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GOLD! Ask Me Anything About SaaS ( I'm building my 7th )

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eliquid

( Jason Brown )
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what does your rollout look like in terms of sales and marketing? , hungry commission-only sdr's on Linkedin? any software you utilize to get your first batch of clients?
Mostly word of mouth to this point, and what influence I have over an audience of forum members that knew me, and affiliates.

That is changing this month though
 

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eliquid

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Sometimes just showing up, even unprepared is enough to win most of your battles.

I began helping a friend of mine with his SaaS in Dec 2019. Helping him with marketing ( no heavy tech stuff ) and almost entirely just SEO within that marketing help I did.

Wanna see how I got them to first page, 5th rank in Google for their largest B2B SaaS term in JUST 6 months with no SEO gameplan?

I don't give away the term or niche, but I wrote this out over at SERPWoo ( my current SaaS ) and here is the ranking right now.





Here are the posts:
Ranking A New Site From Scratch, Day 0
Ranking A New Website From Scratch, Day 1-31
Ranking A New Website From Scratch, Day 31-60
Ranking A New Website From Scratch, Day 61-90
Ranking A New Website From Scratch, Day 91-120

The series is still a work in progress, so there will be future updates.

.

Glad to report that Im now #1 pretty much

34805
 

Mark_Entr

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For marketing -

SaaS marketing isn't very different from marketing other products. That might be easy for me to say since I've been doing digital marketing for 2 decades now, but the fact is that marketing done right fits tons of niches and verticals.

Probably the biggest difference I have learned with SaaS is that you have to factor in some unique twists:
  • You potentially can afford more per customer in marketing with a SaaS than other types of business
    • Since this is recurring sale, you can look at LTV more predictably than with ecom
  • Customers may churn, but many will come back
    • Do you have a marketing plan to win people back? In my SaaS someone may cancel or quit in month 4, only to come back 3 months later and stay on for 8 months.
  • Unlike a physical product or info product, I can continuously hype up new potential features inside my SaaS. I don't have to rely on emails that don't get opened, or opened but not read. I also don't worry about spam. People see my messages and new features and get excited to stay on longer as I pass more value to them.

  • Speaking your customer's language really helps. Drawing up demographic profiles/customer profiles is important in lots of areas of marketing even for 1 time sales, digital products, and more. However, when you realize that getting profiles right in a SaaS = thousands more dollars per customer over their LTV, getting it right for a 1-time sale on a physical product gets overshadowed.

  • Like many other areas, "me too" competitors will crop up left and right. Maybe not immediately, but they will come for you sooner or later. You guys selling on Amazon know what I mean.
    • Does you brand story help you stand out above your competitors?
    • Is your marketing message helping provide your unique value over your competitors?
    • Have you made yourself the industry expert? If not, your competitor will and they will become the "first mover" in your industry
  • Fish where your tech innovators and early adopters hang out. These might not end up being your core audience in 12 months time, but their influence, usage, feedback, and revenue will help get you off the ground.
    • As an example, our SaaS started off attracting affiliate marketers. Me and my partner had a lot of influence in this niche and many affiliates are doing SEO ( white and blackhat ). They also tend to be on the cutting edge of digital marketing so they tend to be early adopters looking for an advantage over competitors.
    • As my SaaS grew, the buzz these affiliates made in other forums, chats, conferences, and online influenced other people to try our product out. By people I mean credible marketing agencies, big brands, fortune 500 companies, etc.
    • Affiliate are no longer our core audience, but they were the group that helped bring in revenue, provide feedback, and help spread our brand name. These tech innovators and early adopters were critical to us.
  • Be unique in your message. Don't be afraid to stand out or focus in too narrow. Sometimes all you need is to connect with a core group of people. That might mean being unique in a sea of "boring". It might mean really focusing on 1 small group of users now, in order to cast out a wider net to more people later.

