Content marketing is an approach with clear returns on investment. By now, businesses have a large and growing body of data that convincingly shows how it can earn, and keep, your SaaS product’s target audience.
Content marketing doesn’t just create new customers and conversions—with the right kind of content, you can develop a strong and ongoing relationship with your target audience, fostering the kind of brand loyalty that any company would envy.
But content marketing has never been a one-size-fits-all strategy. While the returns on investment are clear, content marketing is an approach that does best with authentic engagement and thoughtful customization.
Delivering content that draws in your target audience requires knowing their needs, their pain points, and what excites them. It also requires a healthy dose of self-awareness about your business. A content strategy is built on knowing how your customers find you, how you can address their needs, and how you can build a dialogue with them.
Content marketing works—now make it work for your SaaS.
While these details will be different for every company, there are a few distinct trends to examine. In particular, SaaS companies have some unique characteristics that mean a successful approach to content marketing may look a little different. Customers searching for SaaS products may be in a wider variety of places in their buyers’ journey. Any approach to providing targeted content needs to take these differences into account.
Also, brand authority and brand loyalty are even more important with SaaS products. That’s because you’re not just selling software—you’re selling a service. Potential SaaS customers need to understand not just the value of the product itself, but also the value of an ongoing relationship with your business.
So how is content marketing for a SaaS product different from content marketing for other types of businesses? And how can you fine-tune your content marketing strategy to succeed for your SaaS product? Let’s find out.
What makes content marketing successful?
Making your content marketing efforts successful doesn’t require any special skills or tricks. Just proven tactics.
Understanding your target audience.
Before tweaking a content marketing strategy for a SaaS product, it helps to understand the basics of any effective content marketing approach. To create content that your target audience wants to engage with, you need to understand what they’re looking for. That means careful research into their goals, pain points, and workflows.
This kind of customer intel doesn’t just help you find your ideal clients. It also gives you clues to develop your product’s best features, convert leads into sales, and differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace.
The buyer’s journey.
What your potential customers are looking for is just as important as where they are in the process of finding it. No one wants to run into a hard sales pitch when they’re just trying to understand their options. That’s more likely to turn a customer off to your product than turn into a sale. But by the same token, attempting to educate someone who’s already prepared to buy is an unnecessary hurdle.
A successful content marketing approach develops content that’s appropriate for every stage of the buyer’s journey. That means that you can engage with consumers at any point along the spectrum, and give them the right starting point for learning about why you’re their best option.
Search engine optimization.
Finally, your content can’t do its work if no one is seeing it. The top priority is for your content to be readable and relevant to your audience. But it’s also crucial that it be friendly to the algorithms that will help people find it.
Google is the first and often only tool of choice for people researching their options. Without proper SEO, Google won’t find your content, or won’t view it as relevant to your audience’s search. And if that happens, your content marketing strategy will never have a chance to work.
SaaS products have slightly different content marketing needs.
Marketing a SaaS product is slightly different than marketing other products. SaaS products are almost entirely digital. Because of this, all the considerations that apply to finding and researching products online apply even more to a SaaS.
The potential customers for your SaaS product can and will do a lot of research on their own. And that’s great! Your perfect clients are searching for you just as actively as you’re searching for them. But that knowledge does introduce a factor that you need to be aware of.
Specifically, any potential audience is likely to be at a greater variety of points along the buyer’s journey than they might be in more traditional marketing landscapes. It’s essential to be ready for them with the right mix of content that targets every step along the way.
And finally, a SaaS isn’t just a one-time purchase—you’re selling a service, a relationship, along with your product.
Optimize your digital presence.
SaaS products are, by nature, largely online. That’s great news for your content marketing strategy, since it will be one of the most significant ways people will engage with your product. But that also means that your approach to search engine optimization needs to be carefully considered. Search engines will, in many cases, be the first way that potential customers find your business—so SEO becomes absolutely crucial for any content marketing you choose to do.
Successful SEO hinges on a thorough understanding of your audience’s search intent. Knowing what your ideal customers are looking for helps you create content that will match their needs. And depending on how much research your potential buyer has already completed, those needs often align around the steps of the buyer’s journey.
Target multiple stages of the buyer’s journey.
Aiming just to rank highly for popular keywords related to your product is an incomplete—and, ultimately, inefficient—SEO strategy. It’s more important to dig into the intent behind your potential customers’ searches. That way, you can focus on the places where you know your product is the right answer to their question.
In some instances, that may mean educating your audience at a high level about your product. But it’s more likely—even more likely than it is for non-SaaS products—to mean precisely targeted content that addresses a specific need.
Downloadable resources can help you demonstrate the value of your expertise to knowledgeable customers. A detailed checklist, or a template schedule, that solves a common problem for them goes a long way. They may also benefit from a detailed breakdown of exactly why your product can do the pivotal task that their current solution can’t.
At first glance, content that targets these so-called “bottom of the funnel” or “long-tail” keywords might seem too niche. But it engages customers that already have a strong understanding of the value your product can provide.
Potential SaaS buyers have often done a lot of their homework already, and are looking to solve a very specific problem when they begin searching. If you can position yourself as the answer to that problem, it may be simpler than expected to earn their business.
Build an ongoing relationship.
Content marketing is a process that can’t be rushed. It can take as much as nine months of consistent, high-quality content creation to raise your domain’s visibility and authority. It also takes time for your SEO strategies to fully mature, and your pages to begin ranking the way you want them to. But that’s why it’s important to think of content marketing as part of a larger approach to your customer base, and not just a one-time marketing checkbox.
Content marketing, done well, is a way for your brand to build a relationship with the people who care about it most. Good content creates an ongoing, engaging conversation with your most loyal customers. And the information benefits both sides, helping you fine-tune a product that your clients genuinely like to use, and communicating the information you want your customers to know.
This is especially important for the service portion of software-as-a-service, because you’re not just selling software. You’re attempting to convince your potential customer that they should invest in more than the tools that your product provides. You’re asking them to invest in an ongoing relationship with your brand.
To that end, it’s important that your content provides continued value to your customers. They need a reason to keep coming back to you—one that’s authentic, and doesn’t feel artificially-enforced. Your expertise adds value to their purchase of your product.
In order to come across as authoritative and genuine, your content should reflect a deep understanding of your customers’ industry, their pain points, needs, and longer-term goals. Which brings it all back, full circle, to customer intel. It’s near-impossible to display this level of expertise without thorough, thoughtful research into your target audience.
A well-designed content marketing strategy can shine for your SaaS.
Content marketing is a proven strategy for increasing qualified leads and building a strong relationship with your target audience. It’s an approach that can be especially effective for software-as-a-service products, by virtue of its strong digital presence, flexibility, and customer-focused approach.
The unique strengths of content marketing for SaaS products depend on robust and thoughtful market research. To find your ideal audience and, more importantly, to authentically address their most pressing needs, it’s important to invest time in understanding what your potential customers are looking for.
When you genuinely understand your audience, you can create high-quality content that speaks to their needs and helps develop trust. The increased brand authority that results will create more qualified leads for your business, and a loyal customer base that will continue to grow your SaaS product into the future.
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