4 Initiatives to Nurture SaaS Power Users

1. Develop Your Own Community

The obvious one is to cultivate a community of partners to build addons and integrations for your product or to build/create a community where people – your customers and prospects – commune.

Moz is great at this, too. But also look to GrowthHackers, built by Sean Ellis of Qualaroo.

While it isn’t a “Qualaroo” property, it is 100% designed to develop and enhance thinking around something their CEO “created,” to continue to elevate Sean as a hero to this community, and by extension… to – seemingly organically – build a community around Qualaroo without actually doing exactly that.

If anything, it gives Qualaroo a huge amount of data on what “Growth Hackers” are thinking and talk about, what their interests are, etc. so
they can leverage that in marketing their product… one that is on the tool belt of Growth Hackers worldwide.

It’s genius…

The less obvious method is to seed underground / unsupported / TOS-violating uses of your app. What? I know… crazy. I’ll let you use your imagination here.

2. Hold Your Own Conferences, Meetups, &/or Workshops

This builds off the idea of building your own ecosystem. There is nothing better than holding your own conference to develop an ecosystem. Giving your users a platform for connecting IRL is a great way to drive customer loyalty. If you can become the connective tissue between people from different walks of life, your value to those people extends well beyond your product.

Apple, Oracle, Salesforce proved this model long ago and many companies (like Gainsight, Zuora, etc.) are following suit in a big way.

And if you don’t have the resources to pull off a full-on conference, do something small. A quarterly panel series. A monthly meetup. A traveling workshop. Something.

IRL still exists and it’s still very powerful (maybe even more so now).

Play with that.

3. Build A SaaS Certification Program

Admittedly, I don’t love this idea. I think this strategy made a lot more sense in the old software world where products were much heavier & more complex. In today’s world if your product requires a Certification program for competency - there is probably a problem with your product.

However, don’t toss out this idea completely. “Certifications” can be incredible weapons of mass loyalty. Especially if they provide the opportunity for certified professionals to create value for themselves (think about how ‘certified’ AdWords specialists can start a consulting business based on that certification). If a user invests time and money in a certification
program, they become very loyal.

And they also become proud of their newfound competency/validation. Which means they will be more likely to talk about it, wear your t-shirt, put your sticker on their laptops, etc.

It’s worth consideration. If you can create a certification program that allows users to create value on-top of that certification (even if
it’s something that simply helps give their resume a boost), I would definitely consider it.

4. IRL Gifts

Yeah, send ‘em something in real life… a gift; ideally something that helps them do more with your product, faster.

But know the difference between a gift and a reward. A gift is delightful and unexpected. A reward is a quid pro quo like “sign-up and activate your account and we’ll send you a t-shirt”… rewards have their place, but gifts mean more.

• Welcome Packet – maybe it’s less of a neat gift, but this could help drive engagement; especially if FedEx’d overnight even for Free Trial users. Throwing a t-shirt in there wouldn’t hurt, either.

• Book – Especially if you wrote the book on whatever subject your app is a productization of expertise in… throwing a book in the mail (and including that as part of your CAC) would go a long way in helping drive home that your app is the best one out there.

• T-Shirt – Everyone loves a t-shirt, but it helps if you sell to an industry where people would actually wear your shirt. In public. Ideally to conferences with other potential customers. BTW, in a complex sale, one way to “hack” the technical folks is to include a t-shirt with the explanation of why your API won’t break their app, security, regulations, etc.

• iPad stand if you make POS software

• Cookies or Pizza

• Something cool that’s sourced locally or sent via FedEx / UPS…

Know your market and include this in your CAC calculations.

The chances of someone taking a picture of what you sent and sharing it socially is pretty good… you don’t even have to ask for that, though you might seed social networks with pictures of the gifts from a handful of “customers” and a hashtag… you know, to get the ball rolling.

This is an excerpt from the white paper, Drive World Class User Engagement by Linoln Murphy or undercover your SaaS product's own engagement metrics with the User Engagement Calculator. Photo Credit Lori R. Taylor.

Lincoln Murphy

Customer Success Evangelist / SaaS Customer Acquisition Marketing Ninja and Growth Hacker.

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