I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this:
If there’s anything you need more in your SaaS’ early days apart from first users, it’s visibility and brand awareness.
You need potential customers to find out that your product exists, begin recognizing its name and finally, start considering it as a possible solution to their problem.
It’s just… letting them know about it proves to be quite a challenge, doesn’t it?
You have no clue where to start. Instead of spreading the word on your product, you’re stuck, feeling lost about the techniques you could use, and unable to decide where to begin.
In reality, however, all you need is just a handful of strategies to achieve greater industry visibility and raise the awareness of your product.
Lucky for you, that’s EXACTLY what I’m going to talk about in this post.
I’ll share with you the only 4 strategies you’ll need to use to increase your SaaS company’s visibility, gain potential users’ trust, and raise brand awareness.
Ready? Let’s do it then.
#1. Create Content that Answers Questions Your Potential Customers Are Asking
I’m sure you already know that your SaaS needs to publish content and why. You’ve heard all the stats and arguments.
You’re just not sure what you should be blogging about…
Share your journey as a founder?
Entertain the audience instead?
Or perhaps focus on user stories and publish interviews with people who already use your app?
All these approaches would work. However, none of them can deliver the results you need.
Sharing your challenges as you build the app will connect you with other founders. But unless they are your target audience, it won’t do much to raising initial brand awareness and industry visibility.
Entertaining might not attract the right audience. And focusing on users would work only if you target people deeper in the buying cycle. But it probably won’t attract that many initial users.
So what should you do instead?
Answer questions your potential users are asking. However, go beyond just offering advice relating to your product. Help anyone experiencing problems associated with the pain point you’re targeting with your product.
As Neil Patel puts it in this article on Kissmetrics:
“SaaS marketing depends on information.
It’s amazing how foundational this is, yet how often overlooked. Think for a minute about some of your favorite blogs and information sources. Do you realize that much of that information comes either from people who sell SaaS or from a SaaS provider?
[…] If you are a B2B SaaS marketer, think of yourself in different terms from mere “marketer.” Think of yourself as an industry savant — the one who possesses and dispenses information.”
If you provide a CRM app, answer questions relating to online advertising and other marketing channels companies use to generate leads.
A targeted content strategy will help you increase visibility in three ways:
- It will attract people with problems relating to what your product could help them overcome. The majority of today’s B2B buyers start their journey to purchase by searching for advice and information online. Offering that advice will help them familiarize with your product.
- It will build trust with your product. After all, nothing beats education as a way to build trust and authority.
- It will introduce your brand and product to influencers. Referencing influencers in content is a surefire way to get noticed and tell them about your product.
How to get started:
First, research your prospects’ problems and pain points. Find out what specific questions they’re asking. Here’s how:
#1. Scout Quora.com.
I agree, this Q&A site is a real goldmine of relevant topic ideas.
But the challenge with using Quora, however, is that you either need to have a question in mind and only use the site to validate it or browse entire categories looking for inspiration.
Not ideal, if you ask me.
To overcome it, research topics on Quora in Google.
I use this search query when researching ideas for our clients’ content:
‘Topic – typically something relating to my client’s product” + “Their Audience” inurl:quora.com
“marketing automation” + “SMEs” inurl:quora.com
The search engine immediately retrieves Quora entries focusing on the topic and the audience.
Experiment with topics, be more specific or leave them broad, and you should immediately find out what questions your audience wants you to answer for them.
#2. Check your sales and support emails.
Next, review communication you receive from potential and current users, looking for patterns and questions that come up at least a couple of times. They could form a base for great content too.
#3. Research the most popular content in your niche.
Finally, use Buzzsumo to find most popular topics on the top sites your audience frequents.
This tool allows you to research both popular topics and domains. However, for this exercise, focus on domains. Pick 2-3 sites popular among your audience and research their most popular content.
Conduct this research in two stages:
- Find the most shared post on any topic. See what topics relating to your product are in the top 10 content on the site.
- Find the most shared content relating to your topic. This will tell you what specific questions engaged the audience the most.
From then on, all that’s left is to launch a blog and start creating.
#2. Find People Who Write for Top Industry’s Publications
“As featured on…”
“These people talk about us already…”
“They wrote about us…”
Don’t you sometimes look with envy at other startups boldly displaying statements similar to the above, followed by logos of top publications their potential users are reading?
Sure you do. After all, being featured on top industry’s sites:
- Exposes your brand and product to a massive and highly relevant audience. Thousands of people with the problem you’re solving read those sites.
- Attracts people already experiencing the problem you’re solving to your site. And since they first discovered you via a recommendation from a source they trust, these people are more willing to try your app than organic visitors, for example.
- Builds your credibility and authority. References in top publications help align your brand with their authority, in turn, passing some of it to you.
All in all, the benefits of this strategy are obvious. But how do you ensure you get picked up by those publications?
You need to find and pitch writers who already publish there.
Advertise the project on freelance writing sites. Websites like jobs.problogger.net allow you to advertise for various writers you’re looking for. From bloggers to eBook writers, copywriters and everything in between.
Many companies use those sites to connect with writers who publish on authority sites.
Search social media for writers mentioning being contributors to well-known publications in their profile descriptions. Many writers would include phrases like “contributor to” or “contributing to” in their profiles, allowing you to identify them easily.
Search Linkedin for the above phrases and then, filter results by publication, territory, and even industry to narrow down the list of potential writers to approach.
