A friend just sent me this question:

Hey Josh –

I grabbed your book and will be reading it along with a few of my team, but I wanted to ask you for some quick advice. I know there’s not a magic bullet for helping people learn about a SaaS company. (I know there’s lots of competition) But we believe we’ve achieved “product market fit” based on feedback we’ve received from early adopters of our application.

We’ve developed something that is like taking Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Harvest, and Slack and putting them all into one application and people are liking it. We’ve made it really simple to use and we’re getting feedback confirming its simplicity so we feel like we’re on the right track.

So if you were me… and you had an application that you felt good about (I know everyone feels good about their own software lol)… but what would you do to get it more exposure. The only thing that seems to work is doing PPC but it’s really expensive…

Just curious what your initial honest thoughts would be…

Here’s the answer I sent:

Thanks for buying the book! When you’re done (or have read enough to get a feeling for it) I would appreciate it if you would leave a frank and honest review on Amazon (my feelings will not at all be hurt if it’s not five stars–I just need more reviews at any level). Those reviews are huge for bumping my book up in Amazon search results so that it shows up in front of more people.

Quick thoughts on your question:

1. B2B influencer marketing – Find people who write for big-name publications and give them the software for free. I don’t mean a 30-day free trial that you give to everyone–that comes across as a sales gimmick. I mean give them a full fledged top level account for their whole company (if that doesn’t cost you anything) for a full year or something. Something so that they sit up and say “Wait a sec, this guy is actually giving me something tangible here, I should probably take the time to check this out because he’s giving me a few grand worth of value.”

What’s the marginal cost of giving a company of 20-30 people a free account? You’ve already built the stuff, so I assume it’s only server processing, bandwidth, and customer support. How much will that cost you? If it’s not much, then give out 100 of these accounts. Chances are you’ll end up with a bunch of articles in major publications talking about your software, at least if it’s good.

This is what SEMRush did with me. They gave me a free enterprise account for two years. Now we’re paying $150/month or so because we got addicted to it and I’m not going to ask for more free time after two years of using it for free. And I’ve included it in at least one article I’ve written for Forbes or somewhere, maybe more than one.

2. SEO – Takes time to get going, but cheaper than PPC in the long run.

3. Thought leadership – Either you or someone in the company who is a co-founder and is as passionate about the company as you are needs to become an expert at project management or productivity or whatever is most closely related to what your service does. Then brand yourself as “the project management guy” or “the productivity guy.” Yeah, there are bunch out there already, but that’s ok, there’s room for 500 more. If you need help getting a start, go take my free influencer course.

Hope that helps!

That was my quick advice. Now you know exactly what advice I give my friends. What advice would you give my buddy?