PUBLISHED: Mar 24, 2020

A 36-Point Checklist For SaaS Startup Post-Launch Marketing

Pratik Dholakiya
A 36-Point Checklist For SaaS Startup Post-Launch Marketing
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Use this checklist to hone and reinvent your marketing strategy after launching your SaaS. This checklist can and should be used both shortly after launch, and on a regular basis indefinitely afterwards.

  1. Evaluate Launch Performance Expectations Vs Reality
    1. Which ideas, tactics, and strategic approaches outperformed your expectations?
    2. Which fell flat?
    3. How is the SaaS being used in ways that are different from your expectations?
    4. Which metrics are stronger indicators of compliance with your goals than you anticipated?
    5. Which metrics were less meaningful than you believed?
  2. Identify Bottlenecks In The Lead’s Journey From Interest To Purchase
    1. Which pages on the journey have the highest exit percentage?
    2. Which pages on the journey are distractions that could be removed or placed somewhere, where they will be less of a distraction and only found by those who are looking for them?
    3. Brainstorm and directly investigate reasons for exits on these pages, such as:
      1. Failing to overcome objections
      2. Failing to identify the Unique Selling Proposition
      3. Using the wrong Unique Selling Proposition
    4. Set up A/B tests designed to directly address causes for these exits, so that the failure of a new landing page is strong evidence that the proposed explanation for the exits would be shown incorrect.
  3. Identify All Points Where Customer Retention Is Leaking
    1. Identify when customers are most likely to stop using the SaaS
    2. Pinpoint any differences in customer journey between those who leave before the free trial ends and those who leave after
    3. Invite customers who quit to answer a survey that will answer why they decided to stop using the SaaS
    4. Look for correlations between features, which are used (or not used) and customer lifetime value.
    5. Look for correlations between content consumed (or not consumed) and customer lifetime value.
  4. Build An Analytics-Based Predictive Model
    1. Build a model that predicts, with some accuracy, the revenue produced and costs spent for each of your marketing efforts.
    2. Estimate the impact of early, middle, and final pre-purchase, and post-purchase content on revenue.
    3. A variety of models, including simple, statistics-based, and speculative is recommended.
  5. Clarify How Customers Are Using Your SaaS
    1. Survey your customers to identify what features they are using, for what reasons, and to solve what types of problems.
    2. Identify features that correlate strongly with high customer retention.
    3. Deploy user testing to identify where changes in interface could enhance customer satisfaction.
  6. Take Note Of What Problems Customers Are Using Your SaaS To Solve
    1. Identify your actual customer demographics
    2. Identify actual audience psychographics
    3. Look for correlations between content interests before signup and customer retention
  7. Remove Or Relocate Features That Are Not Heavily Used, To Streamline Your Interface
  8. Refine Your “Growth-Hacking” Process
    1. Set a regular time for brainstorming new ideas
    2. Refine your process for testing new ideas quickly
    3. Assign a role or a process to deal with evaluating the performance of previous ideas
    4. Regularly re-evaluate successful ideas to brainstorm how they can most effectively be scaled or how their success can be reproduced
    5. Set a clear definition of what makes an idea “successful,” (which may be different for each idea) and ensure that it is measureable
    6. Prioritize ideas to test based on:
      1. How promising the idea seems to be
      2. How much can be learned from testing the idea
      3. How definitively the idea can “succeed” or “fail” in such a way that clarifies the value of investment
  9. Construct A “Link Building” Strategy
    1. Determine how you will be building, earning, and attracting links and mentions from trusted locations on the web
    2. Focus on earning links that will send referral traffic, not primarily on search engine value, which is unpredictable and tends to follow referral traffic patterns regardless
    3. Use methods of earning links which can be justified in multiple ways and which will not be seen as unethical, manipulative, or cynical by your target users.
  10. Hone Your Outreach Strategy
    1. Develop a process for identifying new targets for marketing outreach that can be repeated and produce results reliably
    2. Put a process in place to accurately measure which outreach methods are producing the most meaningful results
    3. Keep a complete and easy to reference record of your previous outreach efforts and contacts, so that successful contacts are not lost, and successful strategies are not abandoned
    4. Routinely review, hone, and evaluate the successes and failures of your outreach efforts
  11. Construct An “Influencer Marketing” Strategy
    1. Determine how to reliably identify people who are influential to your target audiences
    2. Create a list of methods of partnering with influencers in ways which are mutually beneficial
    3. Assign repeated processes for enacting these methods and evaluating their performance
  12. Identify And Maintain Existing Marketing Relationships
    1. Assign successful contacts to a list of relationships that should be maintained
