It’s completely possible that your Website as a Service (WaaS) idea is the same as someone else’s WaaS idea.
There are some niches that have more WaaS competition than others, all fighting to win the same customer.
But while you’ve got your eye on your competition, let’s not forget about your real enemy you should be most concerned about: inertia.
In a lot of cases, your toughest competitor is probably inertia.
“Good enough” should never be good enough
Your ideal customer has probably had a mediocre website for awhile. They’ve probably managed to stumble along with what they have. Chances are they probably have basic functions but are missing out on what they really need for their niche. They probably even have a less than impressive design and layout because they built it themselves and didn’t know what they were doing.
I don’t need to tell you that self-made websites is almost always less than optimal. They’re hard to look at, not easy to understand what the customer is really selling, and just outright inefficient.
And don’t be surprised if your prospect already knows that too. Usually they’re aware that the site they have is just barely good enough (even if they pretend not to be.)
Unfortunately, a lot of companies have a high tolerance for “good enough”.
The only issues that get attention are urgent ones
Your prospective customers are busy working on their other priorities. They are likely to focus on the things that require their urgent attention. Even though we find it hard to believe, it’s not uncommon for company websites to be near the bottom of their list. It’s unlikely they plan to do anything about anytime soon. So what ends up happening is they put off their decisions, waste more time evaluating other options before they pull the trigger on something new.
The thing is, they’re probably not even buying your competitor’s solution either. They’re most likely not buying anything at all.
Time is also your enemy
These kinds of indecisions and delays are a real problem for WaaS businesses (and website developers in general.)
Often times WaaS companies have incurred a lot of up-front marketing costs just to get in front of their prospective customers. Between Facebook ads, events, Google Adwords, SEO, and other marketing tactics used to attract customers, they usually cost money. In order to recoup our marketing investment, we need to convert our prospects into paying subscribers. This is the way to make the WaaS model work.
If our prospective customers don’t feel a sense of urgency and don’t have an immediate need to buy, it pushes out our sales cycle that much longer. Not generating revenue is a problem.
The issue increases, the longer the sales cycle runs.
You’ll need to have deeper pockets if you’re going to endure 6 month sales cycles versus 6 day cycles.
Deferred subscriptions is lost revenue
It gets even worse actually. With subscription models, any deferred revenue is actually lost revenue.
In your standard business model, if you sell a site but the deal gets postponed for 3 months, you’ll still make the full amount, it’ll just get pushed out a quarter later.
With a WaaS subscription model, if your sales gets pushed out for 3 months, that’s 3 full months of lost revenue. Once those 3 months have passed, they’ve passed. You can’t make up for that lost time.
What are you supposed to do then?
The first thing you need to do is convince your prospect that they do in fact have an issue, and an urgent one.
You need to do more than just focus on your features and benefits. You need to demonstrate that they’re hurting their business badly every month, week, and day that they ignore it.
Until you can get your prospects to see that they have a problem, an urgent one, they really won’t care about your solution.