Why Design Plays a Crucial Role in the Success of Your SaaS Company
Design should play a crucial role in your SaaS company. Realizing why will set you up to impress your potential customers and one-up your competitors.
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You took the plunge and set up your very own SaaS company. But if you’ve done your homework, you know a lot of software as a service companies fail. Design plays a crucial role in staying afloat, and here’s why.
Gone are the days of getting away with a just-okay website. The SaaS market is booming, so the pressure is on. With more competition comes higher expectations from your audience, so stepping up is not optional but required.
The design of your SaaS product is the only thing differentiating you from your competitors. But if you think having a beautiful design equals success, think again. Design is a delicate balance of aesthetics and usability, which must be done right.
You can have a fantastic idea for your SaaS company that ticks all the right boxes: innovative, unusual, high in demand. But to make it an outstanding product, you need great design.
A subscription-based design service like ManyPixels can be your greatest ally when you’re conquering the SaaS market. But before we get to that, let’s look at SaaS companies and the role design plays in them.
What is a SaaS company?
If you’re a bit unfamiliar with SaaS, don’t fret. We’ll cover the basics first so that everyone is up to speed. First things first, let’s establish an answer to the question: what is a SaaS company?
SaaS companies offer software as a service, which the abbreviation SaaS stands for. They create an application and make it available to customers over the internet.
The SaaS businesses maintain the servers, databases, and software, allowing the applications to be accessed over the internet. Users can then access this software from almost any device.
Although there are various business models, they often let customers pay a subscription fee to access the application. This can be a tiered pricing system based on how much data needs to be stored, the number of users that will access the application, or the level of technical support desired.
Popular SaaS companies
As you can imagine, there are many different types of SaaS companies. Let’s look at some famous SaaS products that dominate the market.
Who doesn’t love the friendly chimp that helps you set up your newsletter through striking yet minimal design? MailChimp is an excellent example of a SaaS business done right.
“The overall theme of Harvy web and app design is to convey a sense of fun, excitement and enthusiasm (think of their Corgi mascot in the first place). I tried to achieve this by avoiding mute colors on almost all of the elements, a generous amount of white space so the layout would not look too overwhelming, as well as bold geometric fonts. I also added some yellow gradient waves to the orange background, which make it look a bit more dynamic.” - Kevin, UI designer for ManyPixels
Let’s get a bit technical here. A wireframe is a blueprint useful to you, your programmers, and your designers to think and communicate about the structure of the software you’re building. In addition to wireframes, a prototype of your software can come in handy when trying to convince investors.
Most of the credit for your structure will go to UX/UI design. But again, a web designer and a motion graphic designer can prove helpful here, depending on how complex your structure is.
You have a complex product, so the structure needs to pack a punch to appeal to the masses.
There is a lot to unpack when it comes to the structure of your product. The layout, the hierarchy of certain elements, the amount of information you show, and how. Not to mention the user interface (UI) design and the user experience (UX) design.
A branding specialist usually does the design of a color palette. However, the color customization in your software often comes from the hands of your UI/UX designer and web developers.
An example of using color design to your advantage in SaaS is by allowing customers to pick out their color scheme. This shows you value their opinion. An important side-note is to stick to your branding colors. If your branding colors are blue and yellow, you shouldn’t allow customization to a red theme.
Colors can convey a certain look and feel, which is very important when trying to impress in those split seconds you have.
This aspect is often overlooked, but the colors of your SaaS product are more important than you think. You may love a particular color scheme, but not everybody does.
Depending on your landing page's look, you may also require a motion graphic designer. This professional can help you get moving pictures, making your page more engaging.
With your brand guidelines in hand, you need a designer that can help you with web design and UI/UX design. Luckily, these two often go hand-in-hand, and many designers are smart enough to be trained in both.
Creating a remarkable landing page is a combination of graphic design services. You need your branding sorted before even thinking of designing a landing page, but let’s assume you have your branding sorted.
You only have 50 milliseconds to impress the average user of your website. Therefore, it should instantly be clear what you’re all about. But there’s more to it. In addition to wowing visitors, your landing page should smoothly convert ordinary spectators into customers.
The company that owns Slack is valued at a whopping $20 billion. Yep, let that sink in for a while. Told you the SaaS market is booming!
This SaaS company has over 700 million registered users and more than 15 million paying users. If that doesn’t tell you they’re doing something right, we don’t know what will.
This marketing automation platform is designed for businesses to reach their audience through email. All you need is an email address and internet connection, and you’re set.
Dropbox is a file hosting service that allows you to securely share and store your content in the cloud.
Slack is a proprietary business communication platform. They are known as a fast, organized, and secure one-stop-shop for communicating with your colleagues. Slack allows you to share messages, files, and tools.
Why do SaaS companies fail?
