For SaaS companies, be they startups or established firms, creating and sustaining content marketing momentum requires more than just writing, publishing and distributing SaaS blog posts.
Don’t get me wrong—a well-written SaaS blog post is a great way to attract a prospect and give them a sense of your company’s value proposition. But it’s just not enough.
To be successful in your content marketing, you need to offer a variety of content assets to attract prospects, maintain their interest, and keep them coming back for more insights. If content marketing were a fishing expedition, blogs are essentially the bait.
Offer content types that sync with where a prospect is in the buying lifecycle
In this era of empowered B2B buyers, offering prospects and customers the right content at the right time is key. SaaS blog posts are a great way to attract prospects at the “Awareness” stage of the marketing funnel.
At this stage, prospects are typically just gathering their business requirements for the SaaS service they need. If you can help a prospect to define their business goals, you have a better opportunity of being selected as the SaaS provider that helps them address those needs.
Once a reader has consumed an “appetizer” content piece like a SaaS blog post, it’s easier to tempt them to sign up to feast on a “meatier” piece of thought leadership content. One way to do this is to catch their attention with a blog post that speaks to the challenge they’re currently facing. The call to action on the blog post could be to sign up for an eBook that dives deeper into that challenge and provides ways of solving it.
You got a nibble, now set the hook
Once a prospect has demonstrated their interest by signing up for your thought leadership content, you don’t want them to “swim away” because you keep offering small morsels of blog content. Short videos, checklists, case studies and whitepapers make great follow-on pieces to blog posts.
While SaaS blog posts can be cast out to your audience through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, whitepapers, ebooks and other valuable content should require a visitor to sign up to your email marketing list so you can send them timely content to nurture them into the “Consideration” stage, and onward through the funnel.
Drip. You publish an infographic. Drip. You email out a link to a podcast or webinar. Drip. Prospects get used to your rhythm of marketing, but enjoy the fresh variety.
These varied content types are like “setting the hook” when you are fishing. You keep a prospect interested and engaged, as you reel them further through the funnel. By the time a prospect knows they’re hooked, your sales team has reeled them in.
Keep a prospect focused on your value, but be prepared for competition
Some cloud companies offer competitive checklists in the “Comparison” stage of the funnel. SaaS vendors should be careful of how they position competitors though. It may be construed by some prospects as a weakness or as fear. SaaS vendors are usually better off articulating their own strengths and expertise.
Entering a feature-for-feature war with a competitor could encourage a prospect to consider another service provider. Publishing a “We vs. Them” chart on your website could encourage a competitor to do a gap analysis on their own offering to close functional gaps in their service.
Smart SaaS companies compete by demonstrating their understanding of a customer’s business, their goals and their pains. Content like success stories, analyst reports and ROI case studies are ideal for both the “Comparison” stage and the “Decision” stage. We all like social proof, so it’s no surprise that prospects like to read case studies and view testimonial videos late in their decision making process to know they are making the right decision by selecting your company’s services.
Don’t neglect your base–SaaS subscribers need specialized content too
Subscribers to your email list should be fed a steady diet of strategic insights about how they can use your SaaS offering to increase profitability, decrease costs and create business efficiencies. You need to continue prospecting for new customers, but ensure you keep your current subscribers engaged.
Otherwise, like a powerful marlin, the customer could flip, jump and churn off your customer list and into the arms of a competitor. The types of content that are best for the “Retention” stage of a customer lifecycle include:
- usability tutorial videos, checklists and walkthroughs
- FAQ pages
- customer testimonials
- success stories that describe how a customer found innovative ways to improve their business with your SaaS offering (maybe they worked with your professional services team, or customized your application themselves)
There are many types of customers and prospects out there, so you need a varied set of content assets to attract, convert and retain customers through each stage of the marketing funnel or buyer’s journey.
A variety of time-sensitive and evergreen content will help your business market to the different types of personas that are so important to your business success. SaaS blog posts are only the beginning–go deep and wide by hiring a content marketing writer that can create a broad spectrum of content assets for you.