When are you more invested in a product or brand?
When you find the product yourself through a blog or when the product’s ad pops up on your social media?
Likely the first one, right?
That’s the power of inbound marketing. It gets you high-quality leads that are easy to convert. But it is also a time and resource heavy endeavor and requires a high level of expertise; that’s why successful companies often delegate this task to content marketing agencies.
At MADX, a content marketing agency, we have delivered outstanding results for our SaaS clients with inbound marketing. In this guide, we’ll share our secret sauce to help you create a solid SaaS inbound marketing strategy.
What We'll Cover:
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the practice of drawing in potential customers and leads through strategic content tailored to meet their needs and interests.
It focuses on creating attractive, engaging content that “pulls” potential customers to your SaaS brand.
Methods such as blogs, social media, SEO, video marketing, etc., are used to build brand awareness, generate trust, and attract multiple buyer personas.
For example, someone searches for project management techniques and comes across an article by Asana. After reading that article, they go to Asana’s pricing page and show interest in their product. This is possible because of inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing Vs. Outbound Marketing
Simply put, inbound marketing techniques focus on drawing the customer with helpful content. In contrast, outbound marketing techniques focus on selling the product without a solid intention to solve the customer’s problem.
While both these marketing techniques are helpful, as a SaaS business, your first goal should be to have a solid content strategy.
Because people are increasingly becoming resistant to ads, even if they don’t have ad blockers installed on their phones, they often actively ignore advertising.
Add to that the fact that SaaS businesses generally require a lot of investment in terms of time and money; thus, you need to nurture your leads with helpful content to get conversions.
What are the Benefits of SaaS Inbound Marketing?
The top four benefits of SaaS inbound marketing are:
- Builds trust: As the strategies are customer-focused, your business becomes a trusted source of information in the customer’s journey.
- Is cost-effective: Inbound marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing initiatives, and they also help generate valuable conversions for a long time.
- Generates high-quality leads: Leads that flock to your site after reading an article about your business or after seeing your post are generally well-informed and easy to convert.
- Opportunity to learn more about the customer: You get to know a lot about your customer and make campaigns and strategies that resonate well with them.
Here’s how the team at MADX helped Postalytics increase its traffic by 28 times with inbound marketing initiatives.
The SaaS Inbound Marketing Funnel
Buyers don’t jump directly to buying your SaaS tool after becoming aware of it.
There are a lot of steps in between, and that’s what the SaaS inbound marketing funnel is all about.
There are four main stages in the SaaS marketing funnel:
The prospect becomes aware of your product, or they become aware of the problems they are facing. For example, they can’t manage their projects properly and start looking for a project management solution on search engines.
The prospect starts searching for different solutions available in the market. For example, they start searching for project management tools or tools that would likely help them manage different parts of the project.
At this stage, the prospect finally decides on a solution after reading through content like case studies, comparison articles, etc. For example, the prospect decides to buy ClickUp after comparing different project management tools.
The prospect buys the tool and becomes your customer at this stage. For example, the prospect buys the Business plan for ClickUp.
Step-by-step Guide for SaaS Inbound Marketing Strategies
Instead of approaching inbound marketing haphazardly, here’s how SaaS companies can start with their content strategy.
Creating the Content
When it comes to SaaS, creating content isn’t about what you think is right. You need to understand your customers and find the content that resonates with them.
Here’s how to do that.
SaaS User Research
The easiest way to conduct this research is to build a buyer persona.
You can ask yourself questions like:
- Who is my ideal audience?
- What are their pain points? How does my product solve that?
- What is their behavior like? On which platforms are they most active?
- Can I get any information on their demographic or psychographic patterns?
You'll have to create multiple personas if you’re a SaaS tool that caters to multiple segments. For example, a project management tool will cater to the construction industry as well as digital marketing agencies.
When people find your content on Google, they do so by typing in certain keywords that bring them to your blog or content.
This is why you need to find and target relevant keywords that help bring targeted content to your audience.
If you’re just starting, ensure you target keywords with manageable competition and enough monthly search volume.
You can also target those keywords that you can expand into a topic or cluster of topics. For example, for the keyword “project management techniques,” you can create a cluster of topics with different techniques and one lead article with the main keyword.
Market Trends Research
One way to create content well received by your audience is through market trends research.
You can capitalize on recent developments in your niche and find trending topics relevant to your business.
