Content Marketing for SaaS: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Marketing

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Contents

18 min read

Content marketing for SaaS requires a great deal of thought and planning.

This is a technical industry, and to be successful, you need to communicate the key benefits of your product/ service clearly and concisely.

If customers don’t understand how your product works, they won’t buy into it.

Communicating the benefits in this sector is highly important, as SaaS products can be confusing.

This is what makes content marketing such a useful strategy as by creating different types of content, you can inform and educate your audience about your offering.

You can tell them exactly why they should buy into you, whether that’s through a blog post, explainer video, infographic, or animation.

As content marketing is so varied, it provides businesses with a multitude of ways to connect with their end user, without coming across as ‘salesy’.

However, unlike other industries, content marketing for SaaS can be quite tricky.

That’s because there’s so much to think about to ensure you’ve covered all bases.

With that said, let’s explore why content marketing for SaaS is so important.
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Why Is Content Marketing for Saas Important?

Content marketing for SaaS is so important, as you need to create creative and engaging content.

This space can involve a lot of technical language and jargon, which immediately disengages and confuses your audience.

Put yourself in your customers shoes.

If you don’t understand the very basics of how something works, you’ll not buy it. Even if it’s the best product in the world, and it can greatly enhance your life, you’ll be uninterested because you simply don’t ‘get it’.

When you’re working in the SaaS industry, it can be easy to over assume and overestimate how much your customers know.

However, when it comes to content marketing for SaaS you need to start with the very basics, and explain your product or service in an easy-to-understand, clear way.

The very premise of content marketing is to educate and inform, and both of these principles need to be remembered every time you create a piece of content.

Whilst this might seem like a steep hill to climb, there are numerous successful SaaS businesses who have got their content marketing bang on:

Content marketing is a powerful lead generation tool, and it can be used to move prospects through your SaaS sales funnel.

So, it’s no wonder that so many businesses are using content marketing as part of their business strategy.

85% of large SaaS businesses own a blog. – SaaSX.com

Why Is Content Marketing for SaaS Different from Other industries?

Content marketing for SaaS is different from other industries for various reasons.

Essentially, on the surface, SaaS seems to revolve around selling a product. However, there’s so much more to it than this.

Take Sky for example, one of the company’s listed above.

Whilst customers are interested in Sky products (such as Sky Go, Sky Sports, Sky Movies etc), they are also highly interested in the support and customer service that comes with it.

For example, if a customer logs themselves out of their Sky Go Account and they need to reset their log in details, they’ll have to get in touch with the team at Sky.

Similarly, if a customer has some questions about unknown charges on their bill, they would have to get in touch with the team at Sky.

Therefore, SaaS marketing must focus on both the product itself (such as Sky Go in this example) and the support behind it.

Other reasons why content marketing for SaaS is important, includes:

  • You’re selling both technology and a service.
  • Your marketing must focus on SEO.
  • You must educate your customers through marketing.
  • Your sales rely heavily on reviews.
  • You have to address customer risk.
  • Your marketing strategy must promote repeat customers.

As a result, selling a product is only half the battle.

You also need to sell the quality of your service.

When customers are choosing providers, they value customer service and support highly. As we’ve touched on above, this is because SaaS products can be very technical and confusing.

SaaS buyers also do their research before investing in your products and services, which makes SEO a critical part of an effective SaaS content marketing strategy.

Customers will usually find your company through digital content such as ebooks, whitepapers, and website reviews, so you must focus on optimising these sources to attract your target audience.
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How Can I Create an Effective Saas Content Marketing Strategy?

Now you understand why content marketing for SaaS is important, it’s time to start devising an effective content marketing strategy.

From defining your target audience, to creating content, to monitoring your campaigns, there’s a lot to get right.

That’s why we’ve broken this process down into a simple step-by-step guide.

1. Identify your target audience

Understanding your target audience is the foundation of a successful SaaS content marketing strategy.

Without knowing who your audience is, you won’t know who you’re selling to.

This means you’re acting on a whim and creating content that you think will work, instead of being targeted and strategic.

When creating your target audience, ask yourself:

  • Is my ideal buyer a business or consumer buyer?
  • How old are they?
  • What is their gender?
  • What is their income?
  • Where do they work?
  • What is their job role?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • Which social media channels do they use?
  • Which websites do they visit?

This might seem like a lot of information to drill down!

To help you determine your ideal buyer, we’ve put together a free customer persona template.

Simply input your own information and start creating campaigns that are tailored to the needs of your audience.

You can also take advantage of analytical tools to help you understand more about your audience. For example, Facebook provides a whole wealth of insights including the gender of your audience and their age range.

As such, you can create content that appeals to this group of people instead of trying a scattergun approach.
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2. Address pain points

Your product or service needs to help ease your audience’s pain points.

Essentially, it needs to draw on a problem that they currently have, which then allows you to position your brand as the solution.

For example, if you’re Mailchimp, then you recognise that sending large volumes of personalised emails would be time consuming and tedious. However, with the Mailchimp platform you can do this in an instant, which allows businesses to connect with a large number of people in half the time.

