There are several means of getting to know more about the people who make up your ideal audience in the early phases of your SaaS product’s life. The more you can learn the better, and surefire way to get going with customer development is with a waitlist. While you may have read mixed reviews about waitlists, they serve a purpose and provide you with an opportunity before you’ve even got a product to sell. 

How does a waitlist work?

You may be thinking how and why would my ideal audience sign up to a waitlist, especially when there isn’t a product yet built? Understanding how a waitlist works will give you clarity here. 

Typically, startups will create some hype around the SaaS product they have on the horizon. This is usually carried out through advertising (social media/PPC/B2C outreach) and pushing the ideal audience to a landing page. 

Sign ups from landing pages are an ideal means of testing out the viability of an idea. Why? As you’ll be creating a list of people who have a problem troubling them enough to click on an ad, read through the information on a landing page and join a waitlist – so they can be in the know when the solution to their problem becomes available.

Why would you build a waitlist before having the product?

Putting it simply, a waitlist gives you more confidence to know there is an audience for your product. Building the product first and expecting users to come on their own accord is not a viable option.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, the internet is saturated with business advertising. Expecting a cold sign up from an already live product can actually be much more difficult and costly, through PPC and social ads, than getting an initial buy-in from waitlist sign ups. 

What can you do with a waitlist?

Great, so you’ve managed to get some initial buy-in but what’s the exciting part here? You’ll have the data to communicate with who you believe to be your ideal audience to find out more about them. How? Email marketing, which can help you to:

  • Learn more about their pain points – through high-value content
  • Keep the audience warm – taking them through the development of your product
  • Find out whether the audience is actually the right audience for your product

Once you’ve got people into a waitlist you’ll have your own marketing channel, independently controlled by you. 


Email marketing to your waitlist provides you with the opportunity to communicate via one-on-one means and set up automation. You’ve got the option to be personable and get your ideal audience onside. Automation is a fantastic option to provide the sign ups with a sequence of emails which are prewritten and programmed to take them on a journey. 

Final thoughts

The users who join your waitlist are probably the most valuable customers your Saas product can have. Why? As if you nurture them well they will more than likely become your first buyers of your product when you tell them that it has launched.