As reported on Winsome Writer Services:
A lot of SaaS companies have adopted content marketing as an integral marketing strategy.
The reason is simple.
Out of all marketing strategies and options out there, content marketing seems to be the most popular and effective.
However, there are still some business owners who wonder how content marketing drives sales for SaaS brands.
Hence, they’re sceptical about investing in content marketing, as they’re unsure if it will produce the best results and have a high ROI in the process.
Well, if you’re in this category, then I have good news for you.
In this post, I want to show you how content marketing drives sales for SaaS brands and how you can replicate the strategy for your business.
Let’s get started.
Content Marketing and Sales: Why You Need a Strategy to Make it Work
If you want to increase sales for your SaaS brand through content marketing, then you need a content marketing strategy.
This is because a content marketing strategy is the core of all your saas marketing efforts. Without one, chances are that you won’t be able to create relevant content.
Not only that, without a content marketing strategy, you can’t define who your ideal audience is and how you can help them to solve the problems they’re facing.
A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute shows that 65% of B2B content marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy report more success compared to those who don’t.
Although having a content marketing strategy has been identified as a key factor for succeeding with content marketing, most marketers still struggle with it.
According to Marketing Charts, 64% of marketers they recently surveyed say that creating a scalable content strategy is one of their greatest educational needs.
It’s clear from the above that if you want to distinguish yourself as a SaaS marketer, you must have a great content marketing strategy. When you do, you stand a chance of getting more results from content marketing.
7 Best Practices You Must Imbue When Using Content Marketing to Drive Sales for a SaaS Brand
Most SaaS businesses use content marketing to either increase revenue, gain more audience or lower their ads costs. If you’re just getting started and want to do so on the right footing, here are some things you need to put in place.
1. Identify a Content Marketing Goal
This is the first step towards creating an effective content marketing strategy that leads to sales for your business. This is because if you don’t understand what your goal is, creating a content marketing plan will be a tall order for you.
With a content marketing goal, you’re able to map out your strategy and get the best results in the long run.
For example, your goal could be to increase your MRR and ARR by a certain percentage. With a content marketing goal, you’ll highlight exactly the type of content you want to create in order to get there.
When you do, you’ll find it easier to measure your results and improve on it to make it better.
2. Understand and Define Your Target Audience
Defining your ideal target audience (which is known as a buyer persona) helps you to come up with a successful content marketing strategy that drives sales for your SaaS brand.
This is because if you know who you’re creating content for, it becomes easier to do so, and also convert them in the long run.
If you’re just getting started with content marketing, you need to conduct market research. When you do this, you’ll know who your target audience is, what interests them, their motivations, their pain points, and so on.
You can identify your target audience by conducting a survey online. Also, you can join groups and communities where they hang out on social media.
Having a buyer persona as a SaaS business before using content marketing to drive more sales for your business helps a lot.
This video highlights the things you must have in mind before creating a SaaS buyer persona.
Author’s note: If you’ve never created a buyer persona for your SaaS business, you can use Hubspot’s Make My Persona tool to do so from scratch.
3. Perform an Audit of Your Existing Content
One good content marketing practice is to audit your existing content. This is especially useful for you if you’ve been creating content for a while on your website.
With a content audit, all you need to do is highlight the existing content on your website. That way, you can assess it to know exactly what works and what doesn’t. When you do this, it becomes easier to prioritize your future marketing activities.
Not only that, you’ll have a better idea of what to focus on and the new milestones you can set for your business.
By using this tactic alone, Robbie Richards was able to increase one of his client’s traffic by 79%.
4. Choose a System to Manage Your Content
Your content cannot exist in isolation, which is why you need a content management system. This helps you to create, publish, and analyze your content.
There are a lot of content management systems out there such as Wix, Squarespace, Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, and so on.
Out of all these, WordPress is the most recommended, as it’s easy to use and has a lot of functionalities.
Fun fact: WordPress powers 35% of the internet.
5. Research the Kind of Content to Create
You need to figure out the kind of content you want to create before doing so. This step is very important because if you don’t create content that your audience is interested in, chances are that nobody will read it.
And if nobody reads your content, the probability that you’ll drive sales to your SaaS business through this strategy is very slim.
Hence you need to research what your audience is actively searching for before creating any piece of content. This is also known as keyword research.
If you’re just getting started with keyword research, you can use Google auto-suggest to have an insight into what people are searching for.
For example, if your SaaS brand provides solutions for businesses that want to perform link building outreach. Then, you can input the root keyword “link building” into Google and it’ll auto-suggest other keywords that potential users are searching for too.
From the result, you can see that topics such as “link building strategies,” “link building agency,” “link building tools,” and so on are popular with your audience as they’re searching for it.
