According to IDC, 27.8 percent of the global enterprise apps market will be SaaS-penetrated by 2018, accounting for $50.8 billion in revenue.
No wonder so many SaaS startups are popping up with the aim to take a slice of the market.
However, in the shadow of the success story on Mashable, acquisitions and venture capital funding rounds, several SaaS startups fall flat in just a year or two of launch or simply can’t find ways to take off.
The shocking part? Too much competition isn’t the reason.
Most SaaS startups don’t gain traction because they implement the wrong growth hacking strategies.
For instance, it’s rare to hear that a failing SaaS startup tried and tested influencer marketing without any success.
Growth hacking with influencer marketing isn’t a new invention, but advancements in the past few years have brought best practices, expertise, and technology that deliver better results than any other channel, when combined.
Did you know that the ROI of influencer marketing is 11x greater than all other forms of digital marketing strategies?
The influencers out there use their knowledge and personal relationships to keep audiences hooked as well as make them take action, which means influencer marketing has the potential to continue ROI generation – indefinitely.
Taking the Influencer Marketing Route for Your SaaS Startup
Deeply integrated and authentic campaigns occur when a SaaS company uses influencers to reach its target audience. Goals will be shared and relationships will be formed. It isn’t easy for the brand to achieve these if it doesn’t connect with the influencer directly.
Below is a detailed process you’ll have to go through to grow your SaaS startup with the help of influencers.
- Know What You Want
Before you find influencers, think about what you’ll offer them. Because you have a startup, you won’t have a name in the industry. As a result, you’ll have to think of alternatives, such as:
- 1 year subscription to your SaaS product free of charge
- Future collaboration guarantee
- Possible equity
The influencer could also be another company. If that’s the case, you can engage in co-marketing. For instance, two SaaS companies can publish a whitepaper or host a live webinar together. Here’s an example.
Because of the opportunity to gain exposure for their own personal brand, influencers will be motivated.
- Search for Influencers
This is the meat. You have to identify the right influencers for your SaaS startup. Consider the following measures:
- Search on social media: Use hashtags like #SaaS and #xyzsoftware to see whose tweets and posts are getting the most traction.
- Use Reddit: Reddit’s sub-reddits are a place where SaaS discussions, along with discussions in other genres, take place. Use these to see who is getting the most votes.
- Use an influencer marketing platform: Platforms for influencer marketing make influencer hunting easy for startups. Solutions like these allow companies to leverage the word of mouth and display influence of niche experts within different social platforms.
SaaS startups often make mistakes by limiting their selection to influencers that talk about software. That may work sometimes, but you really need guys who are good at sales. Thing is, consumers are more interested in knowing how a software helps them than hearing about its never-ending list of technical offerings.
- Use Their Insights in the Right Manner
You want to leverage the insights of your influencers in an interesting and creative manner, so work with them on the best possible ways to promote the co-created content. Maybe you can gather insights from 3-4 influencers and publish them in the form of quotes inside a unique blog post.
Building use cases is another way to show their insights. Different use cases can be built for different aspects of your SaaS software, and different influencers can be featured in them based on their expertise. Find influencers who are genuine users of SaaS software, and your audience will react positively.
A microsite can also be a good option. You can get one created and host a free giveaway with help of the influencer. It’s a great way to track the engagement generated by their efforts, as well as keep influencer marketing data separate.
Most important of all, you need to ensure that influencer efforts are supporting the larger objectives of your SaaS startup. If the objective is to gain 2,000 subscribers in the first quarter then the influencer marketing campaign should include elements that support the aim.
And this is the point where you need to keep this in mind: let influencers make small changes to the campaign that they deem necessary to ensure the objective is being achieved. Can you allow them to be the one doing the demo of your software? Can you give them a discount link to share? These are important things that will shape up your influencer marketing campaign.
With the right choices, influencer marketing can significantly increase the visibility of your SaaS startup. Feel free to combine it with other growth hacking techniques to move forward with full throttle.Fabrizio Perrone
Fabrizio is CEO and Co-Founder at Buzzoole. Serial startupper since 2007, he founded Fan Media in 2008. In 2010, among the first in Italy to deal with Buzz Marketing. Get in touch with him at @fabrlzio