In 2016, just 38% of companies were reliant on SaaS for at least 80% of their software needs. In 2017, this number grew to 43%, and then 51% in 2018, and is expected to increase to at least 80% by 2022.
While the SaaS market is predicted to grow to a staggering $220.21 billion by 2022, the competition is becoming even more fierce. Therefore, it is extremely important to have a SaaS Content Marketing strategy in place that can stand up to the rigorous competition in this arena.
But before we dive into the strategy, let’s start with the foundations!
For starters, what is SaaS?
SaaS stands for software as a service. Simply put, SaaS uses cloud technology to allow users to access the software remotely from any device connected to the internet.
There is no need for expensive IT hardware, such as servers. Instead, applications are web-based, and users can access these applications wherever they are.
Especially now, with more companies transitioning to remote work, you can expect to see a massive uptick in the SaaS industry.
However, SaaS is not merely a software delivery method. It has developed into a software sales and pricing model as well. SaaS offers many advantages over traditional one-off software solutions. Keep reading to see it!
SaaS products typically cost less to acquire and maintain. Most SaaS solutions are billed as a monthly subscription that includes the cost of using the software and maintenance.
Other cost advantages include not needing to purchase expensive IT infrastructures that are often required to run traditional on-site software solutions.
Last but not least, SaaS is especially beneficial to business users since many of the costs related to SaaS solutions are tax-deductible.
Since SaaS solutions are web-based, they can be scaled up or down with minimal effort.
If a business experiences a sudden boom and more users require access to software, a simple subscription upgrade is all that is required to solve the problem.
With traditional on-site software solutions, this problem cannot be solved so easily or quickly.
Ease of use
SaaS solutions often negate the need for on-site IT support staff since the applications are designed to be as user friendly as possible.
This, combined with a simple and effective user interface, makes the software ideal for organizations that place a premium on productivity and ease of use.
When you consider these benefits, it is easy to understand why everyone is vying for their piece of the SaaS cake.
This is only part of the reason as to why it is so important for SaaS providers to develop a sound marketing strategy that makes their products stand out amongst the competition.
How Content Marketing is Different for SaaS Companies
With the SaaS market being as big as it is, it makes sense that some companies target business customers while others focus on securing end-users as customers.
This is the main distinction between Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Customer (B2C) SaaS companies.
It is important for any SaaS company to clearly define their customer base since a Content Marketing campaign designed for a B2B SaaS company will differ greatly from one designed to rake in B2C customers.
What is Content Marketing and How Can You Get Started?
Content Marketing is a versatile marketing strategy that uses various types of content, such as blogs, white papers, infographics, videos, industry reports, case studies, to engage prospective customers, offer them something of value and, ultimately, convert them into a customer.
Content Marketing can either be subtle or in your face. Either way, the game aims to leverage your content to acquire new leads.
Therefore, it is important to carefully evaluate which type of Content Marketing will work best for the SaaS product that you are trying to market.
For example, when you consider that up to 47% of B2B buyers review 3-5 blog posts before speaking to a salesperson, it’s evident that learning how to start a blog and producing blog content is an important piece of the puzzle for SaaS companies.
Keep in mind that it can also be worthwhile to reach out to industry experts and well-known blogs within your industry to review your products and post about them as well.
For instance, take cybersecurity, a market exploding in growth (as are the SaaS companies within it).
Companies like LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password all use influential cybersecurity blogs to test and review their products in-depth to enhance their online presence further.
How To Create a Great SaaS Content Marketing?
When it comes to Content Marketing, the secret to success is thought-provoking content that captures and engages all that see it.
Content that doesn’t provide the reader with actionable information is very unlikely to succeed in convincing a potential client to subscribe to your SaaS product/service.
Creating great content takes time and effort, but it is well worth the investment, especially if it is evergreen and can generate leads and revenue well into the future.
You can opt to use a professional content creator’s services if you don’t feel like creating the content yourself, though.
Whether you’re creating content in-house or outsourcing, there are a variety of document collaboration tools to help your team get started.
