gives early adopters a way to invest in your SaaS product and receive a basic version of the service you’ll provide. Not only does an MVP give you an opportunity to build interest in your SaaS product, it also allows you to raise money early on giving you flexible resources.
5. Get Your Funding & Investments in Order
The next step in your SaaS product launch plan is to get your funding and investments in order. By creating an MVP in step 4, you have a small revenue stream of early adopters that will help contribute to the overall costs of building your SaaS product. However, chances are that revenue stream is only scratching the surface. You’ll also need to find funding and investors to float your SaaS product. Here are a few ideas on how to go about funding your product:
- Find an investor – Although this option can be tricky, and may take a lot of leg work, depending on your SaaS product and the demographic you’re aiming to target you might be able to find an investor that believes in your product and wants to be a part of it’s growth.
- Set up a kickstarter campaign – Your MVP should be taking off nicely with your initial group of early adopters, however setting up a kickstarter campaign can help you find new audiences and a plethora of people willing to invest in your product.
6. Build Relationships with Other SaaS Products
When building your SaaS product, it’s a smart idea to rely on the support and guidance of the SaaS products that came before you. The leaders of these companies have paved the way to building and maintaining a successful SaaS product, and it’s a smart idea to build relationships with them and their team. Here are a few ideas to get your foot in the door with established SaaS companies.
- Do your research – The SaaS industry is unique, and many times the owner of the company is highly involved in it’s marketing and daily operations. Find SaaS products that can get behind what you do and do your research to figure out who you should be getting in touch with.
- Connect via social media – Connect with key decision makers that work for other SaaS companies on LinkedIn and Instagram.
- Attend SaaS events – Just like any industry, SaaS companies have conferences that bring together industry leaders. Attend these events to help you build relationships in the industry. (Here are 10 SaaS conferences to consider.)
- Write Guest Content – When building your SaaS product, you should be setting yourself apart as the leader in your niche. Once you have an established blog and website with useful content, use that authority to guest blog on other SaaS company websites. This will also help you build valuable backlinks to your website.
7. Develop Version 1 of Your SaaS Product
If you’ve built a successful MVP, created a strong list of early adopters and have raised the necessary funding, congratulations it’s time to build the complete version of your SaaS product! Following the steps provided above ensure that you gauge interest and build a community prior to taking the greatest level of risk which is spending the time and money to build your SaaS product. By now you should have a better idea about key features and functionality for version one of your product that your audience will find valuable.
8. Set a Launch Date
One of the most important parts of your SaaS product launch plan is to set a launch date. Make sure it’s realistic and set in stone because this will be used to generate buzz and build more funding. As you develop the complete first version of your SaaS product, you’ll continue to build a strong list of early adopters and funding.
9. Build Buzz Around the Launch
Once you’ve set a launch date for your SaaS product, the next step in your SaaS product launch plan should be to create buzz. Build out a comprehensive marketing plan that reaches potential leads that fit your buyer personas. Both inbound and outbound marketing efforts are necessary at this stage to ensure you’re reaching your audience and getting the word out. Here are a few ideas of marketing efforts that can help you create buzz around your SaaS product launch:
- Attend SaaS conferences
- Guest blog on a variety of industry leader websites
- Run Facebook Ads to your MVP website
- Run Remarketing ads
- Partner with other SaaS products that your audience will be interested in to offer a discount to early adopters.
- Use press releases to get into the top publications your audience is influenced by.
10. Launch Your SaaS Product
You’ve created buzz around your SaaS product, have a large group of early adopters using the core features of your SaaS product and have spent the time and funding you’ve received to create version 1 of your product. At this point in the SaaS product launch plan, you’re ready to launch! On the date and time you’ve specified, make sure your SaaS product goes live so that you can influence those who’ve been anticipating your launch date.
At this stage it’s important to create a go-live checklist to ensure that all of the features and functionality are working on multiple devices and for multiple users. Have your team test every detail of your SaaS product before you push it live.
11. Continually Improve Features and Functionality
Now that you have a live SaaS product, the work doesn’t end there. Your product should be constantly evolving based on feedback from your customers and industry advancements. Create a list of requested features and functionality and use those requests as a blueprint for what your SaaS product should do in version 2 and beyond. In order to keep growing your SaaS product, you’ll need to ensure that you’re keeping up with the fast evolving industry.
There’s a lot that goes into building, selling and growing a SaaS product. By following this SaaS product launch plan you can ensure that you have the backers and funding you need to be successful. Don’t just jump into your SaaS product idea blind. Use social proof and partnerships to ensure you’re using your money and time wisely.