Creating buzz and excitement around a new product launch isn’t as straightforward for SaaS businesses as for object-oriented brands. We’re used to seeing big-shot consumer brands like Apple and Nike catching the public’s attention for their upcoming product release, but marketing campaigns are not so smooth with SaaS products.
Besides being intangible, most B2B SaaS products have a subscription-based revenue model, making it even more challenging to entice prospective clients. However, some SaaS startups have used these limitations as leverage to dominate the online market space.
Taking an edge over the massive online population, many companies have conducted stellar SaaS pre-launch marketing campaigns, making their brand a global hit. Here’s a roundup of the best pre-launch SaaS campaign examples as an inspiration to improve your marketing strategy.
10 Best SaaS Campaign Examples
Besides pushing campaigns through billboards and leveraging social media platforms to develop an interest in your product, SaaS startups have stretched conventional marketing boundaries.
Many upcoming companies initiated waiting lists programs to attract customers, while some capitalized on viral marketing strategies to build their brand image. We have listed the most effective SaaS pre-launch campaign examples you should adopt for a successful launch day.
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In a world where stock trading was done through official market channels and brokerage firms, Robinhood came up with a revolutionary idea. Robinhood introduced a commission-free stock trading platform that enabled the general public to enter the stock market through smartphones.
Even though the idea was enticing enough, Robinood founders executed a successful pre-launch campaign that drove 1 million user signups a year before the app launch without spending a dime. The company brought in $1.81 billion in revenue less than a decade after its launch. The secret behind the massive user inflow was the borrowed approach from Mailbox - referral waiting lists.
However, what helped them fare better than Mailbox, is the following concepts:
A simple and direct landing page with a single tagline to catch attention.
A quick sign-up procedure that required the user’s email address.
A video teaser that explained to users how the application works.
Well-thought-out waitlist strategy that compels users to refer the software to their friends for priority access.
While many believe Hacker News gave Robinhood the initial push toward brand awareness, the marketing had set up an effective advertising plan as a follow-up. They employed gamification and FOMO techniques to keep the audience's interest alive and compel them to spread the word.
Unlike the Mailbox waitlist strategy, Robinhood kept everything transparent, allowing registered users to know their rank on the waiting list along with possible routes for early access. While it built credibility for Robinhood, users were now promoting the platform intentionally to get their hands on the app right after the launch.
The unprecedented growth of Dropbox from a file storage SaaS startup to a $4 billion enterprise is no secret. Soon after its launch in 2008, Dropbox acquired 100,000 registered users on its platform, which multiplied to 4 million by the end of 2009.
In simple words, the business witnessed 3900% growth in just 15 months. Their spectacular growth won them the best overall startup award in 2011. But how did they manage the steep growth hike?
Even though their landing page wasn’t as terse as SprinSled, it was still concise and direct. It communicates the details, benefits, and USPs clearly to the visitors. Besides a clear call-to-action signup button and a 6-step registration process, the website also featured a demo video of the product as a teaser.
Dropbox leveraged referral marketing before it went mainstream. Being a cloud storage software, it offered free space as a reward mechanism for sharing referral links with friends. To make it more compelling, they introduced a 2-side referral program that rewarded both parties for registering.
Dropbox’s promotion campaign was indeed flawless in terms of spreading brand awareness, but it was the intensive user feedback and constant product improvement that ensured successful forward growth.
Although it’s slightly irrelevant to the SaaS audience, Harry’s outstanding pre-launch campaign is certainly one to look up to. The New York-based D2C grooming brand gathered 100,000 customer emails within the first week of their referral program, while the official release was still weeks away.
Harry’s initially had a 2-page microsite without much copy. The landing page simply read;
Harry’s is coming
Respecting the face and wallet
Since like…Right Now.
With no lengthy introduction, brand story, or fake testimonials, the display picture of a razor was enough to secure the audience’s trust. Customers were asked to join the waiting list under the header; “be the first to know.”
Instead of spending aimlessly for advertisements on platforms like Google and Facebook, Harry’s founders took the cost-effective route of referral marketing. Their campaign was designed to compel people to spread the word about their upcoming launch to their friends and family.
