Before You Launch: SaaS Marketing 101
About to launch your first SaaS platform? Congratulations!
Do you have customers knocking down your digital door in anticipation of your public launch?
In that case, hold up. Wait a second. Press the pause button, please.
At Metacake, we have launched many SaaS platforms and will be the first to admin that we didn’t get everything right the first time.
But now with many successful SaaS platform launches under our belt, we’ve got a few tips.
So before you go any further, read on.
Here is the most important lesson we’ve learned along the way to help you on your SaaS journey.
What is a SaaS platform?
Now if you’re getting ready to launch your first SaaS platform, you probably already know this (…or at least we sure hope you do). But for the rest of us out there, here’s a little background info.
SaaS platforms are the next generation in the digital industry. A SaaS (Software as a Service) platform is simply any platform where you signup online (and perhaps pay a monthly fee) for access to cloud-based software. Basecamp for example (for project management) or Dropbox (for file storage), or even Spotify (for access to streaming music).
SaaS platforms are not mobile apps. This is a common misconception. While most successful SaaS platforms have a mobile component, and perhaps a web app as well, the platform itself is simply a cloud-based service.
Now back to launching your first SaaS platform…
The Key for a Successful SaaS Platform Launch: Marketing Early
SaaS platforms have a long build cycle. Most SaaS platforms take several months, if not years to get production ready.
So, with such a long wait until your product is ready for public release, when should you start marketing?
Unless of course your product is already in development…in which case the answer is yesterday.
You must market from the beginning. Don’t build your platform and then release it before you try to start generating a buzz…
That is the opposite of hitting the ground running.
From the moment you have your initial product vision, you have the details you need to begin developing your brand and building anticipation for your product, so why wait?
Set up a landing page with an early bird signup or email subscription. Build anticipation by releasing details and teasers about your product over time. Generate buzz with special promotions and content.
“You can’t separate development and marketing in a SaaS platform. It is not one after another. They must be done in parallel. The ultimate goal is that as soon as the platform is ready to launch, there are people waiting in line for it.” – Kenneth Ott
Worst case scenario is that day 1 you launch your platform and nothing happens. No one signs up.
The same is true for any new public businesses launch. Take a restaurant opening. The grand opening of a restaurant is a big event – one for which a restaurant owner generates hype for months before opening day.
A restaurant would never announce it’s opening the same day that is was scheduled to serve it’s first meal…and neither should you.
The day you launch your SaaS platform should be a big event, with customers jumping with excitement about the day they can finally begin utilizing your platform.
And in order to accomplish this, marketing must be baked in with development from the platform’s inception.
eSupport, our Latest SaaS platform
Our latest SaaS platform in the works is eSupport, a self-serve wireless support platform for enterprises. We started the product design process for this platform over a year and half ago and immediately created the branding, figured out who our target customers were, developed messaging, and started marketing.
We have been generating buzz for our product within the wireless telecommunications industry for several months through our marketing landing page, product demos, and conference sponsorships, and are just about to release our first production version of the platform.
The outcome? We have several enterprise level clients set for onboard upon release, and are poised to have 20,000+ users within the first few weeks of launch.
So, take it from us.
It does not matter how great your SaaS platform is if no one knows about it.
The “build it and they will come” philosophy simply does not work.
For a successful SaaS platform launch, you must start marketing from the beginning.