SaaS Marketing

Product-Led Marketing: A Driver for Modern Business Growth

Perry Steward
September 14, 2023
Product-Led Marketing: A Driver for Modern Business Growth

What if you could attract users and turn them into paying customers while reducing churn and improving retention? 

With product-led marketing, all of this can be a reality. In an era where many popular SaaS businesses like HubSpot, Airtable, and Zapier have adopted and succeeded from product-led growth models, it’s time to learn how to implement the same for your business. 

As a SaaS SEO and content marketing agency, we work closely with product-led SaaS companies. In this guide, we’ll share our secret sauce for creating a winning product-led growth marketing strategy. 

What We'll Cover:

Understanding Product-Led Marketing 

While the traditional marketing model focuses on “telling” the users how the product could be helpful to them, product-led marketing is all about “showing” users the value the product brings. 

Think of it this way. What would you trust more – a SaaS business’s landing page telling you the product's benefits or the ability to try the product for yourself? 

That’s the core of product-led marketing. It’s the concept of putting the product at the forefront of your marketing efforts, whether you want to attract, convert, or retain users. Product-led marketing is a business strategy that keeps the product at the center while creating customer experiences, go-to-market activities, or SEO campaigns to supplement its growth. 

Asking the Right Questions: 3 Ws and 1 H 

Implementing a product-led SaaS marketing strategy begins with asking yourself the following questions. At MADX, we use these pointers to help us understand our users and how to develop a strategy that works for each unique business. 

Who Are Your Prospects? 

The first step is to understand your customer base. Knowing your customers will help you design strategies and experiences that attract and convert the right leads. 

Many SaaS businesses aim to create buyer personas at this stage, building a picture of their ideal customer from demographics to interests. 

Here are some focus points that will help create these personas. 

a lady icon at the center with text field box around about buyer persona

If you’re starting from scratch, looking at your competitors' users is useful. You can either go to their website to study the use cases or markets they target or visit their pages on trusted review sites like G2 and Capterra to understand the kind of people using the product. 

For example, if you’re developing a project management tool, a quick look at ClickUp’s solutions page could help narrow your target audience. 

Clickup Solutions page

Image source 

What Specific Problems Are Your Prospects Facing? 

Now that your marketing is product-focused, you must find - and communicate - how your product fits your customer’s requirements instead of vice versa. 

One way we recommend product-led companies do that is by developing user stories. These user stories provide a framework to understand the problems the tool is solving for your customers. 

For example, a user story for a project management tool could be, “As a team lead, I’d like to know the updates on every project and what each team member is working on.” 

You can craft these stories by analyzing site visitor behavior, user searches, in-app analytics, customer surveys and interviews, support tickets, customer reviews, etc. 

This step would require your product, marketing, sales, and customer success teams to work together and leverage the power of collective intelligence. 

Where Should Your Content Be Focused To Aid Your Prospects? 

Many SaaS companies create content with high search volume. But they fail to ask, “Does this content actually allow me to talk about my product without being too salesy about it?” 

The key, after all, is to convert your content readers.  

One way to achieve that is by offering how-to articles, tips for success, and guides that feature your product solving a particular problem. Ahrefs does this to a very high standard with their articles. Almost all of their content pieces discuss common SEO problems and how users can use Ahrefs to solve them. 

For example, take their article, “How to advertise your business?”    

ahrefs blog about how to advertise your business

Image source 

The first strategy they suggest is keyword research. And guess what tool they recommend? Their very own Keywords Explorer tool. 

article about finding keyword to target with a red box highlighted at the bottom

You could also go a step further and create video content or ebooks around common solutions and let your product be the superstar of the content. 

How Can You Work On Your Product-Led Marketing? 

If you’ve been convinced that product-led marketing is the way forward for your business, you’re now left with the daunting task of designing and implementing your strategy. Below are six ways your SaaS business can work on product-led growth initiatives. 

Set Up a Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is a hub that contains all the information a user might need on a particular topic. For example, a knowledge hub on “project management” can contain individual guides and articles like “how to set milestones,” “how to manage workload,” etc. 