Finally, if you have the budget, use dedicated PR companies offering content placement services on top sites in your industry. Sure, this is the most expensive option, however, if you have the budget and want to save the time, it might be the one to go for.
#3. Pitch Podcast Interviews
Podcast listening has exploded. And here are a couple of statistics that prove it:
- Podcasting listening grew by 23% between 2015 and 2016.
- The same number of Americans listen to podcasts and use Twitter.
- Podcast listeners stay tuned 5 times longer than reading a blog post.
And this strategy will get even more popular. As Dave Jackson from The School of Podcasting points:
“Podcasting will continue to grow mainly due to the smartphone usage and Bluetooth, especially in connected cars. We’re going to see more companies sponsoring podcast shows as brands start understanding the true connection that podcasters have with their audience and the influence they have on their listeners.” (source)
Being featured on podcasts offer the same benefits as being mentioned on top industry’s sites, visibility and exposure to a relevant audience, traffic, and conversions.
But it delivers this with significantly less hustle.
For one, podcasting is more scalable. Your investment in an hour long podcast interview is exactly that, an hour. Once you’re done, the rest is in the hands of a podcaster who will edit the show and publish it live.
But by then, you could be onto another podcast or whatever else you’re doing.
It’s much easier to find podcasting opportunities. Many podcasts actively seek founders they could interview.
Finally, it’s cheaper. You don’t have to pay anyone to be featured on a podcast. Your currency is the insight you offer and your time.
The thing is, though… podcasting can be intimidating…
Talking for an hour, even about the topic you know everything about can scare the hell out of anybody.
“People need to get comfortable with going live and being “human” and imperfect. So many businesses want to present perfection and this stops them from marketing their services effectively.”
So how do you get started?
#1. Find relevant shows you could approach. Start by googling for podcasts in your niche or industry. Use search queries like:
- [your niche] inurl:podcast
- [your topic of expertise] inurl:podcast
- [your niche or topic of expertise] intitle:podcast
The search engine will return a list of podcast shows relevant to your niche or topic.
For example, assuming I run a CRM app and want to talk about sales automation. Using the queries above, I quickly discover some interesting shows on the topic.
Let’s try another query, this time focusing on the intitle operator:
Plenty of shows to choose from.
#2. Assess each podcast for viability. With a list of potential shows at hand, research the following:
- Is the podcast still active? Are they still producing new episodes?
- What’s its format (interview-based, informational, discussion)? Naturally, you want to focus on shows that feature guests and interviews.
- Can you easily access their contact details? Do they have a dedicated website with full contact info?
Don’t jump right into the outreach. Listen to at least one episode to discover their interview style, topics, and see if there’s a fit for you. Then, engage with the podcaster to build the initial connection before you outreach to them.
Dave Schneider from Ninja Outreach, a killer email outreach app, shares a great process for putting yourself on the podcaster’s radar:
- Blog commenting
- Subscribing to the newsletter
- Following them on social media
- Sharing their blog posts
And then, adds:
“But I want to call out one specific tactic that works well for podcasts – leaving a review on iTunes.
Even many of the top influencers still have a paltry number of reviews on iTunes.
For example Rob Walling and Mike Taber have just over 250, and they run one of the most well-known podcasts for startups (it’s excellent btw). By comparison, they probably receive about that many emails in one day (or that many comments on one post).
In short, if you really want to stand out from the crowd, an iTunes review is a fantastic way to do it.”
#4. Pitch your interview
And finally, approach the podcast with your idea or topic you’d like to talk about.
“One of the hardest things podcasts have to do is figure out the angle of each show. How will they make this guest uniquely interesting and compelling to their audience? I know podcasters that spend hours preparing for each interview. If you do this work for them and explain why you can deliver a ton of value to their audience, they’re much more likely to have you on. “
#4. Conduct Joint Webinars
The benefits of running webinars are many:
- They build better rapport than many other content types.
- Attract people with a strong positive attitude towards your brand.
- Help you reach new users globally.
- Raise your perceived authority status.
- And generate quality leads and users.
It’s just… it’s darn hard to do it all if you’re a new startup, right?
You have no audience to invite. No list to promote the webinar too. And no one really knows about your brand yet to sign up.
In fact, you want to run webinars to gain that visibility and brand awareness.
A bit of a Catch 22, no?
Luckily, there’s a solution:
Conduct joint-webinars with companies selling complimentary services or products to the same audience as you.
For example, Beacon, one of our clients offering software to convert existing content into lead magnets, teamed up with 3P Creative Group, an inbound marketing agency to deliver a webinar on lead magnets creation.
Note that both companies target the same audience with complementing services and products, creating a perfect pair to promote both businesses with webinars.
To get started with this strategy:
- Find companies with existing audience you could team up with. Make sure that you offer complementary services with no overlap.
- Come up with a topic that allows you both to deliver meaningful information to users while promoting your businesses. Ensure that the topic doesn’t tilt towards one company but allows to show the value of both at the same time. A good idea is to talk about the exact thing your software does, and then use it to illustrate the process.
- Co-promote the webinar to your audiences. Promoting to both audiences will increase your reach and allow you to directly pitch your product to a potentially big audience of potential users.
There’s nothing your SaaS startup needs in the early days apart from users; it’s visibility and brand awareness.
And in this article, I showed you the only 4 strategies you need to be focusing on to achieve it.
What’s left is to go and implement them one by one.