Do you want a piece of the $623 billion SaaS market forecast this year?
Of course, you do — even a percentage of that market share is a tasty bite.
But you probably learned the hard way that marketing a software service differs from marketing a software product.
The competition in the SaaS market is bitter, like rhubarb pie without sugar. You’ll have to fight for a slice, which won’t be easy.
SaaS businesses are unique. They have some distinct marketing challenges that product-driven companies don’t face. (Yes, you’re special.)
Your business needs SaaS marketing strategies that can scale to reach customers at every stage of their buying journey. B2B content is still the best and most cost-effective way to do this.
What do we want? CONTENT
When do we want it? NOW
- 57% of B2B marketers say content gives them solid leads
- 72% say content promotes audience learning
- 63% say content builds customer loyalty
That’s a lot of bang for the buck on a 500- or 1000-word blog.
How can you make sure your content yields this kind of return?
The answer is to build a better SaaS content marketing strategy mousetrap this year.
Build a Better SaaS Content Marketing Strategy for 2023 — and Beyond
- What is it about content for SaaS companies?
- Why do most SaaS content marketing strategies get it wrong (and how to get it right)?
- What is the right way to link the B2B SaaS customer journey to content?
- How to use SEO to focus on the bottom of the sales funnel?
What is it About Content for SaaS Companies?
Content matters. And we’re not talking about the yawn-filled content written by an AI, either. Better B2B SaaS content must be smarter than the average bear. We don’t mean the text or video, either. Instead, we’re talking about linking the content to a measurable, achievable goal as part of a defined SaaS content marketing strategy. It’s the strategy that makes the content intelligent and useful for your SaaS company.
But not just any SaaS content marketing strategy will get you a piece of the pie this year. You’ll need the kind of strategy that organically grows your business. Organic business growth saves your budget while still harvesting customers. If you’re farming for leads, it’s the most sustainable way to increase your yield.
SaaS companies know this. Content is often their go-to strategy to keep their service top of mind. So, what’s the problem?
Every other SaaS company is trying to do the same thing.
So, you need a better SaaS content marketing strategy than everyone else.
Believe it or not, creating a good SaaS content marketing strategy for your business isn’t rocket science. A good SaaS content marketing strategy is common sense coupled with some analytics.
Here’s what we know.
Why Do Most SaaS Content Marketing Strategies Get It Wrong (and How to Get it Right)?
The best SaaS content marketing strategies must focus on solving three big problems faced by your industry:
- Differentiating yourself from competitors.
- Tailoring your content to fit everyone at every stage in the journey.
- Using content to actually convert customers.
With these three challenges in mind, your company must somehow:
- Promote your service as the trusted solver of your customer’s unique problems.
You don’t have to be a thought leader, although that helps with organic growth.
Ultimately, it’s simple: Your target audience has a problem. Your software can solve it.
Your content must reflect the customer’s perspectives on why the hell they should consider you. A dozen other SaaS products are encroaching on the niche you’re trying to carve out.
Why, you? Why, now?
- Promote your service as more than the software.
We’re serious. The chances are astonishingly high that your software has some similar features as your competitors. (Please. Don’t act surprised.) That’s why your SaaS content marketing strategy should focus on how your service does more than that other guy (or gal).
Say you have a 24/7/365 help desk. That’s the service part of your SaaS product. Given how hard it is to get good service today, why aren’t you promoting the A+ service rating your customers give your help desk? (Hello, customer testimonial.)
Do you have 100% up time?
Does your SaaS keep customer data safer?
Does your software deploy faster because it’s more user-friendly?
Maybe you offer ongoing training as part of your initial subscription?
Focusing your content on software features alone runs the risk that you’ll be out-featured in your competitor’s next iteration. What is it about your SaaS business that really sets you apart?
Your goal is to be a trusted advisor to your customers. Trusted advisors solve problems.
That’s what you should feature in your SaaS content marketing strategy. Trust us.
- Create content that sells without selling.
