Archive for November, 2016

Effective Incentives for Your SaaS Referral Programme

Posted by Adrien Tibi

Referral schemes are a great way to get new customers or companies to try out your SaaS product. With the right incentive programme, you make your customers far more likely to extend referrals. You also increase their satisfaction with your company, increasing the chance they’ll stick around. And for new customers, giving your product a try is far more attractive when there’s an appealing freebie on offer.

Be Two-Faced

Referral schemes are particularly powerful because, when successful, they help you cement existing customer relationships and win you new business. To make the most of this opportunity, you should offer incentives for both parties – your existing customer making the referral and the new customer. Retaining users is easier when they feel involved in your success and rewarded for that involvement. And the idea of trying out a new SaaS product will be far more enticing, and feel like far less of a potential risk, with an extra incentive – especially one that saves them money.

Download our guide to attracting more users for your SaaS business

So what makes a good incentive?

Free or Extended Use of your Product

There’s nothing more valuable you can share than your product itself. It’s a great gesture of goodwill to loyal customers, and an added benefit for you is that it also keeps those customers locked in with your product.  As an incentive for new, referred customers, it is also very powerful as it makes the initial leap of trying out something new feel less risky.

Of course you don’t want to turn a paying customer into a non-paying customer, but you can extend free trials, or add free months to annual subscriptions, for instance.

The exact offer you extend may well depend on the nature of your SaaS product. Dropbox have a particularly effective incentive – referrals earn you extra space in your Dropbox – but, of course, this is specific to the sort of software it sells.

Credits or Discounts

Money talks, and cold hard (virtual) cash is always a popular and powerful incentiviser. Depending on your pricing model you can offer discounts or account credits. It’s one of the most simple incentive options, and you have full control over how much it will cost.

Discounts or credits can be one of the more expensive options though, and if you do mitigate this by keeping your offer low, you might find that it’s actually less enticing than a more tangible, but actually lower valuable, physical item offer.

Third Party Discounts or Products

Some customers might not be swayed by credits or free use of your product because they’re not paying for it out of their own pocket and they’d rather something that benefits them more directly. To maximise referral potential, consider offering alternative third party discounts at equivalent intervals. Popular options are things like coffee shop gift cards, tickets to sporting events or vouchers for big name eCommerce sites.

Branded merchandise

Does anyone really want to walk around wearing an ill-fitting t-shirt advertising their accounting software? Apparently so – branded merchandise continues to be offered as a common referral incentive by loads of businesses, so clearly it works. Giveaways of this type are usually most suited for the lower tiers of your referrral scheme, due to their relatively low value.

The benefits are obvious. These sorts of incentives are generally a really cheap option, and if your customers do actually wear or use their freebie, you get free advertising. On the other hand, if you don’t get the referral numbers you were hoping for you might find you have piles of merchandise taking up space and reminding you of your failure for months to come.
To get people to the referral stage you don’t just need to incentivise them, you’ll likely need to implement a retention strategy, and to entice users to your product in your first place, download our quick reference guide on attracting new SaaS customers.

DDoS: How to Win the Invisible War Against Cyber Attackers

Posted by Adrien Tibi

The internet represents opportunity and provides companies with a greater audience to promote products and services. Yet with the current influx of cyber-attacks capable of bringing down most online businesses, the security concerns are mounting and it has become not a question of if a company will be hit by a cyber-attack, but when.

Stuck for ideas on how to make a profit in SaaS? If so, download our SaaS profitiability guide for hints and tips.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

Cyber-attacks are quickly becoming the single greatest threat to business security, especially for companies with a large or active online presence.

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are frequently used by attackers to overwhelm websites and digital services and force them offline, preventing any kind of online trading and tarnishing the reputation of the company’s security. In a DDoS attack, a network of computers infected with a malware, known as “botnet”, are coordinated into bombarding a server with traffic until it collapses under the strain. The target of DDoS attacks have principally been businesses with notable digital revenue, and the BBC, DropBox and Facebook have all been victims of such coordinated cyber warfare.