Also, you can use the “people also ask” section after a Google search, to have an idea of topics to write about.
This shows you the questions that your prospects are searching for on Google. If you can create content around any of these, you have high chances of converting them into sales for your business.
PRO Tip: Use free and paid keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, Answer the Public, BuzzSumo, Moz, Spyfu, SEMrush, and Ahrefs to perform content research.
6. Decide on the Type of Content to Use
There are different types of content marketing. When mapping out your content marketing strategy, you need to decide on the one(s) you want to implement.
Some popular content types include:
Blog postsWhitepapersInfographicsCase studiesEbooksPodcastsVideos ChecklistsInterviewsSocial media postsGifs and MemesOne thing you must keep in mind before choosing a content type to work with is the stage at which your audience is in the content marketing funnel.
For example, if you’re creating content for those in the discovery stage, then you can use educational content such as blog posts and videos.
On the other hand, if you’re targeting those in the decision stage, you can use in-depth content such as case studies and demos.
7. Have a System in Place
If you want your content marketing to lead to more sales for your business, then you need to have a system in place.
This helps you to track your content much better, and also useful for analyzing results.
Having a system in place for your content marketing strategy will fuel it to success.
A great example of content marketing system is an editorial calendar. This helps you to plan who, when, and how you publish your content.
How Content Marketing Drives Sales: 3 Brilliant Examples for SaaS Brands
Having a great content marketing strategy is one of the easiest ways to increase sales for your business. Here are 3 examples of SaaS businesses that used content marketing to reach more users, increase ARR, and dominate their industry.
Example #1: How ActiveCampaign Reached 100,000 Monthly Users through Content Marketing
Every business online wants to attract new users. After all, the more people know that your business exists, the more chances you have of making sales. In the past, companies used flyers, radio jingles, and billboards to get their customers’ attention.
With content marketing, things have changed. Customers these days don’t wait for businesses to advertise to them, rather they seek solutions themselves. In most cases, they start by searching for specific questions on search engines such as Google.
For example, a small business owner who wants to test out an email marketing tool could start with a Google search such as: “How to choose the best email marketing tool.”
With the results such as this from Google, such a person will know exactly what to look out for in an email marketing tool.
On the other hand, if they want to consider the different email marketing tools out there, they can search Google for “email marketing tool”
With this search result, such a person will know the different email marketing tools out there before deciding on the one to go for.
From these examples, you’d see that anyone searching for such a keyword on Google is a potential customer. What that means is that if your SaaS product is an email marketing software, these are the keywords you should target and try to rank for.
When you create content such as this for your audience and optimize it using content marketing, you stand a chance of appearing in the search results. That way, you get more qualified traffic on your website, and will likely drive sales for your business in the process.
A SaaS company which used content marketing to grow their blog is Active Campaign.
Within two years, they increased their organic search traffic from 8,765 to 119,037 visitors.
Here is exactly what the Active Campaign team did to achieve this feat:
1. Focus on publishing long-form blog posts
There are a lot of researches that show that long-form content outperforms short-form content.
A recent survey by Orbit Media indicates that bloggers who write more long-form content of about 2000 words and above, report better results.
Another research by Backlinko buttresses this fact. In an analysis of over 1 million Google search results, they found out that long-form content performs significantly better compared to short-form content.
This is why the Active Campaign team focused on only publishing long-form content. And the results from this has been incredible.
Author’s note: Make sure that your long-form content isn’t fluffy. Offer your readers useful tips and advice to solve their problems.
2. Optimize content for search engines (especially Google):
As a SaaS brand, you should strive to optimize your content for search engines especially Google. After all, they are the most consistent form of traffic.
What do you think people do these days before paying for a product or service? Of course, they perform a Google search.
In fact, recent research by Rand Fishkin shows that Google refers about 57.8% of traffic online.
This shows that Google still remains a big deal, and you should optimize for it to drive more sales through content marketing.
For the Active Campaign team, they prioritized creating content for keywords that their audience is actively searching for in order to rank for it.
Since they have more visitors on their website, they are more likely to drive more sales for their business through this.
Example #2: How Ahrefs Increased an 8-figure ARR by 65% Without a VC using strategic content marketing
If you want more people to know about your brand, then you should use content marketing. Truth is, when people know what your business stands for, they’re more likely to purchase from you.
With content marketing, you can reinforce your brand’s story in the minds of your audience. This you can do by creating valuable pieces of content such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, e-books, and so on.
When you do this, you stand a better chance of reaching more people and building your reputation. This enhances your brand image and growth.
One SaaS brand that has used content marketing to become a house-hold name in the industry which they operate in is Ahrefs.
According to Ahrefs CMO, Tim Soulo, they were able to increase their 8-figure ARR using content marketing.
