How to Get (More) SaaS Customers Through Content they Need
By Victor Ijidola
As a SaaS business, your customers are always looking to learn how to do things that are related to your product’s capabilities.
For example, if your tool solves social media management problems for businesses, your customers will likely be looking for content on things like:
- How to increase organic reach on social media
- How to manage a social media team
- How to track social media marketing results
So naturally, SaaS customers are always looking for how-to (or helpful) content.
It’s no wonder several successful SaaS companies have reported that a huge part of their customer base comes from content marketing.
When CoSchedule founder Garrett Moon shared his company’s story at Copyhackers, he said:
“[Our content strategy] helped us grow from absolutely zero traffic to 1 million plus pageviews per month (and roughly 400,000 unique visitors).”
Kinsta Cofounder Tom Zsomborgi shared a similar experience:
“…we were able to grow our organic traffic (no advertising or social media) here at Kinsta by 571% in 13 months using content marketing and SEO.”
I could go on and on, highlighting success stories that SaaS businesses have racked up over the years through strategic content marketing, but what’s more important is how they’re getting their results.
Here’s how to get more SaaS customers through content they need:
There are certain topics your customers would naturally familiarize themselves with or questions they’d need answers to before ever deciding to sign up for your product.
You can create content that teaches them how to address those topics and, strategically, in a non-promotional way, drives them to sign up for your product.
Take Ahrefs, for example.
An ideal Ahrefs customer would be looking for content on things like:
- how to run a content audit
- how to build quality backlinks
- how to improve search traffic
…and so on.
It’s the same for your customers; they’re always looking for content on how to do something your product does.
Your customer’s need to solve specific problems creates an opportunity for you to get their attention through content that answers their questions.
But more importantly, you must answer their questions with data they can trust.
For example, following our previous example, Ahrefs wrote a blog post on how to run a content audit. And they did it with data their potential customers could trust. Here’s how:
First, they start the post with their own success story about a content audit:
See the technique here? They’ve just gained trust with data that would persuade people into running content audits for their sites.
It’s a brilliant customer acquisition technique — because if readers (Ahrefs’ potential customers) buy this content audit idea, then they’ll buy the idea to use a content audit tool.
Two or three minutes into the guide, they’d find that Ahrefs is a tool that helps to better run their content audit:
Ahrefs showcasing how their product helps with running a content audit.
This way, Ahrefs is answering questions their customers have about content audit, while soft-selling the benefits of their product as an answer to those questions.
In essence, you can start shaping customer experience with your brand directly from the content they’re consuming, generating demand for your product.
Not every problem your customers face makes it to their A-list.
Some of the challenges they face are in the B-, C-, etc. category and they won’t command attention like A-list challenges would.
For instance, an example of A-list challenges for salespeople would be:
- Getting more appointments when prospecting
- Losing deals
- Hitting monthly quotas
- Sales prospecting
- Shortening sales cycles
- Following up with customers who have gone missing in action (MIA)
If your customers are salespeople, these are some of their major challenges, and creating content on them will get them visiting your site — which is the first thing that preceeds any SaaS customer acquisition.
What’s more, if you’ve strategically created your content, they should stay on the page, reading and considering signing up for a trial of your product or something else that leads them to a trial.
Also, have a simple conversion optimization strategy in place. This way, people can go from your content to trials effortlessly. Keep the bait close to the hook.
As a SaaS business, your readers will more easily convert into users through your content if — without being too promotional — you educate them about your product’s capabilities.
But how do you do this without looking like you’re waving your arms, shouting: “Buy my product!”?
Be strategic, that’s how. And being strategic means:
- Your product isn’t the first thing people see once they land on your content — unless it helps to explain an important point there
- Prioritize giving people an amazing experience with your content
- Wait for readers to read about 50% of your content before introducing your product’s capabilities
What content type is best for educating your buyers about your product’s benefits? Your blog is a great place to start.
For example, the ex-VP of marketing at Sumo, Chris Von Wilpert, wrote a guide on how Supreme has grown from a one-location retail store to become a world-known ecommerce brand.
The guide was totally about Supreme’s growth, with every detail most readers want to know.
But at some point in the piece, they shared how the ecommerce brand is using inline as part of their growth strategy, and then they recommended Sumo’s inline mailing list form feature:
It is classic product marketing, and Smart SaaS companies acquire customers this way all the time.
Potential customers come because of the content, but somewhere along the line they find a tool (Sumo) that will help them with the issues addressed in the content.
As a SaaS business, there’s a huge chance your target customers start their buying journeys from a Google search, and they usually start there for one of three reasons:
- To educate themselves about the different problems your product solves (without actually knowing your product)
- To compare solutions
- To make a buying decision
Essentially, this means when customers go to search engines looking for answers to certain questions, they’re either at the:
- or bottom of your funnel.
