Starting a Software as a Service (SaaS) business can be exhilarating and nerve-racking at the same time. There is always the question of whether the investment put into developing the software will attract customers, and if the product-market fit is strong enough to create traction. A Micro-Saas has a smaller scope than traditional Saas and is mostly a vertical/niche one.
The prelaunch campaign is an excellent way to build excitement and anticipation about your upcoming product release. A robust prelaunch campaign can create a sense of community and generate excitement among potential customers, providing a solid base of advocates for your product.
Shipping a Saas is a hard task to undertake: many AI-Powered SaaS startups fail due to a lack of pre-launch marketing and promotion despite good applications & AI use cases. In this article, we explore the top five reasons why you should prepare a prelaunch campaign before launching an AI-powered SaaS.
1. Prelaunches help set the Foundation of your Micro Saas User acquisition Funnel
Setting up a User Acquisition Funnel is crucial during product prelaunch because it is the foundation upon which your product launch will be built. More specifically, a user acquisition funnel is a system used to attract and convert potential customers into active customers. The success or failure of your product largely depends on whether you can effectively attract and retain customers.
Without a user acquisition funnel, you may have difficulty establishing a customer base, which can slow or even halt the growth of your product. Ideally, consider configuring this funnel even before building your Micro Saas.
The funnel is a Sequential Framework, thus hugely helping with your initial quantified data-driven foundations. The different stages of this funnel are:
- Acquisition: the process of increasing your number of visitors by boosting Awareness. It can be performed using a hook CTA (call-to-action).
- Activation: the process of making a user gain value from using your product. It can be tracked using various metrics such as clicks, changes of plans, trials & upgrades.
- Conversion: the process of transforming a user into a final paying customer.
- Retention: the process aiming to keep a visitor loyal to your product, and keeping him paying for your product.
- Referrals: rewarding your customers/users by inciting them to invite their friends.
- Affiliates: rewarding any ambassador/brand sending you visitors against a flat fee.
Product Prelaunches are ideal to set up such user acquisition funnels. By breaking down this process into individual stages, such as awareness, consideration, and conversion, you can develop a strategy for each stage that will help guide potential customers from one stage to the next.
A reason why a user acquisition funnel is important during product prelaunch is that it provides a framework for measuring and analyzing your marketing efforts. By tracking metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and customer acquisition costs, you can determine which channels and strategies are most effective at driving customer engagement and which ones need improvement. This data-driven approach allows you to make data-backed decisions as you continue to refine your marketing strategy and improve your user acquisition funnel.
Moreover, relying on a quantitative user acquisition funnel greatly helps with your concept Validation and final go-to-market vs. pivotal decision.
2. Focus on both Push & Pull marketing during Prelaunch: a hard task for Solo Founders
Launching a product is hard: you have to handle a lot of different tasks in a constantly evolving environment full of uncertainty. On the marketing side, two complementary approaches are required to maximize the impact of your upcoming launch:
- you have to implement a traditional "Push Marketing" approach by building your audience and setting up cold emailing strategies alongside a robust social media strategy based on content generation. The idea is to give as much visibility to your brand as possible by producing consistent communication efforts.
- you also have to set up a more traditional "Pull Marketing" strategy. This one is mainly about creating websites & information infrastructure/products that will help any user searching for similar content (keywords for SEO) find your product first.
Pre-launching a product means creating the foundations for both your Push & Pull Marketing. In the case of Stimpack, we've decided to launch two separate marketing campaigns. Our goal is to maximize our launch chances of success by nailing the pre-launch.
Solo founders are at the center of our preoccupations. They are part of a rising trend. Since their bandwidth is inherently limited, providing them with the right tool for the job becomes crucial.
3. Founders: Pivot your Micro Saas many times, before reaching Product-Market Fit
Every founder aspires to build & sell a successful product that really helps his customers in some way. Defining your precise ICP, a real problem to solve, and the corresponding product/solution form a tryptic referred to as Product-Market Fit (PMF). By doing so, you ensure your product aligns with the expectations of your Customers.
Micro Saas products having smaller MVP scopes than Platform are more sensitive to this effect: pivoting the MVP scope should be lean and iterative.
