This is Part 1 in the series… here is SaaS Marketing Plan: 100 Places to Promote Your App (Part 2) if you want to jump ahead.
Marketing isn’t just advertising… it’s really the totality of your SaaS business: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place (Distribution)…
Okay, so you’ve got the product covered, right? If not, here are three books to get you started:
Nail It then Scale It by by Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom (my new favorite book, btw), “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries and “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development” by Patrick Vlaskovits & Brant Cooper.
In fact, whether you’re “there” yet or not, go read those books… 3 times each.
And of course you know how to price your app, right? If not, be sure to check out the SaaS Pricing Strategy Resource Guide.
So let’s cover one aspect of Promotion today; promoting your App in SaaS / Web App directories.
SaaS Marketing Plan and The Four P’s
By the way, Place (Distribution) and Promotion can be the same when you leverage distribution channels; definitely a topic for another day.
Some caveats to this method of promoting your App:
- You have to get your marketing right or massive distribution of your message won’t help… and could actually hurt by attracting the wrong audience.
- You have to help these directories help you by making sure you have your ducks in a row, a good call to action (CTA), and the ability to capitalize on that CTA on the back-end (conversion rate optimization in your sales process!)
- Where possible / a good idea, get to know the people behind the directories and see if there are ways to make your app stand-out from the noise (hint: it might cost you some money)
- Getting “found” means little if you can’t convert them or capture contact info (see #2)
- This is NOT a replacement for a marketing strategy, of any kind, but certainly not for one specific to your target market (segments)… this is very much a subset of one set of tactics of a complete Marketing Strategy. Got it?
But, while this isn’t a complete marketing strategy, why not make sure you’re in every horizontal App directory and recommendation engine/service as well as going after more specific promotional opportunities within your market / niche / etc?
So, here’s a list of sites where you can list your App…
- Some of these are free.
- Some are paid.
- Some are vertical.
- Some are horizontal.
- Some of these might have high Google PageRank and give you “dofollow” awesome inbound links that help with your SEO, but that isn’t the best part.
- Some of these sites will extend your reach – i.e. put your value prop in front of audiences that you might not be able to reach on your own.
- Some will either directly bring you new leads or simply reinforce your brand by allowing you to “be everywhere.”
Once you’ve done all of that, then you need to go figure out where the real money is… and that is where people aren’t just looking for “Apps” in a horizontal directory somewhere, but where they’re looking for immediate solutions to their very real and specific business problems!
Protip: Even if you have a horizontal app – like File Sharing – figure out some specific use cases and the target market behind those, then find out where those customers hang out, and go there.
And those might be – and probably are – places that have nothing to do with technology, SaaS, Cloud, or anything like that.
Find those places and you’ve really found your online gold mine.
But in the mean time, here’s a good list to start from (whether you’re a startup or have been around for a while… most of these apply to you)
Protip: Just going through the process of completing 50+ submission forms will probably help you refine your value prop. By the end, you might have seen – and plugged – any holes in it!
SaaS Marketing Plan: App Directories / Lists
Some of these cost money, some are free, some have specific criteria, some are big, others are not… use your judgement. Where possible I linked directly to the “submit your App / startup” page.
- SaaS Showplace
- App Appeal
- Software Advice
- Museum of The Modern Beta
- On The App
- The Startup Pitch
- Web App Heaven
- You Noodle
- Killer Startups
- Emily Chang Ehub
- cnet’s Download.com (Yep, they include SaaS apps – but they call it ‘webware’)
- Submit Startup
- Generation-Y Startup
- BSDB – The Business Software Database
Below are are some basic listing sites, and some places you might not have thought about. Or, if you have a LinkedIn or CrunchBase profile, consider whether it is used to its fullest.
- Google+ Pages
- Yahoo! Local
- LittleWebDirectory – I drilled down to the “Internet” category for you
Still need more? Here’s 50+ MORE Places to Promote and Distribute your SaaS or Web App in Part 2 of this series.
Good luck out there!
My Awesome Disclaimer
There are only a few of these sites that I am really familiar with, and even then I’m just giving you the links, not vouching for them. Use them at your own risk and read their Terms of Service & Privacy policies really well (probably always a good idea).
There are a few links above that are affiliate links… meaning if you give them money for something – a listing, a book, etc. – I’ll get a cut. But all that means is that I am more confident in their abilities or the content of the book, program, etc. as I would never promote for a fee anything I don’t believe in. Still, you should do your homework and make your decisions based on your own due diligence. Cool?
Also, you should have an affiliate program so people will promote your stuff for you without you knowing! See my interview with Jack Born about Affiliate Marketing for SaaS & Web Apps for more info.