But when it comes to getting started with your content creation plan, keep the following in mind:
1. Define your target audience
The first step you should take is move your attention to your target audience. By understanding the people you want to reach, you will learn how to create the best content strategy for them.
That is because different approaches appeal to different people. So, in order to make sure your decisions make sense for your audience, you must learn all that you can about them. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to go about it.
Firstly, look for previous surveys your business has conducted or audience metrics based on previous campaigns. With such information, you will be able to see valuable data about people you already reached. Alternatively, you can seek market research that belongs to your field.
With all of that, you should define exactly who your target audience is. Consider their interests, motivations, fears and desires. You guessed it: your content will be all about satisfying all that.
2. Identify pain points
While you learn about your target audience, you should pay close attention to their pain points. Those are the main problems they wish to fix and your SaaS product/service solves.
This is a deeper research than the one you did at the previous step. Now, you must understand the daily lives of your audience and try to visualize the main obstacles on the way to their goals. Your solution should serve as the perfect fit for them.
Part of this process involves doing that path in reverse. This means thinking about the problems your solution solves and imagining how such scenarios occur in your target audience’s lives.
Bear in mind those need to be real pains and problems. They are objective issues your audience wishes they could fix somehow. That is when you solution should present itself.
3. Identify your keywords
Every SaaS solution has associated keywords. In order to begin your content marketing strategy, you need to be aware of them all. Those are the terms people search for on Google when looking for a product or service such as yours.
Pay attention: those are not the words they search when looking exactly for your business. They won’t be searching for your brand name; instead, they will be trying to find the solution for their pain points.
To do that, you should put yourself on your client’s shoes. Think of the words they would use to look for a solution such as yours. For example, the target audience for an office inventory management software might search for ways to better organize.
Create a list of the most important keywords associated with your SaaS solution. They will serve as your strategy’s main pathways.
4. Define your metrics
How can you be sure your SaaS content marketing strategy is working? You need to look at the right metrics. In order to do that, you should first define the ones that truly mean your success.
Imagine you want to increase the sales of a specific module of your solution. Then, your success metric is not just your number of sales. Instead, you should focus on that specific module you want to sell more of.
This sounds obvious, but it’s common for businesses big and small to lose track of their goals and metrics. Make sure you define your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which are the most important numbers in your results.
You should make things even easier to track by working with a dashboard that is updated in real time. Add your metrics and allow your team to follow your progress.
5. Consider your vision
What is it that your SaaS company aims to be? This is an important aspect to consider when creating your content marketing strategy, as it needs to be true to your vision.
If you believe in education, then educating potential clients should be the way to go. This involves teaching your audience all that you know so that they can become more qualified customers and use your product better.
By empowering your audience, you can attract trust. However, this is only possible when your content marketing strategy is aligned with your vision.
6. Aim to create interesting content
For content to become an effective marketing tool, it must be interesting. If readers are not engaged, they will lose interest, and your content will fall short. You also need to make sure that your content is relevant to your readers.
This doesn’t mean it has to always be sales focused — you could commission research and white papers to position yourself as an authority in your industry.
Take the time to think about the type of content that your audience and industry want to read about and execute it with excellence.
While most SaaS companies have blogs, another type of content that SaaS companies can leverage is podcasts.
There are currently over 100 million podcast listeners in the United States alone, and plenty of them would be interested in a SaaS podcast.
Companies can also leverage influencers to create a lineup of interesting podcasts as ConvertKit does:
Don’t forget that one of the keys to creating interesting content is ensuring you engage with your audience across multiple mediums and formats.
7. Add value
Make sure that your content has a strong takeaway. The chances are that someone reading your blog or white paper (or whichever asset you are promoting) is doing so because they are looking for a solution to a problem.
Ensure your content adds value by offering answers to problems. For example, if you provide time management software, you could add an article to your blog that offers practical advice on effectively prioritizing and scheduling tasks, just like Zapier does here.