  • Are your marketing messages clear enough that your 80 year grandma understands it? If not, can your mom understand it? If you fail both of these, you need to start over. You want even grandma to potentially be your customer, but more importantly you want people to easily understand what it is you do and the value you can provide for them.


focusing your message too narrow on a core group + Making your message understandable to your grandma can be a bit contradictory
- can you elaborate on it ?
-- ( is it about making a very clear message that attracts a core group of users
-- or should your marketing message change as you grow your user base beyond your core group

Thanks for all the info
 

eliquid

( Jason Brown )
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focusing your message too narrow on a core group + Making your message understandable to your grandma can be a bit contradictory
- can you elaborate on it ?
-- ( is it about making a very clear message that attracts a core group of users
-- or should your marketing message change as you grow your user base beyond your core group

Thanks for all the info

If my core group is digital marketing agencies, I need to narrow in my message on that core group.

However, not everyone in that core group is in the weeds and knows the lingo and buzzwords and understands the intimate inner workings of SEO, so you will need to explain it to them so their grandma understands.

A good example might be the VP of marketing. They might make the buying decision, but they have never done SEO in their life and therefor not know everything about it.

Maybe they spent most of their career in offline marketing and are now the VP in a digital agency. Maybe they did a lot of email and PPC, but not SEO. Maybe they know a little SEO ( to talk the talk to clients ) but they don't know the inner workings enough to understand why your SaaS will really help them.

Focus your message on the group/core topic, but make the message easy enough grandma could get it.

There are actually very very few people who really "get it" in most companies when you start looking at "core" topics. It took me a long time to understand this. I use to think if this was your "job" or "career" that you would just "get it". I use to think if you made it to Director or VP or C-suite, you knew the fine details and inner workings of your "core" topic.

But that is not how it really is 95% of the time.

Craft to the core, but speak to the grandmas. Hint - the grandmas enjoy emotion. Use that.
 
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PHPGuy

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Hey,
I am a web developer struggling to find an idea (or more accurately a problem) for my first SaaS project. So i decided to look for existing solutions and make them better. The problem is i am so overwhelmed that i never end up with something. :/ Can you give me advice for that? What should i do?
 

eliquid

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Hey,
I am a web developer struggling to find an idea (or more accurately a problem) for my first SaaS project. So i decided to look for existing solutions and make them better. The problem is i am so overwhelmed that i never end up with something. :/ Can you give me advice for that? What should i do?

It's the same answer I have throughout this whole thread.

Build what you are an authority of.

That will fix the "struggling to find an idea" part and also fix the overwhlem part.

Everyone is an authority of something. You know more about a topic or 2 than the lay person.

That's what makes an authority over the lay person. Built to that.
 

Raja

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It's the same answer I have throughout this whole thread.

Build what you are an authority of.

That will fix the "struggling to find an idea" part and also fix the overwhlem part.

Everyone is an authority of something. You know more about a topic or 2 than the lay person.

That's what makes an authority over the lay person. Built to that.
It may sound like an excuse but my authority is in app development.
How to build saas around that?
 

eliquid

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It may sound like an excuse but my authority is in app development.
How to build saas around that?

Can you build a SaaS that makes App Dev easier?

A lot of my digital marketing problems and issues ( since I was a digital marketer ) is what I made my SaaS's around, so that those problems and issues would go away or become easier.

Can you do the same?
 

eliquid

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It doesn't matter if your SaaS is $99.97, 49.97 or 6.97

If you don't provide value to the end user, they won't stick around month to month.

And it doesn't matter if you think it provides value, the customer has to feel the value for themselves.

Value is different to everyone.

Some people will find value in you doing 1 thing right.

Some people will find value purely in monetary comparison.

Some people will find value because you do what Y competitor does, plus Z more.

Some people will find value because they feel you will be around to help them.

etc

If you can not convey all of what people are looking for in value, you are leaving money on the table.
 

eliquid

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After years of building SaaS, doing PPC marketing for brands like Alibaba, Team Viewer, John Deere, Virgin Group... running affiliate marketing campaigns, doing SEO, bulk email etc...

I can tell you nothing brings in the sales like a referral.

And a referral might not be what you think it should be.

