Demand Gen Report’s 2020 Content Preferences Study indicated that buyers are now leaning on, expecting, and even demanding richer content experiences than ever to educate themselves before making purchases. Therefore, an effective B2B SaaS content marketing strategy is a key step to establish yourself as an industry leader since offering insightful and consistent resources to your audience has become necessary to affirm a strong market positioning.
B2B SaaS Content Marketing: Overview
Content marketing is an essential element of SaaS marketing, consisting of strategically targeting your digital avenues (such as emails, landing pages, or blog posts) with content that will attract and retain a clearly defined target audience. Because it’s a competitive technique, you’ll need a solid positioning and messaging framework so that your efforts are aligned across all company channels.
The main goal of content marketing is to show how your product works and how it can help potential customers by taking a more informal sales approach. Studies show that 48% of B2B buyers now read 3-5 content pieces before reaching out to a salesperson. To catch their attention, your content marketing should be aligned with your go-to go-to-market (GTM) strategy to differentiate yourself from other competitors and target the right ICP to deliver your selling proposition.
SEO and Content Marketing
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the bread and butter of content marketing, allowing you to grab the attention of search engines and make sure your results will be the ones to pop up when customers search for specific keywords and phrases. By writing high-quality, consistent, and strategically worded content in searcher’s terms, you’ll be able to rank and trigger a higher degree of attraction.
This is why SEO-compliant blog creation should be an absolute priority for marketers to produce long-term scalable results by identifying keywords based on competition, relevance, and searchability.
Content Marketing for SaaS Companies
Several reasons make content marketing for SaaS different, which can be summarized by the fact that you’re selling both a product (SaaS software) and a service (support quality).
This means customers will want to assess risk and heavily rely on reviews; your marketing must be educative and promote repeat business while carrying the burden of selling both the product and its support. It should focus on SEO because SaaS buyers mainly conduct their research through digital channels such as white papers, app marketplaces, and website reviews, where you’ll need to focus your marketing.
Building an Effective SaaS Content Marketing Strategy
We’ve identified and gone into details about the seven steps you should take into account when building your content marketing strategy:
1. Defining Your Target Audience
Identifying your target audience will allow you to create a consistent and targeted marketing campaign. You can do this by creating a checklist of characteristics for your ideal buyer – are they a business or a consumer, what is their gender, age, income level, and industry, which websites do they also visit, which social media platform do they use, and what trade shows do they frequent, among others. You can also do this by using the analytics tools provided by social media platforms. By identifying your most loyal audience’s characteristics, you can create a buyer profile or two to target your audience and adjust your marketing efforts.
2. Identifying Pain Points
Once you’ve identified your audience, you need to know what motivates your audience’s buying behavior by walking yourself through the market’s experience and the step-by-step process that leads to a product purchase.
A customer journey map will lay out a buyer’s journey through your SaaS sales funnel. This process includes steps such as brand awareness, PoS encounter, interest development, free trial/demo request, long-term customer conversion, active adoption, expanded use of your product, support services escalation, and subscription renewal or cancellation.
The key is to identify and resolve the pitfalls that customers may encounter at each of these steps. These can be difficulties to navigate your website or recognize what your product can offer problems with the payment process, or the demo stage, or poor onboarding and customer service experience.
Because the initial contact with your brand is the most critical part of the SaaS marketing strategy, you must address the pain points that your brand will address for potential customers right away. They can be financial (such as low revenue), emotional (frustration with the current product), and technical (problems with SaaS integration). They can also relate to time management issues, problems with customer service, or a daunting learning curve. These will vary according to a line of variables, but it is key for you to identify your audience’s particular pain points so your marketing content and sales material can respond to them.
3. Coming Up with Keywords
The bread and butter of SEO and general content marketing is the use of keywords. This also applies to how potential customers can find you, by searching information on “how to” solve a current pain point, looking for reviews once they find your brand, set-up guides after they begin using your product, and tips to maximize productivity once they’ve adopted it. You need to develop marketing content that addresses customers’ needs at every stage of their journey to improve sales, customer satisfaction, and retention. Some tools can help you with that (you can also work with a marketing agency that has experience using them):
- Google Keyword Planner, to generate related phrases from a target phrase and evaluate their efficiency, competition, and cost.
- Ahrefs, to audit your SEO performance, study the competition, and analyze trends (can also support link-building strategies).
- SEMrush, similarly to Ahrefs, can also audit competitor performance and backlink profiles.
- Moz: Ahrefs and SEMrush’s competitor, it offers an all-in-one SEO toolkit for site audits, keyword research, rank tracking, backlink analysis, and support with online tutorials.
- BuzzSumo: A social media analytics tool that identifies market influencers, trending topics, competitor content strategies, and popular formats.
4. Defining Goals and Metrics
Before developing content, you should set measurable goals for your content campaigns so that you can evaluate their performance. There exist key performance indicators (KPIs) across every industry, like the number of unique visitors, session duration, and bounce rate. There also are a few more marketing metrics particular to SaaS, like free trial registrations, software demo requests, customer acquisition cost (CAC, measuring the number of customers you acquire for your marketing expenditures), and lead conversion rate (LCR, which measures how many conversions you get per visit to your site, email list registration or demo request).
There are specific equations for CAC and LCR:
- CAC = MC / CA, where:
MC = marketing costs over a given period CA = number of customers acquired for that marketing expenditure You can either use it for total marketing costs or segregate the data by campaign or marketing channel. Tracking how many acquisitions are generated by a particular content piece will help you define how to spend your marketing resources best.
- LCR = C / L, where: C = number of conversions L = lead opportunities, yielding a percentage rate.
This tool can also be used for different types of conversions and opportunities duos. An opportunity could be a visit to your website and a conversion of an ensuing demo registration. Once again, you can narrow this down to particular pages or strategies to get a sense of their effectiveness.
These tools will show you how much you need to invest in generating a specific number of conversions and the corresponding amount of revenue, help you identify effective content, and guide your investment focus.
5.Organizing Content Production
Once you’ve gone through the first four steps, you can produce keyword-oriented content, preferably according to a clear content production process, which should include data research, a content planning calendar, talent recruitment (think about freelancers in your industry), creation, editing, and a publication schedule. You should also create and document standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each step, communicating with your team through a project management platform.
6. Distributing content
The distribution strategy looks at the frequency and channels chosen to publish and promote content. It should keep in mind questions such as: where will it be published and how will it be categorized, will it be public or gated, which social media profiles will promote it, and what third-party sites are you planning on distributing it through.
Don’t forget that you can use a marketing automation platform to upload and schedule content in the spirit of spending resources smartly.
7.Monitoring Campaign Results
To ensure that you are spending your money in productive ways, you will need to monitor your campaigns’ performance. This can be done by setting up a reporting system that tracks the KPIs established at the beginning of your campaign (which is why planning is a crucial step). Most analytics software tools will offer a customizable dashboard that will track and display the metrics you’ve chosen; you can then establish a regular review procedure to analyze the results.
While this can be a satisfying step, it could also show you that you’re not quite reaching your goals – which means it’s time to make adjustments. Identify what’s working and focus your efforts on promoting it and using it as a template for the rest of your campaigns. You can also improve underperforming pieces by doing split-testing. This will give you an insight into how making specific changes will affect performance – sometimes, the key to better results is in the smallest details, such as a different headline or a more precise image.