Want to know the secret to growing your SaaS business like a pro? It’s all about giving your audience the goods – valuable content that speaks to them and shows off what makes your product unique.
Sure, SaaS products aren’t exactly touchable, but that’s where content marketing comes in – it’s like a magic trick for illustrating your value proposition and getting your target market on board.
Whether you’re a SaaS newbie or just looking to shake things up with your content strategy, this guide is your ticket to creating killer campaigns, boosting conversion rates, and becoming a thought leader. So let’s get this ball rolling.
What is SaaS Content Marketing?
SaaS content marketing is the strategic creation and distribution of tailored content. This content is designed to inform, engage, and educate prospective buyers about market solutions to their problems. Given the subscriptive nature of the SaaS model, the goal isn’t hard-selling online products but brand awareness and relationship building.
The following are the common types of content used by SaaS marketing teams to engage and educate potential customers:
The most popular type of content marketing is blog posts (on your company website or guest posts on another site). 98% of SaaS companies have used blogs to educate leads, position brands as industry authorities, and improve website ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). That includes major SaaS brands like Shopify.
Video content marketing is a highly effective form of marketing, converting 88% of customers. Product videos are easy to consume and are the preferred medium to learn about a brand.
For example, Ahrefs churns crazy amounts of video content each month. And they distribute this content across their YouTube channel. They also upload it alongside relevant blog posts, which can help boost time-on-page.
Creating video content is affordable with today’s smartphone capabilities. Videos are also a great way to build personalized relationships, putting faces to the brand.
The popularity of podcasts is growing. According to Statista, only 22% of Americans knew what podcasting was in 2006. In 2021, that number increased to 78%.
The above chart shows the steady growth of global podcast listeners. By 2024, there will be an estimated 504.9 million podcast listeners worldwide.
Two factors make podcasts a perfect channel for educating qualified leads: one, 78% of listeners tune into podcasts to acquire new knowledge, and two, the long-form format. Most podcast episodes are between 20 to 40 minutes in length. People can listen to them on their daily commute or while doing chores.
Another interesting thing is that podcasts are still considered a blue ocean. So there isn’t much competition in podcasting compared to something like blogging. That means you can make significant strides faster with a value-packed niche podcast.
Other types of SaaS inbound marketing content are webinars, white papers, case studies, and templates.
5 Reasons Content Marketing for SaaS Is So Important
SaaS products are different from other industries. Likewise, their marketing requires different strategies to be effective. Let’s explore these differences to understand why content marketing is uniquely vital to SaaS.
- SaaS products are intangible and require more convincing than tangible products to demonstrate their value. Top-performing companies like Salesforce spend 46% of their annual recurring revenue on marketing, including inbound content like product roundups and reviews that help customers make purchasing decisions.
- SaaS products are subscription-based, and customer retention is a key driving factor. You can reduce customer churn and increase retention by 32% by providing self-help content like tutorials, product demos, and webinars.
- SaaS marketing budgets are higher than traditional marketing budgets, with an average of 26% of the annual recurring revenue (ARR). Content marketing saves businesses as much as 62% in marketing costs compared to traditional, outbound marketing, providing more bang for the buck.
- The SaaS and technology industries are constantly evolving, and their customers need to keep up with new information. 36% of SaaS companies use blog posts to provide educational content to help customers improve their knowledge and skill set, building loyalty and establishing brand authority.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for the success of every SaaS. 75% of searchers don’t scroll past the first results page. SEO content helps improve your rank in organic searches by keeping audiences engaged with your website.
Now that you understand the benefits of content marketing, we will look at how you can create an effective strategy around it.
How To Build an Effective SaaS Content Marketing Strategy
Creating a winning content marketing strategy is the key to scaling your SaaS business. But crafting compelling and relevant content alone won’t cut it. To truly drive conversions and sales, you need a solid plan in place.
Your strategy needs to focus on aligning your business goals, identifying the right content and channels, zeroing in on your target audience, and measuring your success with clear metrics.
In other words, it’s time to think beyond just creating content and focus on developing a comprehensive strategy that will take your SaaS business to new heights. Follow these steps to achieve that:
1. Understand Your Target Audience
You already have an idea of who your target audience is. After all, your business developed a business solution for customers. But having an idea is totally different from understanding your customers. To grow your SaaS business, you need to master the latter.