Here is what I mean:
  • After being #1 on Google for the right terms in SEO
  • Spending money on FB and Adwords for PPC
  • Writing the most helpful articles with real How To advice
  • Answering questions and being voted top on Quora
  • Making YouTube videos
  • Posting on social media 3-4x a day ( Gary V style ) for months
  • Having an affiliate program with lucrative payouts
  • etc
Nothing has beat having other people mention, post, or link to us from their websites and social media and email lists. Even when it's not hyping my product, the mere posting of it ( like in Hacker News or Product Hunt ) just works out better.

Nothing beats it.

And Ive been doing online marketing since the days of GoTo, DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, and the like.

If I was building a SaaS today ( well, I always am ), I would put all of my focus on that one promotion method. Finding ways to get others to talk about me, over and over again.

I wouldn't waste time with SEO, content writing ( unless it was guest posts ), Youtube ( unless I was getting interviewed by someone else ), posting in social media, etc.

I would 110% focus on getting others to talk about me and having that on their channels and outlets.

Making content to post on your own channels ( podcasts, guides, articles, videos ) is worthless compared to creating it and having on other people's channels.

If you are going to do podcasts and videos, have other people interview you and have them post it on their channels.

If you are writing content, have it put on other people's websites.

Everything else is garbage as a start up.

Get the word out, on other people's channels.
 

cviji

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Would you recommend No-code platforms starting out and what are your views on these - Bubble.io etc?

I have a niche that I'm involved in that I think there is still room for other solutions that are more accessible, easier to use & cheaper to deploy. I understand the products and the use cases very well as I implement them for a profession but I'm not currently technical enough from a coding perspective, the idea of tackling this myself at present seems unachievable. Would your guidance be to seek out a partner?
 

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CFitz

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After years of building SaaS, doing PPC marketing for brands like Alibaba, Team Viewer, John Deere, Virgin Group... running affiliate marketing campaigns, doing SEO, bulk email etc...

I can tell you nothing brings in the sales like a referral.

And a referral might not be what you think it should be.

Here is what I mean:
  • After being #1 on Google for the right terms in SEO
  • Spending money on FB and Adwords for PPC
  • Writing the most helpful articles with real How To advice
  • Answering questions and being voted top on Quora
  • Making YouTube videos
  • Posting on social media 3-4x a day ( Gary V style ) for months
  • Having an affiliate program with lucrative payouts
  • etc
Nothing has beat having other people mention, post, or link to us from their websites and social media and email lists. Even when it's not hyping my product, the mere posting of it ( like in Hacker News or Product Hunt ) just works out better.

Nothing beats it.

And Ive been doing online marketing since the days of GoTo, DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, and the like.

If I was building a SaaS today ( well, I always am ), I would put all of my focus on that one promotion method. Finding ways to get others to talk about me, over and over again.

I wouldn't waste time with SEO, content writing ( unless it was guest posts ), Youtube ( unless I was getting interviewed by someone else ), posting in social media, etc.

I would 110% focus on getting others to talk about me and having that on their channels and outlets.

Making content to post on your own channels ( podcasts, guides, articles, videos ) is worthless compared to creating it and having on other people's channels.

If you are going to do podcasts and videos, have other people interview you and have them post it on their channels.

If you are writing content, have it put on other people's websites.

Everything else is garbage as a start up.

Get the word out, on other people's channels.


Perhaps a weird question, but since you mention referrals as the best form of marketing for a SaaS startups these days (regardless of industry I presume), how much out of your total hrs worked, would you say you should be spent talking to these prospective affiliates over the phone or via video chat?

Lastly, which of your aforementioned channels are most worth chasing (e.g., due to either faster “ramp up” time or a greater overall ROI) given your own experience?

Thanks for your willingness to help on here!
 

codequaza

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How do you handle authentication and authorization?
Do you use a 3rd party service or do you code it by yourself?
I want to start a SaaS myself and I tried auth0 for example, but it's really complicated.
So do you regret rolling your own solution (if you've done it that way)?
 
