The first 1,000 users play a critical role in offering valuable feedback for refining your product and igniting its growth.
If you’ve read my last post about how to get your first 100 customers, you’ll have already fully identified your target audience, developed hype around your product, launched your product, nailed down your pricing and experimented with different marketing approaches. (If not, I’d recommend that you read this post first).
So now you’ve got your first 100 customers, what do you do next to get 10x the number of people?
When I created my first business, I found it incredibly daunting to work out what to do next, which is why in this article I’ll reveal all and show you the effective strategies to help you expand your customer base and take your business to the next level.
If you’re more of a watcher than a reader, check out this great video by Raw Startup to help you understand how to get 1000 customers.
Transitioning From 100 to 1,000 Customers
When you reach that magical 100-customer mark and believe you’ve built something valuable, the next step is to scale your business.
While there are various aspects to consider, this article primarily focuses on marketing strategies for scaling your SaaS. Other aspects, like scaling up support operations and hiring more developers, are essential but beyond the scope of this discussion. You can check out my guide to hiring great staff if you’re looking for more information on this.
How To Scale Your Business To 1000 Customers
Re-evaluate Your Price Point
While raising your prices might seem counter-intuitive when trying to gain more customers, in my experience, it can be the difference between reaching 1,000 loyal customers and owning a failed startup.
Typically, the higher your price point, the more marketing options you have at your disposal. Certain marketing methods, such as PPC (pay-per-click) ads cost more to implement, but could massively increase the number of customers seeing and purchasing your product. Increasing your prices, even by just a little bit, can make a customer’s lifetime value worth spending more on expensive marketing approaches.
If you’re struggling with setting a price point for your product, check out my guide to identifying your pricing strategy here.
Higher-priced products tend to have lower churn rates, enabling you to use a broader range of marketing channels effectively. Conversely, with lower-priced products, your marketing options become limited due to higher customer acquisition costs.
Experiment With More Marketing Strategies
To reach 100 customers, you must’ve found a marketing strategy that works.
But you shouldn’t just stick with that one! In order to scale your business to 1000+ customers requires multiple repeatable marketing strategies.
To do this, you’ll need to experiment with various marketing approaches and determine which ones work best for your specific market, price point, and skill set. When conducting these experiments, consider two key questions:
- What skills do you possess? As a founder, or in the case of a team, what skills does your team bring to the table?
- What are your competitors doing? Study your competition to identify strategies that have proven effective in your industry.
You can learn more about creating a marketing strategy here if you’d like more information.
Prioritize Your Marketing Strategies
Now that you’ve identified some good marketing strategies by running some experiments, it’s time to prioritize them.
My favourite way is to use the ICE prioritization framework, which stands for:
- Impact – the potential impact that a marketing approach could have on your business
- Confidence – how confident you are in your ability to execute the strategy effectively
- Ease of implementation – how easy it is to implement the strategy
For each of these sections of ICE, you should order the marketing approaches that you’re considering in a list. The approaches that rank consistently higher should then be tackled more quickly than the items lower down.
My Use of ICE
When evaluating different marketing methods, I’ve found the ICE Framework invaluable for helping me to identify the most effective strategies.
I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is to create a simple Excel table which lists each of the marketing methods I’m considering. I then rank each of the components of ICE (Impact, Confidence and Ease of Implementation) out of 10, with 10 being the highest score and 0 being the lowest.
You can then weight the importance of the ICE components by multiplying the score before calculating the total. For example, when I was trying to find the best marketing strategy for my startup, Post Crunch, I was looking for quick and easy wins which would have a high impact, so I weighted Impact with a 3x multiplier and Ease of Implementation with a 2x multiplier.
As you can see from the table above, the two marketing strategies that scored the top points for my startup were Reddit Posts and Medium Articles (both with 41 points).
This really surprised me at the time, as I’d been largely focussing on Broken Link Outreach (the top row), which scored 8 points less than my top scoring methods. This meant that I immediately switched tactics and saw quite an increase in conversions and reach after a few months.
Optimize Your Funnel
Scaling your SaaS business isn’t just about driving traffic and leads; it’s about optimizing your entire funnel.
Whether you have a sales process or a free trial system, monitor your funnel’s performance closely. If you’re losing lots of customers at a specific stage of your funnel, you really need to fix it.
An effective yet often underutilized marketing approach is forming strategic partnerships. Partnerships offer access to audiences you may not reach otherwise.
Look for affiliate partnerships with influencers or content creators in your niche. Offer them commissions for promoting your product.
Additionally, you can explore partnerships with organizations or associations related to your target audience. These partnerships can involve speaking at their events, sponsoring their activities, or otherwise gaining exposure to their members.
So there we have it!
After reading this guide about growing your business to 1,000 customers, you should have a better understanding of what you need to do next to continue expanding your business.
If you’re just starting your business, check out our guide to getting your first 100 customers, and also have a look at how the stairstep method can help you grow your entrepreneurship skills gradually.
If you’ve already got over 1,000 customers, see our guide on how to hire staff for your business, or find out how to scale your business to a multi-million dollar startup.