A Simple Growth Marketing Plan For SaaS Startups
Use this spreadsheet to successfully distribute your saas product online!
Success for SaaS Startups doesn’t necessarily come after building an amazing product and finding product-market fit. Distribution is crucial for startups to achieve success and sustainable growth. Considering the fact that public SaaS companies spend between 80% to 120% of their revenue in sales and marketing, I’ve created a simple framework anyone can use to plan and execute an effective growth marketing plan.
Generally speaking, most startups go through three phases of growth:
Everything, from marketing goals, channels prioritization to team infrastructure, should be prioritized based on the startup’s current growth phase.
Questions This Framework Will Help You Answer
- How do we identify markets/segments to go into?
- How do we assess growth marketing channel effectiveness?
- How do we prioritize marketing channels and tactics?
- How do we effectively spend our marketing budget (resource allocation)?
- How do we document progress over time and find new opportunities on an ongoing basis?
Introducing The SaaS Growth Marketing Framework: A Framework For Growing SaaS Startups
5 Steps to Creating a Marketing Plan For Your SaaS Business
- Define your marketing goals
- Define your targeted users (target audience)
- Identify effective channels and tactics
- Document your progress and find new opportunities
- Identify and prioritize new markets (scale your SaaS)
Get the SaaS growth marketing framework here!
Step 1: Define your marketing goals
The first step of any marketing plan before tactics and channel consideration should be establishing the specific quantitative goals and timeframes in which those goals will be accomplished
- Set up SMART Marketing Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time-bound) Example: Aquire 3,000 new users over the next 3 months on three different Markets (AU, US, and the UK)
- Breakdown your end goal into digestible/smaller time frames ( This will help you define your workflow on a daily and weekly basis). Based on our example above, in order to acquire 3,000 new users in three different markets you’ll need to acquire X number of users per month on each market. Assuming you’d like to acquire the same amount of users per market your Monthly target will be 333 new users per market. Now you can define your weekly and daily targets as well.
- Always define your marketing goals around your OMTM (One Metric That Matters)
Step 2: Define your targeted users (target audience)
The next step for you should be defining your target user or customer. You define your ideal user by understanding who they are (what goes on in their heads) and where they are online.
- Define your target users (New SaaS Startups) or your power users (Established SaaS Startups). You should know at least four of the following attributes from your target audience:
- Challenges and pain points
- Where do they spend time online
- Expectations or ideal solution for their problems
Add all these attributes to your growth marketing plan and identify daily/weekly activities you can perform to attract your ideal audience’s attention.
Step 3: Identify effective channels and tactics
Define the channels that will help you to reach your goals. This sheet aims to track channel effectiveness and performance over time.
Your role as a growth marketer is to acquire and retain users at a profitable cost for your company. In other words, your LTV/CAC ratio should be greater than one. Find out more about this here
Prioritize your marketing channels based on the following criteria:
- Profit margins. How much profit are you getting per user (LTV/CAC > 1)
- Market size. How big is your addressable market on a particular channel? i.e Google Ads is not a great channel for new products/services as this channel is pretty effective to serve demand (products people already recognize and demand).
- Control. How much control do you have on a particular channel? i.e SEO vs Email: you can’t control much of Google’s Algorithm but you can control how many emails you send to a particular audience?
- Input/output time ration. How long does it is going to take you to get results i.e SEO (long term) vs Google Ads(short term)?
- Scalability. How scalable is a particular channel?
Keep in mind that growth is a dynamic process, it changes overtime and the acquisition channels that are working today might not work tomorrow. Make sure you improve your product capabilities and user experience on an ongoing basis as part of the growth marketing process.
Step 4: Document your progress and find new opportunities
Sustainable growth means continuous experimentation in different channels. The following experimentation framework will help you prioritize and validate growth and marketing experiments.
- Add a backlog of experiment ideas under the experimentation section and define the experiment’s name, status, category, and channel you’d like to test this experiment on.
- Prioritize your ideas using the framework under the “Prioritization section”.
- Add your hypothesis and predictions under the “Hypothesis sections”.
- Define the resources required to test each experiment under the “Resources section”.
- Document what you learn after implementing each experiment under the “Additional section”.
Step 5: Identify and prioritize new markets (scale your SaaS)
Once your growth market machine is in place and your SaaS business is ready to scale it’s time to identify and prioritize new market opportunities.
Similar to step three, you should prioritize your new markets/ channels based on the following criteria:
- Profit margins
- Market size
- Input/output time ration
Please make sure you look into ways to identify and prioritize new markets only when your startup gets to the “growth” stage, as mentioned in the introduction above.
Bonus: Get A copy of the SaaS growth marketing framework now!
The spreadsheet above is broken down into six tabs. Here’s how to use each of them:
- Summary. Introduction to the Framework which instructions and descriptions about each tab.
- Goals. A framework that helps you define your marketing goals.
- Targeted users. A framework that helps you define your target audience
- Tactics and channel’s effectiveness framework. Use this sheet to assess Marketing Channels and tactics effectiveness.
- Experimentation framework. Use this sheet to ideate and document your growth experiment.
- New markets entry framework. Use this sheet to assess and prioritize opportunities in new markets.