You've got your software product ready to go - now it's time to launch it! It's a thrilling and nerve-wracking time for you and your team. You're excited to bring your product to the world and see what happens. But there's a lot of things to keep a check on so as to not mess up.
From launching a product too early to getting lost in the marketing noise, we've seen it all happen as the SaaS marketplace is flooded with new products, features, and updates. No doubt you will run the risk of going unnoticed if you don’t do something about it.
But how do you get the word out about your product launch? How do you ensure that your customers know about it? How do you launch a SaaS product that gets better traction?
In this post, we break down everything you need to take care of before launching your product.
Have this checklist handy to drum up the excitement for your SaaS product launch and make sure that it doesn’t go unnoticed.
Things to prepare for your saas product pre-launch
Your SaaS product is now ready to hit the market at its full potential! But before you do, you must ensure whether it’s prepared to sell. This is where your marketing plan comes into play. You have to figure out your target audience and how best to reach them.
In this phase, you should clearly understand who will buy your software and how they would use it—and also do some research into competitors' products to identify key differences that might help you differentiate yourself from them (if any).
Let’s start with competitor analysis.
Analyze and understand your competitors
If you are entering a market with your new product, you have to prepare yourself to keep your head above the water. You may not be the first in your field, but you can ensure you are not the last by learning everything about your competitors and how they work.
To know your competitor's actions and how they are performing in the market, keep these four factors in mind:
Competitor’s website analysis:
You can start by visiting your competitors’ websites and analyzing their content, design, and navigation. This will help you understand your competitors' actions and where they could improve. You can also see what kind of products and services they offer their audience. You can read through their blog posts or social media updates to find out if there is anything that stands out as unique or special about them.
This will help you determine how well-rounded they are in terms of expertise, experience, and knowledge. Once you have a good idea of what your competitors are doing, it’s time to create a plan for how you can make your product come across better. Do this by developing a content strategy and determining what content you need to create to beat them at their own game. You should also consider any changes that could be made on your website or social media pages to help improve the user experience.
Competitor’s SEO analysis:
Now that you have a good idea of what your competitors are doing, it’s time to look at how they are ranked in search engines. This will help you get an idea of how well-optimized their sites are and if any vulnerabilities could be used to create certain types of content or backlinks. You can use tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer or Ahrefs to run an SEO analysis on your competitors’ websites.
Competitor’s social media analysis:
Once you know how your competitors rank in search engines, it’s time to look at their social media presence. If they are active on Facebook or Twitter, you can use social monitoring tools like Hootsuite to see what kind of content they share. You can also check out how many followers and likes each post has and get an idea of what type of content resonates with your audience.
Competitor’s market analysis:
- What makes your product different from others on the market?
- How does it solve customer pain points that other products don’t address?
- Is there any overlap between you and your competitors? Are they doing a good job serving those customers anyway, or could you take that business away with a new offering?
If you answer these questions, the following stages of your launch will be easier to plan.
Define your unique selling proposition
If you do your competitor analysis correctly, you can differentiate your offering from theirs; that’s your unique selling proposition. It’s not just a one-sentence explanation of what your product does, it’s how you make the customer experience better than any other solution. If you can’t clearly explain this, then either your product isn’t differentiated enough, or you haven’t done enough research yet to understand the problem well enough.
Rinse and repeat the competitor analysis part to build your strong USP that caterers to the needs and wants of your target market.
Create your user persona
Determine to whom you are delivering your offerings. This is a critical part of your SaaS product launch strategy.
But what’s a user persona?
A user persona is a behavioral archetype representing your target customers’ everyday needs, wants, and desires. It’s not something you can pull out of thin air or makeup on a whim; it's based on actual research into how people use (or don't use) products like yours.
A user persona has these kinds of elements:
- Primary goal
- Pain points
- Job role
- Gains of using your product.
Here is a user persona example from Hubspot.
