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Enough of entrepreneurship, you need to become an evangelist.
Hiten Shah’s new product is an app to keep all your docs in one place. But he is talking about remote jobs. He writes and tweets everything on remote work. Not much about the product itself.
Steli Efti is the founder of Close, a cloud CRM app. Steli mostly talk about growing sales. He has written a book and give talks on growing B2B sales.
Both Hiten and Steli have found winning themes to organically grow their product. These themes resonate with the natural interests of their audience.
A Winning Theme is a tested topic which
Naturally interests your target audience, and
Is related to what your product does.
While talking about these themes, both Hiten and Steli organically sow the seeds for their product’s growth. How?
✔️ Two insights:
To sell anything you need to tell people about it. This is possible if you can find a way to reach those people or attract them to you.
People search internet to find the information they are interested in. They go through many resources until they find the most useful, authoritative and comprehensive one. They consume it and bookmark (or subscribe / follow) it for future use. You now have an opportunity to reach out to these people.
📈 Remote work is a trending topic. There are more people searching for insights on remote work than there are people searching for an app to keep all their documents searchable at one place.
However remote employees as well as the companies who hire them, both might need a software which can keep all their documents at one place.
🔦 By publishing about remote work [winning theme], Hiten Shah is building an audience who has high affinity with his product. Once he has them, it’s just a matter of mentioning his product to this audience.
“Looks cool but how do I know what is the winning theme for my SaaS?”
Someone with years of experience within a market can discover a winning theme simply by observing market trends for a while.
One can also use web and keyword analytics tool to discover a theme which the target audience are most interested about.
✔️ However if the discovery of a winning theme looks like a complicated task to you, here is one systematic approach to discover your winning theme:
Day1, List of value propositions: Create a list of 5 different value propositions. Each value proposition should clearly describe the benefits of your product to your target audience. Create each value proposition like a headline of an article.
For example, for a CRM SaaS, a few value propositions can be -
Your all-in-one CRM [Close.io - Value proposition: all-in-one]
The Free CRM With Something for Everyone [Hubspot - Value propositions: free and for everyone]
Marketing, Sales, and Project Management—together at last on a single platform. [Insightly - Value proposition: all together]
AI-based lead scoring, phone, email, activity capture and more [Freshworks - Value proposition: AI based]
The simpler way to sell [Pipedrive - Value proposition: Simplicity]
These are just a few examples. A CRM can help its users in many ways, from improving lead conversion to reducing churn, to upselling, to building new features. You should come up with the value propositions which defines your product in terms of making users’ life better.
Day 2-5, Quick testing 🛠️: Once you have the value propositions ready it is the time to quickly test each of them for audience response. You want to reach out to enough number of people so that the response data has statistical significance. Responses from 10 of your friends are not enough.
Since you are carrying out a testing here, you do not want to spend months to collect the data. This will only slow down the growth process. Too long duration will also make the data unreliable.
A reliable way to run this test is to use Facebook ads.
Wait, what? Facebook ads! Isn’t this newsletter about organic methods?
Yes, it is. We are not using Facebook ads as a dedicated channel for growth, neither we are depending all our growth on it. We are only using it to quickly test our different value propositions. This way we can quickly get statistically significant data in a short time.
All you want to do is to create 5 different Facebook ads [preferably long copy ads], one for each value proposition and run them for only 4 days, using a very low budget (between $5-$10 per ad per day).
👍 At the end of 4th day, stop all ads and select the value proposition which has got the highest response.
To get an idea about writing long copy ads, check out David Ogilvy’s long copy ads.
Day 6, Value proposition to Winning theme: Once you have the winning proposition, you need to widen its scope and finalize a theme. This theme should be a wide topic within which you can create useful educational content and not just promotional content.
For example, for the CRM example above a winning theme can be sales, churn, freemium etc. These are broad themes and you will be able to build good quality educational content around them.
Day 7+, Organic Propagation: You have done a lot of work in last 6 days. Here comes the scale part. Whatever you have created and tested in last 6 days, will now be carefully propagated and watered regularly so that in no time it can bloom in its full might!
a. Select one social platform (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc) which you are comfortable with.
b. Discover the people who use this platform regularly and talk either about your winning theme or something related to it. Follow these people.
c. Engage with their content on regular basis.
d. Create your own micro-content on this platform daily. Micro-content can be a tweet or a few lines of insights on your winning theme and winning value proposition.
📈 Correctly engaging with the content of people who have large following is essential if you are beginning with very low following. To get new users for your app, you need not to wait till you have huge audience, your 100th follower may get influenced by your micro-content, look up your profile and land on your app.
Best part is, now you are attracting a very high quality traffic.
“Micro-content is a small piece of content related to your winning theme. Create and share it on social networks. All you need is to write a few lines, in an interesting way.”
Evangelism: This is the ultimate step. Within a month, you will have enough bits of content to create a long form content around them. In few months you will be in position to build internet’s most authoritative, go-to, epic, evergreen resource. These footprints on internet will go on to live very long! Seminars, talks and keynotes, all on the winning theme are a possibility now!
Steve Jobs was an evangelist of ‘great interface design’.
Elon Musk is an evangelist of ‘solving astonishingly big challenges’.
How all this enables the growth, more users, more revenue?
Trust is a big factor in decision making. 💪
Critical the decision, bigger the role ‘trust factor’ plays. In many SaaS sales, clients ask for references, look at the reviews of your products, ask for meetings and demos. What essentially they are doing is attempting to make a calculated judgement whether to trust you or not.
However these clients’ driven ways to gain trust has its limitations. One at plain sight is the competition. If a client can ask you for meetings and demos, he can ask for these from your competitors too. Like you, competitors will oblige too. There are no competitive advantage to gain there even if these meetings, demos, references, reviews will eat up your precious time and energy.
A corollary is, if a person attempts to sell something in very first contact, your natural tendency will probably be to mis-trust him/her. You might put the person in your mental list of ‘not-a-person-of-importance’.
But if someone you have been following, an influencer, say in the world of SaaS the likes of Hiten Shah, Noah Kagen or the founders of companies like Slack or Product Hunt, put out a tweet recommending you this new website builder platform they have found to be great, there are high chances of you checking it out.
If you are an evangelist of say ‘Churn Reduction’, many people in SaaS industry would know, trust and follow you. This leadership position will make it super simple for you to gain tremendous growth for your business.
“But I don’t think I can become as big an influencer as the people you mentioned are?”
Cool, it is not even required. All is required that you establishes yourself as an expert of your Winning Theme. You will have some dedicated following and that will be sufficient.
Trust at scale is wealth 💰
An interesting set of tweets on the growth of different types of companies over the years:
❤️ Thanks for reading Issue #03. I’d truly appreciate it if you hit that heart button & share this with other SaaS people you know that will find it useful.
We’ll talk soon.
PS - Are these emails provoking questions or reactions? Hit Reply and let me know what’s on your mind. Don't be shy! ❤️
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For tweets: @Thoughtlytics
SaaS growth models - Instagram