Successful content marketing for SaaS requires thoughtful planning and careful execution. In this guide, we’ll lay out a seven-step strategy you can use to conduct a winning SaaS marketing campaign. We’ll cover:
Read on to learn what you need to know to make your SaaS content marketing deliver profitable results.
Content marketing for SaaS is different than marketing in other industries in a number of important ways:
SaaS software is a product, so at first glance, SaaS marketing might seem to revolve around selling a product. However, this is only half of the story. When SaaS customers are choosing providers, a major factor they consider is support quality. This means that SaaS marketing carries the dual burden of selling customers on both the product itself and the support behind it.
SaaS buyers research products and services primarily through digital channels, making SEO a critical component of effective SaaS marketing. SaaS audiences typically find products through digital resources such as white papers, website reviews and app marketplaces. Your marketing strategy should include an emphasis on SEO content which will attract buyers from these sources.
A winning content marketing for SaaS strategy starts with marketing research and strategizing, proceeds through content production and concludes with campaign performance tracking. This process can be divided into seven major steps:
For each step, following best practices will yield better results. The remainder of this guide will focus on tips for organizing and optimizing each of these steps.
Identifying your target audience lays a foundation for a focused marketing campaign. You can analyze your target audience by creating a checklist of questions to categorize characteristics. For example:
Create your own checklist customized for your product and audience. An efficient way to analyze the characteristics of your audience is to use analytics tools to review your social media following. Platforms such as Facebook offer analytics services that allow you to see characteristics of your following in multiple categories in granular detail. You can also use this type of analysis to find other social media prospects who match the characteristics of your target audience.
Once you’ve identified the characteristics of your target audience, you can use this information to create a profile of your ideal buyer. Give your ideal buyer a name to put a face on your profile, which can be helpful for brainstorming.
In some cases, you may have more than one target market. In this case, you can create multiple ideal buyer profiles. However, creating a large number of profiles will become unwieldy and make it difficult to focus your marketing efforts. Limit yourself to a handful of profiles at most.
Once you’ve identified your audience, you can proceed to identify the pain points which motivate your audience’s buying behavior. This will help you gear your marketing and sales strategy towards your audience’s needs.
A good way to identify your audience’s pain points is to walk yourself through your market’s experience and the steps which lead them from an interest in your product to making a purchase. You can perform this task by creating a customer journey map. A customer journey map lays out the steps your buyer's experience as they progress through your SaaS sales funnel from prospects to customers. The path of a customer’s journey includes:
At each step in this process, your customer can encounter pitfalls which impede their forward progress towards retention. Examples include:
For SaaS marketing, the most critical part of the customer journey is their initial contact with your brand and website. Your marketing outreach must address the pain points which led them to seek out a solution such as that offered by your brand or competing brands.
Pain points will vary by industry, audience, and other variables, but some common ones include:
You can develop variations on these general categories specific to your industry and audience. You may also be able to identify special categories of pain points unique to your audience or industry. Build your audience’s pain points into your marketing content development and your sales material.
At each stage of your customer’s journey, they may use specific keywords to search for the information they need. For example:
By identifying keyword terms typical of each stage of your customer’s journey, you can develop content to address their needs at each point. This can promote more effective marketing and sales as well as higher customer satisfaction and retention.
For efficient keyword research, it’s important to use the right tools. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the most important ones:
Use these tools to develop a list of keywords to guide content development. For best results, work with a marketing agency experienced with the use of these tools.
Before using your keywords to develop content, you should develop measurable goals for your content campaigns. This will enable you to align your campaigns with your marketing goals and to evaluate campaign performance.
Some key performance indicators(KPIs) are standard for content marketing in any industry, such as the number of unique visitors, session duration and bounce rate. These KPIs are also relevant to the SaaS industry. However, a few marketing metrics are particularly important for SaaS. These include:
CAC and LCR use specific equations:
The formula for CAC can be expressed as:
CAC = MC / CA
Where MC represents your marketing costs over a given period and CA represents the number of customers acquired for that marketing expenditure.