Many SaaS companies have also moved on to create knowledge hubs on social platforms like YouTube. With video marketing on the rise, this could be a great avenue to explore.

Here’s how HubSpot has created a knowledge base on “Email Marketing” on YouTube. 

youtube page of how to master email marketing. there's a man in blackhub jacket in the video

Image source 

If you’re just starting your journey, find those major topics of interest for your users and create a knowledge base around them. 

Maximize SEO 

You created ten insightful articles for your knowledge base. Is your job done? Definitely not. With many competitors fighting for the exact keywords, you need to optimize your content for SEO to get on the first page of Google and reach a large audience. 

Here are some SEO optimizations you can focus on: 

  • Align your content with search intent
  • Optimize your title tag and meta descriptions with the target keyword
  • Add internal and external links
  • Use headings and subheadings to structure your content
  • Optimize your site’s loading speed
  • Optimize your images
  • Earn authoritative backlinks

Moreover, your team should also learn valuable content marketing strategies to win featured snippets and create content briefs that help the writers create laser-focused content. If you need expert help, reach out to our SEO professionals at MADX. 

Attract Product-Qualified Leads (PQLs) 

Instead of focusing on sales and marketing-qualified leads, it’s time to focus on product-qualified leads. These PQLs are individuals or businesses that have garnered value from using your product through a free trial, a limited-feature model, or a first-hand experience with the tool. 

Here are three steps you can follow to attract PQLs: 

  1. Identify those buyer personas or target segments that qualify as product leads
  2. Provide them with a free version of your tool or a freemium model
  3. Deliver an exceptional user onboarding experience to engage and convert them

Once the user has had time to test the product, contact them for feedback. Based on this feedback, you can better direct your PQL generation strategy. 

Learn From Your Product Reviews 

Where do you think users will go when they are unsure whether to subscribe to your tool? 

Your reviews section on the website? Or third-party sites like Capterra? 

Most will prefer the latter as it’s a given that your website will not hold negative reviews. Instead of dodging these review sites, monitor reviews regularly and observe the negative ones. They often provide great insight into how you can optimize your product or experiences. 

This is a learning experience that not many SaaS businesses focus on.  

Boost Your CTA game 

A CTA is a marketing phrase that prompts a response and directs the visitor to take an intended action. 

Here’s an example of what CTAs look like. 

Asana website home page

Image source 

CTAs are meant to act like attention magnets and create a feeling of urgency. Instead of using them everywhere, find strategic ways to include them in your content and campaigns. 

Here are some best practices you can follow: 

  • Use action-oriented language
  • Ensure the CTA button is visible. Either use contrasting colors or a larger font.
  • Make it short. Don’t let the text stretch.
  • Keep it above the fold
  • Perform A/B testing for important campaigns or pages.

Assess Your Performance Metrics 

If you’re still measuring growth with metrics like the number of leads gathered, the number of leads closed, or the cost to serve, you’re inevitably telling your team that you need to get more leads at any cost. With that approach, the focus shifts from giving the best customer experience and value to getting more revenue. 

While monitoring these metrics is necessary, when moving to a product-led approach, you must also include metrics like customer satisfaction rate, daily active users, Net Promoter Score (NPS), user recommendations, etc. 

These metrics show if your users are actually going to stay in the long run or not. After all, customer retention deserves equal importance to customer acquisition when you’re in the SaaS business. 

What Benefits Await You in Product-led Marketing? 

You can witness all-round growth and success by implementing product-led marketing in your organization. Here are four major benefits you can expect:

  1. Helps reach a wider audience: With freemiums and free trials, you attract more users and send them down the conversion funnel.
  2. Lowers your CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost): Product-led marketing allows you to generate and convert leads without a costly marketing budget and hiring an extensive marketing team.
  3. Helps focus on product optimizations that matter: Based on customer feedback and campaigns, you can understand the kind of optimizations that would bring more revenue to your business.
  4. Shorter sales cycles: By providing a wider top-of-the-funnel, you attract more users and shorten the time to purchase.

