5 Ways Content Marketing Benefits SaaS Companiesby@ednaololade
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5 Ways Content Marketing Benefits SaaS Companies

by Edna OloladeDecember 22nd, 2022
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Software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry has witnessed exponential growth over the past decade. On average, people use 130 SaaS apps in 2022, up from an average of 110 apps in 2021 (an 18% increase). However, 70% of startups fail usually within 20 months of raising funds because of these three pain points: accelerating sales, attracting and retaining customers, and managing product offerings. Here are 5 ways content marketing can help SaaS organizations deal with these challenges: build brand awareness, receive high ROI with cost-effective strategies, build authority as a thought leader, generate leads, and guarantee customer retention.

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The software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry has witnessed exponential growth over the past decade. On average, people use 130 SaaS apps in 2022, up from an average of 110 apps in 2021 (an 18% increase). Given the impressive growth in recent years, the global SaaS market is expected to reach $195 billion in 2023.

Notwithstanding the market growth, SaaS startups are more prone to failure than success—70% of startups fail usually within 20 months of raising funds. Oracle, a computer technology corporation, categorized the pain points of SaaS companies into three: accelerating sales, attracting and retaining customers, and managing product offerings.

How do SaaS companies scale and grow beyond $1m Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) in the face of these challenges? Content marketing! According to ProfitWell, SaaS businesses that prioritize content marketing efforts see higher growth rates than those that don’t.

In this article, you’ll learn what SaaS content marketing is and how it benefits Saas companies.

Table of contents:

  • What’s SaaS content marketing?
  • Five ways content marketing benefits SaaS companies
  • How to develop an effective content strategy

What’s SaaS content marketing?

Image credit: Search Engine Journal

SaaS is a cloud computing service in which a cloud provider hosts applications, manages underlying hosting infrastructure, and makes them available to end users via any device with an internet connection. Cloudflare compares SaaS with renting a house: the landlord maintains the house, but the tenant mostly gets to use it as if they owned it. When the app is installed, it improves the work you do or how you do it. Some examples of SaaS applications are Salesforce, MailChimp, Slack, DropBox, SalesForce, and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite).

Meanwhile, Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” Blog posts, newsletters, white papers, case studies, social media posts, newsletters, and videos are content types to use. This content provides valuable information, tips, and resources that help people make informed decisions.

The above explanation lays a solid foundation, but when we narrow it to SaaS businesses, we get a definition more like this: “SaaS content marketing is a long-term marketing strategy that SaaS businesses implement to attract, convert, and retain target audience by creating and distributing value-packed, unique content consistently.” In SaaS content marketing, the spotlight is on building & strengthening long-term relationships with your customers.

5 ways content marketing benefits SaaS companies

Today’s customers want to buy and not be sold to. They want control over what they buy and how they're marketed to. This means they want to research their options before making any purchase. Unfortunately, many SaaS companies are encountering more resistance from today's prospects because of their salesy techniques.

SaaS businesses often live in a universe of mathematical code, complex processes, and highly technical jargon that often ignore consumers’ needs. Before people spend money on any of your products, you need to win their hearts and attend to their ever-changing needs. How do you do this? Through content marketing. And here are 5 ways content marketing can help you:

1. Build brand awareness

Brand awareness is the foundation of any marketing efforts. In a world full of SaaS companies (there are about 25,000 SaaS worldwide), you need to inform your audience about your problem-solving products. To build brand awareness, publish content that addresses their buying journey — awareness, consideration, and decision. Demand Gen revealed that 70% of people would rather learn about a company through content than an advert.

Padmaja Santhanam, Growth Manager at FirstPrinciples, also agrees with the Demand Gen report. According to her, helping customers understand product offerings motivates them to take action, which increases sales. Therefore, recognizing consumers’ pain points and answering their questions should be your priority.

Informational and educational resources delivered in the awareness stage are aimed at helping them understand their concerns better and to find solutions like your product. For example, Amanda McCrea, content coordinator at Online Optimism says if your potential clients are searching for a solution for a problem that your software and related services can solve, a blog post, social content, or ebooks can provide them with the answer they need and build their interest in your expertise.