Most SaaS companies offer free ebooks to capture email leads. This isn’t enough to achieve your SaaS content marketing strategy (What SaaS content marketing strategy?) let alone convert prospects into subscribers. Content looks easy from the outside. (That’s why everyone thinks they can be a writer.) But it’s not. Just look at these numbers:
- The average for B2B companies is 4.31%.
- (Yes, we know the conversion rate for free trials and demos is usually much higher.)
When we’re talking about content and organic growth, we lie to ourselves:
“A 3% conversion rate is great!”
“Sure, 90% of the people that hit the landing page left without converting. That’s just because they’re in a different phase of the sales cycle.”
“We have a 4% conversion rate, but that’s okay, because the 96% that didn’t convert weren’t going to be customers, anyway.”
“They’ll be back. We’re ‘educating’ them.”
Stop lying to yourself. Good content, defined as targeted, converting, searchable, and above all, organic, is very difficult to come by.
The trick to good content includes:
- Linking every part of your SaaS content marketing strategy to a specific conversion goal.
- Measuring every part of your SaaS content marketing strategy.
- Going beyond focusing on top of funnel topics that seek conversion to the content, not the sale itself. (Like thinking you’ve won because the customer downloaded an ebook. Dude, that’s just the beginning.)
- Not assuming that you must educate all potential customers at every stage of the buying journey.
- Having enough patience to allow organic growth to happen.
What is The Right Way to Link the B2B SaaS Customer Journey to Content?
Content can be wiggly. It can have unintended effects on your prospects. Sometimes we focus too much on the forest (our goal is to publish one blog a week) without seeing the trees (why are we publishing that and what is it doing for us?).
A good SaaS content marketing strategy must avoid content conversions over product conversions. For example, is a landing page or blog aiming to capture an email address with a free ebook better than a freemium subscription or a demo request?
The answer is: Which type of conversion gets you closer to the sale?
The typical SaaS content marketing “strategy” assumes that a company must guide every prospect through all the stages of the customer journey:
- Awareness (top of funnel)
- Consideration (middle)
- Conversion (bottom)
What’s wrong with this?
- Unless you’re creating a brand-new SaaS category, you’re probably dealing with prospects who are already in the consideration and conversion part of your funnel.
Explain to us, please, why you wouldn’t focus primarily on converting as your number one strategy and focus?
- It assumes that people who sign up for your content will eventually sign up for your software. The fact that nearly 48% of website visitors leave a landing page without engaging any deeper with your marketing collateral should tell you how this strategy is just wrong.
When developing a SaaS content marketing strategy, you should focus strictly on content that engages potential customers to the conversion. In SaaS, that could be:
- A conversion from a website visitor to a trial customer.
- A conversion from a trial into a lead with real potential.
- A conversion from a demo to a lead (or customer).
- A conversion from a trial to a paying customer.
- A conversion from a freemium offering to a paying customer.
Forget that “thought leader” crap. (Okay, it isn’t totally crap, but ignore it right now.) Instead, your SaaS content marketing strategy will maximize ROI in the form of a paying customer.
That’s the one goal — the one ring to bind them all — and to ensure any money you spend on content will pay you back.
So, how can you make this happen?
Using SEO to Focus on the Bottom of the Prospect Funnel
The cardinal sin of SaaS content marketing strategy is to focus on generalized copy that hits the awareness stage of your conversion/sales funnel. It’s a waste of time and money.– Andy Beohar, Managing Partner at SevenAtoms
We want you to focus on the bottom of the funnel. Start with your keywords. Here’s how this usually works. And how it should be done.
How do most marketing firms do SEO? ❌
- Research the keywords
- Prioritize by volumes
- Create a content plan
How should you do SEO? ✅
- Understand customer pain points
- Create content that solves these problems
- Find keywords that fit
Question: Why focus on this approach for your SaaS content marketing strategy?
Answer: Higher conversions, more money, more sales.
But how do you know what your customer’s pain points are?