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AikiMike

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How do you handle authentication and authorization?
Do you use a 3rd party service or do you code it by yourself?
I want to start a SaaS myself and I tried auth0 for example, but it's really complicated.
So do you regret rolling your own solution (if you've done it that way)?
If you are just starting, you can look into AWS Amplify. It can integrate AWS Cognito (Amazon's authentication service) to your app with just a few lines of code. I built my SaaS using Amplify as I needed to get it into production ASAP due to commitments I made to a client. If you want to explore this route cheaply, the book "Full Stack Serverless" by Nader Dabit is an excellent book with good sample projects to get you started with Amplify and integrating other AWS services to create a SaaS product.
 

eliquid

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Would you recommend No-code platforms starting out and what are your views on these - Bubble.io etc?

I have a niche that I'm involved in that I think there is still room for other solutions that are more accessible, easier to use & cheaper to deploy. I understand the products and the use cases very well as I implement them for a profession but I'm not currently technical enough from a coding perspective, the idea of tackling this myself at present seems unachievable. Would your guidance be to seek out a partner?

I wouldn't, but thats because I have been in many situations in my SaaS where knowing how to code got me out of lots of jams.

I couldn't imagine getting out of those, not knowing how to code.

I would seek out a partner or someone that can work for low cost.
 

eliquid

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Perhaps a weird question, but since you mention referrals as the best form of marketing for a SaaS startups these days (regardless of industry I presume), how much out of your total hrs worked, would you say you should be spent talking to these prospective affiliates over the phone or via video chat?

Lastly, which of your aforementioned channels are most worth chasing (e.g., due to either faster “ramp up” time or a greater overall ROI) given your own experience?

Thanks for your willingness to help on here!

0 hours.

Referrals for me are other people speaking about my products at conferences, webinars, masterminds, etc. I don't have to talk to them cold call style.
 

eliquid

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How do you handle authentication and authorization?
Do you use a 3rd party service or do you code it by yourself?
I want to start a SaaS myself and I tried auth0 for example, but it's really complicated.
So do you regret rolling your own solution (if you've done it that way)?
We coded it ourselves.

It's not hard. You just need a basic system to start with. No regrets on it.

You could also purchase a 3rd party system, like WP Member or Amember
 

brief

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Hello everyone.

A lot of you know me for my digital marketing Gold Thread here on the FLF ( see sig ), as well as other posts in the forum.

What you might not know is that I've successfully built 6 profitable SaaS programs either solely by myself, or with a single partner ( and with no other employees other than VA's ), and that I am working on building my 7th SaaS

I've learned a few things in SaaS over the last 7 years that span:
  • Handling competitors
  • Reducing churn
  • Fraud reduction
  • Technology for SaaS needs
  • Big Data ( billions of new data points daily over years )
  • Increasing LTV
  • APIs
  • Pricing
  • Onboarding
  • Project management
  • Marketing
  • Customer service
  • Partnerships
  • Customer demos/profiles, MVPs, UVP's, ahHa moments, etc
  • many many more things

I've focused all my SaaS programs in the digital marketing space, but I have some ideas for new SaaS programs expanding outside of that for the future.

I can't answer questions related to:
  • Legal - please seek an attorney
  • Specific finance questions about my current or past SaaS programs - I'm not going to divulge other than generalities to the public. I can verify for a mod though if needed.
  • Info on verticals outside of digital marketing - meaning if you have a SaaS for doctors and you ask me a specific medical question, I won't know it if it pertains to doctors or medical
  • LLC vs Scorp Vs etc - This is legal
  • How long is a piece of string type questions

And before anyone asks.. NO, not all 6 SaaS are currently running right now. I closed down the first 5 over the years at different times due to either partner problems or interest died off for me and I rolled into the next SaaS combining ideas to make something new.

For clarification, I am running 1 active SaaS right now and building another ( the 7th ) that is not public atm since it is not finished.

Ask away!