Let’s say your SaaS product is a recruitment tool. The target customer is the owner of a talent agency or the human resource executive. That’s a good start, but you must dive deeper.
Conducting audience research and creating comprehensive buyer personas helps you understand the people you’re creating content for. It details their goals, frustrations, purchasing ability, and more.
The B2B persona above highlights the customer’s responsibilities, goals, challenges, purchasing power, and the type of content to use.
B2B marketers must build more than one buyer persona because their sales process is longer than B2C companies and involves multiple people. The HR manager you targeted for your recruitment software may not be the decision maker. So you need to create different content depending on who is interacting with your content.
Using the earlier example of the recruitment software, you would create a best practices webinar for recruitment officers, a product roundup video or blog post for the HR manager, and case studies for the CEO.
When you understand your ideal customers, you can create the content they want to read.
We recommend two practices for more tailored content campaigns: social media analytics and customer journey maps.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn have analytics tools that let you view customers’ behavior, including the type of content they prefer.
Journey maps allow you to experience how customers move through your sales funnel and identify potential pitfalls. You can create valuable content for each part of the journey to encourage conversion and retention.
2. Determine Your Campaign Goals
Buyer personas answer who you’re creating content for. However, you must also answer why you are creating content. SaaS inbound marketing goals help businesses determine suitable content and marketing channels to achieve organizational objectives.
The above chart identifies brand awareness and lead generation as the top two content marketing goals for SaaS.
Brand awareness puts your SaaS on the map. If no one knows your business exists, they can’t buy your products. It’s that simple, really.
Video content works well in increasing brand awareness. They are easily consumed and shared on social media. You can also showcase brand personality and build relationships faster with behind-the-brand videos.
The above video titled ‘Before Toggl, Tracking Time Was…’ introduces the time tracking software Toggl track in a fun and visually appealing way.
Lead generation is the first stage of turning website visitors into leads and future customers. The goal is for prospects to share their information, at which point they become a lead. To do this, you must offer something of value in return.
Content like eBooks, quizzes, and webinars are great for generating leads because they contain information prospects may find beneficial.
Ebooks like the example above are popular pieces of content B2B marketers use to generate leads. Because creating eBooks is expensive and time-consuming, many lead capture forms ask for business contacts to determine the validity of interest.
Although it is fourth on the list, retaining existing customers is as important as acquiring new ones. The Pareto principle for customer success states that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers.
Keeping repeat and loyal customers happy comes down to customer experience. In addition to excellent customer service, content like how-to guides or tutorials will keep your customers engaged with accessible, up-to-date information.
Codecademy’s online resource center is a perfect example of customer retention content. It has documents for different scripting languages, videos, and cheat sheets.
Note that any piece of content can achieve your digital marketing goals. For instance, a podcast with a high-profile personality can generate new interest and leads as well as an eBook. Blog posts by partners or affiliates can increase awareness of your brand among their audiences.
What does that mean? Don’t just focus on one type of content. Diversify your content marketing efforts to maximize your ROI.
3. Create a Content Creation Process
According to a ClearVoice survey, content creation is one of the top challenges for B2B marketers. Good content starts with good ideas. But, unfortunately, you can’t schedule inspiration.
Still, you must consistently release content to keep your audiences engaged and your organic rankings high. Adopting a content creation process can help minimize the difficulties around content creation.
There are four stages of the content creation process:
- Content ideation – researching topic ideas
- Content planning/development – organizing content creation sequences
- Content production – writing, designing, and editing
- Content scheduling – establishing a publication schedule
You’ll need to go through all the stages, but for this article, we will focus on the first two.
Content ideation is the process of sourcing ideas for future marketing content. Ideas come from many places, like keyword searches, competitor research, industry trends, and news alerts.
Your content repository is also a powerful source of ideas. Are there any topic gaps in your existing content? Do you have products for which you haven’t created content?
Another source for topics is your customers’ pain points.
A simple Google search for specific keywords can yield several ideas.
