If your goal is to launch a lucrative software as a service business, it’s worth noting that developing the software itself is only one of the parts required to achieve success. Creating a self-sustaining and profitable system that runs semi-autonomously on a web server and caters to new and existing users can be a challenging task, but it can be drastically simplified via the usage of trusted APIs, strategic pricing, quality advertisements, and other straightforward techniques. To help you have the best chance at success with your new software as a service, here are five tips for realizing a more impactful launch and a strong first year in business.
Take an API First Approach:
As the owner or administrator of software as a service, you should be familiar with application programming interfaces (APIs). In today’s fast-moving online industries, applications need to be able to communicate with each other and existing web platforms in a seamless and efficient manner. By building your software as a service with an API First approach, you can ensure that it will remain compatible with other integrated programs and platforms such as social networking and multimedia sites. You’ll also be able to update and improve the functionality more frequently and with less hassle because many new features that you’ll want to add can be implemented by leveraging existing API capabilities.
Offer Flexible Plans and Pricing:
Look for ways to offer free or low-cost plans that everyone can afford, and you’ll be adding more users to your subscriber base in the long term. You may be looking forward to providing premium services at high prices, but there really is no sense in turning down the customers who can’t afford or don’t need all of the bells and whistles. If you can’t reasonably provide a completely free plan, consider the benefits of offering a limited-time trial for your most basic plan.
Likewise, you could implement a digital token or points-based system that lets customers add more credit to their accounts as they go along. Ultimately, you want to make your service compatible with any budget. The most profitable software-as-a-service platforms strive to accommodate individuals and businesses of all sizes.
Set Aside a Generous Advertising Budget:
Even the most feature-packed software as a service won’t go very far if nobody knows about it. As a rule of thumb, it’s wise to spend roughly the same or more on advertising as you would on the core development costs. Many novices make the mistake of spending their entire budget on website design and software development and wind up with nothing left to build hype around their new product or service.
Use Reliable Web Hosting:
When you’re running a software-as-a-service business, applications run on your web servers, and the output or interface is shown to the customer via a web interface. As a result, it’s absolutely imperative to have access to highly reliable and redundant web hosting services. With minimal downtime, sufficient bandwidth, and an adequate number of other resources allocated to your hosting plan, your customers should have optimal access to your services at all times.
Provide Unique Features and Benefits:
Unless you’re launching a completely revolutionary kind of service, there’s a good chance that you may already have some competition online. Spend some time conducting competitive research to identify the features that alternative providers don’t have yet. Apart from browsing the sites and app descriptions of your most similar competitors, you could also hold an independent brainstorming session or ask for new feature suggestions and feedback from existing users. Along the same lines, if you have several feature additions pending implementation and aren’t sure which to roll out first, you could start an email survey or poll asking which features would be most appreciated.
Consider Offering Standalone Desktop and Mobile Versions:
Many software as a service providers increase their revenue and generate more interest in their niche by creating limited versions of their programs that run natively on PCs and mobile devices. Having a verified app in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store makes your company more credible and provides access to millions of prospective users. Plus, you’ll probably see a significant boost in monetization simply by having an ad-powered version and/or one with in-app purchases.