After working as an SEO consultant for SaaS for the past few years, I’ve helped countless software brands grow their revenue and traffic through SEO and other growth marketing tactics.
Because of this, I put together this SaaS growth hack guide to help you grow your startup and find solid positioning in your industry.
Let’s jump right in.
SaaS Growth Hack #1: Use Reddit to Get Feedback About Your Product
You can use Reddit to get user feedback if you want a free way to test your product.
You can see where you need to improve your product’s UX and add features that might be lacking from your product.
This could also lead to potential relationships with users interested in your product.
To do this, find a relevant subreddit for your product or post in r/startups with an overview of your product.
Ask for feedback about your product and any particular features that might be missing.
Get as much feedback as you can.
After reviewing and implementing the feedback, you can contact the user to see if they think your product has been improved.
You can also give them early access or free access periods as a thank-you for reviewing your product.
SaaS Growth Hack #2: Set up Lead Magnets That Capture Audience Data
To grow your brand and user base, you should use lead magnets like courses or tools to capture audience data.
The more data you have, the more resources you’ll have access to when launching your product.
Find your target audience’s interests that are particularly relevant to your product.
You can use different audience research tactics like Reddit, social media, and SparkToro to find this information.
From there, you can create webinars, whitepapers, ebooks, courses, and tools that capture your audience’s data that you can later use to market to them.
You can update them when your product goes live, when new features roll out, or if there’s a pricing deal happening with your product.
SaaS Growth Hack #3: Invite Industry-Leaders to Beta Test Your Product and Generate Hype Behind It
Aside from getting feedback from trusted industry leaders, they can even generate hype for you by promoting your product before launch.
Scarcity makes products seem more valuable, so if your product isn’t on the market while these industry leaders have access to it, it will make your product more in demand and generate more hype for it.
You’ll want to deliver on that hype with your product features, but this is a good starting point for building your brand’s foundational growth.
You’ll preferably want to use LinkedIn to find industry leaders with a reliable social following made up of decision-makers from your target audience.
You can contact them directly on LinkedIn or see if they have a website you can use for outreach.
To pitch them, you should introduce yourself, tell them about your product, and how a collaboration would be beneficial.
Depending on who you reach out to, you might need to pay them in return for feedback or promotion.
I’ve been offered payments for influencer marketing before, but I’ve also pitched for a guest post opportunity for their website.
This will depend because your offer needs to be mutually beneficial.
I can’t tell you how often a SaaS startup would contact me for feedback and not offer anything in return.
In simpler terms, why should I trade my time to review your product?
So be prepared to offer additional incentives.
You can ask them if they want to review your product on their website.
Not only will you get the brand reach, but you’ll also likely get a backlink in return.
You can even use an affiliate program for these influencers to increase their incentive to drive more referrals for your product.
SaaS Growth Hack #4: Install A LinkedIn Insights Tag to See Who is Interacting With Your Website
Did you know you can track the exact visitors coming to your website through LinkedIn?
You can do this on CRMs like Hubspot, but you can do this for free using LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn insight tag will give you all the information you need about your site’s users, making it easy to connect with decision-makers considering your product.
You must set up a campaign manager account to get your LinkedIn insights tag.
You’ll need to hit a minimum of 300 visitors before LinkedIn starts tracking data, but running LinkedIn ads should help expedite the process.
After your insight tag starts tracking visitor data, you can see who’s been looking at your website.
You can use these visitors to either get feedback on your product or see if they’d be interested in learning more about it.
SaaS Growth Hack #5: Build up Your Site’s Authority and Use a Guest Posting Program to Build Content For You
One recommendation that works well for startups is using a guest posting program to build your content library.
It’s pretty straightforward; you’re having external writers build content for your website in exchange for a backlink.
Backlinks are very valuable for SEO, so people are always on the lookout for them.
And if your website is authoritative enough, you can charge users money in exchange for content.
But if you’re just starting with your website, then chances are you can’t charge just yet.
However, you’ll get plenty of opportunities for people wanting to write for your website for free.
If you need content fast, this is a great way to go about it.
SaaS Growth Hack #6: Use LinkedIn Ads to Target Decision Makers in Your Industry
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools for reaching your target audience.
