How to Build a SaaS Product People Love
“I want you to want me, I need you to need me, I’d love you to love me,” says the 1977 Cheap Trick single. Probably their most famous song ever. It charted number one originally, but not in the U.S. (their country of origin) but in Japan. Who could have predicted that? Well, the band used that unusual success far from their local market, to jumpstart their popularity back home.
We all want to feel loved, I guess. In the years we’ve interacted with both small and big SaaS companies, I think that most of them are trying hard to build “the next big thing”. A product that everybody will love to use. It’s not an easy task though.
Even though success may be hard to predict, there are strategies to lead you on the right path. In this article, we’ll explore five important steps to create a SaaS product that people love! 💕
Here are the five rules to build a SaaS product that people love:
Create a product that solves your customers’ problems
This may seem really obvious, like “to make a great product you need to make a great product.” But are you sure that you’re building something that addresses the real problems of your potential customers? How to know if that’s the case? It’s hard to be sure.
The first step in solving your customers’ problems is identifying who they are. You can create profiles and models to envision their customer journey and identify a customer persona. Combine them with surveys, interviews, market studies, and other measuring tools and you’ll be able to understand their workflow, purchase process, and pain points. Then, you can aim to solve real problems based on real data.
You may try to look inside rather than outside. When we were searching for a tool to announce new features we couldn’t find any that suited our needs. We created Beamer because we needed it! We made a product that we would love and then found out that other people loved it too.
Be ready to innovate and iterate
But even that level of understanding is not enough. As Marty Cagan, founder of the Silicon Valley Product Group has said: you can’t learn what to build only from your customers. As he puts it, “customers don’t know what’s possible because technology moves so fast (…) They define the world based on what they already understand we can do”. So it’s a company’s job to understand what’s possible and to test if that new proposed approach can solve the customers’ problems.
What Cagan seems to be pointing out is that for real innovation to happen you must project into the future. Taking care of what users need right now is very important, but you also must think about what they may need next. As we sail into the uncharted waters of technological innovation a product that just covers the basics will be outcompeted by more ingenious and adventurous solutions.
It may be scary to take a leap to unexplored territory, but you need to find a balance between proven solutions to documented problems, and pioneering features that will leave the competition behind and make your users fall in love with your product. You don’t need to revolutionize your industry right away though. Don’t worry.
Take a lesson from the story at the beginning of this article, and use each small success you achieve to fuel your next venture. Think of your product development as an iterative process. Even if you’re one of the few that lands a hit from the very beginning, there’s always room for improvement and fine-tuning. Keep that in mind as we continue 😉.
Have a user-friendly interface and work on usability
Bad user experiences are a constant source of frustration and the recipe for churning. UX is one of the most important things to get right to acquire new users and sustain their interest in the long term.
The numbers don’t lie. Stats from Amazon Web Services show that 88% of online shoppers wouldn’t return to a site if they had a bad user experience. But bad UX won’t just make you lose those potential new customers, as an infographic by Neil Patel shows 44% of shoppers will tell their friends about a bad experience. That means not just turning people away due to that bad user experience, but spreading that effect to their friends and colleagues.
There are different tricks and best practices for a good user experience, we have covered some of them before, but here are some of the most important ones to consider:
- Simplify the experience without sacrificing elements that are intuitive and recognizable to the user. Minimal design is useful as long as it doesn’t hinder usability.
- Make signup and onboarding frictionless and easy to navigate.
- Give the proper call-to-actions (CTAs) and visual feedback to guide your users to the process without obstacles. A clear path is the best way to avoid early departures.
- Treat every page like a potential landing page. Users’ journeys are very different as they can arrive at your product through multiple channels. You need to make sure that wherever they start it will lead them to a conversion or, even better, an upgrade.
- Increase feature discovery by announcing changes, fixes, launches, and rollouts in a way that catches your users’ attention. Even if you dedicate time and effort to improve your product, if your users don’t know it then it’s all for nothing.
- Personalize your product to boost user engagement. Clear communication, personalized support, targeted notifications, and language localization are just a few ways to customize the user experience and boost brand loyalty.