How do you know what keywords to use?
Tips for Figuring Out Where It Hurts (i.e., your customer pain points)
Usually, customer pain points fall into four primary categories:
- Financial: The customer wants to save money with a SaaS offering.
- Process: The customer has an everyday problem they think SaaS may solve.
- Productivity: The customer has technical debt, outdated software, or wants to consolidate from several products down to one (because they’re losing money, their staff is frustrated, or productivity is declining).
- Support: The customer service sucks at their old SaaS vendor. Or maybe the product is always down. Basically, they want a better customer experience.
How do you know which of these pain categories attracted your customers to your product? Why don’t ya ask them, silly?
- Conduct online surveys of current and past customers.
- Pay attention to what your customers are saying on social media.
- Talk to your sales and customer service team.
- Watch your competitor’s content.
All these steps will inform a more successful SaaS content marketing strategy. But don’t stop there. You should develop personas from those pain points.
A persona is a hypothetical average set of customers with an assumed demographic, interests, and challenges at the buying stage for your product. The idea is to wrap your head around who you’re selling to. A persona puts a personality behind the faceless consumers you’re trying to reach. (Keep in mind: If you are targeting business decision-makers you will likely include more than one person in a committee making the decision.)
But there’s another step to creating your SaaS content marketing strategy: SEO.
How will you turn what you’ve learned into SEO-driven content that simultaneously tackles the pain and ranks higher on Google? This isn’t as hard as it might sound at first.
Look at the customer pain points and reverse-engineer what they must experience to get them to this point. Make a list of possible scenarios. Then, imagine the keywords they would use if they were searching online for SaaS products that alleviate the pain and suffering they’re going through. Think like this:
- Best (industry) software (“Best logistics software”)
- Top (area) software (“Top customer service software” “Top sales software”)
- Best Free (software) (“Best free video conferencing software”
- (Competition) alternatives (If they’re trying to leave your competitors, e.g., “Salesforce alternatives” “Microsoft alternatives”)
The best way to figure this out is to roleplay the client’s Google search. You can play with keyword variations, but what shows up on the search? You will see some suggestions (“People also ask”) for other commonly searched keywords in your Google query. This will also help inform your search.
Some keyword variations include:
- By software (“tools,” “apps,” “mobile-friendly”)
- By business size (“enterprise,” “SMB”)
- By current year (“2023” “this year”)
- Versus (“vs”)
Pay particular attention to when your competitors pop up. You want to rank above them with a better SaaS content marketing strategy.
Say you have a potential customer looking to solve a specific problem. You would target key phrases such as “improve operations workflows,” “decrease time to hire,” or “increase sales.”
The type of content you could create includes:
- How to optimize operations workflows with logistics software?
- How to decrease time to hire with an ATS?
- How to increase sales with a CRM?
Queries that begin with “how to” often indicate a point of friction or outright pain. The customer doesn’t know how to solve a problem. Look at how helpful you are! You just happen to have the product that can solve the problem.
Also, note that we’re asking a question that the content ends up answering. Google has this thing about Q&As — if you answer the question well, of course. Google Q&A is a common feature in the google Business Profile listing feature. If you have an FAQ on your website, you’ll rank higher. Remember the “People also ask” section of a Google query page? That draws from questions on your web page as well as customer queries. You may even make it onto a featured snippet that shows up on a Google search.
So, using questions (and answers) in your SaaS content marketing strategy is just another rung in the content ladder you’re building for consumers to climb.
SaaS Content Marketing Strategy: SaaS Content Writing
- B2B vs B2C content: What’s the difference?
- What kind of content resonates with your audience?
- Linking content to conversion: It’s complicated
- Pro tip: Your content + your sales team for a better SaaS content strategy
B2B VS B2C Content: What’s the Difference?
You’ve got keywords and pain points and even customer personas and turned them into some ideas for your SaaS content marketing strategy. But keep in mind business to business (B2B) content is different from business to consumer (B2C).
