Whatever online marketing platform you choose–paid or organic–an effective strategy boils down to its most essential ingredient: content. Whether for the short-term or long haul, content can make or break your SaaS business because buyers today are relying more on what they read about you online before contacting you (according to Google/Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study).
However, content is a big word, and for some marketers, it’s all about writing articles about their product. No. Content has a myriad of types placed at different levels–top, middle, and bottom funnel–to target different prospects.
In this article, we provide useful B2B marketing strategies and share with you six must-have content types (and why you should use them) to run an effective content plan for your SaaS product.
Videos can be product demos, promotions, tutorials, testimonials, webinars, or case documentaries. B2B marketers attest to video’s effectiveness; in fact, 82% of B2B marketers reported success in video marketing (Demand Metric, Vidyard. B2B Video Marketing–B2B Benchmarks & Best Practices, June 2014). Specifically, the same study showed that 45% of marketers use video for lead generation.
Product videos help buyers to quickly understand your software at the top of funnel, while webinars can convince them to subscribe to a digital asset, for example a white paper or report, in the middle funnel. Furthermore, video tutorials are critical to move free trial users to a paid plan as soon as they learn (and hopefully appreciate) the ropes of your software.
To optimize distribution, upload your videos on YouTube or Vimeo, embed them on your website, and share the link in your social media pages.
A landing page can be reached from a variety of sources, such as a PPC ad, one of the leading B2B & SaaS software review sites, SERP, or from within your site. They can span a wide range of top to bottom funnels, depending on your goal. For instance, a webinar landing page can be at the top or middle funnel, while an upsell landing page is at the bottom one.
When buyers land on your your homepage or free trial page, will they trust it? Within seconds, a first-time visitor will have already judged your credibility.
Building user trust should be one of your digital goals on top of brand awareness and lead generation. Yes, we say on top because user trust drives engagement and conversion. If you’ve been too focused on hard selling customers, step back for a while and check if these trust-building elements are present on your landing pages:
Write your value proposition in the headline – what makes your software unique and distinguish it from others? Is it its price, feature, terms? Buyers aren’t looking for your product, but its perceived value. Make sure they get your value right away because, according to CopyBlogger, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 will read the body.
Write a clear description of your offer in the body – Don’t repeat the headline, but rather expand it. Specify the particular benefits, terms, and the next steps your user should take. However, avoid cluttering the body with too much text. You can, instead, employ visual tricks, such as, bullets, violators, captions, subheads, etc. to lay out easily digestible content bits. Likewise, don’t just inform, but motivate readers with time-tested selling techniques, including: scarcity (limited offer), exclusivity (special report), and deals (free).
Display social proofs – show your social media links, testimonial quotes from big-ticket clients, awards, and media mentions. These social proofs ease buyers’ anxiety by showing them what other people and parties think about you.
Display trust marks – a study by ActualInsights (2011) reported that 61% of buyers said they did not complete a purchase for lack of trust seals. Trust marks are usually seals of approval certifying your online technical security (Norton, Thawte, GeoTrust) or business legitimacy (BBB, Truste). There is also another type of trust mark that suits SaaS products: industry-specific trust seals such as our Verified Quality Seal. This seal focuses specifically on B2B software products and provides a guarantee of your quality. In a niche SaaS market, specialty trust seal can add credibility to your business software.
It’s been used, reused, and abused, but it doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. On the contrary, 79% of marketers interviewed by HubSpot reported a positive ROI from blogging, while 89% of those who post daily content acquired buyers through the blog.
Here’s a tip to leverage the power of blogging: the key is to create thoughtful, original articles with SEO elements, not to transform SEO elements into shoddy articles. Likewise, talk more about your product category and less about your product.
Blog articles are ideal top-of-funnel content to educate buyers on issues, news, or trends that have an impact on their buying decision. Your blog also acts as a repository of all your topical content, from which they can be linked out to other websites and shared across social media.
With a long-term editorial calendar and persistent SEO tactics (e.g. external and internal link building, targeted keywords, trending topics), your blog can achieve a respectable SERP ranking in one to three years. It takes time, yes, but is worth the wait. When buyers research generic keywords for tips or information, they may just get your link in search results.
Keep your blog content running even while you conduct other short-term content strategies with quick ROI, such as, our next type below.
Review sites act like SERP extensions for B2B software generic searches. Here’s a typical initial product discovery scenario based on the Google/Millward study:
Because reviews sites are present at the initial stage of buyers’ product research, it’s important that you optimize this channel. Remember that your competitors are also present on these sites, constantly vying for attention of your potential clients. To get an advantage, you can use the review sites’ marketing services as most leading B2B review sites offer some form of product promotion.
Here at FinancesOnline, for example, you can use the following lead-generation services to draw attention to your software:
Both testimonials and case studies are usually found in the middle funnel, when buyers have already shortlisted your website and are now trying to assess your track record.
Testimonials and case studies showcase your positive experience with other clients. They are also evidence of transparency, proving that your software has worked with others, and will do the same with new buyers.
Although the bigger the client’s reputation the stronger the testimonial, less known clients can also offer powerful track record by volume (the more, the merrier bandwagon effect) or based on their detailed experience.
In fact, it’s much easier to extract customer testimonial from a startup or small business than a multinational corporation, which has numerous departments to consult with. Smaller clients may also be motivated to gain exposure from your case study, and often, you need only to talk to the CEO or owner. So don’t ignore your smaller customers.
When developing a testimonial or case study, remember to include the following data for content usability:
Likewise, testimonials and case studies can be in the form of a documentary video.
Downloadable content can be white papers, reports, webinars, ebooks, exclusive videos, or any content behind an opt-in gate.
This is all high-level content that can be shared in the middle or bottom funnel to drive more engagement or commitment from the customer. Since they require customers to submit some data in exchange for content your downloadable assets should contain real value as a resource or reference that answers customers’ important concerns. You’ll have to spend a considerable time crafting a downloadable asset using your or your key staff’s expertise, or an external help, or even conduct an industry-wide research.
When created with accuracy and value, downloadable content can also help you project expertise in your product category. On this note, you can share your report’s highlights in social media to claim a thought leadership position and as a hook to get people to subscribe to the content.
Keep in mind to use short forms on the opt-in page and only ask for the most basic customer data: often it will just be the name and email address. You can ask for more detailed customer data in succeeding opt-ins as you move them across the sales funnel.
We hope the B2B marketing strategies detailed in this article prove effective in helping to boost your firm’s sales and profit.
FinancesOnline is available for free for all business professionals interested in an efficient way to find top-notch SaaS solutions. We are able to keep our service free of charge thanks to cooperation with some of the vendors, who are willing to pay us for traffic and sales opportunities provided by our website. Please note, that FinancesOnline lists all vendors, we’re not limited only to the ones that pay us, and all software providers have an equal opportunity to get featured in our rankings and comparisons, win awards, gather user reviews, all in our effort to give you reliable advice that will enable you to make well-informed purchase decisions.