When customers are choosing SaaS providers, it’s usually because what they currently have isn’t doing the job.

Therefore, by understanding your audience’s pain points, you can gear your marketing strategy to fulfill their needs.

To help you identify the issues your audience face, you should walk yourself through their experience. This helps you understand how they move from having an initial interest in your business, to actually making a purchase.

This involves creating a customer journey map which details each stage of the process.

This includes:

  • Awareness of your brand/ product
  • Visiting your website (which is why SEO is key)
  • Developing an interest in your brand, and signing up for a free trial/ product demo
  • Converting to a long-term paying customer
  • Actively adopting your product
  • Expanding the use of your product by adopting its new features
  • Contacting customer service about any issues with the product
  • Deciding either to renew the product subscription or cancel it

With any customer journey, there will be pitfalls on the way which can stop a prospect from progressing into a customer.

For instance, if prospects find your website difficult to navigate, the likelihood is that they won’t get much further than your homepage. They’ll soon become frustrated with the terrible user experience, and bounce back onto Google.

Another roadblock in the customer journey can be poor customer service. If a customer rings your support team to ask for help, and they’re not satisfied with the response, this can also cut their journey short as they’ll look elsewhere.

Any of these issues would halt a customer, and could prevent them from progressing on their journey. That’s why essentially each stage of their journey is optimised to retain their interest.

What Are Some Examples of Customer Pain Points?

Pain points will vary depending on your audience and industry.

However, some of the most common pain points are outlined below:

  • Labour pain points, such as excessive work required to use a current SaaS product
  • Emotional pain points, such as frustration with user experience of a current product
  • Time management pain points, such as wasted time due to set up and inefficiency
  • Learning curve pain points, such as difficulty learning how to use a SaaS solution due to poor customer support
  • Technical pain points, such as the inability to integrate a SaaS solution with the desired application
  • Customer service pain points with present SaaS provider or past providers

By understanding these pain points, you can build on them in your own content marketing strategy.

You can be the company that provides good customer service, delivers thorough training, and charges a competitive price.
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3. Conduct keyword analysis

At each stage of your customer’s journey, they will use keywords when searching for the information they need.

When customers are buying products or services in the SaaS market, the first thing they usually do is take to Google. Even once they have adopted your product, Google still remains their primary source of information.

For instance, SaaS buyers will take to Google when:

  • They first become aware of your brand to find out how your product can address their pain points.
  • After discovering your brand to read testimonials and product reviews.
  • They start using your product to find information about how to set it up.
  • They actively adopt your product to find out how to work different features and functionality.
  • They experience issues with your customer service to find alternative solutions.
  • They come to renew the product to find out instructions on the renewal process.

Therefore, identifying target keywords is vital as you can use these keywords to answer your customer’s search queries.

When conducting keyword research there are various tools you can use.

For example, at Canny, we use Ahrefs – an online SEO tool which enables us to explore target keywords relevant to the SaaS market.

Using this platform, we can search for keywords in specific locations (which is useful for international SEO), and we can also snoop on what your competitors are doing to spot any missed opportunities.

However, there are other keyword research tools available such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Moz.

Whichever platform you decide to use for keyword research, you should partner with a marketing agency who has experience using these tools.

It’s important you identify the right keywords that will generate the right kind of traffic, and whilst this might seem easy on the surface, there are so many factors that you need to consider.

For instance, getting lots of traffic for a keyword is one thing, but is the search intent right?

For the best results, leave it up to the experts.
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4. Set campaign goals

Before you start delving into producing content, you need to set some actionable goals.

This allows you to identify exactly what you’re trying to achieve with your content, so that you can measure the effectiveness of different campaigns.

This is essential when working out what’s performing and what’s not, so that you can tweak your future SaaS content marketing strategy accordingly.

Some Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are standard for content marketing across any industry such as number of site visitors, bounce rate, and number of clicks.

However, there are some KPIs that are unique to the SaaS industry.

These include:

  • Free trial registrations – These can then be segregated to identify customer requests coming from different pages on your site such as your blog or downloads page.
  • Software demo requests – These can be segregated in the same way as free trial registrations.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – This measures how your marketing costs compare to the customers you acquire as a result of that expenditure.Lead Conversion Rate (LCR) – This means how many prospects convert into customers after visiting your website, opting into your email marketing, or registering for a trial/ product demo.

To calculate your CAC, follow the below formula:

CAC = MC divided by CA

MC stands for ‘marketing costs’ which is the amount of money you spend on acquiring customers, and CA stands for ‘customer acquisition’, which is the amount of customers you gain as a result of your expenditure.

Whilst this can be calculated for total marketing costs, it can also be used to calculate the effectiveness of specific marketing campaigns.

For example, you might want to measure how many customers you gained as a result of producing an explainer video. This can be highly useful as it helps you better distribute your marketing spend.

To calculate your LCR, follow the below formula:

LCR = C divided by L

In this scenario, C stands for number of conversions, and L is the number of lead opportunities. As such, this results in a percentage which can be used for different types of conversions and opportunities.