    2. Regularly identify projects that can be worked on with influencers ahead of time
    3. Create a list of types of reasons for reaching out to maintain relationships that will be mutually beneficial
  13. Construct An “Information Gap” Marketing Strategy
    1. Develop a list of questions and statements that pique curiosity in your target audience
    2. Test which questions and statements are most effective at compelling clicks
    3. Identify which clicks are most likely to lead to long-term results
    4. Develop a process for regularly identifying new “information gaps” to try
    5. Develop a process for continually testing and placing your “information gap” headlines and CTAs in novel places
  14. Construct A Video Marketing Strategy
    1. Identify which features and uses of your SaaS can best be communicated visually
    2. Identify which challenges related to your SaaS can best be communicated visually
    3. Regularly re-evaluate whether product-focused or information-focused content contributes the greatest lifetime customer value and prioritize appropriately
  15. Construct A “Newsjacking” Strategy
    1. Identify how current events can be leveraged to earn media attention
    2. Set ground rules regarding brand values and brand responses to current events to avoid being seen as cynical
    3. Identify ways in which actions can be taken by the brand in response to current events, since actions are more likely to earn media attention than content
  16. Construct A Remarketing Strategy
    1. Determine to what extent your brand and your target audiences are comfortable with remarketing advertisements and similar marketing methods, which some may see as an invasion of privacy
    2. Identify any non-advertising based methods of remarketing that may be deployed, such as lead-magnets coupled with email marketing
    3. Regularly evaluate which types of messages are most likely to recapture the interest of previous site-visitors
    4. Identify the level of personalization you wish to deploy in order to re-capture interest from previous site visitors, and methods of doing so, effectively
  17. Evaluate Traffic Sources Based On Volume And Conversion Rates
    1. Identify any keywords and topics that have the highest traffic and conversion rates from search engines
    2. Identify which topics are bringing in the most referral traffic
    3. Identify which sources of referral traffic and social media traffic are generating the most awareness and the highest conversion rates
    4. Factor in long-term conversion rates, such as whether a user has ever visited a page, as opposed to merely evaluating which pages were visited on the same visit that a signup took place
    5. Regularly brainstorm how to recreate the impact of the above topics and traffic sources
  18. Prioritize Traffic Growth Strategies
    1. Use the above information to prioritize traffic sources based on traffic, conversion rates, and ease of scaling
    2. Do the same for content subject matter
    3. Re-prioritize on a regular basis
  19. Routinely Weigh Merits Of Investing In Acquisition And Retention
    1. Estimate impacts of investments on revenue and customer lifetime value before and after testing tactics and strategies
    2. Consider whether a relatively low average user lifetime indicates a failure of the SaaS or a failure of obtaining promising leads
    3. Identify which leads have the longest lifespan and identify the reasons why they continue to use the product, and focus on these in your acquisition strategies
    4. Identify which leads quit early and why. If they are quitting because the product is not a good fit, invest in more targeted acquisition. If they are quitting because they are unaware of ways in which the product can benefit them, invest more in onboarding and post-onboarding.
  20. Locate Low-Hanging Fruit Keywords
    1. Identify keywords and topics that are bringing search engine traffic that you hadn’t planned for
    2. Prioritize these topics based on how likely they are to drive audience retention and conversions
    3. Develop a process for sorting these keywords into topics for landing pages, blog posts, lead magnets, off-site content, non-text content, and others
  21. Develop Your Post-Onboarding Content Marketing Goals
    1. What features are most closely associated with extended customer lifetime value and how can you most effectively communicate them?
    2. What product uses have the highest correlation with customer lifetime value, and how can these be communicated?
    3. How can you regularly produce new content that will introduce novel ways to use the SaaS that your audience will find interesting?
    4. How can you encourage users to share interesting ways to use the SaaS and develop a community around use of your product?
    5. To what extent should you promote pre-onboarding content to your existing users, weigh the potential benefits of encouraging brand-advocacy and loyalty against the potential pitfalls of content-overload and content irrelevance?
  22. Develop A Process For Choosing Post-Onboarding Topics And Keywords
  23. Develop Your Pre-Onboarding Content Marketing Goals
    1. Do you intend to develop a large audience where only a small percentage of the audience converts to users?
    2. Do you intend to develop a small audience with a very high conversion rate?
    3. Weigh the potential benefits of earning a large audience and the associated networking effects against the potential pitfalls of low conversion rates and a diluted brand message
    4. Consider the potential trade-off between brand stability as a result of a large audience and brand clarity as a result of hyper-focused topic choices
