My co-founder and I are creating a SaaS product similar to Basecamp with our own funds. We don't have the resources to hire anyone to do sales right now.
When we launch, what are some unique ways for us to get the first few initial paid clients?
We're going to do the common things like contacting blogs for a review, SEO, sending a press release via a PR distribution service, etc. Are there any unique lesser known tactics you use?
Find them on twitter. Assuming you have established, credible twitter profiles, most people will respond well to relevant outreach. Set up some saved searches for things like project management tool ? -http:// and Basecamp alternative -http://. Chime in with a reply when it looks like they'd be interested.
The -http:// part removes tweets that have links in them, by the way. It helps filter out tweets about articles, which most people aren't looking for comment on.
Contact non-profits and offer them your tool for free. Apart from word of mouth referrals through them, you could easily convince them for a small blurb on their site with a link.
Once they start using your product, request a testimonial or permission to do a case study which you can use on your site to show traction.