2. Content marketing is cost-effective and produces a dramatic rise in ROI

According to Demand Metric, content marketing costs 62% less and produces three times more leads than traditional advertising. This implies that content marketing is easy on the budget for small-to-medium-sized SaaS companies. Using traditional marketing or other strategies like paid search will get you a short-term desired result, and it will cost you an arm and a leg. The Average Cost Per Lead (CPL) for content marketing is $92. In contrast, search engine advertising costs $110 while traditional marketing (TV, print, radio) costs $619.

Average CPL for content marketing. Image credit: VisitorQueue

For instance, Ahrefs’ blog ranks in Google for over 193,000 keywords and generates about 451,000 monthly search visits. Gaining the same traffic via Google Ads would cost an estimated $795,000 monthly (or $9.5 million yearly) compared to spending nowhere near that amount on producing and optimizing content.

Image credit: Ahrefs’ blog

Content marketing also produces more sales. A case study from Nectafy shows how a client achieved $547,732 in sales over 18 months by investing in content marketing. The return on investment was 647%!

Image credit: Nectafy

With SaaS content marketing, you can reach a large yet specific audience with laser precision. You can get the most out of content marketing by repurposing content. For instance, from a blog post, you can get short-form videos, social media posts, infographics, or even a podcast.

3. Content marketing helps you build authority as a thought leader

In today’s world, yesterday’s “shiny new toy” can quickly become obsolete overnight. And to succeed in the SaaS industry, you need to be a trustworthy brand. You can position yourself as an expert in your field and build trust with your customers. Without trust, customers are unlikely to stick around your business. Being known as a brand that provides credible information will help you rank higher in search engines.

4. Content marketing helps generate leads

Prospects rarely just search for your brand and make a purchase immediately. They usually go through a journey. This is where the sales funnel comes in. The more traffic you drive to your website, the more opportunities you have to convert visitors to leads and, eventually buyers. Once you’ve identified your specific audience and you constantly publish helpful content without sounding salesy, they are naturally interested in learning more.

For the awareness stage, you can create content like blog posts, social media content, whitepapers, ebooks, videos, and webinars. The suitable type of content for the consideration stage are comparison guides, case studies, and free samples. While for the decision stage, free trials, live demos, consultation offers, and coupons are great. Also, calls-to-action (CTA) in your content can generate new leads for your business.

5. Content marketing improves customer retention

According to Forrester, it costs 5 times more to gain new customers than it does to keep an existing one. Also, the higher your churn rate (the annual percentage rate at which customers cancel or don’t renew their subscription to a service), the more capital you need to maintain your revenue. Therefore, ensuring customer retention to avoid a high churn rate is a priority for your SaaS company. How do you do this?

A ProfitWell study shows that Saas companies that use content marketing see 30% higher growth rates. For customer retention, companies that deploy content see 5%-10% better retention, especially when they deploy more customer success-focused content. Lincoln Murphy, a SaaS expert, says a “majority of the revenue from your relationship with a customer happens post-sale. The emphasis is on both keeping the customer longer and also expanding relationships.”

Ensuring customer retention includes publishing quality content regularly, facilitating smooth onboarding and return rates (with user manuals, how-to guides, and forums), and keeping customers informed via blogs, podcasts, weekly newsletters, or YouTube channels.

How to develop an effective content strategy

With all the benefits of content marketing listed above, you can now see why content marketing is important for your SaaS businesses. Here’s how to get started with content marketing:

  1. Define your content marketing goals: Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) goals.
  2. Know your ideal customer: Identify your buyer persona. Some forms of content might obtain more engagement for some audiences than others.
  3. Define your metrics: Based on your SMART goals, focus on tracking only the important metrics to evaluate the success of your content marketing activities.
  4. Audit existing content: Identify existing resources that’ll help you decide what to keep, optimize or delete.
  5. Build content creation framework: This is a structure for creating and publishing content. This helps with long-term content sustainability. It also helps you identify suitable content for every stage of the buyer’s journey.
  6. Create content: Focus on creating content for every stage of the buyer’s journey to ensure lead generation.
  7. Measure: Be ready to improve your content marketing effort by measuring your efforts regularly.

If you find all this overwhelming, your SaaS company can employ the services of a reputable content marketing agency to help you create valuable and consistent content. Remember that content marketing is a long-term marketing strategy that will pay off over time and help your SaaS company grow.

Thanks for reading! Do you have any questions or comments about what I’ve written here? Please let me know in the comments section below!