You already know that SaaS content marketing can grow your SaaS business from ZERO to 100M in ARR when done right.
If Ahrefs did it in a competitive SaaS niche like SEO, then you can too.
Getting prospects to sign up for a free trial of your product and become long-term customers after that is the ultimate goal of any SaaS company. But your prospects will only try your product when they perceive it as having the ability to solve their problems.
How do you do that?
By creating stories that show them how they can use your product to solve their problems. So, they experience their problem going away as they are reading your content. That is how Ahrefs has been able to acquire an average of 2000 new users every week.
Their content shows how their readers can solve their SEO problems using their tool such that by the time they are done with the article, they sign up for a free trial. Thomas Krawiec loved their article on long-tail keywords so much that he decided to sign up for a free trial and later converted to their paid version of their tool.
It’s not just Ahrefs that is getting great results with product-led SaaS content marketing. Groove used product-led SaaS content marketing to grow their startup from a struggling $28000 per month revenue business to over $ 5 million in ARR in 3 years.
Almost every SaaS company out there uses content marketing as part of its marketing strategy. Yet, only few SaaS companies succeed with content marketing. So how do you create a well-oiled content marketing machine that spits trial users from your readers?
By developing a winning SaaS content marketing strategy.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to create a SaaS content marketing strategy that will help you:
- Create content that engages your target audience.
- Get this content in front of the right people.
- Convert the readers into trial users
- Retain users as long-term customers and brand ambassadors.
What is SaaS Content Marketing Strategy?
SaaS content marketing strategy is a documented plan to create valuable and relevant content that attracts and engages your target audience, converting them into trial users and paying customers.
In the SaaS industry where there is cutthroat competition from rival tools, you can’t afford to have a lacklustre content marketing strategy.
A normal strategy is no longer good enough if you want to acquire mindshare in your niche. To get your prospects to become aware of your product, use it and share it with their friends, your content marketing strategy must be solid.
And that begins by documenting your content marketing plan, not just talking about it.
According to Smart Insights, 69% of B2B marketers with successful strategies documented them while only 16% who didn’t document their strategies were successful in marketing in 2020. This means that failing to plan your content marketing strategy is planning to fail at content marketing.
Create a document that outlines how you are going to use content to create product awareness among your target audience and convert them into users. That is the only time you can say you have a content marketing strategy.
Why SaaS Content Marketing Strategy is Important for your Business
An effective SaaS content marketing strategy is critical to the success of your business because it:
#1 Engages the right audience
If you want the right people to know your product exists and let them use it to solve their problems, you need an effective SaaS content marketing strategy. It begins by identifying your ideal customer personas and the problems they have that your product can solve. Then you craft stories that create meaningful experiences of how they can use your product to make their lives easier – content- customer fit.
Finally, you get this content in front of them by distributing it on platforms where they hang out.
#2 Ranks on Google Search and converts the visitors into users
When it comes to the best ways to generate new trial users, organic search takes the lead. Top-tier companies like Cloudera claim that 77% of their traffic comes from organic search which in turn translates into product qualified leads.
A great SaaS content marketing strategy does not just focus on getting to the first SERP. Instead, it focuses on how it can retain these visitors once they click on the page and convert them into trial users.
Most SEO specialists out there create content that is optimized only for the search engines and not the readers. So, when readers click on the article, they bounce after skimming the article for a few seconds because it doesn’t address their needs.
#3 Builds readership that comes back
Having a consistent number of blog readers throughout the years is something that most SaaS companies struggle with. So how do you make it happen?
By creating stories that show how your product can help solve your target customers’ problems. When your readers get value from your content, they will keep coming back for more and even share it with their friends.
I know you are thinking:
“But what if I run out of topics to write about?”
A great SaaS content marketing strategy will guide you on where to get new content ideas. Even better, it will show you how to distribute existing content to your target customers and generate positive engagement.
