I was recently amused to bump into what seemed to be a silly offer: instead of developing your own marketing site for your
software-as-a-service business, buy a ready-made SaaS template site, swap in
some text and perhaps a few images, and get yourself a working site in minutes.
I had never spent time thinking which professions could use
ready-made site templates. If I had been forced to provide a quick answer, I
would have probably come up with some freelance professions (there would always
be “About Me” and “My Portfolio” pages, for one thing).
But, coming to think of it, it isn’t as clear that many professions or business
categories can truly live with a template-based site. I’m wondering: would all
local cleaners tell their story in a similar way?
Well, it may be that marketing SaaS businesses is simpler than
marketing local cleaners.
It does seem that many SaaS marketing sites look the same: always a bold message at the top (“Save the World, One Subscription at a Time”), some (often rotating) hero images, a few features or benefits (“Keeps Your Trouble Away”, “Makes You Richer and Healthier”) and some call to action (“Free Sign Up”). Behind the home page, there’s oftentimes a feature tour with pretty screenshots, a pricing page with a few tiers (free, entry level and advanced), and a sign-up page (“Sign up in <5 seconds, if you can type really fast”).
Well, turns out that for somewhere between $15 and $50, there are a few options to purchase a template along those lines. A few examples:
Interestingly enough, some of the above templates are marketed as WordPress themes, so if you have access to a WordPress system, you can plug the theme in and start providing your own text and graphics without requiring (almost) any HTML knowledge. If you don’t have WordPress, you can always sign up for the Amazon Web Services’ Free Usage Tier and set up a ready-made image of a server with WordPress, free of charge for the first year. Sounds scary, but there are many guides that walk you through the process step by step, and it’s a pretty quick process. Or, you can purchase an HTML template and either tweak it yourself (if you can handle dealing with web page editors or with raw HTML) or have someone else do it inexpensively.
I would expect (and want to hope) that a serious software firm who has invested in developing a sellable web application would take the time to design their own marketing website rather than use a canned website. But, these templates seem to be useful; at a minimum: for quick prototyping.
Or, perhaps it does mean that software-as-a-service is a much simpler business than we’d like to think. Certainly simpler than running a local cleaners business.