In the example above, the search ‘low employee engagement’ produces eight possible topics. You can also find topic ideas at the bottom of the results page. These are all potential topics for most HR SaaS products.
Once you have collected your ideas, you can begin developing content. At this stage, you filter and sort your ideas around a theme.
Using your marketing funnel is another way you could organize content ideas. For example, content ideas for customers in the consideration phase would be original reports or product comparison charts.
Sounds like too much work? It is, but it doesn’t have to be. You can start small by focusing on one topic cluster at a time.
But if you’d rather not go through the headache, contact our team, and we’ll create a foolproof content roadmap for your brand, showing you where the biggest opportunities lie. We can help you create a complete content marketing funnel, from onsite content to guest posting.
Our experts have helped SaaS brands such as Shift4Shop, Surfer, and Writer achieve impressive results, as shown above.
4. Build a SaaS Content Distribution Strategy
Content distribution involves publishing and promoting content on various platforms. You might be wondering why you need a distribution strategy. Can’t you just post your how-to tutorial on Instagram and call it a day?
You can, but your content won’t’ perform as well as you want it to. It needs to get in front of the right audience as much as possible.
Without an effective way to reach prospective customers, content creation becomes useless.
There are three primary distribution models:
- Owned distribution through channels that belong to your business
- Earned/Shared distribution through third-party channels
- Paid distribution through channels you pay for, such as influencer content
Each distribution model has its pros and cons. For instance, paid channels deliver results quickly, but they can get expensive really fast. So unless you have an unlimited marketing budget, you can rely on paid channels.
Owned platforms drive organic and sustainable business growth, but it takes a long time. Shared platforms increase your audience, but you don’t own the content you post on them.
A determining factor of content distribution is your target audience. To get your content in front of your potential clients, you must know where they spend most of their time.
Your audience research and buyer persona should have information on customers’ preferred social media platforms. For example, if your customers are on LinkedIn, you should focus on and optimize your content for that platform.
5. Measure Your Results and Adjust Your Strategy
To prove your content strategy is working, you must put in place measures to monitor the performance of your campaigns. The specific SaaS marketing metrics you track depend on your goals. For instance, if your goal is lead generation, you must include email list opt-in rates as a key performance indicator (KPI).
The primary content metrics you should be tracking are as follows:
- Click-through rate: measures the relevance of your content by the number of CTA clicks on an email marketing campaign, Google ad, or landing page.
- Time Spent on Page: measures how engaging your content is using the time people spend on content pages. The longer, the better.
- Web traffic: measures content performance by the number of visitors to your web pages.
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC): measure the financial performance of a campaign by comparing the cost of marketing to the number of acquired customers.
Content marketing analytics tools help content marketers track and understand content performance. You can see how customers engage and consume content and identify areas for improvement. Knowing where traffic comes from and the type of content that drives organic traffic, you can optimize those channels and content.
Without tracking your analytics, you risk wasting resources on marketing that doesn’t work.
5 Tips To Boost Your SaaS Content Marketing Strategy
With a solid marketing strategy in place, you are well on your way to growing your SaaS business organically and sustainably. But there’s always something more you can do to edge out your competition. Here are five tips to supercharge your SaaS content marketing efforts.
1. Hire the Right People
Content marketing is time-intensive work. Whatever size your SaaS business is, you will need a dedicated team to ensure your content marketing efforts pay off.
Ideally, your content team should include the following roles:
- Writers – create written content like blog posts, eBooks
- Designers – create visual content like images, charts, infographics
- Editors – review and polish content
- Marketers – promote and distribute content
- Strategists – create content marketing strategies; conduct research and audits.
- SEO specialists – ensure website and content are optimized to rank high on SERPs
- Project manager – oversee content team and activities
The makeup of your content marketing team depends on your budget and needs. New SaaS will probably only have a project manager and writers, relying on SaaS content tools.
Alternatively, you could outsource your content campaigns to a reputable SaaS agency. These agencies have teams of experienced strategists, writers, editors, etc., which allows you to focus on other parts of your business. Best of all, you can leverage their established processes, expertise, and relationships for your campaigns.
