This guide provides an introduction to the SAAS content marketing. Software as a service companies (SAAS) see content marketing as a go to strategy. Content marketing is using content to deliver on marketing objectives. For SAAS this is ideal, because it enables them to engage customers close to the purchase. Potential customers can quickly buy or try the software with a few clicks from content.
Table of contents:
- Know your ideal customer profile
- Build awareness
- Content Marketing Metrics
- Different types of content marketing
- Effective Content Format
- Content Distribution
- Iterative Approach
- Managing expectations
- Avoid mistakes
- Integrate Strategy
1. Know your ideal customer profile
For an effective content marketing program for SAAS, the customer must be kept front and centre. Who are they, where are they, what are the questions or problems they face. Drilling in and keeping this ideal customer profile front and centre is vital for success.
For example, a B2B SAAS company after profiling their customer, realized that most were doing their research before they got into the office. So they focused on content that was appealing at that time of day, to appear.
That knowledge of their customer gave them an unfair advantage, to then exploit through content marketing.
The art of executing on content marketing can also yield and uncover insights itself. Through seeing what content engages, when and where. So companies should remain open minded as to their content blueprint and listen to the market. As their strategy unfolds.
2. Build awareness
The most common marketing objective for SAAS companies is to build awareness. To earn the attention of the prospective customer and educate them as to the benefits of their solution.
Once attention has been established, content can help with other parts of the funnel, to build the consideration and move them closer to purchase.
3. Content Marketing Metrics
The most common metrics marketers are adopting for content marketing are:
- People, how many real people are consuming your content.
- Attention, seeing how much attention people pay to your content.
- Bounce, whether people are engaging with your content or not.
- Avg Scroll, the average scroll on each piece of content.
- Social engagement, seeing how many shares your content creates.
- Conversion rate, the rate at which people take action after consuming your content.
- Time of day, seeing what time of day is best for your audience to engage.
Read more on Content Marketing Metrics.
4. Different types of content marketing
Blog posts, whitepapers, social media, video, podcasts, and newsletters are different types of content marketing. An effective strategy might include any one or a combination of these types. Most often when people refer to SAAS content marketing they are referring to blog posts and thought leadership.
This does extend to:
- Social media, posting on Twitter, LinkedIn and others.
An effective strategy might include any one or combination of the above types. Blog posts is a common place to start, because it is easy to create, improve and customers can navigate from a blog post to explore the product, or to take any next step.
A good analogy for this is that the customer is already in the store, so the hard part is done, it’s now about converting them.
5. Effective Content Format
Blog posts are a common place to start because they are easy to create, improve, and navigate. Once a customer is on your blog, it’s easy to convert them.
The most effective content format is a post with article + video together. Nudge data has uncovered that this creates the most engagement for SAAS companies.
And the reason is, it gives the customer choice, choice to read at their own speed, or to watch and learn. Or both.
Maximizing choice for the customer, means they can engage as much as they want, and increased engagement leads to higher conversion rates.
6. Content Distribution
How to do content distribution, it is not enough to just create the content, SAAS businesses need to get enough eyeballs on that content to be effective. Thus they turn to content distribution to help bring in potential prospects.
The typical types of content distribution are:
- SEO, ensuring that customers can find the content in search engines
- Social media, proactively reaching out to and building an audience
- Native advertising, leveraging paid advertising to drive clicks
- PPC, leveraging paid search advertising to drive clicks
- Newsletter sponsorships, reaching niche audiences through sponsorships
When it comes to optimizing distribution, analytics is very helpful. Enabling marketers to see how engaging the clicks are that each platform sends.
Quite often, Search is the most effective form of content distribution. And that’s because by the time a customer has searched something, they have higher intent. So search optimized content enables SAAS companies to capture those with high intent.
However, it is not infallible. By the time someone is searching, they may have a preference for another brand. Some customers may have already opted for an alternative solution before searching. And finally, it can be limited in scale.
Thus SAAS companies need to go above and beyond, to build an audience or community around their content. That builds awareness and educates potential customers as to their proposition. This is why many SAAS companies adopt the other content distribution tactics, to bring in potential customers.
7. Iterative Approach
Content marketing can yield insights into what engages your audience, when and where. As a result, companies should remain open-minded about their content blueprint and iterate as their strategy unfolds.
Building out a content program is iterative. Do not fret about going off the deep end with high production and heavy investment. Start small, start simple and iterate from there.
Think of your content as a business asset. Which it is. An asset that you create, grow and nurture over time. It needs maintenance & improvements. This approach means you can be agile and respond as you learn more about what is resonating with customers.
Keep analytics at your fingertips, to see what is working. And where you need to improve. It can be daunting to look at competitors, who already have a lot of content, and in-depth articles. But that’s not where you are, you are starting out. Keep that in mind.
It is a lot easier to create a beautiful long form piece of content, once you already have the basics tried and tested elsewhere.
One of the benefits of content marketing is that it works 24/7 for you. Even for resource constrained teams, the content Is working, even when your team isn’t.
8. Managing expectations
Content marketing is not an overnight success, it is a long term strategy, ideally you need to think and plan in a minimum of 9 month increments. 3 months to get started, 3 months running as normal, 3 months iterating on your learnings. It takes time to see the results.
That’s not to say you won’t see results straight away, you will. But to the full effect of your work, it takes some time for it to pay off.
In terms of scale, you also need to set expectations. If you have a target of 100 leads from your content, set a target of 20,000 people engaging in your content. That’s a low conversion rate of 0.5%. But gives you a margin of safety and time to learn and improve.
It also sets the right expectation with stakeholders, just getting 100 people to do something, may not change the world overnight. But 100 people everyday might.
9. Avoid mistakes
Common mistakes made by B2B SAAS startups with content marketing include not focusing on their ideal customer profile, not having a clear strategy, and not measuring results.
10. Integrate strategy
Content marketing is just one component of a larger SAAS marketing strategy. It’s important to have a holistic approach that includes SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, and other tactics to achieve your goals.
What are some good examples of content marketing for SAAS?
A good example is where the brand has managed to execute content marketing in a way that engages customers and delivers on the brands objectives.
We collate some of the best examples in our weekly newsletter. Which is also shared here.
One such innovative example is SalesForce+ where they launched a streaming channel, to deliver different types of content to existing and prospective customers. They even reached over 5 million viewers.
Tangential topics which may also be helpful:
- Guide to Content Marketing Analytics
- Factors which Drive Content ROI
- How to develop a content strategy
- What is the most helpful metric to assess conversions*
- Guide to Content Marketing
We recommend these articles if you are new to SAAS content marketing.
- How important is content marketing for a SAAS startup business?
- Is content marketing effective for SAAS?
- How to run a successful content marketing strategy for your SAAS business
- What are your tips for SAAS content marketing?
- What are the top 3 SAAS tools you use for content marketing?
- How does content marketing drive sales for SAAS startups?
- What are the biggest mistakes B2B SAAS startups make with content marketing?
- What is the average conversion rate of content marketing (blog) in SAAS
- How to develop a content strategy for your SAAS sales and marketing funnels
- SAAS Marketing Strategy