Creating a brand story
The best way to communicate your competitive advantage is by crafting a compelling brand story that appeals to the customer’s needs and emotions. This can be used in pitches, on your website, or through images, you use to promote your product.
For example, if your product helps them save time, you can craft a story around the time they will save by using it. Or if it’s something more emotional, like feeling safer or smarter than before, then use that to communicate why people should buy from you rather than someone else.
Beta test your product
A successful beta test can yield valuable information about how an application or website works in the real world.
When soliciting feedback from beta users, be sure to get criticism and praise. By addressing significant issues with your product early on, you will increase the likelihood of a successful launch.
On top of that, beta testing of your product reveals more about how users behave with your product —information that can be used to improve the product and make it more effective.
You can beta-test a SaaS product by offering a free trial or product demo. This will allow them to experience the features and benefits of your solution without having commitment upfront. You can use software like Storylane to create a product demo that lets you build and analyze the performance of your beta test. This will help you get feedback from your users and understand how they interact with your product.
How to launch a SaaS product: 11 checklist points to launch a SaaS product in 2023
Now you have the entire marketing scenario at your fingertips; it’s time to launch your product and roll in new customers. But how do you launch a SaaS product in the best light possible?
During this phase, you’ll evaluate how your developed branding and messaging resonate with your target audience. If necessary, make adjustments to your plan accordingly.
1. Release your PR on social media
According to Smallbizgenius, around 84% of C-level executives and 75% of B2B buyers are influenced by social media when making purchase decisions.
Thus, the best way to attract potential customers is by publishing your product on the platforms where they are active. In fact, Smartinsights says that nearly 4 billion people worldwide now use social media, so social media should be included in your promotion strategy to take your SaaS product launch to reach potential customers.
Ask questions on social media to engage your audience. Get started by creating profiles on just a few popular social networking sites. You can learn a lot about your target audience by doing so.
LinkedIn is the perfect place to get leads for a SaaS product launch. Create a LinkedIn company page and keep it up to date. It’s an excellent source of B2B SaaS customers who research their purchases on the platform before buying. You can also publish articles through LinkedIn Pulse—other relevant users may even share your content!
2. Price strategically
The cost of a new product is an essential factor in the decision-making process. If you don’t charge enough, you won't be able to pay your bills. But if you overcharge, you risk losing thousands of dollars in potential revenue from customers who may churn! To attract and retain new customers, you must not scare them away by charging excessively.
Here are the four types of pricing strategies that help if you are unaware of how to launch a SaaS product with a perfect price tag:
- Cost-based pricing: Cost-based pricing is a simple way to set your selling price. You first figure out what it costs you to provide the service or product, like developing and manufacturing it, paying for any advertising needed, etc., then raise that number by a certain percentage to ensure you earn enough money back from each sale.
- Competitor-based pricing: Competitor-based pricing involves using competitors' prices as a benchmark for your own product or service. Your offering can be priced above, the same, or below that of competitors. This model is especially relevant when marketing new SaaS software to customers. As your company is unique and customers won’t understand the value of what you provide, they may not be willing to pay much for your service.
- Value-based pricing: Value-based pricing is when you charge customers based on how much value they’ll receive from a product or service—and how willing they are to pay for that value. This strategy is focused on software or product features that will appeal to the target audience rather than trying to match competitors' prices.
- Penetration pricing: Penetration pricing is a form of promotional pricing that temporarily lowers the price of goods or services to drum up demand quickly. It has a defined period, but the length of that period may or may not be disclosed by companies.
3. Create a “lifetime freemium” offer
A freemium model can quickly grow the trial and adoption of a new service. It also allows you to build brand awareness while organically expanding your reach. It can help speed up profit growth and increase recurring revenue. Prospects are often asked to provide email addresses or other information when you give free access. This helps build your database of users and allows you to nurture them over time with additional content.
With this approach, the user has access to a limited version of the product or service and then must purchase an upgrade to continue using it.