You can use an inbound strategy to build an audience for your brand and use LinkedIn ads to market your product to decision-makers.
With this strategy, you can interact directly with your decision-maker.
You can either ask them to give feedback for your product or even cold pitch them on your product.
LinkedIn has one of the highest success rates regarding cold outreach, primarily because of its personalized approach, so it is something to consider.
SaaS Growth Hack #7: Create a PR List of Contact Information You Can Use To Expand Your Brand’s Reach and Meet New Audiences
Before you launch your product, you’ll want to build momentum around your product and brand.
You can prepare beforehand and create a list of journalists to pitch to get your brand name out there.
You’ll likely need to do some form of guest posting or digital PR, but getting in front of the right journalist is the first step.
Get organized early on and create a hit list of journalists you can approach when right.
You can use a journalist database like MuckRack or Prowly to find journalists who cover topics relevant to your product.
Once you have your master list of journalists, you can pitch them stories they might be interested in.
Just be prepared; journalists may or may not charge you for coverage.
SaaS Growth Hack #8: Set Up & Respond to Press Request Alerts
Journalists always want to cover the latest interesting products/services.
Through press request alerts, you can connect with journalists and get featured in top-tier publications that boost brand awareness and help with SEO.
The key to success with media requests is to be genuine.
Reporters receive hundreds of pitches daily, so your goal should be to stand out.
You can use tools like:
- HARO (one of the most popular free services)
- Muck Rack (paid service)
Just keep an eye on your press reports each day and only respond if it’s relevant.
These reporters can smell BS from a mile away.
SaaS Growth Hack #9: Feature Industry Leaders on your Blog
If you want to build trust with your audience, you can leverage industry leaders to create content for your website that they can then use to promote through other marketing channels.
You can pay them to be featured on your blog or offer a backlink in exchange for their expertise.
Once they write for your website, they can use it to promote within newsletters, social media, and podcasts.
You’re getting 3x the reach by collaborating with an industry leader.
SaaS Growth Hack #10: Focus on Conversion Rate Optimization to Increase the Likelihood of a User Converting
CTAs are incredibly valuable to any SaaS business.
Adding a range of call-to-actions to your website will increase the likelihood of your visitors becoming a lead.
That could be them signing up for your product or requesting a demo.
Instead of hiding away your email subscription forms in the footer of your website, you can blend UX with CRO to create compelling CTAs that capture your user’s attention.
If you want more leads for your website, create a compelling offer that creates value for your target audience.
This could be an ebook, whitepaper, or even a webinar.
Offer the asset to your visitors for free in exchange for their contact information.
After capturing your leads, you can use email automation to get engagement on autopilot.
SaaS Growth Hack #11: Use Digital PR to Build Brand Awareness and Sitewide Authority
If you want to boost SEO and build awareness for your brand, you can leverage digital PR.
Digital PR is the process of creating digital assets that you can then use to pitch to relevant publications.
Say you just researched new data showing employees are leaving their companies in high percentages this year; you can use that data to pitch to journalists that cover similar topics.
If you go down this route, remember that data is just data, but data with an angle is a story.
So always ensure your data implies something.
Once you have your data and story compiled, you can pitch it to relevant journalists who would find your story interesting.
By doing this, you’ll receive press coverage in high-authority publications and a backlink that will significantly help improve the performance of your website’s SEO.
Pages will rank higher, and you’ll rank for more keywords contributing to more traffic and even conversions/leads.
SaaS Growth Hack #12: Grow Your LinkedIn Following to Build Trust With Key Decision Makers
Building a LinkedIn following through content is a strong growth hack that can position your product and brand for success.
You can turn your social media profile into an inbound engine by posting content that resonates with your target audience.
It’s not hard to create an audience just by showing up daily, but building the right audience is what matters.
I was able to amass over 10,000 followers on LinkedIn in under 10 months.
Still, none of those followers converted since I mainly posted general knowledge and nothing that aligned with my target audience.
Once I started posting content that resonated with them and optimized my LinkedIn profile to be a sales landing page, I started seeing more results.
It also helps when you niche down.
Before, I didn’t even target anyone, but now that SaaS is my primary target audience, I only receive proposal requests from software companies.
