Content marketing is the best SaaS marketing strategy, and let me tell you why I think like that.
- First and foremost: you're building more than a product, you're building a community.
- By creating content, you educate and comfort your prospects until they buy.
- It provides your SaaS business with free exposure with organic traffic.
- It's a perfect space to show your expertise and establish credibility.
- You can beat your competitors with the right content strategy.
The points above might seem like dry statements right now. But in the upcoming paragraphs, we'll teach you how to actualize all these benefits. Now you may think, "But I don't know anything about content marketing," but I promise, I'll explain everything like you're a 5-year-old.
Because I genuinely believe, if you're not doing content marketing, you're missing a lot.
By the end of this article, you'll understand all the concepts below:
- Investing in Content Marketing and SEO.
- Four types of content: informational, educational, comparison and listicle.
- Case studies + social ads.
- Backlinks from SaaS review hubs.
- Content distribution.
- Our favorite content marketing tools
Before we go into SEO and content marketing strategies, we want to define SEO for you.
Understanding Search Engine Optimization
First, I want you to grasp the concept of SEO. To make it crystal clear, we'll start with an analogy.
The human brain and search engines
Assume I ask you the question, "What are your favorite cities so far?"
In an instant, your brain responds to this question by firing a bunch of neurons and bringing the most relevant memories to the tip of your tongue.
The process is similar in search engines. But instead of asking the question to a single resource (earlier it was your brain), search engines ask the question to a collective network (the internet). Then search engine crawlers scan the internet and bring the most relevant memory/content through thousands of results. It's fascinating.
When you ask the same question to search engines, it naturally changes shape. Instead of writing, "What are your favorite cities so far?" you enter a query such as: "Top five cities to visit."
In short, Search Engine Optimization is the process of adapting your content/language for search engines. It's a way of communicating with Google. That's why you always see content marketing and SEO hand to hand.
They're two sides of the same coin.
Some things you need to know before investing in SEO.
Unlike social media marketing, SEO does not deliver instantly. Especially if you have a new website, it might take considerably longer to rank higher on search engines. Typically, seeing the results of investment of time and resources in SEO takes 4-6 months. That’s quite long, you might think, but note that these results are way more sustainable than paid advertising.
Hard work pays off in the form of free traffic, visibility, search engine domination, and sweet passive conversions.
8. How to rank higher on Search Engines with SEO
Numerous factors affect a website’s SEO score: keywords used, backlinks, quality of content, images and many more. We'll give you a quick one-two sentence explanation of major factors.
Keywords: Keywords are the primary words that your prospects are potentially searching on the internet. Using your keywords in your content, title, slug, and meta description helps you give the right signals to search engine crawlers.
Title: The title of your content.
Meta description: A short summary/description of your content.
Slug: The extension of your URL.
Backlink: You can think of a backlink as a digital referral. When a person links your content to their website, search engines read this as a credibility signal.
OnPage SEO: The process of adding your keywords into content parts such as headings, subheadings, body copy, and image tags of your article.
Understanding the intention of your audience is the most crucial part of any SEO practice. Once you understand the intention behind the search, you can easily create the content people want to click and read.
In this process, make sure that your content is more valuable than other articles on similar topics. If you can do the things you see on the checklist below, you’ll possibly have a chance to rank on the first page of Google.
We scratched the surface, but the intention was to introduce you to the SEO concepts. If you're interested, you can learn it by yourself. But if you don't have time, we recommend that you work with an expert content marketer to at least create a data and interview-driven content strategy.
Extra resource: How to do keyword research with Ahrefs.
In fact, we can help you with planning and writing. You can schedule a call with our content marketing lead to discuss your needs and wants!
9. 4 types of content that will fuel your SaaS marketing strategy.
This section will be a SaaS content marketing crash course for you.
First, let's start the engines and think about why SaaS prospects use search engines? Here are some ideas:
- They want to know the product to make informed decisions.
- They want to gather information about a topic.
- They want to know how to use your SaaS product.
- And they compare your product with other products on the market.
There are many more reasons, but these are the top four we're going to focus on for now. As a content marketer, I've worked with many SaaS companies, and here is my list of top converting content types.
#1 Informational content
Most people need your product, but they don't even know about your existence. The only way to bring them to your website is to cash fishnets: creating content for a broader topic and placing your product inside it.
Example, in this article we talk about what growth marketing is, but we’re also mentioning our products and services.
Additional examples: if your product is an innovative solution for LinkedIn marketing automation, you can produce blog posts for popular topics such as:
- 5 LinkedIn Marketing Strategies that will grow your business.
- Why LinkedIn is the best B2B lead generation platform and how can you leverage it?
Under these titles, you can still talk about your product and guide readers to free trials or demo with CTAs.
#2 Educational content
SaaS products are innovative by their nature. Every product requires a certain understanding and has a learning curve that holds prospects back in their seats. That's why educational content is a must-have for your marketing strategy.