Most recently, the servers of Dyn, a company that controls significant portions of the internet’s DNS infrastructure were attacked, which brought down sites including Twitter, Netflix, Reddit, CNN, The Guardian and many more across the US and Europe. One of the reasons why DDoS is such a significant threat is that, alongside the low risk of being caught, arranging an attack is also relatively simplistic. The image below shows the frequency of attacks within just a 30-second window, on a Wednesday, circa 15:00 GMT.

So how do you make sure that your website and web presence stays available, and win the war against the hackers?


The ongoing worry with DDoS attacks is that they’re becoming increasingly powerful. Dyn estimated that the attack which took down their servers had an attack strength of 1.2Tbps, almost twice as strong as any similar attack on record. To put this in perspective, the strength of such an attack would be enough to wipe out most business internet connections 600x over.

To combat the threat of DDoS and win the invisible war against cyber-attackers, it is essential that your business put safeguards in place, and this starts with your hosting provider. It is important to find out in advance who from your provider you should contact in the event of a DDoS attack, and what measures can be taken to keep your website or digital service up and running. Often, hosting solutions will incorporate DDoS protection and security technology that can detect and absorb large attacks, then redirect harmful attack traffic, only allowing legitimate traffic through. Making sure your hosting solution provides adequate DDoS protection, or has the option to upgrade your service to include it, can help your company to better defend itself against attacks.

There are also precautions your company can take itself. Streamlining the functionality of your website to make it as efficient as possible can also be an important consideration to mitigate the risk of a DDoS attack. The aim of these attacks is to overwhelm server processors to the point that the website or digital service crashes. Reducing the power required to process queries will not only enhance performance but can help to avoid downtime until a solution is reached.


In an age where business is reliant on the internet, cyber-attacks have become an unavoidable threat. With each passing day, both the frequency and devastation of DDoS attacks intensify and the likelihood of a coordinated attack on your business grows. DDoS attacks have become a genuine threat to businesses and their ability to trade. Even an attack that has no impact on a company’s merchandising could still tarnish its reputation and make customers question the robustness of its online security.

Thankfully there are steps that your business can take to protect yourself against DDoS attacks and win the war against the cyber-attackers.

Streamlining your website, knowing who to contact at the first sign of a malicious attack and understanding the successive steps your hosting provider can take to limit the damage, detect and absorb attacks, and redirect traffic away can be the difference between keeping your business online or not. It is important to remember that no matter what steps are taken to limit the risk, DDoS attacks will never be completely preventable. But making the necessary preparations will reduce the duration and the damage that these attacks can cause. For more information about hosting solutions that can reduce the impact of DDoS attacks to better protect your business visit us here.

How to Successfully Retain Existing SaaS Users

Posted by Adrien Tibi

Thanks to evolving technology and market saturation, customer loyalty is starting to wane in the world of SaaS solutions. With the promise of superior, faster and more advanced services, it is becoming increasingly challenging for a business to remain the attractive option.

This is a serious headache for many companies because customer retention is exceedingly valuable. Numerous studies have shown that implementing a successful retention strategy yields greater rewards than onboarding new users, and latest estimates suggest that the cost of nurturing ten existing customers is roughly the same expenditure as acquiring just one new user.

Fostering lasting relationships with your customer base makes sense economically, although building successful business connections is about a lot more than just profitability – trust, teamwork and customer satisfaction can all increase as a result.

Here are some ways that you can combat growing customer-attrition levels and ensure your business remains an attractive prospect for your customers.

Great Customer Service

To retain your customers, you’ve got to deliver great customer service. Ensuring your customers feel both valued and content with the support and services they receive can go a long way to reducing customer attrition. Good customer service primerily stems from the ability to answer your customers’ queries and concerns efficiently and offer potential solutions that are beneficial for all parties.

When dealing with any communication from your user-base, remember that time-management is critical and that there’s no quicker way to alienate your customers than to make them feel like they are being ignored. There will always be occasions when you can’t deal with the problem immediately, such as times of peak traffic, but implementing a contingency plan, such as an automatic response email, will help to alleviate any feelings of disregard that your customers may be harbouring.

Customers want to feel like they are valued, so try to personalise their customer experience as much as possible. Things like communicating on a first name basis and learning the direction and subject of customers’ businesses can help to cement the feeling of value and increase the likelihood of repeat business.