#4 Retains customers
Customers will use your product as long as they believe that they are getting exceptional value for their money and that they have a personal connection with your brand. Content such as blog posts can help you create experiences that constantly remind your customers why they choose you — your product solves their problems effectively.
How to create a SaaS Content Marketing Strategy for your Business
Creating a winning SaaS content marketing strategy begins by putting yourself in the prospects’ shoes. When you understand the challenges they are trying to fix, you can create content that they need at that moment. The one that converts them into trial users.
Here is how you do it.
1. Define your target audience
Creating content without defining your target audience is like standing on the street and trying to sell your product to anyone who passes by. Selling to everyone is selling to nobody. The first step is to identify your target customers.
You could ask questions such as:
- Who needs my product?
- What kinds of problems can my product solve?
- Who can have such problems?
- What are their demographics (age, occupation, location, industry, gender, etc) ?
- What are their ultimate goals and motivations?
Invest as many resources as you can on learning about your target audience because that is the only way you will create content that gets their attention.
2. Create ideal customer personas
Your ideal customer persona should not be a fictional character that you create and flesh out to represent your ideal customer. Instead, they should be breathing, living people who you know and trust. They should be people who you will be honored to know they engaged with your blog post.
It is important to have real people as your ideal customer personas because it changes how you approach content marketing. Creating content for “SaaS Sally” is different from creating content for Len Markidan, the CMO of Podia. When writing for a real person, you will be more conversational and genuine. You are more likely to achieve a content-customer fit.
Let’s say you offer email marketing software.
Bloggers can be one of your ideal customer personas because they use email marketing to keep their readers engaged and sell their products.
Conduct customer interviews and talk to sales and product marketing departments to identify your best fit customers.
Your best fit customers are those that:
- Chooses the highest plan of your SaaS
- Took a short time to convert into paying customer
- Has stayed with you for the longest time.
Be as detailed as possible when creating these ICPs because you will use them to create content that converts readers into trial users.
When you write a blog post targeting bloggers in the digital marketing niche on how they can improve their email marketing ROI using your software, they are likely to convert because they feel like you are talking to them. That is the power of creating content for each ICP rather than your entire target audience.
3. Map out your B2B SaaS buyer’s journey
Once you have identified your ICPs, the next step is to define their buyer journey. By understanding the journey your prospect goes through on your website before converting into a customer, you realize the type of content you can create to keep them interested in your product.
Here is an example of a customer journey:
- The prospect becomes aware of your product through a blog post when searching for a solution to a problem on Google.
- They click through your homepage to learn more about your product.
- They sign up for a free trial.
- After 1 week of using your product, they go to the pricing page to check the plans.
- They decide it’s not worth it and abandon your product for a competitor or become a paying customer because your product made their lives easier.
By studying your customer journey, you can point out places where there are high bounce rates or low conversion rates and make improvements. For example, when you realize that your pricing page has a low conversion rate, you can include testimonials that resonate with your ICPs.
4. Define your content marketing goals and set metrics
Even though the end goal of content marketing is to get as many trial users and paying customers as possible, you need to get clear on where you are in your content marketing journey. When starting out, your goal may be to increase traffic to a specific number within a set period.
Some of the metrics to track could be:
- Ranking for the right keywords
- Improving your distribution strategy
When your goal is to acquire new customers, the metrics to track may be the number of free trial registrations and demo requests within a set period. You may also measure time on page for your blog posts to see if your readers are engaging with the content or not.
Regardless of whichever goals you set, ensure they are SMART. This is because only what is measured grows.
5. Develop a content marketing plan
In this step, you create a plan on how you are going to create content and when to publish it.
You come up with answers to questions like:
- Which kind of content are you going to create?
- How often will you publish content in a month?
- Will you do it in-house or outsource freelance writers?
- Where will you promote your content?
You should aim to create and publish at least 1 high-quality content piece per week when starting out. As you grow your content marketing team, you can increase content creation to 3 blog posts per week.
