4 ways to quickly get 500 SaaS customers

Hampton VC's Joe Speiser recently shared four customer acquisition flywheel strategies to help SaaS founders quickly lock in hundreds of customers.

4 ways to quickly get 500 SaaS customers

Serial entrepreneur Joe Speiser is a partner at US-based tech investment firm Hampton VC. In the past two decades, he claims to have built, flipped, and sold multiple businesses which generate eight- to nine-digit revenues yearly.

He also tweets excellent insights for fellow SaaS founders (follow his account here).

Recently, he created a great thread about four customer acquisition flywheels that can help founders get 500 customers in 90 days. He claims to have used these methods for his ten startups. Perhaps they can work for your SaaS business, too.

1. The social flywheel

This method requires grit and hard work.

First, identify your competitor’s top social channels. Then, follow all their followers and send them DMs. Make sure to engage with everyone who replies.

You should give away a free trial and ask for advice inside the DM. Don’t sell them anything yet. Below is an example, assuming you’re building a Zapier alternative.

social flywheel joe speiser - customer acquisition flywheel
Courtesy of Joe Speiser.

If Zapier has 20,000 unique followers and you get a 0.3% conversion rate, you’ve onboarded 60 users.

If you have ten competitors, you can expand this effort and get 600 users.

“It’s a slog. But it works,” says Speiser.

This method may help you acquire 100 customers in around 30 days, he adds.

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2. The email flywheel

Step 1: build an email list of potential customers

Step 2: send hyper-personalized messages

Speiser’s quirky method involves sending a photo of him holding the lead’s product or a whiteboard with the lead’s name. He claims that this technique can increase his reply rate from 5% (already great, in my opinion) to 90%.

Next, explain in the email why your product can save the lead money or time. “NEVER tout your software’s features, they don’t care,” the entrepreneur says.

email flywheel - joe speiser
Courtesy of Joe Speiser.

Step 3: schedule a drip campaign for the email list

It should consist of four emails:

  • Email #1: the custom picture intro
  • Email #2: a reminder
  • Email #3: case study highlighting results
  • Email #4: ask if there is anyone else on their team you should be talking to

Speiser mentions that Apollo is his favorite app to find emails and send drip campaigns.

This method will get you 150 additional customers in 30 days, he says.

3. The referral flywheel

Build an “invite your friends” feature and provide great rewards to both people who invite and join. Some examples of good rewards can include credits, discounts, free months, upgrades, and cash.

Uber offers a prime example of a great referral marketing campaign.

This method can double your customer count if your product is good, says Speiser.

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4. The launch flywheel

Launches can make a big splash and may help you acquire new users quickly. That said, if the first launch isn’t good, don't sweat it. You can try launching again and again, just like Airbnb, says Speiser.

He advises founders to launch on Product Hunt multiple times when they hit various key milestones: 100 users, 250 users, and 500 users.

The trick is that founders need to make sure they can get at least 500 upvotes for each launch. This will involve asking customers and friends to help upvote.

He says that any product ranked #1 on Product Hunt will typically get 400 to 500 new users.

Besides tweeting, Speiser also runs a newsletter and sells a guide for SaaS founders. You can check it out here.

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