- B2B content usually has more decision-makers involved in the process.
- B2C content usually relies on a more emotional approach, while B2B is more data-driven and professional.
There are also differences related to the SaaS product itself. Digital platform features are more difficult to explain (which is why you should focus on what the product can do for the customer with those features).
|B2B SaaS Content||B2C SaaS Content|
|Thought leadership||Satisfying and fulfills a need|
|Solves customer problem||Goes viral with compelling content|
|Web, LinkedIn, industry news||Distributes across all social channels|
|Blogs, case studies, white papers||Blogs, videos, social posts|
B2B varies from B2C content in four essential areas:
In B2B content marketing, you’re building trust and convincing a group of decision-makers that your product is a smarter business decision to either improve their bottom line or satisfy their customers.
In B2C content marketing, you’re trying to reach one decision-maker to buy your product or service. You’re still solving a need, but it’s 1:1.
B2B content focuses on specific stages of the buyer journey at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel with more business-specific language and intent.
B2C content tries to sell the individual, and the tone is generally less stodgy and more fun.
- Delivery channels
Promoting B2B content sticks to the more professional marketing channels such as a webinar or a white paper. Social posts end up in more professional channels like LinkedIn.
B2C content can be more lighthearted and end up on all the social channels. B2B must be much more selective in reaching their audience.
White papers, long-form blogs, case studies, webinars, data-driven blogs, and editorials in industry publications; all good.
Short, punchy, tongue-in-cheek, social memes; all good.
Understanding these differences helps you craft better content. Speaking of content — what type might resonate with your B2B SaaS audience?
What Kind of Content Resonates with Your Audience?
While much of the B2B content you see today is thought leadership, your efforts to position yourself as an industry voice should be secondary to solving the client’s pain point.
Enterprise consulting organizations (you know the ones) love to advise the thought leadership category. These lofty tomes are peppered with data and can help let everyone know that you are the smarty pants expert. The trick with B2C content is that the target audience wants advice and your empathy and support. The trick with B2B content is to still tie that content to something that solves a business problem they’re experiencing.
The best B2B SaaS content marketing strategy goes back to the customer persona and their pain points. What is your goal? To address these critical details in your approach to content development. Focus on:
- What problem is your customer trying to solve?
- What features of your product will solve these problems?
- What objections will they raise (Hint: To your sales team)?
- What is their buying process?
Let’s talk about buying process for a moment. Does your target market have a long buying process? This is probably the only time you should consider thought leadership pieces for top-of-funnel customers. After all, you have six months to a year to work on pushing them into the sale, right?
However, that doesn’t mean you should skip the best practices we’ve shared. Focus your content primarily on customers lower in your sales funnel.
Here’s another best practice: Dump the advice that you should refrain from asking for the sale in your content.
All content should have a call to action (CTA) designed to move the reader through the sales process. There. We said it. When you’re developing a SaaS content marketing strategy, understand that your prospects know you’re trying to sell them something. They know you want their business even if you don’t ask right up front. Promise.
So, what’s the harm in adding a CTA at the end of your blog, case study, or white paper?
There is no harm, but there are a lot of benefits to adding a CTA in your content:
- CTAs give a clear buyer path to the decision-maker (schedule a consultation, take a demo).
- CTAs add meaning to the content.
- CTAs increase sales and conversion rates.
- CTAs help you track the buyer journey and the success of your content.
It’s that last bullet that gives so many marketing teams pause. When it comes to B2B SaaS, it’s hard to track the content’s impact on your SaaS content marketing strategy.
Linking Content to Conversion: It’s Complicated
Many marketers will tell you that the success of your content is subjective. That may be true if you’re focusing on the top of the funnel.
Writing content is generally a creative endeavor. But there better be a SaaS content marketing strategy behind all those words you’re pumping out. (Seriously, otherwise your content writers should just go write a novel.)
What may surprise you is that content success is measurable. There is a strategy behind the content and a way to measure if it achieves your goals.
