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What is the best marketing channel for SaaS startups?

Acquiring leads is definitely a bit of a pain. I understand building email lists via blogging is the way to go but I would like to hear if you have other suggestions to acquire leads and build momentum with revenues quickly.

4 Replies

Jason Gibb
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Jason Gibb Entrepreneur
Real Estate, Director & Business Development, MBA, CMA
Know what problem your software solves and for whom. Understand the value proposition than research and target companies that will benefit from using the SaaS. Pick up the phone and call them. If it is bigger enterprise companies it means getting through gatekeepers or finding the right person in the company. Just emailing people will not work anymore, you need to cold call them demonstrate a value to solve their pain in my experience. Since marketing is a verb, it requires action and the only action that matters is interacting directly with customers and making calls is the quickest way to do that. Once you build customer base than you move to emails and referrals to cultivate new business, but in beginning you need to call and build relationship before they will become customers and revenues.
Jason Kiefer
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Jason Kiefer Entrepreneur
CEO at Pixoto, CFO at Sugarwish etc
That's a super broad question. The marketing channel that works best is going to depend enormously on who your target is and what your lifetime value is for your customers.

That said - some thoughts (in addition to the content marketing you mentioned): if you can build viral hooks into your product that's almost always going to be the most cost effective and scalable. The best features are those that make the product better if more of your network is involved (think Slack), but there are other ways to do this to (think the logo and link on the bottom of Mailchimp's emails).

I have had some great success in finding thought leaders in the industry and getting them to use and promote the product (hire them as unofficial spokespeople). This works really well if there are industry "celebrities" but certainly won't work in every space.

Searching linkedin (but through google's site:linkedin.com advanced search) for people that fit your target profile and then contacting (cold call, cold email, inmail) can be incredibly cost effective (I mean stupid cheap) or exceedingly expensive ($1000s per new client) depending on how it is done. I've had both experiences.

Facebook advertising is great if your target has a very strong overlap with an pre-defined interest. Google adwords is great if your targets are searching for your product already or there is very high overlap with something else they are looking for. Both of these can be a complete waste of money if those criteria aren't met.

I know people who have had amazing success on instagram. My experience has not been that.

The only way to know what will work for you is to get out there and try it.
Shel Horowitz: Shel AT GreenAndProfitable com
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I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing
As a blogger for 12 years, I wouldn't expect to rapidly grow your list via blogging. Consider how often you read a cool blog entry and DON'T subscribe. For me as a site visitor, it's the vast majority. And for those that do want to subscribe, many might be getting RSS feeds or following via your Facebook or LInkedIn autolinks from your blog. You don't walk away with their email addresses.

Offer something of value on the blog page that they can get with an address and a click or two.
Sidney Sclar
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Sidney Sclar Entrepreneur
SID the SECURITY PRO at sidthesecuritypro.com
I am told that in addition to being a Master Networker, I am blazing new paths as a Mentor to Young Professionals.
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