Most Saas startups rely on the subscription business model. As such, this model requires that customers believe in your product, find its use, and achieve their goals through using it. For customers to believe in your product and become outspoken regarding it, one thing has to built from the ground up; the customer relationships.
While it is possible to pour millions of raised venture capital into marketing to achieve growth, it is also a known fact that most startups just don’t have that kind of money — especially not for pouring into a marketing campaign.
Healthy customer relationships are easier to build and maintain making it easy to become profitable once you have that in the bag. As usual, customers trust your other customers more than they trust you.
If you have built relationships with your existing customers, chances of growing and scaling faster are higher as word spreads about your product from one social media network to another, through word of mouth, and online/offline reviews.
Issues that jeopardize your customer relationships can also take a toll very easily. We have seen this with the most recent case of Uber where the company failed to act on major issues within it, and this sprinkled down to customers losing trust and breaking their relationships with the taxi platform in huge numbers. This explains what defines modern public relations too. One mishandled issue in your company makes you lose the trust of your customers.
It is a known long-standing fact that healthy customer relationships increase customer retention, grow your customer base, and makes it very easy to scale. Instead of spending huge marketing dollars trying to grow, practice the following strategies of improving customer relationships in your company:
1. Communicate often
Relationships can be fickle. If you dare them to be they will be. Communication is the one sure way to ensure your customer relationships grow. Communicate with them frequently in the early days. You want to make a connection with your new customers immediately they sign up. Chances are that if you don’t do that within the first 5 days then that relationship could as well be jeopardized already.
When a customer first signs up, they are probably overly excited at how your Saas will help them achieve their goals. Communicate often while this excitement is still new.
The best way to keep in touch with your customers is by using automation. These come in form of email drip campaigns. Spread them out after the first week so that the communication reduces to a constant point of non-obsessive frequency. You don’t want to bore your customers with emails every day, but you also want to communicate a lot for the first week.
2. Use Email marketing
Saas companies can leverage email marketing campaigns to improve customer relationships along with the communication strategy. Sending out newsletters, tips, giveaways, guides and advises on the product can improve how customers relate to you.
Your giveaways have to be valuable things that customers need, like an e-book, free templates of a design, analysed data report, etc.
The guides have to be for both your product, and how to achieve some of their goals. At this point, it should be clear to you the goals that most customers want to achieve with your product. If this is not clear to you, carry out a survey and ask them. Most of your customers will gladly provide clear answers to guide you.
The bottom-line is; stay in constant communication using email marketing where you provide random guides, tips, newsletters, and giveaways.
3. Reward loyalty
Repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers. It is essential to find ways that encourage them to keep coming back. Saas startups also have loyal customers who are always logging in daily sessions, and staying on month after month.
Using special events, helpful insights and advice, gifts, vouchers, coupons, or special offers, you can reward your most loyal customers who in turn reward you back with their time and money.
Stay in touch with your loyal customers, and keep them engaged, encouraged, and happy.
4. Utilize customers for increased sales
Your most loyal customers can become the strongest sales people you have in your company. As you build your relationships with them, they reward you with testimonials and shining reviews on social media networks and blogs. This in turn improves your customer relationships even further.
Referrals that sign up for your product or service from what customers said about you are very important. They not only improve your relationship with your existing customer who gave you a glowing review, but also set you on a good tone relationship-wise with your new referral customer.
5. Personalise communication
Relationships are fostered between people. You have to put a face to your business in every aspect. You have to personalise your communication. While robots are cool and all, no one really appreciates talking to a robot or a person who sounds like a robot especially when their money is on the line.
Also, robots are really dumb! I mean, we’ve seen how dumb Siri can be some times!
It is important for you to personalise communication between your business and customers. When they need help, let a real person talk to them, understand them, and tell them the way forward. It will strengthen the ties with your customers better.
6. Improve your Product
There is nothing that fosters stronger customer relationships with your startup than an improved product.
Take the feedback you receive from your customers seriously. Work on improving the functions of the product, adding more features, and implementing strategies that ensure your customers benefit more from your product.
7. Position your PR
Customer relationships can be enhanced by a huge factor when you — in addition to all the above strategies — go out of your way to ensure that the market understands your story, mission, vision, and values. PR does not directly improve your relationship with customers, however, indirectly, it encourages customers to stick with your product because you have a story that they believe in.
When approaching public relations — even without a major launch story, big hire, seed round, or ground breaking feature — a well positioned story in the press indirectly affects how your customers relate with you. At Pressfarm, we help hundreds of startups every year to nail their PR positioning and what story they pitch to the press. For most Saas startups, this can go a long way in indirectly keeping that customer who was almost leaving, or cementing the ones who are there and would like to build a startup that solves problems for its clients. Additionally, building on the media relations that you have could potentially increase the trust between you and your customers.
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Originally published at press.farm on January 12, 2018.