Those are the appealing success stories, but the harsh reality is that most SaaS companies have a very different experience. Why do SaaS companies fail?
There are a few reasons that lead to SaaS business's futility:
- Lack of a market - If you come to the painful realization that nobody is using your product after developing it, there might just not be a market for it. Remember that SaaS is all about problem-solving. You may have a problem that didn’t need solving, or that wasn’t a problem in the first place.
- A failing business model - If only customers would just show up and start paying for our products. Unfortunately, acquiring customers takes a lot of time and money, and if done incorrectly, you may run out before you have a profitable user base.
- A higher churn rate than growth - Churn is a term used to point out your customer turnover, a.k.a. the ones that got away. You can have a million people subscribe to your service, but if they all unsubscribe within a week, it’s safe to say something went wrong and your SaaS idea failed.
- Frustrating new customers - As with any product or service, SaaS relies heavily on innovators and early adopters. You need them to perfect your product and to spread the word. But if you’re making it hard for them to use your product in the first place, you’ll have yourself a recipe for failure.
- Information overload - You have this cool new idea that you’re stoked about. For potential customers to get equally excited, they need to understand the concept. But conveying your message should be done in a precise way. Squashing them with all the ins and outs of your product might lead to an information overload, causing people to look for a simpler alternative.
Crucial design aspects for SaaS
We’ll pick apart this relationship between SaaS and design so that you are set up to impress your potential customers and one-up your competitors.
Let’s dive into the details and look at different design aspects crucial for SaaS and their corresponding graphic design services.
1. Landing page
4. Wireframes and prototypes
Both tools are vital to visualize your customer's journey and spot errors before deploying anything.
Here, too, the graphic design services, UI/UX design, and web design play the biggest role. A product designer could come in handy, especially when creating a prototype or a mockup. The product design field is closely related to UI/UX design.
How ManyPixels can help your SaaS company succeed
If you skipped ahead to this part, let us summarize. Good design is crucial for your SaaS company to succeed and is often a collaboration between numerous designers skilled in various fields.
Setting up a SaaS company is no joke and comes with many balls to juggle. With all of your time and effort spent on your creation, it would be a shame if bad design choices would throw a spanner in the works. That’s where ManyPixels comes in.
Between UI/UX design, a visual identity, advertisement, and web design - that’s a whole army of designers. Hiring a specialist for each field will rack up costs so fast that you won’t even make it to launch.
Luckily, there is a little something called subscription-based, unlimited design. Here’s how it works:
You pay a flat monthly fee and can submit as many design requests as you like in a wide range of graphic design services.
One of the companies offering this is us, ManyPixels. With four plans available, there is bound to be an option that fits your needs. And when the time comes that you need a little more, you can quickly scale up.
This works both ways: if your SaaS company is set up and ready to roll, you might need a little less design done. That’s perfectly fine as well; just scale down for the next month!
ManyPixels’ graphic design services
We’re going to be completely honest here: at the time of writing, ManyPixels does not offer UX design. So, why would we claim to be able to maximize the potential of your SaaS company? Hear us out.
From our Advanced plan and up, we do offer web design. As we mentioned before, web design is closely intertwined with UI/UX design. We have professional UI designers in our team who can help you with the user interface and your web design needs.
In addition to that, you can have all of your daily design tasks done and dusted by our designers. With all the things that come with running a SaaS company, you don’t have the time to design a social media post, blog graphics, and GIFs.
But all of these things are essential to acquire customers and keep them satisfied with your product. Remember that high churn rates, information overload, and an overcomplicated sign-up process can all be traced back to poor design.
If there’s one thing we know, it’s how to keep our clients happy. We can take all these design tasks out of your hands so that you can focus on what you do best.
Case study: Harvy
We can tell you how ManyPixels can be your best ally, but we can also just show you. SaaS company Harvy joined forces with ManyPixels, having one of our designers help them nail their web and app design.
Harvy is your companion on your journey ahead. Whether you're lacing up for a run or strapping in for a bike ride, Harvy has your music covered. Got a tough climb ahead, Harvy will amp up the tunes. It seamlessly integrates with Spotify, analyzes the route ahead, and curates your music.
SaaS is not for the faint of heart. There are many things coming at you all at once, and the pressure to keep up is on. With more and more competition, the demands of your customers grow to intimidating heights.
Bad design can make or break your SaaS company, as the choices in your design directly affect your churn rate, engagement, and the frustration levels of your customers.
With ManyPixels, you have a skilled team of designers at your fingertips. They can help you make the right design choices and take daily design tasks out of your hands. This leaves you with more time to focus on running your business.
When you’re ready to steadily grow your SaaS company into the success it should be, pick one of our affordable pricing plans!
Simone is a writer, dividing her time between native Netherlands and 'home away from home' Malawi. Whenever not stringing words together, she's either on her yoga mat or exploring any off the beaten track she can find.