Your aim is to convert readers while they are consuming your content. So, ensure every content piece addresses a specific problem that your ICP may be having at the moment.
When they get their hands on it, they just sign up after reading it because you showed them how they could solve a problem. You create content once, but you can distribute where your target audiences hang out forever. So, focus on the quality of the content if you want to acquire trial users and paying customers from a piece of content.
Create a content calendar showing when a piece of content will be created, edited, approved and published. When your content team knows who is supposed to perform an action at a specific time, your content marketing strategy runs smoothly.
6. Create SaaS content that engages and converts
Now that you already have a content calendar in place, the next step is to create content pieces that convert readers into users. Product-led storytelling is a product-focused form of SaaS content marketing that was crafted by Victor Eduoh.
He realized that we are in the product-led growth era where prospects want to experience your product first before signing up as a paying customer. And product-led storytelling allowed him to create meaningful experiences about how your prospect can use your product to solve their problem while they are reading your content.
If the prospects believe that your product can actually solve their problems, then they will sign up immediately after reading the article.
Ahrefs has been able to acquire trial users using this technique in the competitive SEO niche. After coming up with content topics for the different stages of your funnel, create stories using the product-led storytelling technique to acquire as many trial users as possible.
7. Outline your content distribution strategy
Your team has produced quality content. They have infused keywords, great imagery and included a handful of expert quotes. Your slack community is going wild once you click the publish button because the content is compelling.
But when you look at the traffic, you realize no one is reading. And even if people are reading it, the number is so little, you scratch your head wondering whether it was worth investing in content marketing.
That is the reality of most high growth SaaS companies who realized the value of content marketing but never learnt about the importance of content distribution. It is one thing to produce quality content, but it is another thing to bring in front of your target customers and get them to read it.
Over 4.6 billion pieces of content get produced every day and it’s increasing by the year. You can’t afford to produce content and let it lie there waiting for your prospects to find it.
You have to identify where they hang out and share your content on those platforms. You have to find a way to skip the line and get in front of your prospects fast or they will never know you exist.
There are various ways to promote your content:
- Optimize your content for SEO.
- Promote on social media platforms where your target audiences hang out.
- Share on online forums like Reddit, Medium and Quora.
- Post on relevant groups.
- Use paid ads to reach the right people.
- Repurpose content into infographics, video and slideshare.
- Reach out to relevant blogs for backlinks.
Invest as much time in content production as in content distribution. You don’t want to create a compelling article and then the right people never get to know it exists.
Or wasting resources distributing a blog post that your target audiences bounce from after skimming for 7 seconds because it was poorly written. Spend ample time creating a quality blog post and invest as much time getting it in front of the right people.
Here is an in-depth article on content distribution by Ross Simmonds.
8. Monitor your results
What is measured and reported grows exponentially.
Said Karl Pearson, an English mathematician and biostatistician.
You want to ensure that your content marketing strategy is working and getting you the right results. So you need to measure the key metrics you set against your content marketing goals and report your findings.
Are you on the right track?
When starting out, your metrics can be organic traffic, backlinks growth, and the number of organic keywords you are ranking for. These metrics eventually lead to the business metrics you set such as the number of trial sign-ups and paying customers within a set period.
If you are not on the right track, then it means you need to identify the areas that need improvement and work on them.
Also, great things take time to build. For content marketing to be successful, you should be patiently aggressive. That is, you are consistent in actions but patiently waiting for results.
SaaS content marketing strategy plays an important role in the growth of your company.
If you want to acquire trial users and long-term customers, then you should invest in a solid content marketing strategy.
If you need help creating a winning SaaS content marketing strategy and using it to grow your company’s ARR to seven figures and beyond, I can help!
Just drop me a note here and I’ll be in touch.
About the author
Hey, I’m Vincent. I help B2B SaaS brands generate more leads and revenue by writing/refreshing blog posts and web copy. Send me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re looking to hire a freelance writer.