In the realm of B2B SaaS (Software as a Service), content marketing is the linchpin that holds the growth strategy together. In 2023, this dynamic field has evolved into a multifaceted landscape, demanding a unique approach. This article will serve as your guide to understand the intricacies and nuances of B2B SaaS content marketing strategy in the current year.
Establishing Trust in B2B SaaS Content Marketing
B2B SaaS content marketing is distinctively complex. Unlike consumer-focused industries, SaaS services require a profound commitment. Building reputation and trust are imperative in the journey to win over businesses.
Vivek Shankar, Founder of Vivek Shankar Consulting, emphasizes the significance of starting with a strong foundation. He suggests that many SaaS companies often get their priorities backward, focusing on SEO before defining their product and sales stories. He advocates for establishing a solid business and product strategy to avoid wasted resources and minimal results.
Key Elements to Focus On
Before diving into content creation, ensure you have these crucial elements documented:
Targeting and Segmentation Strategy: Define your overall targeting and segmentation approach.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Identify the core value your company offers.
Messaging and Positioning Strategy: Craft a messaging strategy aligned with your brand’s position.
Brand Story: Narrate your brand’s background and mission.
Additionally, prepare the necessary assets:
Content Marketing Team: Assemble a team of trained professionals for copywriting, design, and content production.
Content Marketing Tools: Implement a minimal tech stack, including Google Analytics for event tracking and SEO tools for research.
Setting Content Marketing Goals
Establish specific objectives at two main levels:
Overall Content Marketing Goals: These could be revenue targets or the number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) generated through content.
Make use of multitouch attribution to gauge content’s impact on the bottom line.
Specific Metrics for Each Content Piece: For instance, measure organic traffic for a blog post.
Intermediary Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are vital for understanding content performance, especially with complex SaaS products.
Mastering B2B SaaS Audience Research
Audience research is the bedrock of a robust content marketing strategy. However, in the B2B SaaS sector, it necessitates extra effort and resources. With longer sales cycles and multiple decision-makers involved, B2B SaaS companies must understand who interacts with their content and when, to create effective conversion workflows.
Techniques for Deeper Audience Understanding
To gain profound insights into your B2B SaaS audience:
Interview Diverse Customers: Engage with users, decision-makers, and influencers to understand their content consumption and purchasing processes.
Participate in Online Communities: Active involvement in niche online platforms, like GrowthMentor and LinkedIn groups, provides valuable insights.
Collaborate with Thought Leaders: Build relationships with experts in your sector to access new audiences and industry knowledge.
Involve Customer-Facing Teams: Collaborate with Sales and Customer Success teams for better alignment in content marketing.
Collaborating with other teams is pivotal. Our research shows that it’s the second most crucial factor for content marketing success in B2B SaaS/IT companies.
B2B SaaS Thought Leadership in Content Marketing
Thought leadership is the cornerstone of building brand awareness and fostering communities in the B2B SaaS landscape. Establishing your brand as an authority requires expertise and in-depth knowledge of your industry.
To become an expert in your field and truly understand your product:
Participate in Customer Research: Join interviews, demo calls, and analyze customer support requests.
Subscribe to Niche Publications: Stay updated with industry trends through newsletters, podcasts, and YouTube shows.
Leverage Internal Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): Collaborate with product managers, owners, and C-suite executives.
Connect with Thought Leaders: Engage with thought leaders and experts in your sector for valuable insights.
Utilize Google Alerts and Topic Research: Stay informed about trending topics in your industry.
Familiarity with your product is essential. Regular exploration, participation in customer calls, and tracking product updates ensure you can effectively create product-focused content and align with other teams in your company.
Thinking Beyond Problem-Solution
While addressing problems your SaaS product solves is essential, thinking beyond this paradigm can widen your audience reach. B2B buyers aspire to achieve substantial goals, such as industry leadership, promotions, or mentorship. Empowering your readers with content that aids in achieving these aspirations can leave a lasting impression.
Luke O’Neill, a B2B FinTech writer, suggests focusing on the bigger picture. B2B buyers are not just buying products; they are striving for significant accomplishments. So, create content that empowers them on their journey.
Positioning Your Product Thoughtfully
When discussing your product, position it as one of the solutions rather than the only solution. Be transparent about its strengths and weaknesses. This approach helps build credibility with your audience.
Masooma Memon, a freelance SaaS writer, advises presenting multiple solutions before positioning your tool as the best fit for a specific audience. Provide clarity about your tool’s ideal users.
For example, when creating a blog post about survey tools, list various options, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, and then introduce your tool as a strong contender for a particular audience.
