Q: How do you market a B2B SaaS product in the early days?
At the end of the day, marketing is still “getting the word out” — just done with a lot of tools, systems, platforms, and processes.
But the playbook to do that varies based on the product, how mature the brand is, the space, and the skills of the marketer.
- Press and PR. Getting written up in TechCrunch doesn’t do what it once did, but press and PR still helps. Being #1 on ProductHunt usually won’t make or break you — but it does help. It builds awareness.
- Partners. If you add a ton of value for a key partner, be it a consultancy, an agency, an integration partner, etc. … they will get out the word. Because it will help them. A bit more here. But you have to earn it.
- Content Marketing and SEO. This takes a while and there is some snake oil here, but done right, content marketing works. This is the magic of Google. Write a few pieces of iconic content, that really help your customers, and they will find you. At least a few. A bit more here.
- Paid ads. Yes, this works. And yes, it’s hard to make it scale unless you really know what you are doing. And no, it’s not magic.
- App stores. You don’t automatically get customers from listing on AppExchange, Shopify, etc. But you’ll get some folks finding you, for sure, if you do it right.
- Product-led growth and “viral” growth. This has always worked in some categories since the dawn of the Web. Collaborative products by their nature spread the word (Zoom, esignatures, etc.). Even a product that is just somewhat viral will spread the word for you, albeit not always as quickly as Calendly. A bit more here.
- Referrals. Ask your happiest customers if they know anyone else that could benefit from your product. They usually do.
- Building a list and drip marketing to them. This always works, done right. Use content or other strategies to build a high-quality list. Folks genuinely interested in what your product does. Then send them an email a week! A bit more here.
- Thoughtful, targeted outbound. Random spray-and-pray emails and cadences don’t tend to work well. But if you research the best 100 potential customers in your space, and write them the world’s best email about how to solve their problem — they’ll open it. A bit more here.
- Events and tradeshows. You can see them as old school, but they work. Buyers attend the #1 events in each category, at a minimum. They go to the “expo” to learn. To learn what new products are out there. Do events right, and it always produces leads. A bit more here.
Try everything, as much as you can. And lean in on anything that works. Anything that gets you even just 1 customer.
Because it will get you another one.