Nobody is perfect. But, when things do go wrong, admitting your flaws will help to gain you a great deal more respect than making excuses. Trust is all-important in business and no consumer wants to feel like they are being lied to. Owning up to mistakes and rectifying the situation to the best of your abilities will only serve to strengthen the relationship between you and your customer.

Download our guide to attracting more users for your SaaS business


Improving communication is a sure-fire way to guarantee an increase in your current retention levels. Your customers never want to feel like they’re in the dark, or worse, undervalued, so frequent contact is a must. Ensuring regular correspondence also enables you to better understand the concerns of your user-base and adapt accordingly.

Implementing a contact-strategy can make certain that your customers feel appreciated and reduce any sense of neglect. All successful contact-strategies begin with an analysis of the methods your business currently employs to correspond with prospects and customers, with the aim of finding the best channels of communication. Only by understanding how you best communicate with your user-base can you begin to develop a strategy for consistent, effective and useful communication.

The two most important elements of customer-communication are quantity and consistency. Ensuring that all correspondence is developed in-line with your design principles will help to reassure your customers they’re communicating with a trusted source. Meanwhile, finding the right balance of communication so that customers are engaged but don’t feel bombarded is key to consumer happiness and retention.

Reinforce Your Values

Long-term success and customer retention belongs to those who do not take ethical shortcuts. You must be consistent in what you say, what you do, what your customers experience and why your customers are able to trust you. Making sure that you are open, honest and up-front with them in all situations can help to convince them that you are a trustworthy business partner, so it is important not only to share your successes but also to take responsibility for your mistakes.

Your values represent who you are as a business and you should make the most of opportunities to remind people of what it is that you stand for. Your customers will obviously expect high-quality design, build quality, reliability and serviceability from your SaaS solutions, but you can also remind them why it is that they chose your business in the first place.

Reinforcing your values can mean anything from creating a mission statement, spreading your message on social media, writing blog posts, or even sending customer emails. Modesty is (alledgedly) a virtue, but by demonstrating to your customers that you believe in your message, and you practice what you preach, you can ensure that your business remains an attractive option to your customers.

Customer Promotion

Customer retention derives from the ability to make you customer feel like they are a valuable asset to your business. And showcasing your customers on your website, app, newsletter or other public platform can help to garner engagement, increase satisfaction and improve customer service.

Promoting your customers can have mutual benefits. Your business receives the prestige of boasting about its client success stories, whilst your featured customers receive free publicity on your platform of choice.

No matter the solution that you choose – whether it’s adding your customer’s logos to your homepage, creating a client-of-the-month feature, or building a case-studies web page which features individual reports for all your customers – make sure your customers are on board. Always ask permission when outlining and implementing this kind of strategy. In spite of the obvious benefits for a featured customer, some companies will simply not want to partake in the promotional scheme whereas others may have specific stipulations about what is required when they do feature.


Today, customer retention is critical to business success. For many businesses, returning customers represent the backbone of earning potential and nurturing longer-lasting relationships can be hugely beneficial.

The most fundamental aspect of customer retention is ensuring that your customer knows that they are valued. And by addressing questions, queries and concerns quickly and helpfully you can really help to strengthen your relationship. Meanwhile, employing a contact-strategy to make certain that effective communication is taking place and no customer feels like they are left in the dark can be key to consumer engagement.

Critically evaluating your principles in order to demonstrate to your customers how you ‘practise what you preach’ is important to the creation of trust. Effectively promoting your values to your customers can help to generate long-term business success, and promotion can also a valuable tool in and of itself to prevent customer attrition. Showcasing your customers will help to generate loyalty, which in turn will increase retention levels. But the increase in publicity can also help to generate a stronger bond between you and your customers, provided that they have agreed to the promotion guidelines.

As much as customer retention is critical to business success, customer acquisition is critical to business growth and expansion. For more information about how you can grow your user-database with limited effort and generate more users for your SaaS product, you can view our cheat sheet here.

How to Grow Your Business with Product Recommendation Referrals

Posted by Adrien Tibi

Today, advertising is everywhere. From television to radio, and print media to online, prospective customers are constantly bombarded by advertising messages and slogans. And there is significant evidence to suggest that over-exposure is leading to “banner-blindness”, so not only are your prospects becoming increasingly frustrated with the constant stream of advertisements, it is increasingly likely that they might not even acknowledge them.

