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5-step SaaS product marketing framework for Startups 

This single screen has led to a 3900% growth in user acquisition for Dropbox with 2.8 Million invites sent by its users in April 2010 – this is the product marketing

In this article, Harshala Chavan, the founder of Merrative, shares a simple 5-steps growth marketing framework that will help you achieve your coveted product-led growth and reduce that user acquisition cost for your SaaS business.

These steps are designed as per different touch-points for your user’s journey as they use your SaaS product. Getting these 5 aspects right will help you escalate your SaaS product marketing efforts and drive better results!

If you are just starting your marketing journey, read this article, to find out what growth marketing is really all about.

Step-1 Fix positioning: Decide whom are you serving

Let’s make it clear — not everyone out there is your customer. You have to choose your starting point.

You don’t have to customize your whole product. Neither will you fall into the rabbit hole of serving one type of customer. You need to decide a market to start with, simply to position yourself to make it appealing for that market to become your users. For this, changing the messaging of the landing page and targeting with relevant content resources is good enough.

Here’s a simple framework for SaaS product marketing positioning:

  • Conduct competitive analysis and find out the gaps in your target market
  • Write down your 3 main value propositions as to how you fill their gaps with your product. Focus on the end-user state, and not features.
  • Add an element of storytelling in your messaging that constantly reminds your users how your product makes their life easier.

This is a very crucial step, especially if you have just launched a new SaaS startup. By making one set of customers happy, you create a good framework to replicate the model for other available markets that you can tap into.

Step-2 Educate: Write product use cases and case studies

Amazon.com: Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife, Translucent Ruby  ,58mm : Tools & Home Improvement
A Swiss knife has several use cases, but it’s still positioned primarily as a knife!

Make sure your users are convinced with your storytelling on the landing page. Afterward, you need to visualize how exactly your product can solve their problems.

Since you already defined your value propositions with your SaaS, things get easier here. For each of those value propositions, you can create dedicated website pages to pick the best product use-cases.

Key considerations while writing product use cases:

  • Focus on the customer journey — don’t add random screenshots of your SaaS. Instead, add the imagery that helps them visualize the product journey they will experience if they use your product. It should have a good ‘start-state’ and ‘end state’ where they ‘win’ towards the end. Your customer should be the hero of this product use-case, and not the product itself.
  • You want to make them feel comfortable using your product. Get their trust by adding at least 1 case study under each of these product use cases. The more famous the person/company name, the better.
  • Everyone loves numbers and believes in statistics. Make sure to represent your ‘value propositions’ not just in words, but also in flat numbers or percentages. This will help you visualize the impact of using your SaaS product.

This step will not only educate your customer about your product but also spark a sense of curiosity or conviction. 

You can also hire a professional content marketer to add an expert touch and draft these product case studies. These are one-time efforts that pay back in the long term.

Merrative helps to hire the top 5% of writers in your industry who can easily craft your SaaS product marketing use cases – book a free consultation to get started!

Step-3 Onboard: Add a referral system to your user onboarding workflow

As a SaaS business, you must pay dedicated focus on your user onboarding.

Once, you’ve impressed your customer with how awesome your product is and how it solves their problem, prepare for referrals! What truly excites them is the chance to use your product for Free. One shouldn’t underestimate to what lengths a customer can go to get these freebies.

Dropbox knew this very well. Nothing works best to turn your customers into brand evangelists than the good old referral.

Simple steps to design a good referral system:

  • Sit with your marketing and developer heads to decide the upper limit of the cost you can bear to provide certain features of your site for Free. This is a key step because referrals are exponential, and you cannot backtrack from your promise. Hence, ensure you have the bandwidth and compare it with the lifetime value of the customer gained and how much time it will take to break even.
  • Design the steps you’d like your customer to take to spread the word about your offer. This could be social media shares, sending invites by email, embedding invite links, etc.
  • For each of these steps, ensure the subsequent steps require more effort than the previous one. Then, attach an equivalent increase in reward. The simple way to do this is to provide more free stuff with more referrals gained.
  • In the end, show their referral status to motivate them to send more referrals for bonuses.

Step-4 Get Started: Design an in-app checklist to guide your users

SaaS Checklist image

Yes, user onboarding helps your customer learn about your product. However, not everyone will be completely comfortable going through it in one go.

Humans are lazy creatures, and it’s difficult to make them switch. Use this to your advantage. Increase the number of times your customer ‘tries’ your product, and make it seem ‘easier’ with every attempt.

Implementing a checklist of tasks they need to do to get the most out of your product, might help you retain them even further.

Key considerations while designing checklists:

  • Include tasks that are easy, yet crucial, for them started with using your SaaS. For instance, LinkedIn asks to fill up your basic details that don’t require much thought process to type.
  • Let them know they have made progress by using simple ‘progress bars’. People love completing things as soon as they know they are almost near the end!
  • Use encouraging copywriting — don’t be boring, salesy, or that scary football coach. Hire a good copywriter to create a sense of encouragement and accomplishment as one finishes their checklist.

Consequently, you can personalize these experiences depending on the bandwidth of the SaaS startup. Nevertheless, mastering the basics of complete onboarding workflow is crucial to think of implementing other product marketing hacks.

STEP-5 Stay in touch: Create an awesome Newsletter for your SaaS

Everything you do — lead generation, social media marketing, and product development, should make people ‘sign up’ to your newsletter. All you need is to grab those emails, ensure they never click ‘unsubscribe’, and ‘share’ it with their network.

Full-scale SaaS product marketing can be really expensive, especially if you are just starting with your SaaS business. However, there is one thing that you can do cheaply to get additional users  —  launch your newsletters!

Key considerations to ensure you create a kick-ass newsletter that people love to read:

  • Find the best newsletter out there in terms of quality and audience, and jot down what makes them click.
  • Your newsletter should teach people something new with every issue — therefore, decide what topic is it going to be. For SaaS startups with a budget, start by curating great content in your industry and add your commentary of expertise. Else, one can always write a well researched and insightful newsletter and become the industry benchmark.
  • You should have your call to action towards the end of the newsletter. That action shouldn’t always be ‘sign up today’. It can also be an offer they cannot refuse — mostly a freebie or a special time offer.

Newsletters are a great way to remind your customers about your existence, your expertise, and untapped benefit from your product.

Merrative helps SaaS founders strategize their newsletters. We help you not just collect emails for conversion, but also build a brand that is loved by everyone. Connect with our marketing experts on Projectium.

How to Start with your SaaS product marketing?

In conclusion, implementing this framework with complete sincerity and focus can itself start turning your product flywheel across these 5 customer touchpoints. These 5 steps are budget-friendly, require one-time effort, and are repeatable to justify your efforts.

This article is a guest post submitted by Merrative – a community of readers and publishers who create, curate and converse about digital literature together.

If you want to discover how leading SaaS companies like Slack, and Mailchimp, execute their content marketing strategies, check out the newsletter ‘Media First Brand’ – Read and Subscribe.

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