SMB SaaS companies cannot afford to pay for distribution. At 2 to 4% conversion to paid rates and $5 to $10 monthly subscription fees, the breakeven CPC for these products on search is $0.40. The average Google click costs three times this and the iOS average cost-per-install is more than twice as expensive.
The most successful SMB SaaS companies (Zendesk, Expensify, Square) build communities to drive distribution. Those communities reinforce and build a brand. And the brand drives subsequent organic distribution.
Expensify and ZenDesk are two great examples. Expensify focuses on users suffering with the greatest relevant pain: salespeople filing expenses. Salespeople are a great target community because they try new products quickly, are very vocal with their support or displeasure and are tremendous networkers. Winning their support means thousands of tweets/brand impressions like these monthly:
ZenDesk markets their support suite to the tightly knit group of customer support agents. They leverage the community’s pre-existing strong ties to spread the word about the product. And word of mouth distribution blossomed.
Communities hold the power to large scale, inexpensive distribution. Find the right one and harness it to grow your business organically.