I wish I knew that as I launched my startup back in 2014. My team tried our best to get early traction. First, we wrote engaging posts for the website and social networks. Then, we revised the on-boarding process multiple times to improve user experience and product adoption. Moreover, we even hired a professional writer to master copy and increase conversion. Nothing worked as expected.
Our mistake was: we did it all in isolation.
In this short article, I’m going to revise what I learned so far from that insightful experience.
Before you start, have the simplest CRM system in place. You can either use an Excel file, implement CRM functions as a part of your product, or integrate with a 3rd party tool, like HubSpot. But always have one.
Why do you need a CRM system? Foremost, you need it to successfully communicate with your customers over email. If you’re running a SaaS, you have an email address provided by your users. Or, if you talk to your potential customers by phone, you ask for it.
Then, use the email address for two main things:
- Building consistent contact management.
- Segmenting your customers.
Contact management is about storing and organizing information about your contacts to see the whole picture, to keep a healthy contact database, and to use contact data in other tools.
No matter how cool your startup is: your contact database will decay naturally by 22.5% every year. Therefore, your first priority is to keep it up-to-date. For example, delete ineligible contacts, opt-outs, or spam submissions.
Why so much worry about the contact database? The answer is simple: it’s the most crucial asset you have as a startup. You use information about your contacts (important dates, interests, downloads, etc.) to add context to your communication and build trust.
Segmentation is about dividing your contacts into smaller groups based on similarities.
Whether you’re running a SaaS or a small practice, the purpose of your product (or service) is to add value to your customers at every stage of their journey. It’s a win-win situation: you help them grow and they help grow you.
For this reason, the segmentation is the main requirement to personalize the product experience along the customer journey. Analyze the previous customer’s activity and use the correct voice, tone, and message which fits the customer’s context.
…to consistent strategy.
We’re moving a step closer to how to build the traction the right way:
- Connect with your customers regularly: it take 6-8 interactions in average from prospect to sale.
- Build trust by sending contextual messages depending on “where they are”.
- Guide them from “occasional visitors” to “happy customers” or even “evangelists” of your product.
This tactic is also called lead nurturing. Each lead should be nurtured according to their interest and life-cycle stage, pages they visited and the content they’ve consumed. And it should be timely, efficient and targeted.
Why timely? According to HubSpot, if you contact your prospects within 5 minutes Vs. 30 minutes after they’ve expressed their interest, they are 21 times more likely to convert.
Apparently, you have to automate activities to use this 5-minute moment. You have a wide choice of tools: targeted emails, lead capturing, popup forms, buttons, etc. Besides that, you can A/B-test different options to find out what works best and helps conversions for each context.
Final tip: be human as much as possible across all communication channels. It’s the right way to build trust and get more traction.