Admit it. You’ve read all the hyperbolic SaaS case studies and more than a few of the thousands of posts on the topic of growth.
That’s great. But growth isn’t so much about new revolutionary techniques as it is about your process. All of the methods mentioned in this post are about things you can change on your end to have an impact on growth–no matter what tactic you’re testing.
The most powerful hacks involve changing how your company operates, not revolutionary new outreach techniques.
With the house rules out of the way, are you ready to grow your SaaS?
Let’s dive in.
Hack #1 – Actually Get Consistent About Your Growth
The biggest “hack” is to set up a consistent process that will ensure continuous efforts toward growth.
What’s that mean?
Don’t just have a meeting, write down 20-30 ideas that will help you grow, and test them in any order.
Sure, the process is (essentially) testing a large amount of factors that can move metrics in the right direction, but it’s not about doing random things and hoping they work. Get pumped about the growth process as a whole. Here are a few general tips:
- Put together a varied team from around the office
- Find or create a growth hacking dashboard and stick to it
- Meet regularly
- Keep track of everything
- Regularly evaluate all aspects (ongoing experiments, the process, the metrics you’re improving)
Key to Remember: Everyone promises a magic bullet for growth, but you should set your business up for the long haul. This starts with prioritizing the experiments you’re running. For a more detailed look at prioritization, check out Sean Ellis’s ICE score framework.
Hack #2 – Make Your Product More Useful (Integrate)
You’ve, no doubt, heard of the superstars in the SaaS world. Slack, Dropbox, Evernote, the list is full of success stories. Their growth was substantial and impressive, but may be traced back to one single strategy.
Opening up your API and allowing other tools to connect is a great way to attract users to your brand. Not only will it help you garner coveted new users, your product(s) will become more valuable both initially and over time.
The more your tool is being used, the less likely you’ll have churn and the growth you have will stick (more on that in the next “hack”).
Don’t think your product can benefit/utilize other apps? Think again. Integrations can:
- Increase brand authority
- Improve user engagement
- Tend to draw people (e.g. growth)
- Help you improve your product
Bonus Resource: So many tools have opened up their API’s and hope to be integrated with awesome apps (like yours). To get you started how about a directory of over 15,000.
Here’s Neil Patel’s actionable framework for finding SaaS integration opportunities: ask your customers, “What other products do you use on a daily basis?”
Hack #3 – Double Your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
If your sales funnel ends once you have a customer’s money, stop thinking about growth. The first experience your new users have with your product and their level of success during that use will determine a number of things that boil down to two ends.
- How long they continue with your brand (lifetime value).
- What they think/feel about it’s function and usefulness (which could be anywhere from “huh?” to “it works” to “I need to help others by telling them about this”)
Chances are, you’ve built a useful product which is a great step but not everything. The word you’re looking for is onboarding. Awareness of your brand, decision making, and closing leads are on the front side of the funnel. Ensuring your new clients have a good experience out of the gate will help you lower churn.
If these don’t sound like growth hacks, that’s good. This isn’t about stuff you’ve heard about, it’s about the hacks you (probably) haven’t tried. Plus, there is another step.
Shutting down the quality content through drip fed emails just because you’ve got what you wanted is the best way to never create brand advocates.
Further Reading: Here’s our guide to onboarding. It should help you get going in the right direction.
Hack #4 – Upgrade Your SaaS Website
We know, we know. There are hundreds of growth hack experiments that are geared towards your website. Unfortunately, they can be the most tedious. Split testing colors and text isn’t the most exciting thing to think about.
Don’t worry, we’re not going over how to run an A/B test. We are going to give a couple of tips within this tip that could ramp up your traffic.
Adjust Your Title Tags
Title Tags: —technically called title elements—define the title of a document. Title tags are often used on search engine results pages (SERPs) to display preview snippets for a given page, and are important both for SEO and social sharing.
Take a look at all your popular pages and blog posts. Are they optimized for both Google and attracting searchers?
Some of the biggest content marketing and SEO names (Neil Patel, Rand Fishkin) are suggesting a bit of an update to your tags to help drive more traffic.
Delete Old (Less Relevant) Content
There have been some amazing success stories of webmasters massively increasing their traffic by getting rid of a considerable amount of irrelevant content. Don’t just start “hacking” at your site (pun intended). Much like everything, there is a process to it.
It may sound scary, but the results can speak for themselves. The guys at Moz have put together an ultimate guide to help you out. Here it is.
Hack #5 – Add Proof, Proof, and More Proof
You might have a testimonial or two on your sales page, but social proof is a great way to see increased conversions from web traffic. Being humble is great, but if there is an area to show off, it’s this one. There are a few ways to do it:
- Social Media: Encourage your audience to share their story and feature it. It’s the fastest way to reciprocal appreciation. If someone shares their experience and you turn around and share it with your audience, it will immediately encourage others to join in.
- Around the Web: If you’ve been featured on a notable media site (Inc., Forbes, etc.); those logos should be prominently on your site. If you don’t have any, consider guest posting (another way to achieve growth).
- Case Studies: Featuring the great tales of your customers will help you convert those timid, on-the-fence readers. You can also feature statistics for large groups of customers (e.g. average customers increase X by 27%).
Plaster your site with all of the sweet proof that your product does what you claim.
Hack #6 – Build Authority with Content Marketing
In addition to running a successful SaaS app and gaining customers, your brand has to fill the role of media company.
Inbound marketing is here to stay and failure to realize it will hurt you in the long run. Press releases and paid ads will get you sales, but consistently and thoughtfully putting out the content your target audience wants will lead to sustainable rapid growth.
We’re not insinuating that you have to be the next HubSpot, but building yourself up as an authority in some channels will benefit your brand. In fact, you’d be best off to pick one to start and rock it out.
How about an email marketing tool that has a blog for their target audience (sound familiar)?
There are couple of keys to making this work:
- Quality Trumps Frequency: If you only post mediocre posts/videos/or podcasts each and every day, your growth may not impress. If you publish an amazing guide or resource fairly regularly, you’re more likely to see people jump at the chance to come back to your site when you publish something new.
- Consistency is Important: While you shouldn’t just put words on your site for the sake of doing it, you should have a consistent channel (at least weekly). Doing so will help keep your readers coming back (as long as the content is good).
Hack #7 – Use (the Right) Tools
Growth hacks aren’t as much about data collection and deciphering as it is achieving results. With every experiment, your growth team should be gleaning tactics to becoming even better. The best way to ensure that you are tracking that data, or implementing those experiments properly is to use tools.
There are a few key areas for your tools.
- Data Collection: Things like Google Analytics and Crazy Egg are great for figuring out what’s working and what’s not.
- Communication: Social tools like Hootsuite or Edgar, and a great email provider.
- Collaboration: There are no shortage of project management tools, but depending on your size; Trello, BaseCamp, and Asana are popular options.
There have to be a few that you haven’t tried…yet. If you put in the effort (and get intentional), you’re set to see amazing growth.
So, how are you going to hack your SaaS growth?