Getting executive buy-in for any investment of significant time and money requires a strong blend of good timing, demonstrable value, and a compelling roadmap to success. (A bottle of chardonnay or single malt scotch might help too, just saying). Yet even for SaaS service providers, it’s difficult to quantify what the return will be, and how long it will take to see results.
For SaaS marketing managers, it can be a challenge to get VP and C-level executive buy-in for content marketing programs. Marketers need to map out a comprehensive plan to provide concrete evidence that multi-channel distribution of digital content can, and will, contribute to top-line growth.
SaaS content marketing has a big impact
Many organizations start each year vowing to create and distribute more content. Why, you ask? Because content marketing is the activity which creates the biggest commercial impact.
According to a study by SaaS marketing firm Cobloom, inbound marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing. SaaS firms that produce a significant amount of content generate 7.8 times more traffic.
Despite these opportunities, many top SaaS companies don’t have:
- calls to action (31% of top SaaS blogs don’t have them)
- custom images (35% of SaaS firms don’t enhance their content with visual goodness)
- blog posts (11% of the websites from these elite companies don’t have a blog at all)
Marketing executives and their teams often are challenged to generate the sort of thought leadership content they plan to. They typically have several campaigns and events to plan, execute and measure. Contracting out content production to a SaaS freelance or contract writer can increase both the quality and the quantity of articles, white papers, ebooks and other reusable assets.
Let’s take a look at six ways you can get executive buy-in for your SaaS content marketing program. We’ll also look at how other leading SaaS companies have achieved executive buy-in.
You can use these proof points to build your business case for content marketing to get executive buy-in, and convince your leadership team of how valuable a properly executed content marketing program can be.
1. Start with a content marketing plan to get executive buy-in
Walking into an executive’s office empty handed is a bad idea at the best of times. By creating a plan, with elements like a content strategy, and a draft editorial calendar is a good way to build your business case. A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs found that 62% of content marketing professionals that document their strategies outperform their peers that don’t.
2. Content is critical to generating leads and brand awareness
For the world’s most successful SaaS providers, educational content such as blogs and whitepapers generates a significant amount of traffic growth. Compared to other leading SaaS marketing tactics, content marketing is 62% less expensive than outbound marketing activities like telemarketing, events and direct mail or email campaigns.
Content assets like blogs and whitepapers can often be modified slightly over time to extend their value and shareworthiness. eBooks can be repurposed into blog posts, blogs can add context to videos, and encourage prospects to opt-in to marketing lists to access gated content like white papers. Thought leadership content demonstrates that a company has domain expertise, and can be trusted.
Just as word-of-mouth referrals are a valuable form of advertising in the physical world, shared content helps companies reach a broader audience of potential customers, reseller partners and affiliates.
3. Retaining existing customers
Once a SaaS customer is under contract, there are many customer success strategies in the marketplace which offer varying levels of success. Some companies offer weekly training webinars, as well as recorded sessions. Others provide fee-based consulting and professional services.
Many customers exhaust their IT budgets on user subscriptions, or try to do their own application setup, configuration and administration without any consulting. Customer success content (like how-to guides or checklists) share some of the SaaS provider’s intellectual capital, with a goal of justifying their customers’ ongoing investments. It serves to educate customers so they can meet their business goals, and extend the customer’s relationship with their firm.
In this context, the content becomes part of a success assurance program which the SaaS company provides for the ongoing subscription. It can be written from the perspective of specialized use cases by industry, user role or administrative functions. Tech support manuals are helpful to address the “what, when, and where” of SaaS use. Content and social media provide more depth to the “who and why”.
4. Assist strategic partners with their marketing efforts
SaaS partners often have a broad array of integrator, ISV, reseller and influencer referral partners. Equipping these partners with marketing resources they can share on your behalf extends your reach to a broader audience of prospects.
Digital assets such as case studies, datasheets and whitepapers are great resources to support partners throughout the relationship lifecycle, including during recruitment, onboarding, and to support their presentations at conferences.
Your partners can also share your content on their social media channels, and you can exchange guest posts between your websites. Content demonstrates authority, and it can also be used as evidence of a collaborative partnership with comarketing.
5. Content production for a competitive advantage
Digital content is the sort of business investment you make where if you don’t do it, you risk losing market share to your competitors. SaaS companies can leverage content marketing to showcase their expertise with a specific industry vertical, a certain persona in an organization, or even a specific company size.
Many SaaS providers work to flood the internet with a torrent of content—and they pepper it with keywords to rank better on the search engines. Yet SaaS leaders are better off leveraging high quality, valuable and useful content to demonstrate their value proposition, build brand equity and generate a targeted audience of qualified leads.
6. Freelance writers create consistency
One of the biggest challenges for SaaS marketers is finding the time to generate, publish and promote their content. By contracting a freelance writer with the chops and expertise to generate quality content, you can increase the cadence of content you produce. You’ll be able to consistently deliver valuable, insightful content that your audience will read, share and act upon.
Though it’s important for your content messaging to have a fairly consistent tone, different voices, such as company management, sales people and partners, can build rapport with customers and prospects. Getting to know a company’s team from its marketing materials is a good way to incent prospects to respond to calls to action—because they are familiar with the personalities of the stakeholders in your organization.
Whether you represent a startup SaaS company or you’ve been in-market for a number of years, gaining or sustaining executive buy-in for content marketing is critical. If you present these key points to your executive team and still need help convincing them how it can grow your business, take a look at our content creation services then let’s talk.