It also helps that your LinkedIn profile can be optimized for its search feature, so you can do SEO on your social media profile to appear for more relevant searches.
In my case, it will always come down to the tagline.
This will trigger the search and get you ahead of searchers looking for your services.
So my tagline says “SEO for SaaS,” so whenever anyone is looking for an SEO specialist, my profile hopefully pops up.
But enough about me, this is about you and your company.
You can still follow a similar route to mine, but I recommend that you leverage both your company’s social media profile and your profile to expand your reach.
Personal profiles tend to outperform company profiles by almost 5x.
Especially when building a quality audience.
That’s not to say that it can’t be done for a company account, but users tend to relate to your content more if it’s coming from an actual person.
Same with your target audience.
They can speak with you directly instead of with a random contact person from your company.
It fosters a trust that’s harder to achieve with a company page.
If you go down this route of posting on social media, try posting consistently for around a year.
It’s like going to the gym; the more consistently you work out, the more results you’ll see.
So post consistently and craft your posts to highlight how you (or your product) are the right solution for your target audience.
Don’t tell them; show them how your product can be a solution for them and make their lives easier.
Do this every day for a year, and you will see results.
SaaS Growth Hack #13: Leverage Referral Marketing to Drive Highly Qualified Traffic
Referral traffic will always be the most qualified traffic you can receive.
You can leverage affiliate marketing or use your connections to refer leads.
People tend to trust word of mouth over any advertising or marketing, so if you can influence that, you’ll see a sharp uptick in your growth.
You can run an affiliate program that gives users a 5-10% commission for sales.
They’ll do all the work independently; it’s just a matter of them bringing you the deal.
Typically these affiliates will create “review” or “comparison” content to drive traffic for your product.
They’ll review your product, create a write-up, optimize it for search, and send interested traffic to your site using an affiliate link.
You can track your affiliate conversions through that link and compensate them for any leads that work out.
You can also leverage your existing audience to promote your product or brand.
That could be a product promotion, but you’ll ultimately want to offer a kicker for them spreading the word about your product.
You can give them a free trial, one month off, or even premium access.
Whatever it is, you want your target audience to spread the word about your product through whatever medium is accessible.
SaaS Growth Hack #14: Optimize Your Website for SEO and Focus on Bottom of the Funnel Searches
These searches are for users ready or close to converting and need an additional nudge.
There are a few ways you can go after bottom of the funnel, but generally, these searches include topics like:
These searches compare your brand to your industry, your brand vs. another brand, or competitor alternatives.
So if you’re Ahrefs, you could create an article like “Ahrefs vs. Moz” or “Ahrefs vs. SEMrush” to drive traffic for those searches.
And think about it too, who would be doing that kind of search?
It’s for users who have now boiled their options down to two products and are currently deciding which is right for them.
If your competitor isn’t leveraging this strategy, they’re easily missing out, giving you the upper hand.
Now you can control the narrative based on your product and position your brand as “better” than your competitor.
You don’t want to use this type of content to trash your competitor while only prompting yourself, but you can use it to control the narrative and genuinely pitch why your product would be a better fit.
You can also use “best” content to compare the different products in your industry.
So if you’re Ahrefs, you could create an article like “The best SEO tools of 2023,” ideally, you’ll want to position yourself as the top result.
Again this isn’t a way to trash everyone else while only promoting yourself, but just controlling the narrative behind your product, especially if users click on your URL before the competitors.
Remember, you’re creating this content to help your user.
Always write your content for what they want to see, not what you think they want to see.
You can use this SEO checklist which was created specifically for SaaS websites.
SaaS Growth Hack #15: Offer Value Deals Like Free Trials or Freemiums
If you want to see serious growth for your platform, you can leverage free trials or freemiums to get users into your pipeline.
You can even offer free versions of your product so users can familiarize themselves with it, then use a free trial for your paid option to get free users to convert.
Grammarly does this well.
Their free Chrome extension reviews your grammar, but it won’t check it for everything, so you’ll still have some lingering issues, but Grammarly won’t tell you what it is.
I just recently bought Grammarly because of this.
I don’t have access to a website editor, so when I saw they offered a free trial for their product, I signed up for it.
They even locked me into a year-long agreement.
