Research has shown that SaaS buyers primarily research services online. This means effective SEO strategy and educational digital content is a crucial aspect of SaaS marketing.
By 2022, it’s projected that the number of companies reliant on SaaS for their software needs will be a staggering 80%. In fact, the SaaS market is predicted to grow to $220 billion by next year. While this is all good news for those in the industry, it presents a problem. The competition has become even more intense and the noise and surplus of marketing tactics can overwhelm consumers and leave many companies unsure how to stand out.
That’s why it’s vital to create a robust content marketing plan. Producing quality content is a significant investment in this marketing strategy. However, content marketing does take some time to pay off, which is where many B2B SaaS companies get into trouble. It takes time to develop an effective marketing strategy and see a return on investment. It can often take months even years to see momentum, so it’s important to go into this with both a plan and patience.
Here at ThoughtLab, we are extremely skilled at formulating content marketing strategies for our clients, including those in SaaS. We thought we’d give you a little peek behind the curtain so to speak and help share our insight on how to develop and implement your own SaaS marketing strategy and eventually, turn your engaging content into paying customers.
In this article we’ll cover:
- What Is SaaS Content Marketing?
- Why Should SaaS Use Content Marketing?
- SaaS Content Strategy Questions
- How To Create A SaaS Content Strategy
- SaaS Content Marketing Types
- Finding A SaaS Content Marketing Agency
What Is Content Marketing for SaaS?
Content marketing, at its most fundamental level, is the practice of telling a story that inspires an audience. That story can be told through videos, ads, blogs, social media posts, or newsletters. Think about it like this: prior to the internet, most brands relied on portfolios, billboards, or newspaper ads to communicate their work and services. Content marketing in the current landscape is merely an extension of this practice but with the potential to reach a much wider audience.
When using content the right way, this method opens up opportunities for connecting with current and potential clients on a much more personal level. However, it’s important to note that you don’t necessarily need to create content in every different medium on every platform available. It’s important to first set your target audience and understand where they spend their time. Then, ask some necessary questions in order to better understand who your customer is.
General marketing strategies often utilize several effective methods like SEO, social media, paid ads, or email marketing to attract a large audience. The trick, however, is to find a way to employ these marketing principles while simultaneously crafting a unique story and telling it in an exciting and informative way.
Why SaaS Should Use Content Marketing
Research has shown that SaaS buyers primarily research services online. This means effective SEO strategy and educational digital content is a crucial aspect of SaaS marketing. Content marketing is a key element in both promoting your company and establishing brand awareness. While it requires expert planning and slightly time-consuming execution, the benefit is that to potential customers, this kind of marketing doesn’t come off as aggressive.
Instead, when done correctly, SaaS content marketing creates a means of building trust with your audience. It gives you the space and time to showcase your credibility, your strengths, the tone of your brand, and your expertise before ever trying to sell. In this sense, it becomes a much more authentic means of connecting and communicating with your target audience. In fact, studies have shown that companies that deploy content marketing strategies can generate 8x more traffic than businesses that don’t.
How To Create A SaaS Content Strategy
There are a few key steps to creating an effective SaaS content strategy. Once you’ve answered the starting questions outlined above, you can begin honing in on a target audience and mapping out a plan on how best to convert them into customers.
1. Identify Target Audience
You can’t market to your audience until you know them. This is where creating buyer personas can be helpful. Essentially, creating a detailed buyer persona helps you understand where and who your customers are which enables you to craft a more effective marketing plan that specifically targets these people. It will also enable you to analyze their behavior. Keep in mind you might have several different personas or target markets. For best results, try to keep these to a few select detailed markets.
Next, use whatever data you have available combined with your ideal client base to answer the following questions:
- Where are they located?
- What is the size of their business?
- What is their annual revenue?
- What industry are they in?
- Which other brands/services do they use?
- Which websites do they visit?
- Which social media profiles do they follow?
- Which trade associations do they belong to?
2. Define Metrics
Before creating any content, it’s important to have measurable goals and metrics in which to measure your success and help align on marketing campaigns. Some of these will be standard KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) such as bounce rate, number of unique visitors, duration, and more.
Other metrics will likely be more relevant to your business and the industry such as site registration numbers (for blog, guides, email newsletters, free trials, etc), software requests, lead conversion rates, and customer acquisition cost.
3. Research Competition
You never want to get overly bogged down with what others are doing, nor do you want to try and replicate their campaigns. The intention is to remain unique in order to differentiate yourself from competitors. However, it’s important to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and identify any gaps in their marketing strategies. Analyze the competition, consider where there may be opportunities for you, and ensure that you’re staying on par with content quality.
4. Create Content
Time to get to it! Once you know what SEO keywords you want to target and what measurable goals you’re aiming for, you can begin producing standout content. Before you begin it’s helpful to stay streamlined by researching topics relevant to your audience, understand the customer journey, create a content calendar and publishing schedule.
Not sure what type of content to produce? We’re breaking down the most effective SaaS content marketing types below.