Having the right ICP is an iterative process
By understanding who your potential customers (ICP) are, what challenges they face, and what motivates them, you can create a more effective marketing strategy that speaks directly to their needs and desires. This can include developing messaging that resonates with your target audience, identifying the channels where your target audience is most active, and optimizing the user experience on your website or app to increase conversions.
The prelaunch campaign can help you identify your ideal customer early on, providing you with valuable feedback and insights. By analyzing the data you gather, you can make more informed decisions about marketing and product strategy. Capturing data on your audience's demographics, interests, and pain points can help you tailor your messaging, ensure better product-market fit, and improve your marketing ROI.
Collect Feedback, Pivot/Adjust if necessary, and Repeat
Undertaking a prelaunch will help you realize your solution doesn't really satisfy your customers and doesn't solve their real issues. At this stage, user feedback is the most important factor. You may often need to pivot strategies, and products. Adapting to constantly evolving environments/markets is crucial.
4. Your Prelaunch early users are your future brand ambassadors
Prelaunches help with gathering an initial community of core users. They are often enthusiastic about your product, communicate a lot about it, and are eager to help try your first versions. Thanks to pre-launches, you allocate the time and space to build this small initial community of core users: they will be your first enablers toward reaching your PMF. Listen to them, collaborate closely, and soon enough, they'll become your first brand ambassadors and marketers.
Generate Early Sign-Ups for your Micro Saas
Another benefit of prelaunch campaigns is that you can use them to collect email addresses and customer testimonials before launch. You can offer exclusive deals, free trials, or access to beta testing in exchange for email addresses or product reviews. These early sign-ups can help you create momentum that you can carry forward into your upcoming launch.
Benefits of having Brand Ambassadors
One of the benefits of brand ambassadors is the promise of reaching broader audiences. There are two categories of them:
- your core users: they love your product and genuinely want to spread the word to their friends. By doing so, they help you invest less budget in Ads/marketing and/or reach more folks, often themselves corresponding to your ICP.
- affiliates & co-influencers: they are mainly people having a lot of influence in their specific industries. By paying them a commission on each sale, you ensure to reach broad audiences. This principle is more or less the same as Ads, except you have the guarantee to pay for what you earn/sell.
5. Manage your AI-Powered Saas budget more effectively & get ahead of the competition
Aim for Lean Operations
Launching a SaaS product can be an expensive undertaking, and a prelaunch campaign can help manage your budget more effectively. It's actually the best way to actualize your financial planning, optimize your resource usage and decide on how much to allocate to customer acquisition and retention in the post-launch phase.
Preparing a prelaunch campaign can help you prioritize where to focus your resources, create a more efficient launch plan and help you avoid overspending on testing for product-market fit after launch. It can help you outpace your competition in the crowded SaaS industry. By discovering and adapting to the latest trends and products, you can keep your daily operations lean.
Update your Market Insights regularly
By collecting insights from customers before launch, you can make necessary adjustments to your product, pricing, or messaging to differentiate from competitors. A well-executed prelaunch campaign can also help create a competitive advantage, giving a head start to capture market share.
AI being a relatively new industry, the market is perpetually moving and evolving, sometimes in unpredictable ways. Gathering the right insights or using the right AI building tools can constitute leverage for any builder willing to provide a unique value.
Finally, when you're ready, you can announce your upcoming Alpha, Beta or Live launch on any of the launch platforms you selected.
Stimpack: your Micro-Saas prelaunch Platform
A prelaunch campaign can offer several benefits for AI-powered SaaS businesses, including capturing early sign-ups, identifying ideal customer personas, and generating buzz around your brand. As with everything in business, preparation, and execution are key to realizing these benefits. Therefore a proper plan and strategy should be in place, executed with adequate resources, and measured for efficacy to ensure a successful launch.
Stimpack is an all-in-one prelaunch platform: it's the 1st Saas conceived for product builders enabling you guys to create prelaunch campaigns, gain early traction & launch your products, the fast and easy way! Interested in being part of the adventure? We are actively looking for core users to enroll in the Alpha.
Learn more from our Knowledge base
Always looking forward to hearing from our fellow Stimpackers.
Saïd – Founder @Stimpack
Image by catalyststuff on Freepik