When it comes to SaaS, you offer a service with possible long-term prospects rather than just a product. This can provoke additional issues with customer expectations and fears.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at ways you can use to create an efficient content marketing strategy.
Content marketing and its importance for SaaS
CoBloom has performed an analysis of 250 big SaaS market players to reveal the percentage of organic search visits various SaaS blogs attract.
The analysis has shown that the gap between top and bottom blogs is huge: the top 10 percent of them have attracted about 46,000 visits, and the bottom 10 percent have attracted just seven. The gap seems to widen the higher up the list we look, with the average number of visits for a blog at 573.
This is where the importance of adequate content marketing shows the most. A good blog, for example, can become a really powerful tool for generating leads.
The basic principle behind it is simple — when you can convey the value behind your service effectively without looking too much like a salesman, you create strong bonds between your company and customers. Further customer engagement can be conducted via the sales funnel.
Today almost any SaaS business uses content creation to enhance their marketing. About 90 percent of the biggest SaaS market players keep a blog for content, though only a relatively small share of those actually does produce useful leads.
The task of creating content for a SaaS project is not a trivial one. It needs to simultaneously be professional enough and creative at the same time, to keep the reader both interested and convinced in the author’s competency.
Besides, the SaaS market is huge, and it produces an immense amount of content. To be successful, a blog would need to stand out from the crowd.
Steps to create a perfect SaaS content marketing strategy
So, what are the steps you might want to take to get your SaaS content marketing to the next level? Let’s get it straightened out.
Step 1: Get to know your customer
One of the first things you need to do when developing a Saas content marketing strategy, and also one of the most important ones is to clearly define who your customers are.
First of all, there are two distinct categories of customer bases — B2C (Business to Customer) and B2B (Business to Business). It is really important to define the customer base category for your future content because the content focus in these two cases will be very different.
When you create a content marketing strategy for B2C, your content will communicate directly with the customer, and in the case of B2B, you’re creating content for quite a narrow assortment of people, professionals with a deep understanding of your business.
As a rule of thumb, it’s easier to create content for B2C, but your audience tends to be somewhat less loyal than with B2B.
Getting a deep understanding of your customer means better marketing of your product or service compared to your competitors.
Step 2: Create a Buyer Persona
After defining your potential base of customers, it would be wise to construct a buyer persona. In the end, the content you generate is targeted at real, living people. The way you perceive your final customer will determine the tone of your communication, and, as a result, the way you approach content production for SaaS as a whole.
Buyer personas must be constructed on the basis of real people. Anything helps here: gather information online, arrange meetings with potential target audience representatives, conduct surveys, etc.
The goal here is to understand the pains of your target audience, and what they relate to; after accomplishing that, creating on-point content will become much easier.
Step 3: Determine long-term goals
An efficient SaaS project needs energy and resource focus in the right direction. In order to achieve that, you need to determine its long-term objectives.
There are several long-term objectives potentially important to a SaaS company:
- Create a product that addresses essential world problems.
- Effectively use SEO to get good leads.
- Use specialized content and subsequent funnel to turn visitors into customers.
- Keep customers engaged by maintaining the high value of delivered services and surpassing expectations.
Step 4: Set performance metrics
The best way to see how effective your business activities are is by using KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). They will vary for different SaaS companies, depending on their specific processes, therefore, it’s important to choose them wisely. Here are some crucial metrics:
Rate of attrition
Also called churn rate, this metric shows how many customers are halting doing business with your company.
The particularities of the SaaS market make it really cumbersome for clients to switch platforms. Therefore, clients are rarely doing that, and if it is the case, your product obviously has some fundamental issues which require immediate attention.
Monthly Recurring Revenue or MRR
SaaS projects tend to use MRR instead of a simple monthly revenue metric because with SaaS the prospects of future revenue are more important.
This metric is directly related to content marketing. If your blog is doing well and promotes brand awareness, you will see more signups, and your MRR will grow.
Cost per acquisition (CPA)
Content marketing requires a lot of money, that’s why it is important to choose the right channels for it. To track that, you need to analyze your campaigns meticulously and their costs per acquisition.
Divide your total expenses on sales and marketing by the number of acquired customers and you get your CPA.
Revenue per customer
This metric shows how much revenue you have obtained from existing clients. This is a thing to focus on after you’ve already determined a good channel for customer acquisition and have your rate of attrition in check.
Lifetime Value (LTV)
LTV is obtained by combining the rate of attrition with average revenue per client and shows the total expected revenue from a SaaS product over its lifecycle.
Step 5: Plan your keyword strategy
Content marketing strategy must rely heavily on SEO, therefore, researching the right keywords is crucial. You must use keywords throughout your whole sales funnel, but they are going to play slightly different roles at each stage.
- Funnel top: here keywords need to cover high-level topics, to get your new visitors acquainted with your brand.
- Funnel middle: here the role of keywords changes towards assisting sales and support feedback. This way you can more effectively address particular problems that your product helps with.
- Funnel bottom: at this stage, keywords, and content overall must become even more specific and product-oriented to help customers work with the product and use its features.
Step 6: Define the desired path of your customers and plan content for each stage
In an ideal scenario, your customer must walk a predetermined path towards purchasing your product or service. Planning this path and making provisions for it to happen is crucial for success, and such a plan must describe each step.
Here are some typical steps of a customer’s path for SaaS marketing:
Stage of becoming aware
At the top of the sales funnel lies product awareness. Content at this stage is quite generic and engaging and must include all the most popular industry keywords. It can come in the form of blog posts, how-to guides, etc. It is also a good stage to figure out your video content strategy.
The main goal here is “make them know”. After that is accomplished, the next step is “make them interested”, leading us to the lead generation stage
Lead generation stage
Lead generation starts in the middle of the sales funnel. At this stage, you need to really engage the customer and get their interest. The content you generate needs to become more in-depth and serve as a lead magnet. At this stage, it should include free consultations, case studies, newsletters, and deep articles.
When you get them interested, let them have a free trial.
Free trial stage
At this point, you must’ve already created a certain level of rapport with your potential client. The best thing to do here would be to let them try your services for free: this way they can better understand if your product is right for them.
Subsequently, the content here should cover your pricing and provide comparisons with other products and reviews of other customers.
Conversion and retention stage
After the trial, it is time to bring your customer to purchase. At this point, all the content must be focused on the product/service you provide: video demonstrations, webinars, consultations, etc.
While it is really desired for other business models to have recurring customers, in the case of SaaS they are absolutely vital. Support your customers with care and provide them with new features regularly to make sure they stay loyal.
Step 7: Provide search engine optimization (SEO)
You need to get a lot of organic search traffic, there’s no way around it. If you want your SaaS content marketing campaign to be a success, give SEO top priority.
At the core of SEO lies getting your website to include all the top-used keywords for your industry, both on-page, and off-page.
SEO is the process of optimizing your site to rank for the target keywords and involves many on-page and off-page factors. Of course, there are other ways of getting traffic, such as Facebook advertising for example, but SEO is a modern gold standard here, for its predictability and sustainability.
When you’re all done with your content marketing SaaS strategy, it should include clearly defined strategic objectives and performance metrics, be based on a well-thought-out sales funnel and have keywords defined for each stage of the content creation process.
With that out of the way after reading our content marketing guide, you’ll have a strong foundation for your content marketing campaign.