For example, you might class a form submission as a conversion, and someone visiting your website as an opportunity. Therefore, you can calculate your LCR based on how many people submit a form after visiting your website.

You can also use this formula to measure the effectiveness of specific pages on your website so you can optimise them further.

When you know your conversion rate, and the amount of traffic you’re getting, you know how much you need to invest to generate a certain number of conversions corresponding to the amount of revenue.

You can concentrate on which pieces of content are generating the highest conversion rates and focus your spend on promoting it.
woman sat outside in front of camera

5. Produce content

Once you have identified your target keywords (#3), and you know what goals you’re trying to achieve (#4), you can start creating content.

This involves:

  1. Researching topics that are relevant to your audience
  2. Create a content planning calendar which will keep you on track
  3. Use a content marketing agency
  4. Choose what types of content you to create (videos, blogs, ebooks)
  5. Schedule your content and post regularly
  6. Share your content on social media, and in your email newsletter
  7. Update and repurpose your content to increase usability and visibility

To be as effective as possible with your content marketing efforts, make sure you create a mix of content formats.

For example, let’s say your MailChimp.

You could produce an explainer video about how your platform works and how users can set up their own campaigns.

You could then write a blog post about the process and publish it on your website in case people prefer reading information rather than listening to it.

You can then share an infographic on social media about the set up process in an easy-to-understand, visual format, which allows people to see the main steps in half of the time.

As you can see, from one idea, you’ve created 3 different types of content. This means you’re squeezing every last drop out of your content, and getting it in front of as many people as possible.

Remember, every single piece of content should be helping you accomplish a specific goal.

Whether that’s increasing brand awareness or generating more sales, it needs to serve a purpose.

6. Distribute content

Your distribution strategy is all about how you plan to get your content in front of your target audience.

It’s no good creating a winning blog post that’s full of great content and visuals, if no one is going to see it!

You also need to think about how frequently you’re going to publish your content to make sure you promote it to as many people as possible.

Let’s take a look at what you need to consider when devising your distribution strategy:

  1. Where will your content sit on your website? Will it be on your blog, on a product page, or in the downloads section?
  2. Is all of your content readily available or will users need to provide their details in exchange for some content? I.e. giving their email address in exchange for an ebook.
  3. How will you distribute and promote your content? Consider platforms such as your social media, your newsletter, your website, and guest blogging.

You can save lots of time distributing and promoting your content by using an automation tool.

At Canny, we use Hootsuite to draft and schedule our social media posts. As we use a number of different platforms to promote our content, this allows us to schedule posts across various channels in half of the time.

Imagine having to log into each individual platform to edit and schedule each post.

It would be so much more time consuming, and this way, we can access a dashboard that displays all of our social channels in one place.

Aside from Hootsuite, there are lots of automation tools which can help make your job easier. We’ve put together your list of some of the best content creation tools to improve different manual processes.
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7. Monitor and optimise campaign performance

To ensure your marketing budget is well spent, and you’re getting a good ROI, you need to compose marketing reports. This allows you to collate all of your data to make sure you’re hitting the goals you’ve set.

These goals are entirely dependent on the needs of your business, so it’s about sitting down and working out what you want to achieve.

For example, if your goal is to improve the sales of a particular product, then make sure this KPI is being tracked so you can include it in your report.

As you’ll be measuring lots of different KPI’s at once, it can get very confusing. You should create an effective marketing dashboard that allows you to see all of the data in one central place. Make sure to review this dashboard on a regular basis, so you can make adjustments where necessary.

For instance, if there’s a piece of content that’s working particularly well, then build more content around this topic.

Equally, if there’s a piece of content that’s underperforming, explore strategies to improve it. This could include A/B testing to see how certain adjustments affect the performance of your content.

Something as small as changing a headline, an image, or an angle, can make all of the difference.

Monitoring the effectiveness of your campaigns is an integral part of content marketing for SaaS, as you need to concentrate on areas that generate the most value.

This also helps you justify your expenditure to your boss, as they’ll be interested in knowing where the budget is being spent.
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Content Marketing for SaaS: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Content marketing for SaaS is vital, as it allows you to provide useful information to your audience, without overwhelming them with tech talk and jargon.

Sure, if you work at Sky, then you’ll know the benefits of fast download speeds and being able to sync different mobile devices, but your customer might not.

However, by producing content, you can create step-by-step, easy instructions that give them all of the information they need to become a repeat customer.

If they feel valued by you, and supported throughout the process, they are more likely to choose to use you as their provider in the future.

Therefore, content marketing bridges the gap between you and your customers and allows you to nurture the relationship as they move through your SaaS sales funnel.

By following the above steps in this blog post, you’re sure to produce effective content marketing for SaaS that not only wins customers, but also keeps them.

At Canny we’ve worked with various companies in the SaaS market. Take our client, Leaf IT for example, who wanted to educate their clients about the benefits of cloud computing and IT services. As a result of rebranding, and by devising a content strategy, the team at Canny have successfully generated a consistent lead flow for the business.

Wish this was you? Get in touch with the team to find out how we can help.