So on New Year’s Eve Dec 31, 2019, we launched the Free SaaStr University. The idea was to take some of the classic SaaStr lessons, update the content, add great videos from the CEOs of Zoom, Slack, Atlassian, and more … and perhaps, by doing so, expand the community a bit.
We launched it on Product Hunt, and as you can see above — that worked. Thousands registered in the first few days, signing up for our first Free courses.
Now, about 15 months later, we’ve crossed 9,000+ total members on SaaStrU, with thousands active in each of the core courses.
What have we learned?
- About half the members of SaaStrU are new to our database. It’s good to see that new community and content marketing efforts work to bring new folks into the fold, or at least, into the SaaStr database.
- Folks love the free SaaStrU courses. Our SaaStrU courses are probably at least as high quality as many paid offerings out there, maybe much better. The engagement on the courses is very high.
- Folks are less excited about courses that take an extended time to complete. When we set up the initial SaaStrU courses, we had the later lessons in each course dribble out every 2 days. While that’s pretty common for many learning systems, our SaaStrU students don’t seem to like it much. They want to race through the courses to the end.
- It’s tough to compete with Twitter and LinkedIn for engagement outside of the SaaStrU courses. While the courses on SaaStrU are extremely popular, with 2,000-3,000 engaged per core course … general engagement outside the courses is less vibrant. The likely reason is we already have tons of engagement on Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, this blog, during our events, and so much more. We have 1.2m social followers, and in many cases, perhaps, folks already have their “place” to chat SaaStr.
- Our email newsletters have grown even more (and are less work). Our newsletters exploded during Covid, in part because we reinvested in them, and perhaps in part because of the general resurgence of newsletters in the mobile-first age. While our newsletters lack the structured learning of SaaStrU, perhaps the learning here is that many folks also enjoy less structured learning just pushed to them 3-4 times a week.
- People learn in different ways. The Covid era has been a reminder to us that people prefer to learn in different ways. Some love our podcast. 50,000+ tune into our digital events. Our YouTube channel has grown substantially during Covid. And so far, 9,000+ founders and execs like to learn in a more structured fashion. That’s SaaStr University.
So no profound learnings. SaaStrU took a lot of time to build, and to update. Is the ROI as high as digital events where tens of thousands just show up? Or even as high as our revamped newsletters? That’s less clear. What is clear is 9,000 or so founders and SaaS execs really appreciate it. So we’ll keep at it!