I’ve loved it so far, but this shows the value of having a limited but free product that can turn into sales later.
Not to mention that this free strategy can also boost referrals from people being recommended free tools.
SaaS Growth Hack #16: Use Retargeting For Users Who Visit Your Website
You don’t want to forget retargeting, especially when establishing your brand and pipeline.
Retargeting allows you to retarget your audience based on their interests and if they visited your website.
You can meet them on platforms like:
But retargeting is powerful because we humans have very short attention spans.
Especially with the amount of content we consume per day, it’s very easy to get lost in a sea of all things digital.
But if you want to be front and center of your target audience, you can leverage retargeting to show them relevant ads across different mediums.
Think about it though.
Your target audience isn’t going to spend thousands of dollars after reading one article.
You need to increase your touchpoints for them to capture them and ultimately keep your brand’s name front and center when they’re ready to make a decision.
That’s why starting with bottom-of-the-funnel topics is so important.
Users are going down the funnel, not up, so you want to create accessible content for them when they’re considering your brand and ultimately getting ready to decide.
SaaS Growth Hack #17: Guide Leads Further Down the Funnel With Email Marketing
Whether captured through a lead magnet, social, organic, or direct, you can use email marketing to engage with an audience already interacting with your website.
They know who you are and what you do, so including them in routine email marketing campaigns will keep you top of mind for them.
Not to mention that you can even measure how your audience interacts with you through email marketing.
Say you have a webinar series coming out; you can use your email list to measure which user is constantly interacting with your site and signing up for these webinars.
This will highlight a highly active user who’s interested in your brand.
You can single this type of user out to have your sales team further engage with them.
The great thing about this tactic is that you’ve already captured this audience; all you need to do now is further engage them.
SaaS Growth Hack #18: Don’t Use a General Demo Approach; Personalize Each Demo
Before your product demo teams meet with your potential customer, they should review information about this client, like its homework.
Learning about who they are, why they need your tool, and ultimately why your tool is their best option.
You can leverage your demo forms to get more information about your customer.
Then you can have your product demo team personalize each meeting for them specifically, not the general public.
This will help increase the likelihood of a lead converting and can even increase referrals for other companies.
Tips For Getting Started with SaaS Growth Hacking
Now that you have some general growth hacks for getting started, here are some tips to guide you.
These apply to all areas of marketing, but these need to be used mainly for SaaS growth marketing.
Know Who You’re Targeting With Your Marketing
Before you even begin your campaign, you must nail down your target persona.
This isn’t a general audience either; you need to have everything nailed down about your person, like who they are, what they do, where they are, and how your product would help them.
You’ll also need to consider demographics like location and company position.
Before marketing to them, you must have a complete picture of your target persona.
Otherwise, you’re marketing into the abyss.
Set Your KPIs and Metrics that Track Your Campaign’s Performance
You need to know how your campaign is performing, so you’ll need to set KPIs and metrics that track performance.
These will help you align your marketing strategy to your KPIs and help you determine if your growth marketing strategies are working.
Since this requires an omnichannel approach, you’ll need to consider all different areas of your marketing to measure performance.
You can set KPIs like leads coming from email or branded traffic growth coming from organic.
Whatever it is, it needs to be precisely set so you can measure your performance throughout the campaign.
Run a Competitor Analysis to See Where you Stand in the Market
If your company is a startup, you’ll need to run a competitor analysis to see how you match up against top competitors in your industry.
Depending on the market you’re operating in, your competitors have likely already leveraged growth hacking or general marketing to get them in that position.
While growth hacking works great as a short-term solution, it’s not sustainable as a long-term solution, as more marketing tactics must be considered to generate sustainable growth.
Growth hacking is the process of growing as quickly as possible, so while it’s great to get that immediate boost, you’ll need more consistent marketing strategies that will be sustainable for long-term growth.
But for growth hacking purposes, you need to run a competitor analysis to see how you match up against your competitors.
What will it take to steal market and brand share from them in favor of your company?
Chances are they already have a loyal user base, so stealing away customers from them will take a lot of work.
However, in this competitor analysis, you can analyze your competitors and see if there are any common pain points their customers have that may cause them to prefer your product over theirs.
