Awesome! So you signed up a new subscriber to your WaaS.
You’ve taken someone from being a random lead and sent them through your qualifying process, maybe got them to sign up for a free trial to finally becoming a subscriber.
Meanwhile you’ve been stacking up customer acquisitions costs the entire way. Whether you’ve generated and nurtured the lead through SEO, email marketing, webinars, events, etc. – they’ve all cost you money.
Now that you’ve converted them into a subscriber, you need to start recouping your costs.
The WaaS customer acquisition machine
The websites-as-a-service (WaaS) business model is supposed to work exactly like that. You spend money up front acquiring new customers, then over a period of time you begin collecting revenue from the customer to recoup your initial investment.
When you have a well-oiled WaaS customer acquisition machine working for you, you can expect receiving $3-$5 (or more) back for every $1 you put in.
But this only happens if your customer stays long enough for you to recoup your acquisition investment. If you’re putting in a dollar and your customer decides to only stay for 2-3 months then you may only see a 15 cent return. Then you’ll know you need to fix your machine.
What you should be asking yourself is “How long do I need to keep a customer before I start recouping my initial investment?” Are we talking months, years or more?
It all depends on how much you’re spending to acquire a new subscriber and how much you charge for your plans. Obviously, the higher the acquisition cost, combined with a low monthly recurring revenue, the longer it’ll take to get your initial investment back.
Why your WaaS customers are leaving too soon
A lot of people are willing to try a web solution for a few months. The good news is getting setup is super easy, there’s very little to no upfront costs or long-term contracts on most of the WaaSes/turnkey website solutions I’ve seen.
The bad news is that those are the same reasons customers tend to leave around the 90 day mark (3 months).
But why does this happen?
In some cases the customer just decides that the WaaS site isn’t a good fit for them. That happens sometimes, and there’s not much you can do when it does.
But there are some issues you can avoid and/or fix.
Regardless how easy you make your WaaS to use, most of the time a new customer will need a fair bit of help getting started. A “setup wizard”, “guided tours” built into your dashboard or a “quick start” guide may be all that’s needed to help them get up and running with confidence. (Let’s be honest, most customers don’t have time or patients for hours of training anyway.)
Using assets like these to onboard your new customers is important when you have several users on your network. This is especially true when there’s a lot of custom customer data that needs to be input into your system. Without a little help getting past these initial hurdles, your new subscribers may never get their new website up and running.
In the SaaS industry this is often regarded as “shelfware.” With WaaS, the main difference is most developers don’t request an upfront setup fee, and customers won’t continue paying for a subscription that they don’t use. They’ll just cancel.
Your promises aren’t consistent with your delivery
When you’re marketing your WaaS, you’re really selling promises. You’re promising to deliver specific functionalities and services to your new subscribers. (See “Market Your WaaS Promises, NOT Your Product.”)
New customers will be disappointed and will most likely lose confidence and trust in your turnkey website solution if it doesn’t deliver on the promises. Ultimately they will decide to leave.
In some cases I’ve seen where WaaS developers hide their prices. Prospects need to know pricing up front to determine if it’s going to fit their budget.
Customers not only get surprised and disappointed, but they get upset when they’re charged more than what they were expecting. If the invoice adds “extra” line items such as unexpected setup fees or other unexpected “addons,” they get upset and cancel.
Marketing extends to customer retention
For WaaS marketers, once a prospective lead becomes a subscriber, the customer acquisition process doesn’t end. The WaaS model isn’t designed to work like that.
In order to be successful with your WaaS, you need to hold on to paying subscribers for as long as you can. If you don’t monitor this metric and only focus on converting new users, you’ll lose them – especially in the first 90 days which are the most critical.
Oh and by the way, if you want to increase your chances for keeping your customers when they go to unsubscribe, you’ll also want to check out our plugin Reduce Churn PRO.