A waiting list landing page is not enough!

Experienced marketers will advise you to start building a list prior to launching. Why? Because they know that an email list is a gold and that building an audience will take time, so might as well you start doing as from day one.

EarlyParrot managed to collect 600 emails prior to having an MVP to show off and over a 1,000 emails by the time we launched our BETA program. So, if are thinking about whether it is worth it to start asking for emails think again!

Hotjar managed to build a 60,000 email list prior to launching is yet another example of why you should focus on building an email list.

Creating a waiting list landing page is a good start but it is not enough!

Most stop there. They build an awesome page, maybe throw in an explainer video and capture emails. Once someone inputs their email, they will find a dead end and will have to wait indefinitely until the time is ripe for the founders to launch.

But it should not be the case. Those who took the step and gave you consent to notify them about your launch are truly interested in what you are baking. They want to be involved, want to know more about how they can help out. Building a wall and hold these raving fans on the other side, with no visibility on what is being created is foolish, to say the least.

Turn their energy in your favour…

How likely is it that these early adopters are:

  • well connected?
  • willing to share on social media?
  • in contact with someone who will be interested in what you are doing?
  • future business partners who already see the potential in your company?
  • willing to write about what you are doing as part of their job?

The opportunities are endless and by just letting them wait endlessly, you are simply fighting off the momentum you are working very hard to build. Offering an easy way for your early adopters to share the news about your business within their network is the add-on that each and every waiting list launch page should have.

This is referral marketing and you can achieve that by integrating a referral marketing platform

I can already hear your questions why this cannot be done. I keep answering these questions during our free referral marketing consultation calls

Why would anyone refer my business which is yet to launch?

Reasons can vary. People feel smart when they are among the first to know about something new. Early adopters also feel great if they can recommend a solution to someone’s problem. On top of that, people love to try out new things and share new ideas, let alone if you are giving that extra incentive (a reward) for sharing your business.

I haven’t launched yet, what can I give out as a reward?

Very easy! You will be amazed by how your early adopters will appreciate minute rewards such as early access/priority access, VIP status when you launch or simply go on a call and ask them for their feedback. You can lock a lifetime discount too if you already have a plan on how much you will charge for your new product or service.

I don’t have time to handle a referral program

You shouldn’t. Your time is best spent getting feedback and building an MVP. We will help you handle referrals.

How many will share my business? Is it worth it?

Like everything else, there is a conversion rate. Not everyone will be interested in sharing on social media and not everyone will send email invites to their friends. You experience 10%-12% of your early adopters to recommend at least 3-4 new subscribers. These are averages – some do better some do worst!

EntrepreneursHQ.com uses EarlyParrot as their referral marketing solution

EntrepreneursHQ.com provides daily marketing tips to more than 100,000 entrepreneurs via EHQ Daily. EntrepreneursHQ.com also host several virtual summits about various topics such as SEO, Digital Marketing and Email Marketing.

To further grow their subscribers both for EntrepreneursHQ.com and also for their summits they work with several affiliates partners who actively promote their business. But they want to take referrals a step further. They wanted to enable their existing subscribers to actively to refer new subscribers in exchange for rewards.

EntrepreneursHQ.com uses EarlyParrot platform for their referral marketing campaign. Watch what Liam Austin (co-founder of EntrepreneursHQ.com) had to says about EarlyParrot.

HotJar referral system. How a SaaS can benefit from referrals!

Whilst doing my daily rounds of Quora answering (follow me on Quora) I found this question: What referral marketing system does HotJar use? which got me thinking!

HotJar is a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tool for marketers who would like to better understand how their website visitors are navigating their way through the different pages. HotJar is truly a successful SaaS! They hit $10,000,000 in annual revenue 10 months ago.

How did HotJar grow?

We threw in a lot of kind of incentives in there. It just took off. It went crazy, literally. So within a few months we hit around 60,000 emails and growing.

David Darmnanin, CEO of HotJar spelt out the way how HotJar acquired so many users. HotJar, as from day one, had their own referral system developed and integrated into their SaaS. This made it easy for HotJar users to invite their friends in exchange for a reward. It was so successful that HotJar kept doing and still are till this very day.

Is it worth it?

One good thing about HotJar is that they are very transparent about anything they do. In fact, they even state how many referrals each and every participant has. Just logged into my HotJar account.  Keep in mind that this screenshot was taken on the 24th of the month, hence so expect at least 25% more referrals till the end of the month.

For the month of September, up till the 24th, HotJar’s referral system has generated over 694 sign-ups.

How can my SaaS be like HotJar?

HotJar went ahead and built their own referral system since at that time it might be they didn’t find a suitable solution to integrate into their SaaS. But you have the option to use a referral marketing platform that has been tried and tested by several other SaaS founders. EarlyParrot is the platform of choice when it comes to referral marketing for SaaS companies for two simple reasons:

Integrates into your user flow: EarlyParrot can be tightly integrated into your SaaS via it’s easy to use API. Just how like HotJar did it, you have a section in your SaaS that is completely dedicated to your referral campaign. Don’t integrate with a referral marketing platform which requires your users to sign up again for it. Automatically generate a unique referral link and clearly show it to your users.