With educational content, you can showcase your products' features and eliminate the uncertainty from your prospects by answering the most frequently asked questions.
- How to use X product to grow your business
- 7 Benefits of using X product for LinkedIn Marketing
- Is X product a good fit for your business? A-Z guide that answers all your questions.
Another example: You can see how precise and targeted the title is.
As you educate your customers, they'll trust you more. And guess what? People buy from the companies they trust. Imagine you have a great educational blog and your competitors don't. What do you think the results will be?
#3 Comparison/Alternatives content
Sooner or later, your prospects will compare your product with your competitors' products. This is an inevitable stage in the customer journey. At the same time, this is the stage where most conversions happen for SaaS products.
Imagine a prospect already decided that she needs a CRM. Since she wants the best, she'll put all the cards on the table and start to compare them. But comparing products and making a decision like this is actually painstaking for the customer. They have to comb through all the features and solutions then try to figure out who does what and what each is better at than the other. It's usually not clear. They all claim to do the same things well.
Now the question is, what if somebody made the comparison for her?
Yeah, that somebody, in this case, is you and your product. You can write an objective article that compares all top products in the market. This way, you can help your customers to eliminate confusion or unanswered questions. I assure you, your help won't remain unanswered; many prospects will be grateful for your help. And they'll appreciate your expertise. This will return to you as extra credibility points, therefore conversions.
Here is the formula for these articles:
"Your product" vs. "Competitor" vs. "Competitor" or "Your biggest competitor" alternatives.
Here are more concrete examples:
Hubspot vs. Salesforce vs. Marketo or Hubspot Alternatives.
I know what you're thinking of. Here are some of the objections that run through your mind.
"Won't I just drive attention and links to competitors?"
Now, these comparison blog posts simply help you capture search traffic for terms that people are already searching for. If you choose not to rank for them, then you're choosing to:
- Let your competitors control the narrative
- Receive 0% of that traffic.
"Why the hell would a person trust my comparison vs. my competitors?"
Yes, and it doesn't matter. Your customer is not stupid. They're well aware of where they are. They know they're about to hear your best sales pitch, but at the same time, you're helping them. I assure you, they'll like you more for that.
"I don't want to badmouth competitors."
You don't have to. Make your best pitch on the benefits and features where you excel and give credit to your competitors when it's due!
Now, I'll give you a mini-guide about how you can deliver your best sales pitch and still remain as objective as possible.
Comparison content guide
1. Concise intro. No one is Googling these comparison posts for storytelling aspects. Your prospects are trying to figure out which product is the best for them.
2. Put your product first. Talk about your product as quickly as possible.
How you do this varies (see breakdown videos) but in general, consider covering these things:
- Your reason for existing – Why did you build this? What is this product meant to help (i.e. customer pain points)?
- Who it's for – Who benefits the most?
- Use cases and case studies (if there are any).
3. Other products – Be honest about what they do well and who may prefer them. For example, if you know there are alternatives with more features, but you don't want to promote them, say, "If you're not going to use all the features, this might be overkill because of the price tag."
Here are some good examples for comparison content:
- Ahrefs vs SEMrush vs Raven Tools: SEO Software Comparison
- The Shopify Local Delivery App: How it Compares to Circuit
#4 Top/Best Listicles
Another highly converting content type is top/best listicles. This type of content carries a certain intention of purchase. Typically, prospects search for this content when they're ready to buy something but want to see all the options. Much like comparison content.
To see the examples, you can go and type "Best "XYZ" tools on Google.
Here is an example of "Best LinkedIn Marketing Tools."
As you can see, smart SocialPilot content marketers have curated a list and put themselves in the first place. Here, you might have to include a few of their competitors too, but remember we already answered your potential objections in the comparison content section.
10. Case studies and social ads to increase your conversions.
In-depth case studies give your SaaS product credibility and legitimacy. With them, you can show your product, expertise, tangible results, and your satisfied customers.
Because of this combination, case studies have the highest conversion rate among all the content types. But many SaaS companies make mistakes when they design their case studies. For example, they name it something like this "X company case study."
This kind of title prevents all the potential discoverability that would come from search engines. Because nobody on the earth searches for a query like "X company case study" on Google. Here, you have to write your article considering SEO and searchers' intention.
Let’s say you helped your customers generate +30 customers in a month with an email marketing SaaS tool, you could wrap your article with a title like this.
Email marketing strategy: secrets of generating 30+ customers in a month.
Here is another example from our blog:
This way, you can still use your case study as social proof/testimonial and get organic traffic from search engines.
Another way to leverage your case study is to combine it with Social Ads. Preferably Facebook or LinkedIn ads. In this case, you don't have to wait for them to come to you. You can retarget your existing visitors or create look-alike audiences from your current data pool. Either way, combining case studies with ads is a great way to increase your revenue.
Here, you can follow our guides about FB and LinkedIn ads to start now:
- 9 Actionable Facebook Marketing Tips For Small Businesses That Only Experts Know
- Facebook ads guide 2021: How to get started.
