I often get asked what it takes to build a successful SaaS business, and how you can possibly do it from Australia?
The place where the sun shines and the land glows red is quite far from the tech infused, cement laden concrete jungle, known as Silicon Valley. Building a successful SaaS business from Australia can have its challenges due to the limited number of tech entrepreneurs, but it’s certainly not impossible.
I’ve spent years learning what works and what doesn’t. That’s why today I’ll share my 5 most valuable tips when starting a SaaS website from Australia.
1. Split Test & Analyse Performance
Split testing is the most important point in this article (hence being first). Many people will see what other websites do, and simply copy them. Although this works to some extent, don’t stop there.
It’s quite obvious that you would never have a call to action button that is red, because red is associated with “stop”. Instead, maybe have it green for “go”. It would be quite silly to split test this specific scenario as there is clear research showing the effects that red and green colours have on customer actions. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t experiment with any colours on your website and how they affect conversion rates.
Quoted from OptinMonster.com:
“Psychologically, there’s no doubt that colour can have a profound effect on people.”
When I talk about split testing, I am talking about the more intricate parts of your website like placement of testimonials, the wording on your call to action, user experience, sales funnels, pricing models etc. There are a few split testing apps out there which will help you measure and track your changes, but I prefer to simply use Microsoft Excel to document changes and Google Analytics to track the changes by using annotations.
Although split testing can sometimes feel like you’re going backwards if the test doesn’t work in your favour, you are gaining valuable insight about your customers and how they respond to different offerings. This not only helps you optimise your current website, but can help you in the future when building another web app.
Mark my words when I say this, split testing will always work out better for your business in the long term. If you don’t do split testing regularly, you are likely missing out on additional revenue.
2. Marketing, Marketing and more Marketing
This is often a huge hurdle for SaaS founders. We’re so focussed on creating a functional product with a great user experience that we completely forget to create a solid marketing strategy. Make sure you know from the very start, where, how, when and why your customers will come to your website. Is there a benefit to using your product over the competition? Tell your customers about that benefit straight away!
In a world where SaaS businesses are cropping up on a daily basis, there are plenty of unsavoury ones too. They often fall quicker than they rise. However, the point here is that your customers will be less trusting of SaaS businesses, so it is your job to make them comfortable with your website. You need to make sure they know where your website has been featured, any testimonials or reviews you have, any partnerships with other companies and the essential details about your company. Be as transparent as possible and make sure you add a personalized touch to it. This increases trust, which increases customer conversion rates.
Social media was a huge turning point for internet marketing at the start of the millennium. As it gained traction, marketers knew they had an opportunity to engage with their customers on a whole new level. Customer engagement is a marketers dream. Social media also helps you connect with influencers in your field, which can be a huge benefit if you’re working from Australia. Tweepi is a great tool that we used to grow our Twitter following for Gimmio very quickly. Although Gimmio is currently in the last stages of development, we are already engaging with our future customers. When you follow someone on Twitter, there’s a high chance they will follow you back. Using Tweepi, you can also follow your competitors followers and sometimes they follow you back. It’s a foolproof and easy way to build relevant followers for your startup very quickly.
As for Facebook, start by creating a small advertising campaign targeting your audience. The more you can narrow down your target audience, the better. You can find out the demographics of your highest converting customers from Google Analytics and then use that data for your ad campaign. Running a contest on Facebook is an easy way to get more likes on your page.
With both Twitter and Facebook, you can do audience re-targeting for your ad campaigns. This means, you can import a list of email addresses you collect from your customers and then Twitter and Facebook will display advertisements only to those users who are in the list. You can also target a lookalike audience, which are users that Facebook and Twitter determine are similar behaviourally and demographically to the users on your list.
Don’t be afraid to test the waters with advertising. Although you might think of it as a short term solution, it’s often the opposite. Many of the world’s largest brands use social media advertising as an ongoing marketing strategy to connect with their customers because they see the value in it.
Social media advertising goes hand in hand with creating valuable content, which brings me to the next topic.
3. Create Valuable Content
Gone are the days where you can have a one page website converting customers like crazy. People looking to purchase your product want to see that you are constantly publishing new material on your website. Not only is creating quality content good for customer engagement, Google also likes to see your website producing more content, as it’s used as a ranking signal for search engines. So basically, the more content you publish that is valuable, the more traffic you will get from search engines.
When I talk about valuable content, I don’t mean short articles which don’t go into any detail and are boring to read. I’m talking about well-structured and concise articles like this one about email signature sizes. This is a perfect example of a valuable article we created at ZippySig, which still gets a ton of traffic to our website, which in turn converts visitors into paying customers. The post took a couple of days to create and it goes into detail about the effects a large email signature can have on an organisation.
As you probably noticed, the article above also has a video explaining the topic. According to Cisco, video will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019, up from 64% in 2014. So what are you waiting for? Get your camera out and start creating quality engaging videos!
4. Check What Your Competitors Are Doing
Keep a lookout on your competitors, as they are more than likely checking up on you as well. Ahrefs is a great tool for checking your competitors website statistics, such as how much traffic they are getting, which pages are most popular, what backlinks they have and much more. This tool helps you figure out the best articles to use for the skyscraper technique.
When doing competitor research, make notes on what could be improved or what you found confusing throughout the whole process of signing up and using their product. This will instantly give you ideas of what you could do better. Remember, the aim here is to create a product and customer experience which is better than theirs. So, taking a look into their product and figuring out where it could be improved is essential.
5. Build Plenty of Contacts
Building a SaaS business doesn’t mean you should completely ignore traditional networking methods. Networking with people, especially other entrepreneurs in your field can provide you a huge leg up when trying to establish your startup.
Before founding my current SaaS businesses, I used to own an IT business and networking with other business owners made a world of difference. Not only did some of them become customers, they also gave valuable advice. If you live in Australia, finding other SaaS founders to communicate with will be tricky, as there isn’t many. Luckily, there are websites like Meetup where you can find groups of people with similar interests and meet with them.
Whether you live in Silicon Valley or Australia, the journey to creating a successful SaaS business isn’t easy. There are many challenges which can often be overcome, but there are also ones which can’t. Be prepared to work smart, not necessarily hard and know when to give up and try again.
Using my tips above will put you miles ahead if you recognise the importance of each step in the process.