A 10-Step Checklist to Launch a SaaS Business With a Bang

A 10-Step Checklist to Launch a SaaS Business With a Bang

Invite only those people who might actually find your product useful and are likely to give honest feedback. Many entrepreneurs also create a launch page with a signup form, to gather beta users, even before they start working on their product. As they build their product, they keep aside some time to promote their launch page via email, social media, and other channels. When you’re launching a SaaS business, you can’t be everywhere, all the time. Create a blog After you’ve set up your marketing website, add a blog to it. You can share your blog posts on social media pages and groups, forums, syndication sites and many other online channels. Start building your email list even before you launch your product. In fact, it allows you to manage a list of 2000 people for free. It even provides out-of-the-box plugins that allow you to add an email subscription form at various places such as your launch page, blog, and even Facebook business page. Canva for designing Trello or Asana for project management Google Analytics and Hotjar for website analytics and heatmaps HootSuite or Buffer for social media management BuzzSumo for content research Slack for team communication Skype/Google Hangouts/Team Viewer for screen sharing, in case of customer issues.

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A 10-Step Checklist to Launch a SaaS Business With a Bang
Want to launch a SaaS business?

Launching a SaaS business takes a lot of hard work and determination. Many entrepreneurs feel that it is about getting the product out the door. Unless you’re an experienced entrepreneur, this approach can be quite disappointing.

You launch your SaaS product and hope to get a few signups every day. Days turn into weeks, and you don’t find anyone coming. What gives?

Your product is only part of the puzzle. There are quite a few things to sort out before you take your product to market.

Here are 10 things to take care of before you launch a SaaS business.

1. Have customer onboarding

No matter how simple your SaaS product, you need to have an automated process to onboard new users to your app. This will make it easier for people to use your product and quickly turn them into paying customers. At the minimum, it should:

  1. Allow users to sign up and sign in.
  2. Display a welcome screen.
  3. Give a quick product tour of your top 3 features that help them get started. Don’t walk them through all the features as it will only confuse them. You can use free plugins like Intro.js to provide a step-by-step guide to your application.
  4. Have automated lifecycle emails (after signup, after activation, end of trial).

For example, Slack has an awesome new user onboarding which uses a combination of tooltips, animations, static screens, and in-app examples.

2. Test your product thoroughly

One of the easiest ways to impress your target audience is to release a solid first version of your product. There are multiple ways to do this. First of all, thoroughly test your product with your team and fix any loose ends.

Next, release it to a few people who are similar to your target audience. Invite only those people who might actually find your product useful and are likely to give honest feedback. Avoid inviting friends, family and anyone who is emotionally close to you. This will help you get unbiased feedback, mimic real-world usage and refine your product.

Many entrepreneurs also create a launch page with a signup form, to gather beta users, even before they start working on their product. As they build their product, they keep aside some time to promote their launch page via email, social media, and other channels. This will ensure that you have a good list of beta users waiting to test your product.

Once you have set up a launch page, you can also submit your startup to Betalist, a community of beta testers. Do it early, as it takes months for a startup to appear on their site.

3. Don’t charge your customers initially

When you launch a SaaS startup, it might be tempting to charge your customers. After all, paying customers are the best way to validate your product. Here’s why it’s not a good idea.

If you need to charge your customers, you need to add a payment gateway such as Stripe or 2Checkout to your website, which will cost you integration time. You also need to apply for a bank account and run around for additional procedures such as incorporation. The whole process can take months and delay your launch unnecessarily.

Instead, release your SaaS product as a beta version, and mention that it will be free during the beta period (3-4 months). This will give you enough time to validate your idea, as well as set up the payment module.

4. Leverage social media

With more than 3 billion users, social media has become an inevitable aspect of every marketing strategy. Here are a few things to take care of before you get started with social media marketing:

  1. Register for only 2-3 top social media platforms to begin with. This will make it easier to understand what your target audience likes and how to engage them.
  2. Create a Facebook business page. No matter which business you are, Facebook has an audience for you. With more than 2 billions active users, you just cannot ignore it anymore.
  3. Create a Twitter page to share the latest news and trends about your product, business, and industry, as well as interact with relevant influencers. Personally, we haven’t had much luck with Twitter but I know many fellow entrepreneurs who have been able to successfully promote their SaaS business on it.
  4. Create a LinkedIn company page and regularly post updates to it. We’ve found it to be a great source of customers, especially for B2B SaaS products. It allows you to promote your startup in a variety of ways such as posting updates on your personal profile or company page, publishing articles on LinkedIn Pulse, and sharing useful content with relevant LinkedIn groups. We’ve also found that prospective clients use LinkedIn to check out a company before making a purchase.

Here’s an example of how Autopilot uses GIFs in its Facebook Ads to show its SaaS product in action and reveal how easy it is to use. You can also use this trick with organic posts.

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