For example, writing an article about a new project management technique. Ensure that you don’t just rehash information but also provide your take on it to make the content more unique and compelling.
Social Media Trends Research
There are a lot of topics that are trending on social media every day. You can have people on your team stay updated and capitalize on these topics.
You can even combine this with keyword research by checking if those keywords have enough buzz on the internet.
You must also check if you can create relevant content for these keywords. For example, if there isn’t much to cover on the topic, instead of creating a blog post, you can share your opinion on social media or create a quick YouTube video.
Also, check for the competition. If the topic is too saturated, avoid it unless you have something unique to offer.
The type of content medium you choose will depend heavily on your audience. For example, if you’re targeting executives or people in leadership roles, provide quickly consumable content like infographics or short posts instead of creating lengthy guides.
On the other hand, if you have a creative audience, you might want to focus on visual content instead of text-heavy content.
For example, Canva shares a lot of educational and engaging reels on its social media.
If you’re targeting different segments, prioritize different medium types accordingly.
Once you have conducted all this research, you’re ready to start creating content.
When creating content ideas or writing content, ensure you don’t stray away from your research.
One great way to take care of this is by having a short document for each content piece highlighting the main keywords, purpose/goal, target audience, etc.
If you have a large team, make this document accessible so everyone can read it and adhere to the research and writing guidelines.
Promoting the Content
Even if your content is top-notch, it won’t get results if you don’t actively promote it and get more readers to your article.
Here are 6 ways to kickstart your content promotion strategy.
While SEO is a broad topic, here are a few key SEO optimizations for content promotion you should consider:
- Use your targeted keywords but make sure your content doesn’t seem stuffed with keywords. Write first for humans, then for algorithms.
- Structure your content well with headings and subheadings, and use keywords.
- Make your page responsive and fast-loading.
- Include plenty of relevant internal and external links in your content.
- Write engaging meta descriptions and format your URLs properly.
- The most important of all, focus on getting backlinks. Try to get more quality backlinks from authoritative websites.
Social Media Marketing
You can use your social platforms to amplify your content’s reach and get it in front of the right audience.
You might want to research and find the platforms where your audience is more active. For example, when it comes to highly visual tools like Canva, focusing on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter works better.
Ensure you adhere to each platform's best practices to get more engagement.
For example, here’s how Buffer shares a small thread on Twitter instead of posting just the link to their article.
Email marketing can be a great way to reach readers interested in your content but find it difficult to stay updated.
The most important part of email marketing is creating different mailing lists to avoid sending the same email to thousands of people.
Instead, create mailing lists based on roles, locations, interests, etc. For example, Asana can send construction-related articles to construction companies along with some general articles that would be helpful to them via email.
Influencer marketing is on the rise, and for a good reason. With the popularity of micro-influencers, you no longer have to spend a lot of money on this strategy.
Here are some key statistics on the effectiveness of micro-influencers.
You can reach many qualified prospects by finding relevant SaaS influencers in your niche and asking them to use and discuss your product.
Guest posting is a great strategy to promote your content and build brand awareness. You can even get valuable backlinks for your site and build credibility.
It’s important to find relevant guest posting opportunities. You can target those blogs that have the same or similar audience. For example, you can share a guest post with a small paragraph on your project management tool on a SaaS tool review site.
While you write these guest posts, ensure you adhere to the blog’s guidelines and provide insightful content instead of just writing content to get a backlink.
Your most loyal users can be your biggest ambassadors if you give them a proper platform or chance to talk about your brand.
You can create content they can easily share with their friends or colleagues. For example, you can add easy social sharing on your blogs. You can highlight key quotes on the blog, have the user select them, and instantly post them on Twitter or other social platforms.
You can even provide incentives for your referrers like Dropbox did when it started.
Optimizing the Content
While your content is top-notch, there are always ways to optimize it further to get more conversions.
Here are two important facets your content optimization strategy should have.
This is the main reason you’re creating content. You need to dig deep into your marketing funnel and optimize your content for the various stages to get more conversions.
One way to get more conversions is by offering lead magnets with your articles. HubSpot is great at capturing key information of their prospects when they download lead magnets like ebooks.
KPIs show whether your inbound marketing strategies bring you the desired results. You can set these KPIs based on your previous data so they aren’t too high or too low.
Instead of focusing on KPIs like MQLs or new product activations, consider KPIs like impressions, free trial signups, newsletter signups, brand searches, number of visitors, keyword rankings, inbound links, etc.