2. Leverage Automation Tools
There are many tools to help you at various stages of the content creation process. These can be especially helpful for small or startup SaaS that can’t hire a complete content marketing team.
Marketers deploy SaaS marketing automation for email marketing, market research, workflow management, content writing, and more.
One of our favorite content automation tools is Trello, a Kanban-style project management tool. It allows you to manage content workflow by moving task cards between lists. With an in-built automation system, you can set up ruled-based on calendar commands.
Another favorite automated tool is Frase, a content writing software. It has an in-built AI writing tool to help generate original content. You can also plan and optimize content for SEO with headings and keyword suggestions.
Email marketing tools like Mailshake automates email outreach, writing, and scheduling. With templates and personalization at scale, you can send prospecting messages and email campaigns with a click of a button.
Some honorable mentions – CoSchedule, Ahref Content Explorer, and Canva. CoSchedule is an editorial content calendar that allows bloggers to plan and schedule social media posts.
Ahrefs Content Explorer is a content ideation and keyword research tool that lets you discover top-performing content and topics. Canva is a graphic design tool for social media posts and infographics.
3. Prioritize Content Quality, Not Quantity
In content marketing, quality beats quantity every time. In fact, it is one of the key factors Google uses to determine your rank for a search query. So, what constitutes a quality piece of content?
Relevance – your content should be relevant to your niche. If you are a finance SaaS, you shouldn’t produce a content piece on a random eCommerce merchandising topic, for example. Your content should also be relevant to your audience. Don’t write for individual users if your ideal customer persona is the CFO.
Engaging – quality content is engaging. Your topic should be interesting, and your copy easy to read. Posts full of technical jargon are difficult to read. You want to personalize the content by using a conversational tone. Be sure to proofread posts for typos or grammatical mistakes because these lower the quality of your content.
Attractive – how your content looks (structurally and visually) impacts the perceived quality. You may have well-written and relevant content, but your website won’t rank if the layout is not appealing.
Break lengthy blog posts with high-quality images and topic headings. Use harmonious color schemes and structure your site for intuitive navigation.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Competition
Researching your competitors’ content is a great way to get ideas for high-quality content and stay on top of topic trends.
What kinds of content are your rivals creating? Product roundups? Tutorial videos?
Also, analyze how they are using content. For instance, are they using podcasts for brand awareness or customer retention?
Competitor analysis software like Buzzsumo provides data on your competitor’s top-performing content, keyword use, backlinks, social media, and PPC ads. With such insight, you can distinguish your content from theirs.
Be sure to evaluate their preferred marketing channels, paying attention to how different content formats perform on specific media.
Your competition isn’t just direct competitors, i.e., other brands in your niche. Indirect competitors like SaaS review sites or online magazines offer a wellspring of content to evaluate.
5. Update Existing Content Regularly
Unless your website is new, chances are you have pieces of content, some of which aren’t performing as well as you like. Content audits help identify content that needs to be improved or deleted. For instance, an audit can reveal content with broken links or site components not aligned with your SEO strategy.
You don’t always have to create new content to improve your organic rankings. Content audits provide insight into underperforming and outdated content, which can be repurposed, updated, and optimized to align with your content marketing process.
The quickest way to conduct an audit is with an online tool like SEMrush Content Audit. It automatically analyzes your entire website for SEO opportunities, not just your content.
Marketing for SaaS companies is a whole different ball game compared to other industries! The key to success is all about showing off the value of your on-demand products and ensuring the customer is always front and center.
That’s why SaaS marketing teams need to put in the time and money to build real connections with their target audience. And the best way to do that? Content marketing.
We’ve just covered all the must-know tips for creating killer content marketing campaigns for SaaS companies. We kicked things off by breaking down what content marketing is and giving you some examples of how it’s used in the SaaS world.
Then, you learned why a solid content marketing plan is essential and the five elements of a winning content strategy. Finally, we wrapped things up with some actionable advice to help you optimize your campaigns and get those conversions skyrocketing.
Just remember, building customer loyalty and trust takes time – don’t expect to see results overnight. But by following this guide, you’ll be able to create high-quality content that drives organic traffic, establishes your brand as a leader in the industry, and maximizes your conversion rates. And who doesn’t love that?