Embrace product marketing
Any company, regardless of size, will engage in some sort of marketing practices and strategies to get their product known. But you want yours to be loved! The means you need to bridge the gap between the product itself and the public.
Product marketing will help you understand customers’ problems and position your product to be the best solution. It will serve as a bridge to connect the product itself with the public, through targeted strategies like the following:
- Invest in demand generation and product awareness by improving search engine optimization in your platform and grab potential customers’ attention with targeted ads. That will increase traffic and give you a larger pool of leads.
- Explain the value of your product correctly. That means tailoring all ads, copy, and any point of interaction to the right leads. The more you personalize your approach to each kind of potential user, the better you’ll be at pitching them why your product is the best fit for them.
- Entice your potential new users with demonstrations and free trials. If your product demonstrates to be useful in real life, they will surely be more inclined to invest in it.
- Educate your users on how to use your product with tutorials, guides, knowledge bases, documentation, and help centers. You can even create educational content targeted to specific user groups according to their needs.
- Once you have converted your leads into regular users, keep them engaged by applying the iterative approach we discussed before. A product that proves to be constantly improving will boost your users’ engagement, brand loyalty, and love.
If you still don’t know much about product marketing and you want to learn more, watch this video on our YouTube channel.
Listen to your users’ feedback
Remember what I said about product development being an iterative process? A good way to decide what to iterate and fine-tune is by listening to your users.
According to research, 91% of people think that companies should fuel innovation by listening to their customers, and only 31% thought they should depend on a team of experts. The message is clear, people want to be heard.
This may seem to contradict the idea that customers can’t imagine what can be achieved with technology that they don’t fully understand. But as I stated before, there’s a need for balance. You can still project your innovative ideas and come up with unexpected solutions while keeping your users in love with your product.
The best way to tap into your users’ desire to be heard is to create a customer feedback loop. You can summarize that process in three easy steps:
- Gather user feedback from as many channels as you can. For example comments, reactions, interactions, product usage metrics, customer surveys, and Net Promoter Score ratings. You’ll need to combine different methods to obtain a larger sample and a broad variety of useful information. You’ll also have to filter a lot! But it will be worth it.
- Centralize and analyze the feedback you have gathered. Compare and filter your data, and consider both good and bad reactions as potential sources of improvement. Prioritize your approach by selecting the most important changes that need to be done to improve your relationship with your promoters, or change the mind of your detractors.
- Close the loop by implementing the changes, and when you’re done make sure to notify your users. If they see that your product is constantly improving they will be more invested and satisfied, even if you can’t fix every single issue reported. Once you have done this, start the cycle again.
Beamer is a great tool to gather feedback and power the improvement cycle. Beamer allows you to create a newsfeed or notification center on your site or right inside your app, where users can comment and react to your posts. All that data can be used to plan your product improvement based on reality and with a data-driven approach. With Beamer, you’ll get faithful analytics on every single interaction and you’ll be able to respond to users directly, segment them into manageable groups, and announce changes with targeted notifications that will get their attention no matter what.
Beamer even allows you to send NPS surveys to supercharge your feedback gathering, identify who already loves you and track your detractors, making the customer feedback loop easier to handle. You’ll be ready to announce your changes and make your users fall in love with your product all over again.
Improving your feedback loop can not only increase user engagement but also can increase revenue. As Barclays estimated in 2018: the Feedback Economy can yield a 3.2 billion dollar opportunity (billion with a “b”) in the next ten years just in the UK alone, and 85% of small to medium-sized companies already reported benefits from online customer feedback.
Whether you are a company developing a product, a 70s rock band, or a living organism, evolution is the way to stay on the game. You may be laser-focused on love at first sight, but it’s better to invest in a long-term relationship.
And as in any other relationship, you must put the effort to understand your partner’s (in this case customer’s) needs, listen to their concerns, communicate to solve the issues that may arise, make improvements and keep moving forward. Once you have completed these steps, don’t forget to communicate your improvements effectively to keep your users engaged, updated, and totally in love with your product 💘.
If you need some help to make your customers fall in love with your product, Beamer is the tool for you. With Beamer, you can gather useful feedback through comments, reactions, and NPS. You can learn what has to be done and then publish updates to keep your users updated and in the know. Try Beamer for free today.