Software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies live in a universe of mathematical code, complex processes, and highly technical jargon.
Potential customers need someone to unpack all that jargon and explain it to them in plain English – or whatever language they speak.
That need makes SaaS companies a perfect fit for content marketing. Can they still win with it, even in a saturated space? A better question would be, “Can they win without content marketing?” The answer, as we’ll explain in more detail, is “No.”
- SaaS brands need to communicate complexity with simplicity.
- Since the SaaS business model requires a long-term customer relationship, content that forms and nurtures that relationship is essential.
- Content marketing builds brand awareness in a crowded field and drives ROI.
- With a comprehensive content marketing strategy, SaaS brands can showcase their products’ unique value.
SaaS Brands Need a Long-Term Marketing Strategy
One of the most compelling advantages SaaS customers enjoy is convenience. They can set their subscription to renew automatically or at the touch of a button. There’s no need to go online or out to a store to buy a new box of software. It’s a long-term customer relationship.
These brands, therefore, need a marketing strategy that nurtures that relationship. Content that informs potential customers about what the service can do for them can help. Blog posts, videos, and other types of content that enable existing customers to get the most out of their SaaS investment, too, are valuable ways to ensure customer loyalty and referrals.
Content Marketing Builds Brand Awareness
Unless your SaaS company is an industry giant, you need to inform your target customers that you have a service that can help them. Content marketing can do just that. In fact, Neil Patel has steered his SEO software service into a business powerhouse simply by providing customers and prospects actionable information on his blog and newsletter.
For small-to-medium-sized SaaS companies, content marketing is easy on the budget and can drive more sales than traditional marketing strategies. According to DemandMetric, it costs 62 percent less and produces three times more leads than advertising and other marketing strategies.
Informative content can help prospects see the value your service can bring to their business or their lives. SaaS services can differentiate themselves from their competitors with content that points out the advantages of choosing them to do business with.
SaaS Companies That Use Content Marketing See a Dramatic Rise in ROI
As Keap’s Pratik Dholakiya points out, statistics show that SaaS companies that leverage content marketing enjoy returns of as much as 657 percent on their investment. Now, that’s what I’d call winning. Whether yours is a startup, a legacy brand, or somewhere in between, those numbers are hard to refute.
Many of the SaaS brands who were mere startups only a few years ago have risen to global prominence, thanks to strategic content marketing. HubSpot, for one, has experienced incredible growth from its content marketing, as has SEO software provider Moz.
Similarly, technology brands whose roots lie in the previous century can use content marketing to keep a step ahead of the ever-growing number of upstarts. For instance, legacy SaaS giant IBM maintains its relevance even today through a massive library of thought leadership content, much of it created by regular employees, not only its marketing department.
Strategy Is the Key to SaaS Content Marketing Success
Content marketing for SaaS companies, though, needs a solid strategy to drive those numbers into that 657 percent range and upward. Let’s take a look at marketing strategies that have proven to yield results for SaaS brands.
Leverage employee expertise in SaaS content for optimum results
Brands, like IBM, that showcase their employees’ expertise through content marketing build trust among their prospects. Statistics show that employee-generated leads are seven times more likely to convert than traditional marketing messages.
Furthermore, content that non-marketing employees create yields eight times more engagement than ones that come from sales and marketing teams. When you bring subject matter experts in on the content marketing process, your brand’s authenticity shines through.
Make it all about the customer
Today’s customers want to deal with a company that they can trust – a business that is an authority in its field. Customer-centric content marketing is the best way to earn your prospects’ trust.
Study customer data
Content marketing, done right, starts with a deep dive into your prospects’ and customers’ data. Knowing their needs, their desires, and their pain points can give your content teams enough insight to create content that helps them rise to meet their challenges.
Segment your email audiences
Segmenting your audiences is critical, especially when it comes to email newsletters. Microsoft, for instance, has a broad spectrum of target audiences it needs to reach with information about its flagship product, Microsoft 365. From home users to small businesses to enterprises in various fields, they span a wide range.
Microsoft 365’s blog posts reflect that diversity, with some of them directed at meeting the needs of specific customer segments, while other posts provide material of general interest. Using an industry-specific menu of static content, the site’s analytics can differentiate users in the healthcare industry from those in retail, for example. That way, when a user becomes a subscriber, the company can personalize the content it sends to the user’s unique needs.
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If you don’t use your users’ online activity to segment audiences, you can also use social media analytics, surveys, or an extra field on your sign-up form to indicate their specific interest.
Tackle your customers’ most pressing challenges
What differentiates effective SaaS content from the mediocre starts here. Defining the problems your customers face is the first step toward solving them. Then, create content in which you outline easy-to-implement steps that they can put into action immediately to solve those problems.
Stand out from the crowd with your USP
You don’t need a boring recitation of all your software’s features in a blog post. Prospects want to see what makes it better than its competitors in solving their problems. Showcase your unique selling proposition with content that shows instead of tells.
Use case studies, customer success stories, and how-to posts to demonstrate why and how its features make it a better fit for your target audience’s needs. Create graphs or infographics that tell the story in numbers, especially if your business is primarily B2B.
Position yourself as a thought leader in your space
As someone in a leadership role in a tech company, you know all too well that yesterday’s “shiny new toy” can quickly become obsolete overnight. Use content marketing to place yourself and your expertise on the leading edge of your industry.
Thought-provoking questions and comments on social media can start some buzz around your brand. Fleshing out those thoughts in blog posts, white papers, and ebooks can start turning heads your brand’s way.
Use current events that impact your target customers’ industries to extend your reach even further. Unless the event has already been covered to death, sharing your take on an event can demonstrate your brand’s leadership and foresight.
Offer a free trial as a call to action in bottom-of-the-funnel content
If your service lives up to the standards that your content promised, serious prospects will likely convert into paying customers after a free trial. Unless they use your software to handle a one-off problem, chances are that they’ll discover how well your software works to make their day-to-day work easier. If the cost to get your product into your prospects’ hands for a few days plus customer acquisition costs is less than the customer’s lifetime value, then a free trial is well worth your trouble.
Provide trial users with specialized content that helps them get the most value out of their trial subscription. When they see the success that your software can provide to them in only a few days, they’ll be likely to pull the trigger and subscribe as a paid customer.
After the sale, keep customers loyal with gated content that only customers can access. Focus that content on teaching your customers better ways to use your product.
Use account-based marketing content to land your big accounts
Some prospects offer the potential for a huge influx of revenue. Usually, these companies are large enterprises with a massive user base (if you price per user).
Or, these firms might be so well-known that having them as a customer will position you as a leader in your field. When other companies see that this company has signed on, they’ll be more likely to jump on the bandwagon, too.
Account-based marketing (ABM) content is labor-intensive, but the benefits of acquiring such a customer are well worth the effort. Start by looking at the challenges each of the target company’s main decision-makers face and create content that addresses those concerns.
Collaborating with your sales and customer service teams can help you identify common objections and feedback that your prospect and similar companies face. Subject matter experts, such as your development and design teams, can provide information about the technical details that make your product the one solution that will answer your prospect’s objections and solve their problems.
As time goes on, you can keep a repository of effective account-based marketing content that you can tweak and repurpose for future prospects. Doing so will allow you to extend a modified ABM strategy to several major prospects at the same time.
Content marketing stands heads above other marketing strategies for SaaS companies. Its adaptability to the unique needs of SaaS brands will make it a major player in the space for years to come.
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