Your task here is to:
- Write content in a way that it addresses the questions that prompted customers to run a Google search
- Optimize it to rank on search engines for the keywords they search with
- Have them sign up for something that matches their intent
In other words, you need three a 3-point formula to write content that genuinely solves problems for your customer and ranks on Google at the same time:
Industry knowledge + Onpage SEO + Conversion optimization = Content that ranks & converts
I’ve seen this formula in action in many content pieces, but here’s one example:
I wrote the guide pictured below for Process Street about workflow examples — since it’s a topic their ideal users search all the time.
Long story short, the guide is now driving qualified traffic to their site and is one of the highest converting content on their blog right now, and I’ll tell you why:
I simply followed the method (formula) I described earlier:
Industry knowledge + Onpage SEO + Conversion optimization = Content that ranks & converts.
Let’s break it down.
This is key for conversions. The more you know about an industry, the more you can convert its customers.
If you don’t demonstrate a good level of industry expertise in your content, you simply won’t connect well with potential customers enough to convert them.
It’s like when a speaker who knows little to nothing about marketing gets to speak at a C-level marketing event. They flop.
The audience is knowledgeable enough to see right through any speaker’s industry experience or the lack of it.
In this Process Street case, for someone who’s been creating content for SaaS and B2B businesses for about three years now, researching their market and gaining relevant knowledge about Process Street’s target customers was something I was equipped to do.
More importantly, having industry expertise helped me understand the types of topics that would lead their potential customers to request a trial.
B. Onpage SEO:
There are a number of reasons the guide is ranking for workflow examples — a ~1000/mo search volume keyword (although 500/mo in the US) and several other relevant keywords, but here are a few of them:
– Keyword Difficulty (KD)
With a keyword difficulty score of 31, workflow examples wasn’t a dreadfully hard keyword to rank for, especially since Process Street’s blog has an above-average Domain Authority (DA) score.
– Keyword (workflow examples) in URL
– 5 natural mentions of the focus keyword (not just for SEO but where they actually matter)
– Natural mention of focus keyword (“workflow examples”) in image alternate titles
As I hinted earlier, the site also has a Domain Authority (DA) score of 56, which would make Google rank their content faster and higher.
Bottom line, you need SEO content as a key part of SaaS customer acquisition strategy. Using the right strategy will keep driving you new customers on autopilot.
The Process Street team gets all the credit on this one.
They totally optimized the entire content for conversions, and it works:
“Your content is delivering great results for us! It’s currently ranking #1 for a competitive keyword on Google and converting above the normal rate for posts across our site! It’s doing so at a higher rate of traffic than most of our posts too!” — Adam Henshall at Process Street.
Specifically, here’s how they optimized the content for conversions:
They put a non-promotional product signup widget in nine strategic positions in the blog post.
This way, they’re adding more and more signups for their product on autopilot — through one piece of content that keeps driving targeted traffic from Google.
You can drive potential buyers from Google to your site on autopilot — through content they need and by strategically showing them how your product helps with the issues you address in the content.
You may have been advised to not use jargon before because it makes you less understandable.
But that’s not entirely true, especially for B2B businesses. Your customers know the jargon that goes with their business, the lingo (language) they naturally use while communicating with their industry peers.
If you don’t use their vernaculars when communicating with them, you may come across as an outsider to their industry.
For example, when speaking to an audience of advanced accountants, you wouldn’t use a basic term like “debts owed by a business.” Instead, you’d say “payables” or “liabilities.”
In the same way, when creating content targeted at CMOs or marketing VPs, you’d probably say “Marketing is asking for more budget” instead of “The marketing department is asking for more budget” — nothing wrong with either, but the former arguably shows more industry knowledge than the latter.
So instead of writing all jargon off as bad, focus on your customer’s language — the dialect through which they communicate their interests, dreams, and needs.
It doesn’t matter much if you use jargon when writing content. What matters is that you sound like one of your customers. Use the same lingo they use to communicate with each other.
SaaS marketers know they need to distribute content.
What they usually don’t know is how to do it.
The formula is still the same: create great content, promote it, repeat.
I’ve found three ways that work to promote content:
- Promote on highly active online communities
- Partner up with another brand that has your customers as their audience, and have them distribute your content to their audience
- Build your own audience so you no longer have to look for content promotion strategies
Ultimately, #3 is your best bet. It takes time to build your own audience, but it’s the best option to have an audience who are potential customers, and who will always come back to your site when you have new content.
If you’re strategically creating content that addresses customer pain points and employs a clear strategy to drive ROI from content, every content piece you write will be an opportunity to get a new customer — or at least leads.
One last note:
Write every content piece like it’s the only one you’re writing, and milk it for every short and long term ROI — i.e. traffic & conversion — it can drive.