There are about a dozen different trackable marketing metrics that you can tie to your marketing content.
Here are a few of those metrics, plus how you tie them to content:
1) Website or landing page traffic
Traffic is what drives the conversion, right? But it’s not just traffic — it’s how much that traffic increases over time. Google Analytics categorizes content traffic into unique visitors (users) and how long those visitors stick around (sessions). If you’re following your SaaS content marketing strategy, you should see a gradual increase in traffic each month. Start by keeping a record of what happens each month on your website blog. Isolate the month(s) with better performance. Ask yourself: What did you do differently from prior months? How can you tweak the content to recreate your success?
2) Sources of the traffic
So. Do you know where your traffic originates? Your content likely sees visitors from three places:
- Direct visitors (type in your URL)
- Search visitors (find you through a search engine)
- Referral visitors (click through your site from another online location)
Generating high quality leads is sometimes a challenge for B2B SaaS companies. Looking at this data helps you understand what kind of traffic delivers the best leads that stand a higher chance of converting. One red flag is if you don’t diversify where the channels that send you traffic. You know the expression, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” You should be getting hits from all three places via Google Analytics.
3) SERP (Search engine results page)
Your SERP is where you appear after an end-user types in a search query. You want to be high up on the first page. Why? Because 90% of consumers select a vendor from the first page of their search. SERP is ever-changing, of course, so it’s tough to measure. But measure it, you should. When calculating your SERP, try using a few of the SEO search queries you’re using as part of your SaaS content marketing strategy. As you build backlinks into your content, you will grow in authority and, hopefully, rank higher on the page. That leads us to the next metric on internal linking.
4) Pages per unique visit
Linking to other pages within your site is like setting the hook on a trout. You’ve got ‘em, now you must reel ‘em in! (Apologies to our vegan readership.)
The goal with internal links is to keep the reader on your site as they click from article to case study, video back to a blog. More clicks mean a longer time on your site. It indicates your content is working. You’re ideally walking the prospect through a process that answers any questions they have about the relevance of your product for solving their pain point.
5) New vs. repeat visitors
The SaaS B2B sales journey likely includes several visits to your site. Give thought to how you will:
a. Attract more first-time visitors (What searches will bring them to your content?)
b. Create clear compelling content that solves their problem.
c. Get those new visitors to return.
d. Give return visitors something worth their trip.
No pressure, but you really have one chance to get this right. I mean, how likely are you to go back to a restaurant where you had a bad meal and bad service?
The question we’re pondering here is, “Are the content pieces I’m putting out there relevant and good enough to engage the end-user?” But there’s no guesswork here. You can measure this for a landing page or a website with Google’s Retention Reports.
6) Cost Per Customer Conversion
High conversions are great. But a high cost associated with creating those conversions is not. If each conversion costs you $150 in paid advertising, and each new customer orders a $100 product, the math just doesn’t work out in your favor.
While the idea of CPC generally applies to PPC advertising, you can also use the metric for content. The conversion needs to be clear, however. (This is another reason to add a CTA in your content.) The conversion rate could be:
a. Signing up for a demo.
b. Buying the SaaS.
c. Signing up for a newsletter.
Calculating the conversion rate is easy:
# of people hitting your content
÷ # converting
Your conversion rate
Calculating the cost per conversion is also easy:
# of conversions
÷ the total marketing and advertising spend
Your average cost to convert one prospect to a customer
7) Share and click metrics
Great content is SHARABLE CONTENT.
Sharing content increases its value. Social shares encourage others to read what you’re putting down. That’s why it is such an important metric to follow. You should also track clicks stemming from a social platform. Social sites have their own analytics; use them, please. The post clicks analytics typically show when viewers do anything, expand a window, read comments, play a video, whatever. If you’re resharing content on social (and you should), this is an important indicator of the value of your content.
Good content is highly targeted to your audience at the bottom of the funnel. How do you know it’s good? You measure it. There is a ton of bad content out there. A ton! But that’s because too many companies need a better SaaS content marketing strategy focused on converting prospects into customers.
