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Archive for December, 2009

I’ve been pleased to see the creative ways new SaaS solutions are being marketed recently. Notably, marketers are doing a better job at making their users feel valued from the moment they register for a service. Less and less I’m receiving blaring “buy now” offers. For me personally, this has resulted in deeper levels of engagement with their products, and I find myself evangelizing their brands much more than in the past.

Past pioneering efforts included Google’s Gmail, which allowed access by invitation only. I remember feeling somewhat special when my friend selected me to be an early user of their email system. Anther example of good marketing leading to engagement occurred when I recently signed up for Evernote, which is like Post-It Notes on steroids. Once I logged into my free account, my dashboard showed a “current monthly usage” bar. This gracefully implemented indicator reminded me that my free account is a gift and that it has its limits. What I like about these marketing approaches is that they encourage me to personally use or share the product with others without such overt advertising that I typically tune out.

What excites me more is where this will go next. Although the previous examples encouraged me to engage and share, they were still only one-way communications from the company to me.  The really savvy SaaS Marketers out there are changing the dialogue to a more equitable two-way communication model such as my new favorite online back up and file sharing service, Drop Box. After signing up for a free two-gig account, they offered me 250 Megs of extra storage just for attending their training class. Wow, paying me to learn their product? Awesome. Then, they tell me that I can invite up to 3 friends and get 250 Megs for each acceptance. Now I’m hooked. Needless to say, it took me less than 2 days to pester 3 friends into trying the product. And at least one of them is now an avid user as well. What I find so smart about Drop Box is that they have figured out a credible way to reward people for learning their product and inviting new members.  Maybe more importantly, they have found equity on their side for giving out these rewards.

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