    5. Consider the fact that diverse audiences from a wide variety of platforms can be told a similar message many times, while a small audience inside a single industry consisting of “power-users” must hear novel messages on a regular basis.
  24. Develop A Process For Choosing Pre-Onboarding Topics And Keywords
  25. Identify Platforms For Long-Form Content Marketing As An Acquisition Channel
    1. Which platforms are most conducive to the consumption of long-form content such as blog posts, training videos, e-books, and so on?
    2. Which of these platforms does your target audience frequent?
    3. Which platforms will allow you to become a regular contributor?
    4. Consider:
      1. A YouTube channel
      2. Guest contributions to media sites
      3. Becoming a regular contributor to a media site
      4. Cross-promotion of email lists
      5. Podcasts
      6. Interviews
  26. Identify Social Platforms For Short-Form Content As An Acquisition Channel
    1. Where does your target audience consume short-form content?
    2. Which topics related to your SaaS and the problems that it solves are best suited for short-consumption?
    3. Which bite-size pieces of information can be embedded in your long-form content for two-way promotion?
    4. Which short-form content is best at creating an information gap that will pique audience curiosity and entice clicks?
    5. Which of these clicks is most likely to result in a long-term business relationship or a signup?
  27. Integrate Your Social And Long-Form Content Marketing Strategies
    1. Embed your short form content for easy sharing within your long form content
    2. Design your short-form content for maximum shareability, but link it to your long form content
    3. Promote your short form content to your most loyal long-form content audience (such as your email subscribers) and make it easy for them to share
  28. Build A Process For Developing New Lead Magnets
    1. Identify the properties of a lead magnet that are most likely to result in signups, such as:
      1. The lead magnet solves a problem that isn’t solved on the open web
      2. The lead magnet solves a problem that a blog post can’t
      3. The problem the lead magnet solves is directly related to your SaaS
    2. Identify keywords that indicate how hungry the searcher is for a solution, as opposed to keywords with high traffic and high competition
    3. Determine how your lead magnets will be promoted
  29. Integrate Your Social, Long Form, and Lead Magnet Processes
    1. Guest posts, social media posts, and on-site content should be tailored to encourage your audience to download your lead magnet, naturally, and within the context of the content itself
  30. Develop A Customer Segmentation And Personalization Strategy
    1. Segment based on data and results at least as much as on opinions
    2. A/B test your segmentation strategies
    3. Identify which tools you will use for segmentation and personalization
    4. Avoid “feedback loops” in which an audience is segmented to receive a particular type of message simply because they have received that type of message, as a result of segmentation in the past
  31. Re-evaluate Your Fundamental Goals
    1. Set a time to regularly re-evaluate the goals of your business and propose new SaaS products or features that might come into play
    2. Ask whether any brand values or mission statements should be re-evaluated
    3. Weigh the benefits of a shift in brand values and brand goals against any confusion or loss of brand loyalty that could result from such changes
  32. Re-evaluate Your Target Audiences
    1. Which audiences are responding more to your SaaS than was expected?
    2. Which audiences are not as interested in your SaaS as expected?
    3. Is there a “power user” segment of your audience, which could be offered more features, more scale, more computing power, more technical content, and so on?
    4. Is there the potential for a more consumer-oriented version of your SaaS that is more user-friendly, lighter on features, lower in price, and more interested in “fluffy” content?
    5. Is it possible to take your marketing efforts into new gaps in the market and new industries?
  33. Identify New Competitors And Perform Competitive Research
    1. As new competitors enter the scene, how can you continue to differentiate yourself from them on factors other than price?
    2. As you enter new industries and new gaps in the market, which competition do you now need to consider that you did not before?]
  34. Evaluate Customer Service Performance And Satisfaction
    1. Consider satisfaction with:
      1. Call centers
      2. Message boards
      3. Messaging apps
      4. Social media response
      5. User reviews and responses to them
  35. Periodically Perform A Technical SEO Audit
    1. Remove any internal links to 301 and 404 pages
    2. Remove or canonicalize any pages with duplicate content or duplicate title tags
    3. Resolve any HTML errors
  36. Periodically Split Test Your Landing Pages
    1. Set up A/B tests with the intent to test core strategic principles, not small design tweaks
    2. Design your A/B tests for maximum learning potential and maximum impact
    3. Test “one thing at a time” but in a strategic sense, not in a literal design sense
Pratik Dholakiya

Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of Growfusely, a SaaS content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.

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