If you are successful in your approach, consider creating a basic template to adapt easily for every new article you create.
A template ensures uniformity on your blog and makes it easier to create content that satisfies readers’ needs and puts the focus on the narrative to deliver value.
8. Outline your content distribution strategy
Help your SaaS content marketing take off by outlining exactly how your creations will reach your target audience. SEO will allow your content to be found through Google, but you can push things further.
Start by considering your digital channels and which ones are preferred by your potential clients. There are plenty of options to choose from, such as social media, e-mail, ad platforms and others.
For example, SaaS solutions aimed at the B2B sector usually gets good results from e-mail and LinkedIn. These tools help you target people specifically through their work routine, thus allowing your brand to appear at the right time of their day.
You might have to experiment a bit to make sure. Test your channels with multiple distribution approaches, including different sales pitches and highlights. Additionally, try changing up the colors of your posts.
9. Analyze your competition
You should also take a look at what your competitors are doing. Other SaaS businesses might be employing similar strategies to yours with their content. Alternatively, gaps in their approach might represent excellent opportunities for you.
You will not learn any of that if you ignore your competitors. Create a process that is focused on analyzing their content and distribution to deduce the rest of their strategy. Try to see where it is working and not.
By doing that, you will be able to take what works and avoid what doesn’t. You should also take any opportunities they might not be taking advantage of. Additionally, make sure they are not ahead of you in terms of content quality.
Make sure to pick competitors who are actively seeking the same clients as your business. It should be the ones providing solutions for the pain points you observed. This will help you keep focused on your goals.
10. Monitor your results
Lastly, you should make sure to keep a close watch on your results. Consider your goals and KPIs to know what to look for.
This is also when you have the opportunity to adjust your SaaS content marketing strategy accordingly. Imagine it does not bring the expected results and you can track the reasons. Then, take this chance to make the necessary changes and watch for their results.
Following your results will serve as a constant valuable experience. By learning about how your audience responds to your content, you will be able to create even better pieces in the future.
Just make sure your reports are easily accessible by your team. They need to be able to learn from your past strategies as well, otherwise, such valuable knowledge will be too restricted to be useful.
3 Great Content Marketing Tools for SaaS
So you may be left with a few questions such as:
- How do I know what type of content people want to see?
- Are there any tools I can use to create interesting content?
- Can I measure the effectiveness of my campaigns?
In fact, there are quite a few tools that can be used to help identify, create, promote, and assess the effectiveness of your SaaS Content Marketing strategy.
Below, you will see three great tools to get you started.
Use BuzzSumo to discover content that is trending in your industry. The beauty of this tool is that you will be able to reveal your competitors’ actions that are gaining traction and attention.
Then, you can use this insight to help craft a Content Marketing campaign that delivers above and beyond that of your competitors. BuzzSumo is also great for finding influential people in your industry that may be willing to promote your content.
Aside from using this tool to find trending content, you can set up alerts to be notified whenever your content campaigns are mentioned by websites other than your own.
Talkwalker also has a great tool that will monitor the web for mentions.
Ever heard the saying: “a picture paints a thousand words”? This couldn’t be more true when it comes to online content.
The average human attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish. On average, our attention is held for approximately eight seconds.
While in-depth content can help to influence higher rankings in the search results, you should aim to convert your content campaigns into visual assets that can be easily shared.
Not only are visual assets easy to share across websites and social media platforms, but they also bring the story of your content to life.
Not all of us are design geniuses, and if you are on a tight budget, you can opt to use a design collaboration tool like Piktochart to create engaging infographics and visuals using themed templates.
Content Marketing is all about getting as many relevant eyeballs on your content as possible. And this equates to traffic.
With traffic being a core KPI, Google Analytics provides detailed reports that can help you understand exactly who your content is reaching, how much time they spent on your site, and if they are converting.
Google Analytics is free to use and can integrate with many other tools to provide you with data-rich insights to measure your Content Marketing activity’s success.
I highly recommend setting up and installing Google Analytics when building your website.