P.S. - Listen, I'm a different type of person. I have very unique views that don't always fit the norm you might have heard elsewhere. What I tell you is what has worked for me and the way I see things from my own personal experience. There are many ways to skin a cat. If you don't agree, that's cool but always think things over for yourself and what will work for you.

.
Hi Eliquid,

pretty curious...

How do you go about finding 'ideas' for Saas businesses?

Do you build them purely from experience in a certain niche or do you also build from random ideas that pop up?
How certain are you that they will take off? After building 6, do you have some intuition build up or is it still a 'guess'?

Cheers!
 

VivaciousVipin

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Hello everyone.

A lot of you know me for my digital marketing Gold Thread here on the FLF ( see sig ), as well as other posts in the forum.

What you might not know is that I've successfully built 6 profitable SaaS programs either solely by myself, or with a single partner ( and with no other employees other than VA's ), and that I am working on building my 7th SaaS

I've learned a few things in SaaS over the last 7 years that span:
  • Handling competitors
  • Reducing churn
  • Fraud reduction
  • Technology for SaaS needs
  • Big Data ( billions of new data points daily over years )
  • Increasing LTV
  • APIs
  • Pricing
  • Onboarding
  • Project management
  • Marketing
  • Customer service
  • Partnerships
  • Customer demos/profiles, MVPs, UVP's, ahHa moments, etc
  • many many more things

I've focused all my SaaS programs in the digital marketing space, but I have some ideas for new SaaS programs expanding outside of that for the future.

I can't answer questions related to:
  • Legal - please seek an attorney
  • Specific finance questions about my current or past SaaS programs - I'm not going to divulge other than generalities to the public. I can verify for a mod though if needed.
  • Info on verticals outside of digital marketing - meaning if you have a SaaS for doctors and you ask me a specific medical question, I won't know it if it pertains to doctors or medical
  • LLC vs Scorp Vs etc - This is legal
  • How long is a piece of string type questions

And before anyone asks.. NO, not all 6 SaaS are currently running right now. I closed down the first 5 over the years at different times due to either partner problems or interest died off for me and I rolled into the next SaaS combining ideas to make something new.

For clarification, I am running 1 active SaaS right now and building another ( the 7th ) that is not public atm since it is not finished.

Ask away!


P.S. - Listen, I'm a different type of person. I have very unique views that don't always fit the norm you might have heard elsewhere. What I tell you is what has worked for me and the way I see things from my own personal experience. There are many ways to skin a cat. If you don't agree, that's cool but always think things over for yourself and what will work for you.

.
Hey Jason,

Thanks for the insights and providing an opportunity to ask questions.

Before I ask you a few questions, I wanted to tell you a few things. I graduated from a computer science degree in 2018 and I know basic coding. But I gradually shifted from tech line of coding to writing space.

Fast forward to today, I want to build a software system. My nightmare is that I I don't know anything about SAAS products other than I have some very basic coding skills. I am willing to learn all I can.

Can you tell me how should I start? A little bit of guidance might be helpful.

Thanks in advance.
 

brief

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Sep 19, 2018
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Hey Jason,

Thanks for the insights and providing an opportunity to ask questions.

Before I ask you a few questions, I wanted to tell you a few things. I graduated from a computer science degree in 2018 and I know basic coding. But I gradually shifted from tech line of coding to writing space.

Fast forward to today, I want to build a software system. My nightmare is that I I don't know anything about SAAS products other than I have some very basic coding skills. I am willing to learn all I can.

Can you tell me how should I start? A little bit of guidance might be helpful.

Thanks in advance.

Hi VicaciousVipin,

I'm in the same situation as you. Are you willing to get in touch to share experiences around building software products?

Cheers!
 

VivaciousVipin

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Hi VicaciousVipin,

I'm in the same situation as you. Are you willing to get in touch to share experiences around building software products?

Cheers!
Yeah sure. Let's connect please. But how should we, I am new here.
 

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eliquid

( Jason Brown )
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I've made an official stance that if you post a question in this thread and it's a different version of the same question I have answered 3-7x times prior in the past 15 pages, that I am not going to re-answer it.

