SaaS startups face several challenges when marketing their services to prospects. From brand name awareness, to lead generation, marketing your SaaS business requires maximum ROI for the lowest cost.
That’s why SaaS companies win with content marketing. The results are measurable, and the costs are low. It’s also why we use a SaaS-based model with our own content marketing. Small but steady investments can produce big gains, no matter how saturated your market might feel.
The biggest mistake we see: Jargon . . .
Your engineers and even some founders are innovators and developers, but sometimes they’ve immersed themselves in geek-speak for so long that they have a tough time explaining the need for your solution in a way other people will easily understand.
Secondly, there’s the humongous mountain of roadblocks that any startup faces. Those challenges include:
- Identifying their target customers
- Explaining what their products and expertise can do for those customers
- Selling those customers on how they can meet their customers’ needs better than a crowded pool of competitors
- Nurturing a long-term relationship with companies once they’ve become customers
Learn how your tech startup can swim with the SaaS sharks and emerge victorious with this guide.
- Identify your customer segments.
- Show what you can do for them.
- Set yourself apart from the competition.
- Nurture your relationship with your customers for the long run.
Start by Identifying Your Target Customers
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You might think that your product can make the entire world a better place. It might, but you’ll never reach the whole world unless you start with your most likely prospects.
Look at your social media and content analytics to identify the demographics, location, social likes, pain points, hopes, dreams, and online behavior of those people who have already engaged with your brand. If you’re like most brands, you’ll find some commonalities among a few segments.
Separate them into groups based on those characteristics and where they are on their buyer’s journey. A buyer’s journey encompasses everything from their first interaction with your company (e.g., reading one of your blog posts, liking one of your social media posts, etc.) to making a purchase – and all the steps in between, such as requesting an ebook or white paper or signing up for a free trial.
Use Your Data to Create Buyer Personas
Even though your universe consists of code and intricate, elegant mathematical processes, your customers’ worlds likely do not. For that reason, putting a human face on each target customer segment can help.
Creating buyer personas can help you bring what you do down to earth. It’s a lot easier to figure out how to appeal to a “Marketer Mary” or a “Doctor Deb” than it is to a random collection of characteristics. Buyer personas condense all those characteristics into a memorable chunk of information.
Brainstorm Content That Will Appeal to Each Buyer Persona
Look at the challenges that face each of your target customer segments. How can your software solution or your expertise help them solve those problems?
Then, sit down with your teams and brainstorm topics for blog and social media posts, as well as long-form content like white papers and ebooks. If your buyer persona research indicates that your prospects prefer webinars, podcasts, or videos, pivot to those types of content.
Make sure that you post your content on the channels your target customer segments frequent. Time your posts to arrive at their inboxes or social media feeds at the times they are most often online.
Start Creating Content That Positions You as a Leader
Content marketing is a long game, which is exactly what SaaS companies need. With a subscription-based business model, they need to concentrate on building a long-term relationship with their customers.
Set Your Brand Apart with audience-targeted Content
Content marketing also builds trust in your brand and your expertise. For a startup company, that’s an essential ingredient in your company’s initial success.
In fact, studies show that targeted content marketing builds positive feelings about B2B SaaS companies in at least 82% of your prospects.
Additionally, if you provide them with thought leadership-level content, you can grow your website traffic by a factor of eight.
Engage Your Audience Emotionally
“What?” you ask. “But, we’re a B2B company,” you protest. Even though your development team might be Mr. Spock incarnate, your customers aren’t.
Creating a brand voice that engages your audience’s hearts as well as their heads is a critical aspect of marketing, even for B2B technology brands.
You might be surprised to discover that a Google study revealed that B2C brands had emotional connections with 10 to 40 percent of their customers. However, the figure rises to upwards of 50 percent with B2B buyers. So, don’t be afraid to show empathy with your customers.
Even humor can be “professional” when you use it to make a point. So can stories.
Cast your customers as heroes, their challenges as the villain, and your product as the “sword” with which they slay their challenges. That kind of creativity can set your brand apart from your competition because your customers feel as if you’re partners with them in success.
When your brand provides advice that solves your prospects’ problems, provides them with new insights and valuable information, and endears them to your brand, that’s a marketing strategy that can make you a formidable presence in your industry.
Do Keyword Research That Helps You Target New Prospects
Keywords are words or phrases people use to find your products and services. Start with Google’s Keyword Planner to get a general idea.
Input your products and services, and this tool will spit out a wealth of phrases that people use to search for them. Go a bit further than Google does, and create questions and queries from those phrases that people might use while searching by voice.
Since about half of all US users research products using voice search, it pays to include natural language in your content. Besides, it just sounds better to your audience.
No one wants to read or hear “best SaaS marketing solution Texas” in your content. It’s just awkward. Not a good way to make a first impression for a startup.
Next, use a tool like Semrush to conduct research on the keywords your competitors use. Then, create content that rises above theirs on the same topics.
As your content grows a loyal audience, your website will rise in the search rankings as more people interact with your brand. It’s not just from organic search, although that’s the base you start from.
- It’s the industry influencers who find and promote your content.
- It’s the businesses and individuals who have found your content useful and then share it with their colleagues and friends.
- And, it’s the satisfied customers that recommend your SaaS service to others.
Engage with Your Subscribers and Followers
Don’t stop at keyword research. When people – especially from your target market — comment on your social media posts, engage with them. Answer their questions. Address their objections and feedback. Adjust your approach accordingly.
Add email to your content marketing arsenal. Segment your subscribers by interest, location, and challenges. Then send them a brief introduction and a link to blog posts that address their specific needs. Since you’re sending them back to your website, using email will boost your web traffic as well. Bonus points if you suggest additional blog posts on the same topic on a sidebar or at the end of the post. With those advantages, it’s no wonder that email yields, on average, $42 for each dollar you spend on it.
Once your content marketing program is up and running, conduct surveys to ask your followers and email subscribers what kinds of content topics they’d like you to address. Then, put those topics on your content calendar and add your respondents’ insights to their respective buyer personas to create a more rounded portrait of them and their needs.
Follow Up with Customers After Purchases
Engaging with your audience across all phases in the buyer’s journey is essential to startup marketing success. But don’t forget to nurture the relationship after the sale.
Providing your customers with content that shows them how to get the most out of your products is a great way to keep the enthusiasm going. Even better, bring your customers in on the content creation process.
With 63% of all consumers trusting content from other customers more than official brand messages, it pays to encourage your customers to post reviews, write testimonials, or create guest posts on your blog. There’s no substitute for first-hand experience from a fellow customer to build trust.
Engage with a Content Creation Partner
If you don’t have the budget for an in-house content team but don’t have the knack (or time) for producing compelling content yourself, a content marketing service can help. By identifying your target customers and producing content that engages them on all levels, an agency can build your brand as you build and improve your products.
If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.