Starting a new SaaS business is tough, really tough.
Most of us aren't starting with a group of hundreds or thousands of followers.
To get our first users, we need to reach out to complete strangers.
For me, sending messages to people I don't know was the most daunting part of starting my previous SaaS, Sorted. It got even worse when they never replied.
I started asking myself:
- Does anyone care about my product?
- Am I one of these spammers who send useless messages?
- Would I ever get any users?
The reality is, most people will never reply to you.
But there is an important nuance here. More than anything else, your reply rates depend on where your prospect users are in their journey to solve the problem you are trying to solve.
Let me dive into the reply rates for two common types of groups:
- People that expressed the pain you are solving for
- People in your target audience
People that expressed the pain you are solving for
Typical reply rates: 1:3 to 1:5
One of the best places to look for early users are online communities. When you are a part of a community, you will notice when people are talking about the problem you are trying to solve. You can then engage with them directly in the community forum or through a private message.
People that expressed the pain you are trying to solve are much more likely to reply. Most of them will still never reply to your message, but you have a much better chance to be rewarded for your time investment.
And there is nothing more important than talking to prospect users, so keep trying!
People in your target audience
Typical reply rates: 1:10 to 1:15
Platforms like LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Apollo allow you to pinpoint your target audience. For example, "Founders of design agencies with 5-10 employees in the first year of their business".
On paper, it looks great. You found an exact match of your target audience. But in reality, people may not care about the problem you are solving right now. Even if this is a problem for them, they might have a dozens other more urgent problems to solve.
That's why you shouldn't expect good returns for your time using these channels. For most founders, I would not recommend this type of cold outreach.
Want to share the story of your cold outreach? Feel free to start a conversation with me on Twitter @nirshub