Even though they discontinued the promotion strategy, the overwhelming response by the public helped them acquire $100 million of initial funding. Which gave them the initial push to kickstart their business.
Even though the platform has been here since 2011, its popularity spiked with the onset of the Covid pandemic to the point that it has become synonymous with its function. As the work-from-home policies became more common, Zoom evolved from being an IPO to a stock market enterprise with more revenue than Uber and Lyft combined.
Although it had an existing customer base, Zoom accelerated its social media marketing by conducting contests and giveaways to build the hype. The marketing team set up a virtual background competition in early 2020, focusing on their recently launched feature.
Users would share pictures and videos using Zoom’s latest feature, driving traffic onto the platform. The top three participants would win prizes every month.
The strategy paid out exceptionally well, as more than 50,000 people signed up on Zoom just to participate in the competition. Their customer-oriented policies and different video conferencing feature proved effective in retaining customers.
Monzo - a revolutionary online bank, smartly capitalized on customers’ lack of satisfaction and unaddressed pain points from traditional banks, eventually winning a sizeable percentage of its platform. The online bank used relationship marketing to key in on customer emotions, turning their target audience into loyal followers.
By advertising the narrative of community banking in their campaigns, Monzo successfully registered 5 million users in their database soon after the product launch. Their free pre-launch campaign strategy is largely inspired by Robinhood’s referral program and slightly improvised to get more people talking.
While Robinhood waitlists displayed users’ rank on the waitlist, Monzo let newcomers know the number of people in the front and back of the queue. To further gamify the process, the webpage had a strategically placed button saying, “Bump me up in the queue.”
Seeing themselves stranded at the back end of the queue developed a sense of urgency, compelling them to take immediate action. While inviting friends to the platform would steer users to the top, it also fulfilled the marketing needs without spending a budget. The technique proved quite rewarding as Monzo enrolled 200,000 users onto the platform, even before launching the mobile app.
As a SaaS startup that allows secure online transactions and money exchanges between accounts or digital wallets, Paypal received massive popularity soon after its launch in 2022. The company was soon acquired by the then-e-commerce giant eBay for $1.5 billion. So, how could an ordinary startup achieve a $1.5 billion market evaluation within a year?
Unlike the modern-day SaaS companies, Paypal’s initial webpage looked pretty basic, with all the features and options plainly laid out. Although the business ran various advertising campaigns during post-launch, its ingenious referral marketing strategy made Paypal go viral.
In fact, the company managed to acquire its first 100 million users through a customer referral program, marking a 10% daily growth rate. The tagline was simple yet rewarding:
"Get $5 for signing up, plus $5 for each friend you refer"
The marketing team originally offered a $20 reward for users to sign up and another $20 for referring to a friend. Since the referral program was burdening the company's finance, they eventually dropped the value of sign-up bonuses to $5 once their users multiplied - which wasn’t sustainable for a long period.
Some estimates suggest that Paypal spent over $70 million on signup reward bonuses. But before the campaign was discontinued, the company was up on its feet.
What might seem just another project management tool, SpringSled won over 120,000 users to their waiting lists prior to launch. While it’s not uncommon for SaaS projects to pull off successful launch strategies, signing thousands of prospective customers into their waiting list program in 40 days is a rare marketing stunt.
On the outlook, SpringSled designed a strikingly simple landing page without any commotion of visuals or lengthy taglines. The homepage barely accounted for a 41-word copy - excluding the header and footer - featuring the main content heading that read;
“The World’s Easiest Project Management Tool”
It featured a simple visual representation of a few laptop screens with guiding arrowheads that added clarity for the new users. Be it the conciseness of the copy or the clean user interface that compels visitors to sign up, SpringSled achieved a 42.5% conversion rate within the first month.
Though most marketers give credit to their impeccable waiting list strategy - borrowed from Mailbox - but SpringSled gave it a personal touch.
Instead of adding customers to a priority list, they offered firstcomers a 12-month free trial if they brought in more customers through their referral links. The free trial period created a massive FOMO in visitors, compelling them to share the product with their inner circle.
Yac may not be there in terms of its market capital and revenue, but its pre-launch marketing strategy can certainly be an inspiration for your upcoming venture. It is designed as an audio-first platform that connects remote individuals and teams in a cloud conference.