- Facebook Advertising Tips: 2 Smart Belgian Case Studies.
- How to Create LinkedIn Ads: 5 Tips for Higher Conversions
The anatomy of a great case study
- Point out the specific problem: write about your customers' pain points in the context of the person or team whose story you're telling.
- Be specific and demonstrate original solutions: show your solutions, explain the why and how in as much detail as possible.
- Product tie-in: it's easy to fit your product into case studies because most of the time, you tell a story of how the product or service helped achieve the result. Place call to actions and link your product wherever it feels natural.
Here are some examples to get inspiration:
- Live Light Marketing Strategy Case Study: A Growth Marketing Approach For New Ventures.
- Cognitive fx case study
- Fixing Index Bloat
11. Backlinks from SaaS review websites
The SaaS product landscape is growing exponentially. The amount of SaaS products in the industry is absolutely confusing for a regular person. A typical prospect could easily drown among thousands of options. That's why there are review and comparison platforms for software companies such as:
People use these websites to understand the pros, cons and read reviews of other users to buy a product eventually. And for you, it could make a big difference to list your product on one of those websites. Or even on all of them. If you want to list your product, you can sign up for their programs.
Getting your name listed will boost your credibility plus give you backlinks which will result in more organic traffic! It's one stone, two birdies.
12. Content distribution on all relevant channels
Let's assume you loved the potential value of content marketing. And you created dozens of blog posts and case studies. As we mentioned earlier, it'll take some time to get organic traffic from your SEO work (typically, between 4-6 months). Meanwhile, you can still generate organic traffic from different channels and platforms, without paying a single dollar.
I'll briefly talk about those channels now. If you want a more detailed look into channels, I'll be sharing many extra resources on the way. Let's see how you can attract your audience with the right distribution strategy.
You can follow this order:
- Identify the channels your target audience hangs out with. If you need more help, this article can help you find the right channels: How to find customers online using 20+ actionable strategies (in 5 platforms).
- Within every channel, there are subgroups, communities. Try to identify the ones that are most relevant for your business. Various websites list subgroups and you can use Slofile to find Slack channels, for example. Then join the ones that most interest your business. Don't hesitate to join multiple channels; the more, the better.
- Use LinkedIn as a social selling channel to distribute your existing content and make new connections. We wrote a whole eBook about that; you can download it here. Or you can read this article to learn how to create effective LinkedIn content.
- Find your audience on channels like Quora, Reddit, Facebook and share your content with them.
- Adapt your content to match the tone and style of the chosen channels. If you follow this step correctly, you will have as many different copies as the number of channels you pick.
- While you adapt your content to fit into different channels, pay attention to the form of the value you'll provide. Different channels address different audiences and all of them are looking for value in various forms.
- Monitor the results in Google Analytics. Keep an eye on which channels are working best for you and which ones you need to change the content on. Based on this, either scale, pivot, or kill your distribution.
Here is an example for a map of content distribution by Harry Dry.
Imagine you're getting 50-100 visitors daily because of your distribution strategy. That's 3,000 visitors in a month. Let's put an extremely low conversion rate of 1% to it. In this case, you can have 30 extra leads per month.
Before we wrap up this chapter, we'll introduce you to some SEO and content marketing tools you can experiment with!
A great content plan and SEO could bring you customers for years, organically. If you need help for content strategy and creation, schedule a call with our content marketing lead.
SEO and content marketing tools we use
Earlier, we gave you some tips that could help you rank on Google. Now we'll give you some tools that'll make the search engine optimization process 10x easier.
Ahrefs is our pick for all-rounder SEO software. It covers you in a lot of areas such as:
- Helping you to find the right keywords with keywords explorer.
- Inspiring your content ideas with the content explorer.
- Helping you analyze competitors and steal their keywords, content strategy.
- Offering you accurate backlink building strategies.
- Checking your site for technical SEO with a site audit enables you to fix technical issues.
It comes with its price but it does actually make a difference as it saves you a lot of time and increases your site performance with every feature. Also, Ahrefs has the most generous YouTube channel. You can become a pro in SEO just by watching their YouTube content.
2. Surfer SEO
SurferSEO simplifies your on-page SEO efforts. It’s a tool that analyzes top Google results for specific keywords and then gives you a content brief based on data. This brief gives you the exact keywords you have to use and tells you precisely how many times to use them in an article. We’re using it: it’s data-driven, easy to use, and definitely delivers.
Your customers will always have questions and problems. Content marketing is the best way to answer those questions and establish relationships with your prospects. Start creating content today to educate, nurture and acquire customers organically.
If you want to win the long term game, build an evergreen and ever growing content library using the guidelines we gave you. I promise, the competition won’t stand a chance.
Want to know more about content marketing or need a partner to build your own library? Then you can schedule a call with me to talk about the details.
Hope you enjoyed this article!