4. Empower your content marketing strategy with SEO
Content marketing is the practice of serving content (usually in written, visual, or audio form) that doesn’t directly promote a product but aims to pique interest in it.
It is the goal of content creators to produce educational and inspiring material, as well as optimize their work for search engines. When people are researching tools to help them complete a task, they start at Google—and then use Bing/Yahoo.
If they find your content and it's valuable to them, they are more likely to take action—for example, by requesting a demo or digging into your product in more detail. So prioritize this long-term game for your SaaS product launch.
5. Show off your product with a demo
You can give your marketing efforts an even bigger boost by creating a product demo. In this case, you have two options. Pre-record a video or use an interactive demo that users can try on their own. The latter is an excellent option if you want to showcase your product’s capabilities interactively, and it works incredibly well for SaaS product launches.
If you are clueless about how to launch a SaaS product with a product demo, you can try Storylane. With the help of no code editor on Storylane, you can create interactive demos in minutes that help you to show off your product in a new way. You can walk users through the interface and explain how each step works. Here is an example of how a demo works:
To the team: Embed a product demo here.
Live product demos can help you highlight the essential features for specific customer segments and answer any questions those groups might have.
6. Get traction
A successful SaaS product launch includes many customer acquisition channels. However, the most effective launches use only a few or a combination of these methods to avoid spreading themselves too thin and losing focus on critical metrics determining long-term success.
You can leverage your marketing efforts by spreading them across a few channels.
- SEO and content marketing are great, sustainable ways to build a business and generate demand—but it takes time for SEO efforts to pay off, which is significantly unbalanced in the early days when you may not have much money or manpower available.
- You can spend less time waiting for results and more money building your brand through pay-per-click (PPC) or display/social advertising, but these methods may not give you a solid return on investment in the long term.
- Using established sites to post can be an effective way to reach your target market and gain exposure. One example is of using Quora as a lead generation tool is to research questions that address your product's target market, add content and respond with relevant answers. Another way to use it is by finding how users frame the problem you're trying to solve in their own words.
Because early-stage SaaS startups have few resources and are typically small, they need to figure out which channels will work best rather than trying everything and spreading themselves too thin.
7. Deliver value
Aiming for a SaaS product launch that quickly makes money is the wrong approach. While making a SaaS product launch, consider how your new offering will satisfy people's long-term needs or desires instead of focusing on short-term profits. Build brand values that appeal over time—not just today.
The value of a brand isn’t tied to what it does but rather the message consumers receive from that product. Instead of bombarding visitors to your product's landing page with all the beautiful things it can do, focus on what value it provides for customers. So how does one create this magical “value”?
It comes from understanding and anticipating user needs—and then repeatedly delivering a solution that exceeds expectations!
Give your new product some time to prove itself. If the quality is high, people will naturally love it over time.
8. Craft a smooth onboarding process
When you make a SaaS product launch, create an automated onboarding process to educate new users about what your product does. Most people will not jump in without knowing how your product works.
In this case, you can send a series of emails to educate the user about the features available in your product. To explain the features, you can use a simple product demo using Storylane and embed it on your email, as this helps them to understand the product better. This will reduce the chances of churning, as your users will not be confused about how to use your product.
This will help you build a relationship with the customer and reduce support tickets.
9. Build hype
Making a SaaS product launch is always exciting. No matter how often you’ve done it, there’s always an element of suspense—you want to ensure that your new product is well-received by the world! That’s why it’s so important to get it right. You want your product to be well-received by customers, and you want them to use it frequently—not just once or twice.
Building hype around a product launch is critical to its success. One proven way to do that is by creating teaser campaigns, in which you release short snippets of information about the upcoming product over time.
You can create blog posts and social media updates to arouse interest in your product. You can also send out email newsletters or distribute flyers. You can also leverage the power of influencer marketing at this stage.
Influencer marketing is a type of marketing in which you work with influential people to promote your product. Influencers have large followings on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. They can help build hype around your SaaS product launch by posting about it or featuring it in their videos.