Examples of SaaS Companies with Great Content Marketing
When you hit gold with a fine-tuned Content Marketing strategy, your investment will pay off.
Check some examples of companies that have great Content Marketing!
BigCommerce regularly publishes blog posts to position itself as an authority in the world of eCommerce. The content they post not only adds value to their customers but also the wider industry as a whole.
They leverage popular topics and create in-depth blog posts that are packed full of interesting insights and actionable takeaways.
An example of an effective Content Marketing campaign is their Word of Mouth Marketing in 2020 post.
This post references statistics, why you should care about word of mouth marketing, and sums up how-to strategies.
They also sprinkle quotes from well-known marketing experts to keep users engaged throughout.
Zendesk’s approach to Content Marketing reveals a simple and clever way to get headlines while indirectly promoting their services simultaneously.
Zendesk has proven itself to be successful in cultivating and maintaining customer loyalty.
By issuing this annual report, they strengthen their position as a customer service SaaS platform.
MailChimp’s email design guide is a great example of how to turn a topic that could have otherwise been covered in a text-heavy blog post into an online resource that is extremely easy to digest.
Although the guide doesn’t actively prompt MailChimp’s email marketing platform, it does exhibit their expertise and act as a lead magnet.
In case you were looking for ideas outside of blog posts or reports,
PandaDoc, a contract management software, offers a valuable resource of business proposal templates to their audience:
As you can imagine, this can be a great resource to drive in more leads searching for proposal templates that may not have otherwise stumbled across their platform.
After all, they’re probably going to need to use a software or tool to electronically sign those contracts, right?
This is also highly shareable content and likely to get linked to as a resource on other sites, leading to additional traffic and leads for their SaaS.
Moz aims to be seen as an authority within the SEO market. As such, it has an effective SaaS content marketing strategy focused on delivering value to potential clients.
Much of that involves free and useful tools anyone can access and use. They are no mere trials of the complete product; instead, they deliver multiple tools to help with different aspects of a website’s SEO approach.
Among its free tools are a keyword explorer, a link building analyzer, a domain scanner and a local SEO radar. By signing up for a free account, the user can run these tools a limited amount per month.
By capturing the lead’s contact, Moz is able to establish a connection with them. Additionally, the audience has a taste of the real valuable tools Moz is offering, since they deliver real value to them.
Vidyard is among the most popular video tools for sales. It relies on simplicity to sell its solution to businesses who wish to convince their clients with an effective format that can be easily created. So, how do you sell to salespeople?
When you consider Vidyard’s SaaS content marketing strategy, it becomes clear how their goal is to become a helpful partner to their potential customers. With a vast selection of resources on how to sell better and the best ways to use video to that goal, they can become more trustworthy.
Vidyard also routinely hosts webinars, posts videos and launches industry reports that further help salespeople get better results. It eventually becomes clear how their solution can provide even more value to clients.
The strategy is also true to their vision on how video is an effective sales tool. Most of their content is in this format, which shows how they really believe their own product and philosophy.
Drift specializes in driving revenue to their clients through various kinds of strategies. Aside from a blog, they have a podcast and a vast learning platform with plenty of information on sales and marketing.
Through Drift’s learning platform, users can enroll in courses and obtain certifications. They can also download ebooks, reports, watch webinars and participate in special events.
This whole selection of education-based material focuses on mentoring potential clients. By using Drift as a school of revenue acceleration, these people will naturally see the SaaS company as a partner.
Additionally, Drift is able to know a lot about their prospects depending on their interactions with their content. This helps them set their sights on the ones with the most potential to convert.
SaaS is the future of software, and this business model is fast becoming the norm in the technologically dependent world we live in.
As more and more companies enter the SaaS arena, competition amongst both new and established players increases exponentially.
The biggest players are already successfully executing content campaigns that are gaining worldwide coverage.
Any SaaS company that wants to become the market leader and recognized as the authority within the niche they operate needs to develop a compelling Content Marketing strategy.