Enhancing B2B SaaS Thought Leadership and Creativity
Thought leadership is a potent tool for B2B SaaS content marketers. By positioning your brand as a source of education and innovation, you can cultivate a loyal community and establish your authority in the field.
Take HubSpot as an example. They championed inbound marketing and introduced innovative concepts like the ‘Flywheel’ model, attracting a global community far beyond their product users.
Finding Inspiration for Thought Leadership Content
To create thought leadership content, draw inspiration from:
Internal Data: Utilize your product’s data to highlight trends and insights.
User Surveys: Leverage customer insights to inform your content strategy.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): Collaborate with in-house and external experts.
Collaboration: Partner with other brands and influencers to diversify your content ideas.
Market Research: Commission studies to position your company as an industry leader.
Remember, thought leadership content can take various forms, from podcasts to expert articles. Explore different avenues to establish your brand’s authority.
In the realm of B2B SaaS (Software as a Service), content marketing is the bedrock of sustainable growth. It’s the fuel that powers your brand, establishing you as a thought leader and magnetically drawing in potential customers. This comprehensive ten-step guide is your roadmap to extracting the maximum value from your content and propelling your B2B SaaS business into a pole position in 2023.
The Unique Challenges of B2B SaaS Content Marketing
B2B SaaS content marketing is a complex endeavor, distinct from other industries, owing to several inherent challenges:
Commitment is Key: SaaS services often require a significant level of commitment from users. Thus, building a robust reputation and trust is paramount.
Multiple Decision-Makers: B2B transactions typically involve multiple stakeholders and influencers, leading to longer sales cycles. Effective content must cater to this intricate web of decision-makers.
Tech Complexity: Digital platforms, particularly innovative or groundbreaking SaaS solutions, can be challenging for users to grasp initially. Your content needs to demystify and educate.
Considering these challenges, it’s crucial to approach your B2B SaaS content strategy as a marathon rather than a sprint. Now, let’s dive into why content marketing holds immense importance for B2B SaaS companies.
The Significance of Content Marketing for B2B SaaS
Content marketing is the lifeblood of organic growth for any business, and B2B SaaS is no exception. Here’s why it’s indispensable:
Continuous Learning: The SaaS and tech sectors thrive on perpetual learning and professional growth. Content produced by SaaS companies often serves as the primary source of knowledge and information for their audiences.
Skill Enhancement: Creating content that helps customers upgrade their skills is vital for building a loyal community, establishing thought leadership, and ensuring a sustainable revenue stream.
Consider Kinsta, a premium WordPress hosting provider, which witnessed a dramatic surge in website visitors by crafting valuable, educational content. As of June 2022, they attract over 672,000 monthly organic views.
Kinsta’s content strategy is a testament to the power of addressing customer pain points and challenges rather than merely promoting their hosting services. They cover broad themes relevant to WordPress developers and website owners, creating awareness and trust among their audience.
The Performance of B2B SaaS Content Marketing in 2023
The State of Content Marketing 2023 Global Report sheds light on the performance of IT and SaaS companies in the realm of content marketing:
- 70% of SaaS companies boast a fairly developed or advanced content marketing strategy.
- An overwhelming 97% of SaaS companies report some degree of success in their content marketing efforts.
Moreover, B2B SaaS and IT businesses are actively investing in their content strategies. Approximately 65% of these companies allocate more than $3,000 per month to content marketing, with 75% anticipating an increase in their content marketing budgets in 2023.
Building a Powerful B2B SaaS Content Marketing Strategy
Now, let’s delve into the essential steps to construct a robust B2B SaaS content strategy that drives success:
Start with Building a Foundation
Don’t rush into content creation without a solid marketing strategy in place. Here’s what you need to focus on:
Craft Your Story: SaaS products often require a deep understanding of your value proposition. Develop your brand story, highlighting your background and mission.
Vivek Shankar, Founder of Vivek Shankar Consulting, emphasizes putting your product and sales story first Make sure you document your overall targeting and segmentation strategy, unique selling proposition (USP), messaging, and brand story.
Prepare Marketing Assets: Before diving into blog posts and content creation, ensure you have essential marketing assets ready:
- An optimized website: Pay attention to website structure, keyword optimization, user experience (UX), page speed, and interlinking.
- A competent content marketing team: Whether in-house or freelance, trained professionals are essential for copywriting, design, and content production.
- Content marketing tools: A minimal tech stack can enhance productivity and make your content strategy data-driven. Begin by setting up events in Google Analytics and employing SEO tools for keyword and topic research.
Define Content Marketing Goals: Establish specific objectives for your content marketing efforts, both at the overall level (e.g., revenue or Marketing Qualified Leads) and for individual content pieces. Setting intermediary Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is crucial for evaluating the performance of complex SaaS products.