The SaaS software space is presently growing 6.5 times as fast as the world economy, according to SaaS M&A Advisory Boutique Cardin Partners’ recent quarterly report. While that’s generally good news for SaaS companies, it also reflects the intense competition for differentiation. This differentiation and ability to speak to the voice of the customer are at the heart of successful content marketing.
Successful content marketing in the B2B SaaS space is a constantly evolving and moving target. But some themes like thought leadership, consistency, simplicity and choice among others are ongoing guiding principles that help zero in on the bull’s eye of furthering or completing the conversion process.
It’s not uncommon for marketing, sales and product development to lack a clear, unified vision of the target audience. Consequently, marketers can be left with an incomplete understanding of how best to shape targeted business personas when complex technology is involved—which can make it difficult to convey a message that speaks to specific needs.
In this post, we showcase three B2B SaaS companies that are dealing with complex technologies, diverse end-user targets, diverse offerings, or all three. By looking at the three approaches collectively and individually, we’ll see how their marketers put in place successful content marketing strategies to overcome these challenges.
For marketing automation SaaS provider Salesfusion, content marketing is all about putting customer pain points front and center. This is apparent from the subheads of the home page to the blog posts. By reflecting customer needs and addressing them rather than selling on their product pages, Salesfusion gets into the mindset of its targeted audience.
Blog posts, which are extensive, cover topics that are on the mind of businesses needing to up their lead generation and fulfillment game. Plain speak is emphasized, but never at the expense of marketing expertise to establish true thought leadership.
Succinct pulldown names like “Product”, “Pricing,” “Service,” and “Learn” further the no-nonsense message of less is more. As an example, clicking on “Service” brings the visitor to targeted break-outs based on need.
It’s plain speak via subheadings like “Software WITH Service” that says it all, but the text once again speaks to resolving real-world pain points. Every section and every page is dedicated to user support and gently moving visitors from the consideration stage further down the sales funnel with support and education at every turn.
When e-commerce payment platform provider Braintree became a PayPal company in 2013, it was just one more sign of its stability, reach, security and agility for potential customers. Of course, the decision process for potential customers at the top of the sales funnel comes down to the clarity of their content marketing in conveying what they offer across broad end-user case needs.
The first thing that draws visitors into the Braintree site is its marriage of succinct content statements and images that reflect their user base in real scenarios. Subheads like “Powering More Than Just Payments,” “All-in-One Payments Partner,” and “Which Solution Fits Your Business” make it easy for visitors to see their needs quickly reflected with answers.
The Braintree website creates content differentiation based on user needs and pain points in plain language. The use of clearly descriptive images that are self-explanatory representations of different customer needs are bolstered by succinct sentence introductions that drive the point home. Of course, readers can click through for further information depending on their need.
Things become confusing with their pulldown menu selection simply titled “Enterprise,” which is confusing on its face. However, once visitors click through to the page, its importance and meaning becomes apparent when site visitors can clearly read how Braintree solutions can be infinitely scaled to meet their changing need from small business to large enterprises.
The site’s use of the classically non-descriptive “Resources” pulldown menu moniker is disappointing, but all is forgiven with a continuation of the differentiation in user need, descriptive images and concise text introductions.
It can be very difficult to have effective and focused content for SaaS companies with a complex set of products that require buy-in from highly technical people as well as the broader C-Suite. That is the challenge for cloud communications SaaS and PaaS provider Twilio, which produces versatile APIs for communication application development in the enterprise. While the content must meet developer needs, it must also speak the language of CTOs, CMOs, CSOs and others that have those broader concerns about application development.
The reality is that Twilio understands that the content must either speak directly to technically fluent developers or to less technically minded C-Suite members. It is clear that the company’s marketers understand which audience must take precedence over the other and have chosen developers as the clear primary target.
That being said, Twilio seeks to create more of a balance for business use-case readers in the C-Suite roles by couching this denser info in blogs that use timelier universal cultural markers like the new Star Wars films, GDPR and Payment Service Directive compliance needs as well as Net Neutrality. This sounds on its face like a fail, but it’s laden with common sense language, information and thought leadership that keep it actionable for the varied audience.
Extensive tutorials and API reference docs, a collection of video tutorials on a range of topics, and more than 170 customers stories play a prominent role in showing how its solutions are used in real-world scenarios, and the long list of major players doesn’t hurt.
What all three of these B2B SaaS leaders get right about content marketing is that less can be more in the right context. Knowing when more is more and how to speak to the mindset of your target market through thought leadership in plain speak rather touting your wares or superiority is key.
The often-short sales cycle of many SaaS products contradicts the B2B model overall, so SaaS companies must use their limited time with eyeballs wisely in ways that move prospects down the sales funnel under their own power rather than being pushed or pulled.