🎨 Canva's Growth Playbook

A crash course on "job-to-be-done" marketing framework.

In partnership with

SaaS Strategists,

I really enjoy breaking down the growth strategies of famous SaaS products.

So far I covered Notion and Loom.

Others that I have in plan?

Airtable, Lemlist, Klarna (just so far in the pipeline - more to come).

Today - we’re taking a look into Canva’s growth playbook.

Let’s dive in 👇️ 

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Canva’s Growth Playbook

Reading time: 4 minutes

Chances are that if you’re running a business, you’ve used Canva at least once in your life.

It replaced Photoshop, Figma, and Sketch in record time.

Their biggest strength is being a straightforward tool for non-design-savvy users with user-centered design at its core.

With a bunch of templates and out-of-the-box solutions, it’s every content creator’s best friend.

Here are 4 strategies Canva used in order to take the large slice of cake of the design market and the strategies they used in order to grow to where they are today:

1) A Job-to-be-Done Framework

If you were to search for an “online business card designer” or “design ads for Instagram” chances are Canva will pop up in the first 3 results.

(feel free to try it out)

In marketing, these are called Transactional Queries.

A transactional query is a search term people search for when they want to complete a certain transaction or "get the job done”.

For example:

“Online business card designer”

“Design LinkedIn banner”

“Online wedding invitations designer”

Business card maker - specific landing page

Wedding invitation templates - specific landing page

When you think about it - people don’t search for tools, they search for solutions.

A Job-to-be-Done framework is a powerful marketing tool Canva uses in order to solve a specific problem or provide a direct solution.

They didn’t optimize their SEO strategy to fit the search term “online design tool”, rather they’ve spread out their efforts into a very specific set of problems people face, and provided a solution for it.

And when I say solution, I mean a completely separate landing page.

Which leads us to the next strategy:

2) Specialized Segmentation

Canva didn’t stop on broad search terms such as “business card maker”.

They went a step further.

And this was a huge factor that supported their growth.

They deeply rooted themselves in Google’s SEO algorithm by crafting a TON of specific landing pages.

And when I say specific I MEAN IT.

They went as specific as:

“lost dog poster online”

“beach party invitation”

etc.

And they have specific landing pages for these examples as well!

Canva lost dog poster template.

For example the specific landing page for this specific scenario is: https://www.canva.com/posters/templates/lost-dog/

Templates.

That’s where it’s at for Canva.

When you think about pretty much anything you want to design, Canva has you covered.

Canva went all in into their trust-building process by helping you remove the burden of thinking about the dimensions of specific posts.

You don’t have to search for Instagram Reel or LinkedIn banner dimensions.

You simply choose that you want to create an Instagram Reel and Canva covers you within every aspect, including the sizing as well.

Yours is just to create & export.

Create Instagram reels in Canva.

3) Online Courses & Creator Program

It’s no secret that customer education is highly represented in all major SaaS companies.

Everybody is fighting for customer retention and what better way to achieve it than to create a whole educational marketplace for your users.

Canva is no exception with its Education & Creator programs in place, which is pretty much a niched-down Udemy platform.

Canva’s education platform

Their education marketplace paired with the creator program is a similar strategy Notion used with their Ambassador program, or how Canva calls it - Canvassadors.

It’s where your users become your main source of marketing.

Creators want to sell their materials on the Canva marketplace, thus inviting more users to join the platform and new users can also become Creators after some time.

Some would say it’s a perfect viral loop.

Canva’s Ambassador program.

4) Strategic Partnerships & Integrations

Canva has spread its roots into multiple different platforms by offering to integrate with complementary software products such as HubSpot, Buzzsprout, and UPShow.

These partnerships further elevated Canva as a strong leader in content marketing & design space.

Canva’s partnership with HubSpot.

Some Interesting Stats

Canva has users based in more than 190 countries.

Canva’s user base is slightly more female-based.

Their community counts well over 150 million users.

There Were 227 Million Presentations Created on Canva in 2021.

As of 2024, Canva is roughly valued at $26 billion.

With a couple of big investments behind them, led by big VC firms, Canva stands as one of the go-to content marketing and design platforms today.

This proves that user-centric design plays a crucial role in today’s SaaS platforms.

Enjoyed reading about Canva’s growth trajectory?

Let me know what SaaS I should break down next.

Until next time,

Ognjen Gatalo

Chief SaaS Strategist ☁️ 

P.S. I got very active on Instagram. If you enjoy bite-sized SaaS content, feel free to give me a follow - @ognjengatalo.

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