You can look at reviews, Reddit posts, and such to see what consumers think about your competitors.
You’ll also want to measure how present they are on organic search and how authoritative their website is.
If they’ve built up topical authority, how many backlinks they have, and then compare that to your site.
You can also measure their social media presence and their audience engagement.
You can also look out for any tactics that are working for them that you can leverage for your brand.
Is there a page that’s driving backlinks for them? Are they getting high engagement through a free tool? Are they getting high engagement from social media posts for giveaways?
Whatever it is, you’ll want to review their tactics to see if anything is working on their end that you can leverage for your growth strategy.
Make Sure Your Company Has the Capacity To Scale
If you plan on taking this sprint growth route, you must ensure you have the bandwidth set for growth.
You must have your operations set in place and team members available to handle sharp growth.
Make Sure Your Team is Unified Instead of Siloed. This needs to be an Omnichannel Approach
The most crucial part of any growth strategy is having a unified team.
If your team isn’t unified, you’re setting your brand up for failure that could end up negatively impacting the appearance of your brand.
Users want a well-rounded experience throughout all areas of a brand, and if you can’t provide that experience, customers will likely leave for a competitor.
Not only this, but if you want your efforts to be effective, all marketing channels must be aligned.
This growth strategy requires an omnichannel approach, so all teams must be unified to drive growth.
There are no star performers in growth hacking; everyone plays a role that matters to driving your brand forward.
Social media needs to leverage common messaging that further engages your target audience.
SEO needs to capture the initial target audience through search.
Email needs to continue to engage your target audience through offerings and free information.
Your sales and product demo team must act as closers to this strategy.
They need to understand the roles all channels play in increasing engagement for this user and ultimately sway their decision toward your product.
So if you want to continue this trend, you’ll need to give them the same experience the other channels did and deliver the value promised by all other channels.
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SaaS Growth Hack FAQs
What is Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking is creating short-term growth as quickly and cheaply as possible.
This is also called growth sprints for creating sprints that generate results in a short amount of time.
These tactics usually leverage SEO, social, email, referrals, and social media marketing to generate results fast.
How is Growth Hacking Different From Other Forms of Marketing?
While growth hacking leverages other channels from digital marketing, this approach takes a more sprint-like approach.
A good example would be SEO being growth-focused instead of the traditional build-up.
Not that one method is better, but by scaling content production and digital PR, you can see speedy results for SEO that would otherwise take some time.
You’ll need to have the budget to accomplish this, though.
Which SaaS Channel is the Most Profitable?
To maintain profitability for SaaS, the most profitable channels will be email, SEO, and organic social.
The reason for these profitable channels is the low customer acquisition costs.
Especially email, which on average, has the lowest CAC since you’re directly marketing to an audience you’ve already captured.
With SEO and social, you still need to capture your audience, but there are no associated costs outside of operations to make that channel work.
So if you’re measuring the CAC for SEO, the only cost you have to consider is the cost for your employees to optimize your website for search.
Same with outsourcing SEO to an agency. Calculating SEO CAC would only involve measuring your budget with that agency against organic revenue.
Whereas with PPC, you need to consider ad spend as well.
Because of this, inbound channels typically have a much better CAC than outbound while driving higher-quality leads.
How Do You Keep SaaS Customers Engaged?
To keep customers engaged, you need to interact with them at different touchpoints.
You need to be accessible and available in case they have any trouble.
Not only with customer support, but you can also create branded pages that walk users through different product features.
You can also create a forum option on your website that helps users find the information they want.
How Fast Should a SaaS Startup Grow?
According to a study by Bessemer Venture Partners, the average monthly growth rate for successful SaaS startups is 7-8%.
This means a startup company should increase its monthly revenue by 7-8% during the initial growth stage.
How Do I Increase My Average Deal Size in SaaS?
If you want to increase your average deal size, you’ll need to position your tier pricing lists so it makes sense for companies to pick the best option.
You’ll want a middle option that appears as a value-saving deal but still has a larger pricing option that offers complete usage for larger companies.
You’ll also need to diversify your lead acquisition channels to hold steady if a lead determines your product is too expensive.
If there’s demand for your product, then you have more flexibility with pricing.
But you’ll be more desperate for deals if you don’t have as much demand.