SaaS Content Marketing Types
SEO: When it comes to understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO), many people mistakenly think it means simply tossing a few Google-friendly keywords onto a page. Even worse, throwing out numerous keywords (also known as keyword stuffing) at the bottom of each webpage. These types of practices are more likely to penalize your website than garner traffic.
Truly effective SEO is much more nuanced. Since algorithms are always changing, SEO is an ever-evolving practice. While SEO content should be flexible, it’s important that you add search-engine-friendly copy on your site’s cornerstone pages and blog posts in order to improve your organic search rankings.
Finding the right keywords is where things can get tricky. With keyword research, we can identify which search terms people are using to find SaaS providers, how often they are using those search terms, and how difficult it will be to rank for those terms.
However, in order to see genuine reach, you need to have a defined target audience and niche. For example, rather than using a keyword like “best SaaS providers” it will be much more effective to use a keyword like “best SaaS services in [location].”
Videos: Similar to SEO, video-based content can help you achieve higher organic rankings. The benefit to videos is that they can work well through both traditional search engines like Google, but also through video search engines like YouTube.
Videos are also quickly becoming the go-to medium for content. Many social media platforms, especially Instagram, are prioritizing video content via Reels, IGTV, and Instagram stories. The benefit to this, as an example, is that now the content you create for YouTube can be repurposed for social media and your website. Videos are a great way to put out educational content which is especially beneficial for SaaS customers.
Copywriting: Copywriting is an essential element to both building and marketing your brand. Sure anyone can put a few words down on a page, but the art of copywriting combines the ability to generate traffic with the power of creating an emotional connection with your customers.
Storytelling should be at the forefront of any content marketing strategy. As opposed to mass-market brands, SaaS messaging should be educational and genuine. The first question to ask yourself is Why: why is your brand unique? Why is your brand different from competitors? Then you want to explain these why’s to consumers in a way that’s both genuine and engaging. Regardless of the story you tell, the intention should remain the same. To create emotional connections with consumers and maintain brand equity.
Good copy serves multiple purposes. It supports your SEO strategy, encourages sales, inspires calls to action, and establishes your social media presence. It also helps cement your brand identity, highlights your strengths, and tells your unique story. You can utilize this type of content through things like blogs, product and service descriptions, email newsletters, and social media posts and campaigns.
Social Media: Social media serves as an excellent venue to connect with potential and past clients. Highly visual mediums, like social media platforms, are the perfect avenue to convey your brand aesthetic and inspire potential customers by marketing your brand. This doesn’t just mean posting a photo to Instagram, anyone can do that. Instead, impactful content marketing via social media should be visually appealing, informative, and provide value.
The first thing to nail down is the purpose of your social media presence, do you want to use it as a portfolio for your SaaS company? Educate them on your services and products? Once you understand the ‘why’ behind it, you can better implement a social media strategy that will, in turn, impact the kind of content you create.
Testimonials: While it’s important to manage customer reviews on places like Yelp or Google Business, you should never let third-party platforms completely dictate your reputation. It’s important to create content, whether written or in videos, that showcases your customer satisfaction.
Having positive reviews helps establish your company while lending credibility and boosting your local reputation. A great way to do this is by creating a dedicated section of your homepage to quotes from customer reviews. Another effective method is to showcase your work via images accompanied by the customer’s review.
Thankfully, getting testimonials is arguably one of the easiest content marketing strategies. Pinpoint clients you’ve had good experiences with and send them a personalized email, letter (or give them a call!) and ask that they leave a review on third-party websites and provide a brief testimonial for your company's site.
White Papers/E-books: Though ebooks and digital guides may take some time to compile, create, and deliver, they can be an incredibly valuable way of proving your worth to potential clients. It’s best to save creating this type of content until you’re slightly more established and already have a dedicated audience, no matter the size.
The purpose of these online guides is not about selling your services but utilizing your experience, ideas, and solutions which in turn, showcases your services and skills to potential customers. You can make these as specific or broad as you want but remember specificity within your niche will typically have a better chance of performing well.
Consider your target audience and identify what they’re interested in, for example, is it a younger audience that’s looking for SaaS how-tos or is it VP/directors at large corporations looking to maximize their software?
SaaS Content Marketing Agency
Each of these SaaS content marketing strategies requires a combination of expert know-how and a little bit of wizardry. Depending on your company, not all these marketing types may be the right fit and many will need to be tailored to your specific audience, services, and location. That’s why it’s helpful to find a knowledgeable partner to take marketing your SaaS brand off your to-do list.
Hiring a professional content marketing agency is a smart way to create a plan of action that suits your goals, desires, and most importantly, your budget. Plus, their expert know-how and software will likely produce ideas you never even thought of.
An ideal content marketing partner will provide all the services you need to market your luxury brand, including:
- Content strategy
- Social media strategy and execution
- Generating content ideas
- Copywriting and editing
- Graphic design
- Video production and animation
- Professional graphic design and video editing
- Analytics that report the best ROI from your content
- Website design and management
Ready for someone to tackle all your SaaS content marketing needs? We’re happy to take it from here. Contact ThoughtLab today for a free consultation and let’s tell your story the right way, together.