Pro Tip: Your Content + Your Sales Team for a Better SaaS Content Strategy
Your sales team should work in tandem with your marketing department. This collaboration should start with analyzing the customer’s pain points and their common objections to your service. Who better than the sales team to inform your SaaS content marketing strategy in this area? Yet this teamwork rarely happens, especially as SaaS companies scale.
Your marketing department should meet at least quarterly with your sales team. The sales team has first-person data directly from clients and prospects on what content topics helped drive the deals:
- What are the customer burning platforms (pain points) that close deals?
- Why is the sales team losing to your competitors?
- Who are those competitors (now, look at their content)?
- Who are the key decision makers and are they changing?
- What geographic markets are hot?
Train your sales team to ask one key question right up front: How did the prospect hear about your company?
This relationship should be quid pro quo. For example, marketing should regularly share hot leads from their hot downloadable content (or another email-capturing vehicle) with the sales team. These leads should be followed up on at least eight times (the content counts as one).
The point is that marketing and sales are two peas in the same pod for SaaS companies.
Now, put THAT in your SaaS content marketing strategy pipe and smoke it, okay? (Disclaimer: Smoking is bad.)
(Tangentially, your customer service team should inform your client retention strategies. Wondering why you’re turning and burning new SaaS clients? Ask your help desk or customer care — then develop your strategy to turn things around.)
There is almost always a wide gap between the in-person data the sales teams collect on the front lines and the back-office decisions made in marketing. You will create a better SaaS content marketing strategy if you regularly bridge that gap.
Developing a Better SaaS Content Marketing Strategy in 2023
Let’s recap what we’ve learned about developing a better SaaS content marketing strategy in 2023. So far, you’ve learned:
- How B2B content differs from B2C.
- How to determine your customer’s pain points.
- How to create content that fits that pain.
- How to use pain points and SEO to develop content that matters to your customers.
- How to tie metrics to your SaaS content.
Finally, be patient. You must have enough patience to allow this organic growth to happen. Content development in the SaaS space is a long-term effort to make an impact and influence buying patterns. That’s another good reason to focus on the low-hanging fruit at the bottom of the sales funnel. You will reap content rewards faster — even though content success is a long-term endeavor.
With a good SaaS content marketing strategy, you can generate about three times as many leads as with traditional advertising and marketing techniques.
Ultimately, your goal is to slide the prospect down the content conversion funnel and onto your product. With that said, you’re in the software business, so you know how things change at digital speeds.
Building good content is a constant circle of monitoring analytics, developing new ideas, and executing on what you understand to be true. SevenAtoms works with SaaS companies to develop intelligent content marketing strategies that convert.
If you’re frustrated with your content, you’re probably doing it wrong. We won’t judge you. We’re to help your business. Find out how we can help.
Searching for the best SaaS content marketing strategy firm? Contact SevenAtoms at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415.513.0435.
A SaaS content marketing strategy is a plan for promoting a software as a service product by creating and sharing valuable and relevant content with a target audience to educate, engage, and convert them into customers. The strategy typically implements a variety of content such as blogs, case studies, ebooks, infographics, webinars, and more to educate, inform, and ultimately sell the SaaS product. The goal is to build trust and credibility by answering the client’s pain points with your service.
Business to business software as a service content is different from business to consumer content in several ways, including:
· Target audience. B2B SaaS content targets business decision-makers. B2C SaaS content is geared toward individual consumers.
· Tone and message. B2B SaaS content is more technical and focuses on product features and benefits from a business use case perspective. B2C SaaS content is more casual and focuses on the emotional benefit of buying the service
· Decision-making process. The B2B SaaS decision-making process is usually longer because the purchase price point is higher. The content for these companies should emphasize focusing on customer pain points at the decision-making stage of the process. B2C SaaS purchases are shorter, and of lower cost, so the content for these companies can emphasize quicker, more emotional appeals.