Only 5% of your target market are ready to buy your SaaS product right now. The other 95% are still considering your product or may not be aware of it at all. If you have a proper customer acquisition funnel, they will buy from you sooner rather than later.
Marketing gurus will try to tell you that the funnel is dead. Don’t believe them.
The funnel is very much alive and is imperative to the growth of your pipeline. When you’re in a crowded space, you need to know how to turn ideal customers into loyal, repeat buyers. Your customer acquisition funnel helps you do just that.
In this blog, I’ll walk you through the three different types of customer acquisition funnels, how to break them down, and how you can use them to accelerate the growth of your SaaS business.
What is Customer Acquisition?
Customer acquisition is the strategic process of businesses attracting and gaining new customers. It involves a series of marketing and sales efforts aimed at identifying, targeting, and convincing potential customers to choose your SaaS product or service.
The goal of customer acquisition is to build a growing and loyal customer base that contributes to the overall success and sustainability of your SaaS business. It’s a crucial part of business growth. Successful customer acquisition involves understanding the needs of your ICP and implementing successful strategies for conversion.
Why is Customer Acquisition Important?
For SaaS businesses, customer acquisition is critical for achieving scalability and ensuring ongoing life of their business. Because most SaaS businesses rely on a recurring revenue model, a steady stream of new customers is essential to offset any potential churn, and to maintain a healthy customer base.
As mentioned before, only 5% of your target market are ready to buy from you right now. The rest are unaware of which solution to consider. It is your job to lead that 95% through a customer acquisition funnel that educates them and garners their trust. Your funnel is the deciding facto on if you can close those ideal customers or not.
Customer Acquisition Funnel
The funnel is a simple concept. It outlines the stages that prospective customers go through prior to becoming paying customers. Your ideal customers go through three main stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. When you understand each stage and what the customer goes through, you can ensure that your customers convert into buyers.
The awareness stage marks the start of the customer acquisition funnel. At this stage, your goal is to increase brand awareness and make potential customers aware of the existence of your SaaS solution. This includes marketing efforts such as social media, paid ADs, blogs, and outbound emails. Your aim is to stand out in your crowded space and position yourself as the solution to your customers’ needs.
At this stage, they have become aware of your SaaS solution and are actively evaluating whether it meets their needs. Here you’ll showcase its features and benefits while addressing potential concerns. Case studies and product demos are effective ways to guide your ideal customers into their decision-making process. Establishing trust and highlighting the value proposition are key components in moving prospects from awareness to serious consideration.
The conversion stage takes place when your ideal customers transition into actual paying customers. At this point, you’ll need to provide clear and compelling call-to-actions and facilitate a smooth buying process. This stage involves many sales calls, special offers, and incentives to prompt their buying decision. You’ll also set the stage for ongoing customer success for renewals or referrals.
Top Three Strategies for Customer Acquisition
Now, there are three types of customer acquisition funnels that Founder have found success in. Through my 10 year journey of operating ToutApp and Marketo, I learned that underneath all the noise are these time tested principles that always work. When you leverage one of these three acquisition strategies, your SaaS business will be Unstoppable.
1. Lead Magnet Driven
Having a lead magnet is one of the strongest ways to hook your ideal customers through a customer acquisition funnel. Especially when the content is relevant and useful to your Ideal Customer Profile. This is why inside my SaaS GTM Program, I teach Founders to create a Strategic Narrative, or what we call ‘Manifesto.’
Your Manifesto serves as the core lead magnet that digs into why your SaaS business exists, and why people need to pay attention to you. Your strategic narrative should encapsulate your core values. With your manifesto in place, you’ll then run ADs, social media posts, and target SEO to bring organic and paid traffic into your sales funnel.
As they become aware of your SaaS solution, you’ll have the opportunity to start real sales conversations and convert them into buying customers. This is one of the most traditional models.
2. Manifesto to Free Trial
Another customer acquisition model is using your lead magnet or manifesto to guide your ideal customers into conducting a free trial with your SaaS solution. This way you start your funnel by creating awareness through your manifesto, and strengthening the consideration by offering them to test your product out for free.
Say you don’t have a high Annual Contract Value (ACV). The power in this type of funnel strategy is that you don’t need to use or hire expensive salespeople. The free trial will convert your customers itself. At most you will have to invest in more Marketing to acquire the leads. Here are specific ways to generate awareness for your SaaS business.
3. Free Trial to Manifesto
This customer acquisition funnel strategy is branded as a new way, but has existed forever. If customers don’t want to consume free content (aka your lead magnet) then give them a free trial right off the bat. Let your ideal customers into your product right away.
The free trial will bring awareness and get your ideal customers into the funnel first, then your manifesto will educate and convert them further. This method educates customers while they are on the free trial and in the consideration phase.
Many over complicate their customer acquisition funnel when they shouldn’t. The process should be simple and seamless. If you focus on the three types I shared with you, you can get to the promised land of driving growth for your SaaS business.
Although your funnel is simple, it takes hard work to get there. There are nuances you must figure out prior to feeding your funnel. Does the market believe there is an important and urgent problem? Is your pricing and positioning right? Is your manifesto resonating?
As SaaS Founders, we must do the grunt work of revamping our messaging, positioning, pricing, and building our Manifesto. These are all fleshed out as part of a high-performing Go-To-Market strategy. When you lay this foundation, running your customer acquisition funnel becomes easier.
If you’re a SaaS Founder looking to revamp your Go-To-Market strategy, I invite you to check out my SaaS GTM Program. Inside this program, I work with hundreds of SaaS Founders like yourself to define and establish a proper GTM strategy.