10. Offer discounts to attract customers
Discounts are a great way to attract prospects around a new SaaS product launch.
For example, you might offer a percentage off the list price for those who sign up during the launch window. Or perhaps offering customers full access to all features on trial would be more enticing.
To determine which discount strategy will work best for your product, you should conduct market research to see what other SaaS companies are doing. For example, you might find that most of your competitors offer some sort of discount on the first month. Or you could see that they only offer discounts to customers who purchase a certain number of seats. Once you know how others discount their products, you can determine how to structure your discount strategy.
When you offer discounts at launch, communicate the value of what is being offered and when it will end. This creates urgency in customers' minds about their need for your product.
11. Share the product roadmap
A product roadmap communicates the general timeline of new features and other changes to existing products. It also shows customers what they can expect from a company in the months ahead, thus increasing customer loyalty.
This strategy can help build interest and excitement for your SaaS product launch and address concerns about the product's development.
Sharing your product roadmap can help set realistic expectations for stakeholders and customers and create a sense of transparency around the SaaS product launch.
Saas product post-launch checklist
Below are the 4 step checklist you should have for your SaaS product post launch.
1. Evaluate the launch performance
The first step to improving your performance is to evaluate your results. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it's surprising how often people overlook this step.
Instead of evaluating their performance, they rush to the next task, launching new initiatives without taking the time to look back and learn from what has worked and what hasn't.
If you want to improve your results, then you must take the time to evaluate your progress up front. That way, you'll have the information needed to create a better strategy next time around.
2. Identify the leaks in the user's journey and fix them
The first step in improving your conversion rate is identifying and fixing the leaks in your user's journey. If you find that users are dropping off at a specific stage in their journey, then you can take steps to improve that experience or remove friction from it.
For example, if your prospect drops out without taking action from your product page, you can include a product demo to showcase how your product solves the problem and why it’s worth every penny. If users drop off before they sign up, you may want to consider offering a free trial or a limited-time offer.
If you do these micro modifications, you can improve your conversion rate and see a dramatic difference in your bottom line.
3. Evaluate how your prospects are reacting to your demo
If you have made a product demo and embedded that on your website, you can analyze how your audiences respond to your demo and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.
If you are getting an excellent response to your demo, you can focus on using that to build interest and awareness among your potential customers. If not, then try making changes to the product demo or how you are marketing it.
4. Hone Your Outreach Strategy
You must hone your outreach strategy after your SaaS product launch to get maximum sign-ups. Effective outreach is the best way to get your products into the hands of new customers. For that reason, developing a system for identifying new prospects and engaging them when they are most likely to purchase is essential.
You can target the prospects based on the user persona you developed during the pre-launching phase. The next step is to refine your outreach strategy. This will help you get the most out of every message that you send out. The better your outreach, the more likely your potential customers will engage with your product.
Showcase your product in the best light possible
When you launch a tailored product to market, you have to showcase it in a way that will attract the right people. You have to communicate clearly and effectively with your customers, providing them with all the information they need about what makes your product unique and why they should choose it over its competitors.
No matter the number of features you have with your product, if you cannot showcase it to your customers, you will have difficulty getting them to buy it.
That's where the personal touch of the product demo comes in. In fact, a survey showed that 79 percent of consumers say they were convinced to buy a software by watching a brand's video.
A product demo is not only a great way to show off your product's features, but it also allows you to demonstrate how they work in real-world scenarios. You can even use this opportunity to show your customers that their lives would be better if they bought your product.
With Storylane's no-code editor, you can create compelling product demos in minutes and give the customers a sneak peek at how your product can help them solve their problems. The best part is you can even get demo analytics of how your prospects interact with your demos to tailor it better.
If you want to draw the attention of potential customers with a compelling product demo, get started with Storylane! If you're unsure how it works, book a demo, and we'll walk through everything step-by-step.