Branding / Seamless flow: EarlyParrot allows you to totally brand your referral campaign. Make sure you can brand your emails, your pages and make sure emails go out from your domain. Platforms that enforce Powered by links or any kind of promotion to their platform, OR do not allow you to fully customize your campaign according to your needs should be out your sight.

The Lifetime Deal (LTD) fallacy

How are we going to get customers to pay to cover our costs and generate a profit?

One of the biggest challenges (since there are many more) that every business has to face is customer acquisition and revenue generation.

Starting an online business is relatively easy, especially if you already have the technical expertise. You can get a head start with existing open source technology to hack a solution but eventually, you still have to convince others to pay for your solution. This is where most businesses stagnate and spend most of their time and effort, as mind you, it is not an easy feat.

Even if you have done all the necessary research and market validation, even if you have started building a list prior to coming up with an MVP, even if you have discussed your solution with hundreds (literally) of potential clients prior to having a fully working prototype, it is still difficult to break into a market and get a constant feed of customers who are willing to pay for the SaaS you have built.

Why is it difficult to acquire new customers?

      1. There is a lot going on online – there is a lot of noise online. It is very easy to get buried under the ton of content generated daily. Basically, you will end up preaching to yourself or only to the converted.
      2. Competition – For one problem there are possibly tens or even hundreds of solutions competing for the same pool of potential customers. Most of the time potential customers won’t pick the best solution BUT the solution which is known to them or to their network.
      3. Budget restrictions – Some business (especially new ones) do not afford to spend thousands in online advertising with no guarantees on the returns! One mistake and their business will get blown away!

….and various others. Please feel free to add more in the comments section.

Lifetime Deal – the cure!

One promising solution to all of the above problems is the Lifetime Deal or in short LTD!

A lifetime deal is when a SaaS does a limited promotion offering a lifetime access for a fixed price. Usually, for a month’s worth, a user can have a lifetime access to a particular SaaS. Needless to say, such promotion will create a lot of buzz, especially when such a deal is promoted by influencers or platforms such as AppSumo and/or other similar communities.  Such platforms can take you from ZERO revenue to a SIX figure revenue in under a week! For SaaS founders this is intriguing and rest assured I, as a SaaS founder, was intrigued!

Lifetime Deal – the simple logic!

After talking to various SaaS founders in my network who have been through the process of offering a LTD on various platforms, I got to know the following:

      • you will get hundreds (and in some cases even over 2000) deals sold in days.
      • you will get a spike in customers. For some founders, it was very difficult to keep up with support tickets and feature requests.
      • you will get customers who buy a SaaS LTD with the intention of reselling it later on.
      • you will get customers who do not need the SaaS at the moment but might need it in the future (FOMO).

After a busy launch, founders are happily smiling with a fat cheque:

Number of deals sold X a month’s worth of SaaS plan

1500 deals X $49

$73,500

Lifetime Deal – the full logic!

Life is never simple! So are Lifetime deals! After further consideration and even yet more consultations with SaaS founders in my network, the real and full picture of a lifetime also includes the following:

      • With hundreds of raging customers all pushing their feature requests
      • Close to ZERO customers who are willing to upgrade to a subscription plan, even if the LTD plan is well planned ahead to be restrictive
      • Very few customers who are willing to refer others on a monthly paid plan
      • Platforms such as AppSumo charge up to 70% of the generated revenue, hence in the above example founders are left with a mere $22,050 from $73,500

Lifetime Deal – the fallacy

Even though a lifetime deal launch will generate revenue and acquire customers, after careful consideration of:

      • the hours spent to prepare for such a lifetime deal launch
      • the hours spent into supporting lifetime deal customers both during and post-launch
      • the resources such as hosting, software requirements and most importantly human resources you need to support lifetime deal buyers for life

you will end up with a net loss for each deal sold. This means, that the more deals are sold during a lifetime deal the more loss you will make in the long run. I haven’t yet met a SaaS founder who has put a LTD together and proved to me that it was worth the effort and generated a profit in the long run. If you are such a SaaS founder please come forward! I want to meet you!

What to expect here?

So why not share them so everyone can learn from each other’s experience?

At EarlyParrot we don’t just sell a referral marketing platform, we compliment the platform with free tips and advice on how best to approach a referral marketing campaign. Most of the tips I give out are during our one on one calls which I have, almost daily, with our customers.

So why not share them so everyone can learn from each other’s experience?

I will be blogging about different referral marketing campaign configurations, different tips and tricks that we have used with our customers to improve previous results, case studies of proud customers who want to tell the world that they are using EarlyParrot, latest updates from our development department and general news about EarlyParrot.

Stick around for bi-weekly (or so) short posts.