Best Tips and Practices for SaaS Inbound Marketing
As a SaaS inbound marketing agency, here are some best tips and practices we implement for our clients.
Build a Dynamic, User-friendly Website
Have you ever encountered a slow-loading website or one where everything was too complex to navigate?
Wasn’t it a frustrating experience?
That’s why it’s essential to have a dynamic, user-friendly website where visitors can easily navigate the content they need.
Some ways to build this website are:
- Don’t stuff too much information. Have dropdown arrows for detailed information.
- Use clear imagery, language, and CTAs to help visitors easily navigate to the pages they want.
- Ensure the pages load fast. You can compress your images or limit your outbound links to speed up the process.
- Constantly find out bugs or errors on the website that need attention.
Know Your Customer
It’s difficult to gain success with your strategies if they are not customer-focused.
To know your customers better, you can rely on one or all of these three ways:
- Conduct interviews with your existing customers. Know what features they like and what they think is missing from the tool. Also, ask them about the kind of content they find the most helpful.
- Ask your support or sales team. These teams engage with your customers daily; thus, they have a lot of key information you can use for your strategies.
- Listen to what they discuss on third-party websites like Quora and Reddit. These forums can give you a lot of information on your customers' queries and problems.
Keep Track of SEO
If your brand comes up repeatedly on the first page of Google for relevant keywords, people will think, “This SaaS tool seems great in its niche.”
That’s what SEO can do for your SaaS business.
Here are some basic steps to create your SEO strategy.
- Research the right search phrases and search intent behind those phrases
- Analyze competitor keywords
- Use those keywords strategically for your content
- Build internal links with topic clusters
- Create a solid backlink strategy
- Repurpose old content for better rankings
Look for Content Gaps from Your Competitors
One thing is clear – to get traffic, you must create content your prospective customer is looking for.
But there’s a catch. Your competitors are doing the same. So, you need to find out the kind of content or topics that they’re not creating but have great potential for traffic and conversions.
That’s what a content gap is – the content the audience wants but does not yet exist.
The content gap could also be about an outdated piece of content from your competitor or one that doesn’t fulfill the audience’s expectations.
Capitalizing on this tactic helps you rank above competitors for specific phrases.
Answer How-to Questions
How-to questions can be a great solution if you struggle to rank for main keywords. These questions are generally long-tail keywords that are easier to rank for.
For example, the keyword “project management” is difficult to rank for. But the question “how to do effective project management?” is comparatively easier for ranking.
They can also be a great way to reach customers looking for more information in your niche. You can educate them and pose your SaaS tool as a probable solution.
For every topic you pick, your readers must have some common FAQs. For example, readers might have questions like, “Which is the best project management technique” or “How to decide on a project management technique for my business?” for the topic “project management techniques.”
By adding these FAQs to your article, you answer all of your reader’s questions, and you also get a chance to be featured in the “Others want to know..” section of Google.
Ensure that the answers to these questions are short, simple, and consistent with your content.
Create Fact-Based Comparison Posts
If you had to buy a social media management tool, would you compare the existing tools in the market?
Most of us would.
That’s why comparison posts should be a highlight of your BOFU content strategy.
You can come up on top when someone searches for a comparison article in your niche. You also get the opportunity to showcase your tool as a good choice.
Ensure that you don’t over-exaggerate the good points of your tool as well as portray your competitor’s tools in a bad manner. The key is to be straightforward and true, as the reader already thinks your article may be biased.
Automate your Inbound Marketing Functions
Creating and deploying successful inbound marketing strategies takes a lot of time.
Automate your inbound marketing functions with relevant tools instead of having your team do all the manual work.
For example, you can create automated email workflows that send nurturing emails to your prospective customers as soon as they subscribe to your newsletter or show interest in your product.
You can even take advantage of integrations in most SaaS automation tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, etc.
You can no longer ignore inbound SaaS marketing if you're a SaaS company.
SaaS inbound marketing efforts can help you generate awareness, increase traffic, position yourself as the authority leader in the niche, and get access to qualified leads at a much lesser cost than outbound marketing initiatives.
All you need to do is research your user base, create the right strategies, and deploy them at the right time to unlock great ROI from your content marketing and SEO marketing efforts.
If you need expert help or want to gain results in a short period of time by implementing tried-and-tested strategies, contact our team at MADX, who can help you with everything from SEO to content marketing.