Here is a breakdown of what the Ahrefs team did to achieve this impressive feat.
1. Make Sure Your Product is Awesome
If you want to use content marketing to drive sales for your SaaS business, then you should focus on your product’s quality. The reason is simple. Your marketing could lead to more signups for your business, but your product will determine if they’ll eventually remain as customers.
And if you have a great product, chances are that your early customers will tell others about what you do.
For Ahrefs, they focused on this strategy during the early days of their CMO, Tim Soulo. For a year, Tim focused on improving Ahrefs as a product and its overall user experience.
Here is an example
2. Understand Your Audience’s Pain Points
You can only get the best results from content marketing sales if you understand your audience’s pain points. If you don’t, chances are that your content won’t resonate with them.
For Ahrefs, understanding what SEOs want was a key factor in making them one of the industry leaders in a competitive niche. Tim was everywhere their potential customers hang out, and was ready to listen to feedback about their product and how they could improve on it.
In fact, he created a thread on Reddit just to hear people’s opinions about Ahrefs, and has made it a custom to do so till date.
3. Create Content that Shows Your Audience How to Use Your Product
This is one area that SaaS businesses who use content marketing to drive sales fail to capitalize on. A lot of SaaS companies only create top-of-the-funnel content that converts thousands of visitors to their blogs.
Truth is, in most cases, these website visitors do not convert to buyers. The reason is simple. If someone doesn’t understand how exactly your product can help them or what they can do with it, they won’t consider signing up for it.
For Ahrefs, they took a different approach and excelled at it. All they did was to educate their audience on how to solve common SEO problems using Ahrefs. That way, they’re portraying the tool as a must-have for SEOs.
For instance, this keyword research guide shows you exactly how to perform keyword research from scratch, and how Ahrefs can help you with that.
Author’s note: Use Case Studies is effective and can really go a long way if strategically used.
Example #3: how drift Dominated a $1.7 Billion SaaS Industry with unique content marketing strategy
When you dominate your niche, chances are that you’d make more sales as a SaaS brand.
This is exactly what content marketing can do for your SaaS business if utilized properly as it helps to position your brand as a helpful resource for your audience.
Hence, the more valuable content you put out there, the more trust you build with your potential customers. Even if they don’t convert to sales for your business immediately, they’ll eventually come back to you in the long run.
As a business owner using content marketing as a strategy, you should strive to answer the questions your customers are asking in a unique way. That way, you build a relationship with them before converting them into sales.
Also, when you answer your potential client’s questions, they’ll be more confident and interested in working with you.
This is what Drift did to become a $1.7 billion chatbot company.
In fact, they now have over 50,000 businesses that use their platform.
Here is exactly how Drift used content marketing as a sales machine.
1. Use a Marketing Message that Distinguishes You From Competitors
Before the entry of Drift into the chatbot industry, other businesses referred to themselves as chatbots. Drift was different and referred to their product as a “conversational marketing tool.”
Due to this, people began paying attention to them as they seem unique. Not only that, when you mention the conversational marketing tool, Drift comes to mind.
2. Create a Marketing Campaign that Resonates With Your Target Audience
To succeed with content marketing, then you should create a marketing campaign that your audience will understand.
This is what Drift did by creating a unique campaign that positions them as the “new way businesses buy from businesses”
In fact, a lot of their audience identify with it on various social media platforms.
3. Build a Solid Relationship With Your Audience
Another way to drive more sales for your business using content marketing is to build a lasting relationship with your audience. This helps you become the “go-to” brand in your industry.
For Drift, they published a free ebook “This Won’t Scale” which emphasizes the core message for their target audience.
Doing this, helped their target audience understand what makes them different from other competitors out there.
Finally, Content Marketing Should Help You Drive More Sales
In this post, I have shared with you how content marketing drives sales for SaaS businesses and how you can replicate the same for your brand.
When you do, you’d remain competitive, attract new users to your website, become an industry leader, and increase your ARR.
Although the content marketing cycle can take time, it’s a worthwhile journey.
One thing you should note is that, when you use content marketing strategy for your business, it can become a sales pipeline for you.
This is what we do at Winsome Writer Services, and you can get in touch with us to create and implement a content marketing strategy that attracts new users, nurture them to become leads and then convert them into sales for your business.
Source: Winsome Writer Services
Author: AbdulGaniy Shehu
Date: 2020 07 28
PS To People Who Want To Find Must-Read Content but Can’t Get Started:
Get Rid of That Information Overload!
We read everything and we keep only Pro Content about:
– Business #Strategy
– #Startups Strategy
– #Growth Hacking
– Artificial Intelligence #ai
Why do we do it? Because #SharingIsCaring