Telling Your Story: Harnessing the Power of Content Marketing for SaaS
More than most business, content marketers working for software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers have the power to weave compelling, inspiring stories. Offering revolutionary functionality in simple, easy to use packages, these services can often be as close to a silver bullet for a business as anything on the market.
Unfortunately, these opportunities for great storytelling are often squandered. Many content strategies for SaaS providers rely on the customer to do too much work – expecting high entry-levels of knowledge and assuming the customer will guide their own experience.
If you’re serious about turning current leads into future customers, make the smarter choice and take a hard look at your content marketing strategy with help from Impressive.
Software is hard – content marketing makes it easy
All business software strives to solve a problem – whether that’s overly time-consuming bookkeeping or expensive onsite data storage is irrelevant. Your content marketing efforts should always relate back to this problem.
This seems like a basic point, but it’s one that many businesses struggle with.
Often the software being offered is only one way to solve the problem. People don’t always need a $1000 per month subscription to solve a basic problem – sometimes they’re looking to do it themselves or access it as a once-off service. It’s where SaaS-providers forget this and present their product as the single and entire solution to common problems that they risk losing customers.
The wrong way to answer customers
For example, say you’re a young freelancer who’s just been asked to submit their first invoice. You don’t really understand what’s needed and you don’t want to risk being seen as an amateur, so you Google ‘how to create an invoice’.
Here’s what you’d get if you clicked one of the top results on this search – currently a series of PPC ads:
If you’re a freelance writer or artist, this is not only an imposing website, it’s a useless one. It doesn’t answer the question you directly entered into the search field, so why would you stay?
Additionally, all of the existing elements have so little to do with freelancers that they can do little but make a first-time freelancer bounce. The focus on small business, the size of the numbers used in the examples, the requests to sign up – it’s so irrelevant to the searcher’s intent that it gives them no choice but to click back and try again. There’s one tiny reference to freelancers in the sub-heading, but this does nothing to make up for the many other issues with the page.
What makes this particularly glaring is the fact that Zoho is not a small company with a miniscule marketing budget. Headquartered in India but with a global footprint, they employ more than 7000 people and claim more than 45 million users to their enterprise software suites. They have the experience and the resources to deliver highly relevant, insightful content to customers of every background and intent. That they don’t shows a weakness in their strategy.
Your content marketing strategy needs to directly address the problems that searchers are experiencing. Not only does it make your website on the whole more relevant to potential customers, it helps to build good will by offering information instead of a sales pitch, giving you that crucial in with a customer that you can later explore as a business opportunity.
In SaaS content marketing, a customer isn’t ever truly won
Once you’ve sold a customer a loaf of bread, a car or a new dress, that’s that. You can deploy content that increases the chance of a customer becoming repeat business, but if your average purchase value is high enough, you might have already made a significant amount of money from one transaction.
(That doesn’t mean don’t try – if you’re looking for ways to keep your cost of acquisition down while building a loyal following of repeat customers, Impressive can help!)
SaaS providers don’t have this luxury. With them, there’s no such thing as repeat business because there’s really no such thing as a sale – at least not in the neat, once-off transactional way the word implies.
With SaaS, the battle is always to not only find customers and get them to sign on the dotted line, but to keep them. Clients may make the decision to leave their contract and negatively affect your cashflow at any time, meaning that you need to be constantly winning them over.
That takes some strategizing. Keeping your customers on the hook and happy requires a different approach to simply getting them through the door. Once you’ve made that initial relationship, the challenge is to provide ongoing value to customers. That means creating relevant content that meets their needs without re-treading old ground.
Charting the transformation of your customers
Where many SaaS content marketing strategies fall short is that they focus wholly and solely on initial acquisitions, failing to account for all the ways in which they use an already white-hot customer to their advantage. Getting them to reup their subscription is only one path they could take – do you have a higher tier of subscription you can offer? Do you have any additional services you can add on to their subscription as a complement to their primary service?
Core to this is a different understanding of who your customer is before and after they’ve made that initial agreement. Before taking out your service, your customer is someone who has an unresolved problem and is looking for a solution. They need to be educated on the basic facts of your service – what it does, how it meets their requirements, how it can help them achieve their goals, etc.
After signing that initial agreement, your customer is someone who’s on their way to solving a problem. Whether they simply need more time to adequately resolve it, or are working with an incomplete process, you can build content to target that – encouraging re-upping and complementary services, respectively.
Additionally, they’re going to be far more educated. They’ll know more about the inner workings of the specific service they’re using and will have better knowledge of the nature of your broader product offering, meaning that they’ll benefit from more detailed, more technical and denser content.
A new approach to customer relationships and content marketing
With this in mind, it’s vital to have the end of your acquisition funnel be the beginning of another. Whether that’s for encouraging re-subscription or developing a market for further complementary services, it’s crucial that the conversation not end with contract negotiations.
Achieving this kind of continuity of service requires a revaluation of how you engage with your customers. Key to this is keeping in mind that you provide a service – you don’t deliver a product. This is an important distinction to make as treating customers as people in search of a product can lead to a finite method of dealing with them that locks you out of certain opportunities.
Instead, treat each potential customer as a prospective partner to your business. Making a decision to act this way fundamentally changes the way your business markets itself. Once you work from this point, you’ll better understand how each touch point influences a customer’s decision to resubscribe, upgrade or end their contract.
If you’d like to capture your audience like never before, wherever they are in their journey, speak to the team at Impressive today. Let us custom build you a campaign that’s designed to help you connect with prospective customers at every stage, building deeper and more profitable relationships.