Monday, March 7, 2016

How to generate 500 signups per month for B2B SaaS startup


Signup hunting. That's what we all do to make our SaaS businesses grow. Awesome landing pages and relevant content matters a lot, but according to my experience choosing the right marketing channels has even more significant affect. This is what I have found useful to make B2B SaaS startups grow:
One-to-one email cold contacting: 250 signups per month
Recently I wrote about how we collect and generate lead lists from the contacts found from varied sources, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and blog discussions:
Instead of spamming, this is one-to-one emailing - you send the emails from your own email address and target them carefully to the right audience. More emails you send, more visitors you get. But to get the signups you must have two things fixed: Right audience + relevant content. When the combination of these two matches, you are on the winning side. Otherwise you are just spamming.
With my earlier SaaS startups I've seen up to 300 signups per month after sending few thousand emails. With SignupLab my audience is now much more narrowed, but the conversions are even better as the content and target audience matches perfectly.
LinkedIn InMail: 20 signups per month
Okay, this one costs money and brings only few signups. But the benefit is that if your message doesn't reach the person, you get your InMail quota credited back (otherwise reaching 20 signups per month would be impossible). It's pretty much similar kind of one-to-one contacting as an email, but it can be even more personal because it's easy to see how you relate to the recipient (via colleague, group or industry overall). I simply write as many InMails as my current quota allows - this brings only few signups per month but hell they are relevant - almost directly converting to customers!
Reddit discussions: 50 signups per month
Discussions on the most popular subreddits gather a lot of good attention. The trick is that you should not spam your product where-ever you see a possibility to post a link. Instead, create relevant conversations that contain links to your product or blog posts. For example yesterday I started a discussion under /r/startups by asking what sales tools SaaS companies are using. The aim of the discussion is really to understand our potential customers better - this helps us to develop better product - but I was also very happy to see many new signups coming to our product directly from this conversation.
Quora answers: 50 signups per month
One is above the others what comes to conversion rates. Approximately 5% of all visitors coming from Quora are converting to signups on our website. This is because the questions are often very relevant and answers can get directly to the point. Quora questions are also nicely visible in the Google search results when people are searching for specific topics.
See for example my answer to the question What is the best suited CRM for SaaS.
Right ways to link your blog posts: 100 signups per month
We all know that blogging is the most important part of content marketing, so I'm not going to describe that any further. But instead I'm more interested where to get readers. Blogging is 50% about writing the relevant content and 50% about linking your blog posts to the right audience. If one of these is missing, results are poor. As soon as a blog post is published I walk through this list and post the link wherever it's suitable: 
  • Reddit subreddit selected by topic - I have a list of around 10 different subreddits that relate to our business. Every blog post that we write are published on one of these subreddits. 
  • LinkedIn group selected by topic - Also in LinkedIn it's very important to select the group carefully. The most important thing is that your blog post relates to the group's discussion and it's not only advertising your product. Group rules vary a lot, so be aware what are the rules for linking a blog post in each group. 
  • Hacker News - This is a bit "yellow paper" of startup news as it has such a lot of varied readers and all kind of companies posting their news. It's also easy to attract people to click your link, but don't do it only for clicks. You want to get signups, not visitors. That's why it's important to specify your title with industry specific terms. Baremetrics wrote a very good blog post about how How Hacker News Generated $1,500 in Monthly Recurring Revenue. The title must talk the language of your potential paying customers.
  • Quora - This goes in two ways: Sometimes I browse Quora and seek for blogging ideas. Sometimes I make a search after I've blogged. Either way, it's typically fairly easy to find relevant discussion and add your comment to it with the link to your blog post. This generates signups still months and years after linking! 
Make a Google search for similar articles and blog posts and write a comment with link to your blog post. This takes time, but if you make a search query for a topic and find the conversation from the front page of Google, you need to be part of this conversation.
SaaS / App product listings: 30 signups per month
No need to say much more, just submit. There are much more than just GetApp (which unfortunately doesn't provide link to your website anymore without a commercial plan). Although not a single one of these brings instantly a constant stream of signups, you will receive signups from dozen of different sources on a long run and also Google likes that your product is well linked across internet:
Finishing touch with Twitter
Once you have posted your links to Quora, SaaS product listings, public LinkedIn groups, Reddit pages or anywhere else - make a tweet! The most important part of social media marketing is that you tweet about your "tweets" outside Twitter. Regularly. It feels a bit frustrating at the beginning (you might have only 30 followers as we currently have, SignupLab was just recently soft-launched ;) But the amount of followers doesn't really matter (not even some market leaders on B2B have more than 100 followers!) as long as you use the right hashtags and tweet regularly. Twitter makes the final boost for your signup figures and helps you to reach the target: 500 signups per month.
Now that I'm doing these activities EVERY DAY, I like to enjoy my morning coffee while following the dashboards of SignupLab and checking how today's signups are rolling in :)