5 Creative Growth Techniques for SaaS Companies

Nilam Oswal

Nilam Oswal

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: April 22, 2020

Building a SaaS company from scratch is never easy. You have probably spent an enormous amount of resources implementing innovative ideas that could transform how your preferred audience operates. And now, all that’s left for you is to watch the business boom.

However, getting that ‘boom’ doesn’t always come easy. For start-ups who are limited in terms of finances and facilities, it involves being innovative in growth techniques, while at the same time lowering cost.

Fortunately, there are ways you can efficiently grow your SaaS business. We have highlighted five of them below.

Top 5 Growth Tips for SaaS Companies

1. Optimize Your Freemium Services

According to Investopedia, a freemium model is when a company offers its primary services to customers for no cost. The reason for this is to allow your business to initiate a foundation for future deals with customers. Of course, humans like free things. So, providing your SaaS services for free is an excellent way to pull new users quickly.

This option is particularly useful in situations where the value proposition offered by your SaaS company is a bit complicated. In that case, users need an extra-push to discover and embrace your services.

An instance is the case of an organization in need of an employee performance review template. Drawing up such a template from scratch may be a difficult process, and so the business will seek a more efficient alternative provided by a SaaS company. However, they would be wary of picking the wrong SaaS product. This could be due to the fear of incompatibility, amongst other reasons. 

Offering freemium services ensure your potential SaaS customers overcome that skepticism as they are attracted to test out your services at no cost. Of course, when you do manage to impress them, they become regular subscribers to your premium services. This translates to rapid growth for your company in a short time. 

2. Offer Something Valuable to New Subscribers 

This technique is an improvement on the ‘freemium’ service, and it has been used by top SaaS companies to increase their customer base rapidly. An instance is that of Dropbox, and of course, the positive effect has been tremendous for them.

Dropbox is a file hosting service launched back in 2007 by MIT students. It was one of the start-ups that benefitted from Y-Combinator funding. However, like most young businesses, it was challenged by the problem of efficiently increasing its customer base. So, what did Dropbox do? It gave its new subscribers an enticing extra-offer as they joined. 

That extra-offer was an increased storage space for new users who subscribed to the company’s file hosting service. And the result was a rapidly increased subscriber base for Dropbox over a short time. 

This technique still remains very effective and is an excellent way for you to grow your SaaS company quickly. You can decide to reward new subscribers with captivating services that act as extra-benefits on their initial subscriptions, and the result would be a booming business. 

Also, you can spice up the offer as in the case of SaaS companies like PayPal to get better results. This ‘spicing up’ involves offers where you reward not only new subscribers but also old ones through referral packages. That way, both your new and old users are encouraged to keep joining, using, and sharing your services. 

Also, Read: Top SaaS and Tech Events to Attend in 2020

3. Run Affiliate Marketing Programs

Large SaaS companies such as Google, Adobe, and Salesforce spend billions of dollars yearly to market their services. This gives them a global outreach to access new customers on a regular basis and is one of the reasons for their exponential success over the past few years. 

However, start-up and medium-level SaaS companies do not get to enjoy this same luxury. This isn’t surprising as most have a run rate that amounts to only a few hundreds and maybe millions of dollars annually. So, what should you do to market your services best without breaking the bank? Run a super-effective affiliate marketing program. It’s become the in-thing and has been used by many fast-growing SaaS companies.

Affiliate marketing involves setting up a system to reward external parties for introducing new customers to your services. These third parties could be online blog owners, email partners, and others who can drive in new subscribers in large numbers.

The rewards to these external parties, which are also known as ‘affiliates,’ could be a small share of your service gains. The more common option these days, though, is a pre-agreed rate. In the case of the former, you offer external parties such as blog owners that drive new users to your services a percentage of the price you charge per user they help you acquire. 

While for the latter, you and your external partners agree to a predetermined amount that you will pay for every new customer. An example would be an agreement by your SaaS company to pay 1 dollar to a partner-blog for every user who purchases your products through its website.

Affiliate marketing is very effective as it helps to increase your company’s outreach at a cheap cost. You have ‘many hands,’ in the form of external partners helping you retail your product and services. In fact, it is one of the highly recommended ways to grow your SaaS business in the short term quickly. 

4. Improve Your Email List 

This may seem like an old trick, but it’s as effective as ever. External parties can be useful in getting your SaaS company new users across the board, but extra effort is needed to keep those users interested. Better still? Have them bring in new customers for you. 

Email lists are an excellent way to keep your customers up to date on your latest services and offers. It is also a way to engage potential customers who may have come in contact with details concerning your services and only need a ‘push’ to become regular subscribers. Hence, making the best of those lists is vital in growing your SaaS company quickly. 

In fact, a look at top SaaS companies would verify this fact. Google rarely lets an entire month pass without sending out emails on their latest packages and updates to their subscribers. Do you think they would keep on with this if it weren’t essential to the company? Well, we do not think so. 

You need to keep engaging with your users to ensure your SaaS company is continually flourishing. And one way to ensure that engagement is by improving your mailing list. 

However, it is essential to note that securing growth through your mailing list doesn’t end at sending out newsletters alone. It also involves developing great content that can be captivating to your users. 

Your emails have to be perfectly curated so that they pose your business as ‘attractive’ to your potential customers and current ones. A hack to get that done would be the inclusion of your best deals and products in the mail. This, alongside regular updates, go hand-in-hand to ensure your SaaS company’s accelerated growth. 

5. Create An Exclusive Brand

People all over the world love being associated with exclusivity. If you do not believe this, a look at LinkedIn’s tremendous success, which has been driven by its ‘cliquish’ brand outlook over the years, will change your mind. 

LinkedIn was launched on May 5, 2013. However, unlike most SaaS companies, it didn’t present itself as a ‘type-for-all’ SaaS provider. LinkedIn retained its exclusiveness by presenting itself as an avenue for networking among professionals alone. While many would have bet the company wouldn’t last, today, it has over 660 million users with billions of dollars in revenue. 

So, why not borrow a page from LinkedIn’s playbook and drive unprecedented growth for your SaaS company using exclusivity? Interestingly, ensuring your company has an exclusive brand isn’t as hard as it may seem. 

You only need to make sure your services stand out and are targeted towards a particular niche that would find them very appealing. If you run a SaaS company that provides services for writers, it entails maintaining exclusivity for users in a specific group. This could be providing services for poem writers alone and going by LinkedIn’s rules, your long-term growth is sure. However, it is crucial for you to be conscientious while developing your brand’s exclusivity. You do not want to select a niche whereby the scope for possible growth is really small. In other words, the chances of scaling your business are negligible. 

Conclusion

Growth doesn’t come easy for businesses in all kinds of industries, particularly for start-ups. This applies to SaaS companies as well. Fortunately, there are several ways to turn the tide in your favor and rapidly develop your company, be it a start-up or a well-established business.

We have highlighted the best of those ways above, and if you put them to work in the right manner, your SaaS company’s success is guaranteed. According to the famous author, Napoleon Hill, growth never comes by luck. It is usually an instrument of “forces working together.” Only that here, those forces are the techniques we have listed above.

Nilam Oswal
Nilam Oswal is a Content Marketing Head and Brand Strategiest at SoftwareSuggest. When she's not hard at work, she can be found wandering, reading, and just generally having a good time in life.

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