This is in no way a bad thing. But I feel if you really read the thread, a different version of the same question really wouldn't be needed to be posted. I encourage anyone serious about building a SaaS reread this thread over and over as the answers are all here, even if your situation is different.. ie:

1. you have 10 years or 0 years experience
2. you are in X industry instead of Y
3. you know where to start, you dont know where to start
4. you have tons of money, you have no money

You don't need specific answers no matter what you think.

I don't mind helping people, I truly don't. But it gets a bit disparaging to keep answering the same question like, "how do you find ideas for your SaaS", "how do I start" and the like when this whole thread has it answered multiple times.
 

Redwolf

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I've made an official stance that if you post a question in this thread and it's a different version of the same question I have answered 3-7x times prior in the past 15 pages, that I am not going to re-answer it.

Thank you for being generous with your time and expertise here! To reduce the duplicate questions, have you considered putting the top 5 or 10 questions in the first post?
 

Mareli

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Hello everyone.

A lot of you know me for my digital marketing Gold Thread here on the FLF ( see sig ), as well as other posts in the forum.

What you might not know is that I've successfully built 6 profitable SaaS programs either solely by myself, or with a single partner ( and with no other employees other than VA's ), and that I am working on building my 7th SaaS

I've learned a few things in SaaS over the last 7 years that span:
  • Handling competitors
  • Reducing churn
  • Fraud reduction
  • Technology for SaaS needs
  • Big Data ( billions of new data points daily over years )
  • Increasing LTV
  • APIs
  • Pricing
  • Onboarding
  • Project management
  • Marketing
  • Customer service
  • Partnerships
  • Customer demos/profiles, MVPs, UVP's, ahHa moments, etc
  • many many more things

I've focused all my SaaS programs in the digital marketing space, but I have some ideas for new SaaS programs expanding outside of that for the future.

I can't answer questions related to:
  • Legal - please seek an attorney
  • Specific finance questions about my current or past SaaS programs - I'm not going to divulge other than generalities to the public. I can verify for a mod though if needed.
  • Info on verticals outside of digital marketing - meaning if you have a SaaS for doctors and you ask me a specific medical question, I won't know it if it pertains to doctors or medical
  • LLC vs Scorp Vs etc - This is legal
  • How long is a piece of string type questions

And before anyone asks.. NO, not all 6 SaaS are currently running right now. I closed down the first 5 over the years at different times due to either partner problems or interest died off for me and I rolled into the next SaaS combining ideas to make something new.

For clarification, I am running 1 active SaaS right now and building another ( the 7th ) that is not public atm since it is not finished.

Ask away!


P.S. - Listen, I'm a different type of person. I have very unique views that don't always fit the norm you might have heard elsewhere. What I tell you is what has worked for me and the way I see things from my own personal experience. There are many ways to skin a cat. If you don't agree, that's cool but always think things over for yourself and what will work for you.

.
When you start from scratch how would you promote your saas to get the fastest results in the first months?
Like is its Linkedin ads is it reddit or blogs or....
 

eliquid

( Jason Brown )
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When you start from scratch how would you promote your saas to get the fastest results in the first months?
Like is its Linkedin ads is it reddit or blogs or....

What are you good at?

From being an authority in your domain, where are your customers hanging out at?

When you combine those 2 answers, you'll have a plan.

1. If you are great at PPC, then it would be smart to do PPC

2. If your audience hangs out at FLF, then you'd prob buy Google Ads at this forum with your PPC chops since that is what FLF has as ads.


Past that, let's pretend you are good at content writing instead and your audience sticks to industry journals for information. You'd sign up to be a contributor and produce content at those journals.. example, lets say this was SEO industry:

1. Search Engine Journal - Marketing News, Interviews and How-to Guides
2. Search Engine Land - News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
3. etc etc etc


You wouldn't want to do something you're horrible at or know nothing about ( having to learn and go around the learning curve ) and you don't want to push your stuff where your audience doesn't hang out at.

.
 

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