Although the idea wasn’t as mainstream, Yac predominantly catered to a niche market, making advertising even more complicated. The marketing team was smart enough to leverage the popularity of Twitter and attract their initial investors.
The landing page was direct and concise, addressing the user's pain points and what makes it different from the competition. The main header on the website homepage read,
“Take your time back from Zoom & Slack”
Since they made the value proposition clear, it was easier to turn visitors into customers. The purpose was to generate interest and excitement around the product and compile a user waitlist before the official release, so they built a pre-launch waitlist strategy similar to Robinhood.
Every user that signed up on Yac was required to register their team to get early access to the product after release. The top spots on the waiting list were reserved for ‘super users’ affiliated with more professional and qualified teams.
When it comes to impeccable storytelling, leveraging the FOMO tactic, and building hype through word-of-mouth marketing for an upcoming launch, Apple outshines every company. Even though it’s among the biggest companies in terms of market capital, Apple spends the least budget on advertising compared to its competitors.
The company has built a reputation for credibility and excellence that compels existing customers to purchase without thinking twice. The massive hype around their new product launches creates a FOMO in the target audience, urging them to follow the lead.
Launching fewer products every year and being highly secretive about a new release generates hype and anticipation in public. The recent Airpods Pro launch is a perfect example of hyped marketing.
During the pre-launch phase, the marketers hung unbranded posters of the upcoming models in various stores without mentioning any specifications or unique features. Some key elements of Apple’s marketing strategy are:
Maintaining secrecy around the new product launch plan creates anticipation and hype in the audience.
Mastering the art of product presentation while keeping the advertising simple.
Focusing on improving the customer experience regarding the product.
Building a loyal customer base through brand trust and credibility.
While simplicity and transparency are key to building brand trust, portraying credibility, and enticing users to sign up, Token adopted a complicated approach. Instead of leaving something to the imagination, Token thought it best to educate its target audience before inviting them on board.
The startup is based around a smart ring that can secure all basic credentials about a user in its database. With complex machinery and moving parts, Token elaborated on everything in detail. Even though it was lengthier than traditional web pages, the copywriters did an excellent job incorporating content without drag.
3 Tips for a Successful SaaS Product Launch
A pre-launch SaaS marketing campaign focuses on engaging with different market segments to pave the way to launch your product successfully. Whether you are developing a B2B project or intend to cater to the end-user with a D2C product, keep abreast of the following tips to achieve your desired results:
Understand the Audience
Once you identify your target audience, figure out their needs and requirements. Get inside their minds, anticipate their possible pain points, and figure out possible solutions to capitalize on those needs. Determine an appropriate route to reach your potential customers and adopt the right strategy that captures their attention.
As an entrepreneur; value is your biggest trademark. No matter what type of audience you’re aiming for, make sure the solution or product you’re offering speaks to their needs and requirements. Don’t shy away from educating your audience about your project to strike a connection.
Impeccable Pre-launch Landing Page
Website landing page is the first thing your audience interacts with as they visit your platform. Design it in a way that appeals to your customers, gives a slight teaser of your new release, and drives them to register with you. Devising a seamless registration process that keeps your customer hooked is equally essential.
Devising an effective launch strategy to promote your product isn’t an overnight process. It demands a well-thought-off approach, skilled and efficient human resources, and extensive market knowledge.
In today’s eco-system, there are many pre-tested pre-launch SaaS campaign examples you can adhere to while developing a marketing strategy for your startup. Follow the success route so you don’t have to repeat the same mistakes while excelling in your tech business.
As an entrepreneur with limited capital and human resources, it is better to attend to more important matters and let Prefinery.com steer your business forward.
How do I create a successful SaaS product launch?
Firstly, research your target market, study the trends, and know your audience before launching your SaaS product. Create an interactive pre-launch page, describe your competitive edge with USPs, and adopt appropriate advertising channels to generate traffic on your website. Look through the most successful SaaS pre-launch marketing plan for inspiration.
How can I build a waiting list for my SaaS startup?
Your landing page should be interactive, user-friendly, and straightforward, educating visitors about your product features and enticing them to take the next step. Site a clear CTA button to register potential customers on the waiting list for your new SaaS product. Make sure to keep the sign-up process simple and easy.