BY JOSH GAROFALO
SaaS Consultant & Copywriter for clients such as HubSpot, Unbounce, Wave, Hotjar, Deputy, and dozens of startups
Your SaaS category is crowded.
You reach the same prospects with the same message and a similar product.
Your product is similar to your competitors' because consistently launching features that separate you from the pack is hard. Instead, you "borrow" from one another until you reach perceived parity.
You used to be able to rise above parity by using the voice of your customer to inform your messaging. But the world is catching on to this trick, nullifying its advantage. Instead, you're just one more voice in the echo chamber chamber chamber.
A good product supported by a good product story gets you shortlisted — not a sale.
How does your prospect make a choice when faced with similar products and product stories?
Your chance of winning the customer once on the shortlist is roughly 1 in however many competitors are on this shortlist with you. And you're not sure why you win when you do.
Sometimes, your prospect doesn't make a decision at all. They opt to stick with their current solution rather than split hairs. The odds of perceived parity resulting in no decision increases as categories mature, or if your solution scratches an itch vs. alleviates excruciating pain.
Sameness drags out the decision-making process and robs the buyer of that post-purchase feel-good feeling. They want you to stand up and stand out so they can toss the other options into the bucket of sameness and move forward.
This is where the Category Story comes in...
A Category Story is an attempt to craft a compelling narrative not just for your product, but for your category as a whole.
It's summarizing the history of your category and airing out your category's "dirty laundry."
It's casting your direct and indirect competitors while reserving the starring role and spotlight for yourself.
It's explaining why you are the perfect fit for your ideal customer and why the alternatives aren't right for them.
It's what top-of-mind SaaS brands such as Salesforce, Drift, and Coda have done. And it's what dozens of smaller startups chipping away at the incumbent's pie do.
As Rory Sutherland, author of Alchemy, wrote:
A Category Story gives your ideal prospect permission to scrap their shortlist, pause their search, and choose you.
Sign up to get the first issue of what will be a free monthly newsletter to start. This newsletter will cover topics such as:
- The how-tos of crafting a Category Story
- How to infuse your messaging, sales, and product with your Category Story
- Breakdowns of well-executed Category Stories in the wild
You will also get notified of future launches which may include free group calls, interviews, workshops, videos, the new website, and other content.
I respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.