This can be calculated for total marketing costs, or it can be segregated by variables such as cost per campaign or per marketing channel. For instance, you might track how many acquisitions you generate for your expenditures on developing a particular content piece or promoting your content on a particular social platform. This type of information can help you determine where to best spend your marketing investment.
The formula for LCR can be expressed as:
LCR = C / L
Where C represents the number of conversions and L represents lead opportunities, yielding a percentage rate.
This can be calculated for different types of conversions and opportunities. For example, you might define a conversion as a free trial registration and an opportunity as a visit to your website and then calculate LCR based on how many free trial registrations you get per visit. You could narrow this down to visits to a particular page on your site if you wanted to track the effectiveness of a sales page, for instance.
When you know your conversion rate as well as the traffic volume you’re getting, you know how much you need to invest to generate a specific number of conversions and the corresponding amount of revenue. You can also identify which content is generating the highest conversion rates and focus your investment on promoting it.
Once you know what keywords you need to target and what measurable goals you’re aiming for, you can begin producing keyword-oriented content to achieve your goals. To facilitate content creation, set up a step-by-step production process and procedures. Steps in the content production process include:
For each step in this process, create and document standard operating procedures. To optimize your procedures, use a project management platform to communicate with your content creation team.
When conducting research, don’t neglect the use of voice search as a research tool. This can sometimes speed up your research process.
When creating your content calendar, use your audience analysis and list of keyword targets to plan and prioritize your content creation sequence. To attract a wider audience, develop a mix of content for different media, including short-form blogs, long-form blogs, how-to guides, e-books, images and videos. Avoid scheduling content too far in advance, so that you can be agile in making adjustments to recent developments in your market.
When recruiting talent, you will get the most leverage if you can recruit freelancers who are thought leaders in your industry. Look for authors of content on topics related to yours.
When creating content, set a goal for each piece, such as increasing brand awareness, generating leads or educating your target audience. Draw from your research into audience pain points to ensure that your content addresses your market’s needs.
When scheduling content, set a regular, sustainable publication schedule. Estimate how much content you need to create per month to meet your marketing goals and how much you can afford to create with your budget and staff resources.
Your distribution strategy defines where and how frequently you will publish and promote your content. Your strategy should address issues such as:
Save time on distribution by using a marketing automation platform to upload content to your website and social media profiles.
To ensure that your marketing investment is achieving the results you want, it’s essential to monitor the performance of your campaigns. You can do this by setting up a reporting system which tracks the key performance indicators you established when setting the goals of your campaign. For instance, if your goal is to increase free software trial registrations, include that KPI in your campaign results tracking.
Use an analytics software tool with a dashboard that allows you to create customized displays and reports tracking your desired KPIs. Establish a regular review procedure to review the results of your campaigns.
If you find that your results aren’t achieving your goals, take the opportunity to make adjustments. Identify which of your content pieces are generating the best results, and focus your marketing budget on promoting them. Use them as templates to replicate your success with other content.
At the same time, you can improve the performance of underperforming pieces by doing split-testing to test how making changes affects performance. You may find that a small change such as a different headline, slant or image generates better results.
In this guide, we’ve covered the essential information you need to know to conduct a winning SaaS content marketing campaign. We began by analyzing how SaaS content marketing differs from other forms of marketing. This difference was rooted in the fact that SaaS marketing carries the dual burden of promoting both digital products and the supporting customer service backing those products. SaaS marketing further focuses on the end goal of promoting repeat business through subscription or license renewals. In addition to these key factors, we observed that SaaS marketing depends heavily on educating prospects, generating SEO results, alleviating customer risk concerns and eliciting favorable reviews.
We went on to identify the seven key components of an effective SaaS content marketing strategy:
In each of these areas, we covered best practices that support successful execution. Respectively, these included:
By following these steps, you can optimize your SaaS content marketing to maximize your lead acquisition, conversion rates and profits. If you need help developing your content marketing campaigns, SimpleTiger specializes in helping B2B SaaS companies develop customized SEO strategies that get results. To get started, take a few minutes to fill out our online discovery form and schedule a strategy session to talk to our experts about how we can help you increase your content marketing results.