It is unsurprising then that many businesses have decided to change tack and combat the falling numbers of customer interaction head-on. This is where the increasing interest in a return to more traditional word-of-mouth marketing, or referral marketing, has stemmed, but how can your business encourage its consumers to recommend your products and services?

Why Referral Marketing?

A successful referral programme can be valuable for businesses aiming to attract more users and, if employed correctly, can successfully help companies to grow quickly and affordably.

Loads of research has been done on the topic of product recommendations, and many studies have found that a person is more likely to use a service if it has been recommended to them by a reputable source. After all, who are prospects more likely to trust – their family, friends and other satisfied customers, or an anonymous business which has no existing relationship with them?

Acquiring customers through referrals is generally a lot cheaper than by direct marketing. The idea behind referral marketing is to incentivise existing customers – typically with discounts, gifts, or the opportunity to win attractive prizes – in order to take advantage of their social connections and attract greater business. The result is a much lower cost-per-contact than most other marketing campaigns, such as outbound advertising, and with fewer expenses.

Download our guide to attracting more users for your SaaS business

Actively Promote

To achieve success, your business must first mobilise, then incentivise its consumers. As with any new project or operation, clear, concise and effective promotion is a key contributor to success. In the case of referral programmes, a considerable amount of the active marketing is undertaken by existing customers, but this only serves to highlight the importance of the principal communication.

To generate the largest number of organic prospects from your referral campaign, it is imperative that the primary message is delivered to your consumers competently and effectively. You should make it dynamic and engaging, with attractive images and well-written content. And you should deliver it seamlessly and consistently to your consumers, either via email, social media or print, making sure that the design remains in-line with your brand.

At this juncture, the primary aim of your programme is to increase awareness. And, although this should entail a consistent stream of marketing messaging, it is important to be sensible in your approach. As discussed, there is nothing more frustrating for a consumer than over-exposure to marketing material. So, with this in mind, you should craft and deliver enticing marketing materials to engage your customers, but don’t bombard them with so much that it becomes an annoyance. Enabling an ‘opt-out’ clause can demonstrate that you have your consumer’s interests in mind.


Incentivisation is a key aspect of any referral campaign and the primary reason that many consumers choose to adopt the programme in the first place. Although it is important to encourage existing customers to recommend social contacts with incentives – such as discounts, gifts and/or prizes – they can also be used to help persuade prospects to adopt products and services. This process is known as two-sided incentivising because the benefits are available for not only the referrer, but also the person referred.

Your business should adopt this method of incentivising consumers and prospects for two reasons. Firstly, existing customers who are in the contemplation stage are far more likely to recommend you to friends and family if it’s visibly beneficial for every party. And secondly, your prospective customer uptake will be far greater if they are directly benefitting.

Selecting the correct incentive to best mobilise your consumers and achieve optimum results can become a sticking-point for many businesses. And this is where the importance of understanding your industry, your demographic and the needs of your current consumers becomes crucial. For example, in the competitive world of server hosting, offering your existing customers the provision of greater customisability may not have the desired impact, due to the already high levels of freedom that many solutions have. However, something like offering your consumers the opportunity to try out a bare metal cloud solution for a limited time offer, would likely have dramatically better results.

Communicate and Manage

Many companies find producing a successful referral marketing programme much more challenging than they had initially expected. Often this is because when businesses decide to embark on a referral campaign, they fail to follow through on the crucial communication and management stages.

In the fast-moving world of cloud solutions, effective customer communication is vital, and it becomes even more so when you’re running a referral programme to attract a greater number of users to your product. You must be prepared to talk to new prospects about a wide variety of things, including the benefits of your service, what it is you can offer them and why they should choose your service. But it is also important to remember to keep up a high (but not irritating) level of contact with existing consumers in order to ensure customer retention.

Effective management during the customer acquisition process can be imperative to the success of your referral programme. And ensuring that all the links in the chain are functioning as smoothly as possible will not only enable you to capture the greatest number of leads, but it will also help to relieve any headaches further down the line. With the right promotional strategy and incentives, you’ll have customers queueing up to help you by referring their friends and family. But this doesn’t happen by accident, and effective communication and comprehensive management play an integral part. To learn more, download our cheat sheet on how to attract more users.

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