Looking for Inspiration? Here are 6 Product-Led Marketing Examples 

It’s one thing talking about product-led marketing; it’s another to see it in action. Here are six approaches to get you started and how real-life companies have implemented them.

#1 Template Gallery 

What if you had to make a design tool go viral? Would it have been enough to develop an easy-to-use product? Maybe.

But Canva made their product reach millions of people with readymade templates that even non-designers could easily use to create brilliant designs. 

Whether it’s templates for posters or email marketing campaigns, Canva has a template gallery for everything. These templates have also been optimized for search, so whenever a user searches for a simple query like “templates for birthday wishes,” Canva pops up. 

google search results of template for birthday wishes with a red box in Canva result

Nearly every SaaS tool like Zapier, HubSpot, ClickUp, or Airtable provides these template galleries as a part of their product-led marketing strategy. 

#2 Product-Related Hubs 

Instead of providing an overview of your most-liked solutions, what if you could break the topic into in-depth guides? 

That’s what a product hub aims to do.  

For example, Ahrefs has product-related hubs for their different SEO tools like keyword explorer, backlink checker, etc. 

Here’s one on link-building. 

Ahrefs blog in Link building

Image source 

How does this help? When people see this hub coming up on the SERP for every query related to link-building, they start seeing the company as an authority leader in the niche. 

This naturally leads users to trust the brand and try their free tools. 

#3 Benchmark and Trend Data 

Everyone wants to stay updated on the current trends in their industry. 

As a SaaS marketing company, you can deliver a lot of value if you provide your audience insights into recent trends and how they can capitalize on them. You can even gain backlinks whenever someone quotes your data report.

One company that often comes up with these data reports is HubSpot

Here’s one of their most popular “State of the Marketing Report.” 

Hubspot website home page

Image source 

#4 Competitive Comparisons 

Most users encounter the “Which product should I choose?” conundrum while deciding on a SaaS tool. With so many options, you can maximize this opportunity by controlling the narrative and creating a competitive comparison page or article. 

For example, SmartTask creates targeted comparative landing pages, which they put up on the navigation bar on the homepage. 

SmartTask Compare section on its home page

Image source 

This helps the SaaS company showcase its product in the best light and draw users who are already at the bottom of the funnel. 

Instead of creating dedicated landing pages, you can even create in-depth comparative articles to draw targeted leads. 

#5 Product Education 

Product education campaigns are geared to help those visitors who come to your website seeking a solution. They help make a persuasive case for using your product and lead those visitors further down the conversion funnel. 

Common content formats with this approach are ebooks, how-to guides, video tutorials, and in-depth blogs. 

This also includes your user guides, which detail all the features and functionalities of your tool and how your customers can use them. 

Here’s an example by Todoist

Todoist article about how to get started

Image source 

#6 Free Ungated Tools 

We have all seen SaaS companies advertise their free offer of getting a subscription by just entering an email address. But this condition deters many from signing up. 

A counter-trend getting more popular is letting people start using your product without any conditions. Then, when they need to save their progress, they enter the details. The strategy works because, of course, users don’t want to lose their work. 

For example, design your poster, and when you need to save, you create an account. 

VEED.io is one SaaS tool that follows this strategy. 

VeedIO website home page

Image source 

In other cases, it gets users hooked enough to think, “I want to keep using this software,” and they feel less begrudged in giving up their email address.   

Ready to Level Up Your Marketing? 

Product-led marketing allows SaaS companies to scale without investing loads of money. Instead of investing in extensive marketing and sales teams, you let the product do the talking and deliver value instead of telling what it would bring to your customers. 

Whether you’re developing a content strategy, PPC strategy, or important business decisions, PLG can help give a solid direction to them all. 

If you don’t want to spend thousands on experimentation, contact our experienced professionals at MADX, who have helped many SaaS companies level up their product-led growth strategies. 

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