SaaS Marketing

SaaS Inbound Marketing Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Perry Steward
December 20, 2023
SaaS Inbound Marketing Guide: Everything You Need to Know

As a SaaS brand, you want to invest in marketing strategies that deliver visibility and new customers. 

But what strategy is best? One solution is inbound marketing.  

SaaS buyers have become wary of sneaky advertisements and pushy salespeople. As such, you need to develop marketing strategies that pull customers towards you – not push them away. 

As a SaaS SEO agency, we’ve pulled together some tried-and-tested strategies and real-life examples to set your business on the right path. 

What We'll Cover:

What is Inbound Marketing? 

Outbound marketing is the approach of pushing your message or product onto someone. Inbound marketing is the process of bringing those customers to you. It attracts, engages, and delights potential leads through tailored content and experiences. Inbound marketing content comes in many forms, including blog posts, social media posts, ebooks and seminars.

SaaS inbound marketing strategy generally targets three major stages in the marketing funnel: 

The marketing funnel for SaaS
  • Awareness stage: Inbound marketing strategies educate prospects about their problem and offer your SaaS tool as a solution. For example, offering a project management tool to help businesses organize and manage their existing projects.
  • Consideration stage: At this stage, you create content to show your SaaS tool’s USP and unique benefits. For example, you could create a landing page on how your project management tool stacks up against Asana.
  • Decision stage: Case studies, testimonials, and tailored product tours and demos are generally used at this stage to give potential customers that final push.

What is the Benefit of Inbound Marketing for SaaS Companies? 

The power of inbound marketing can’t be understated. When someone consciously decides to visit your SaaS product or website, they are psychologically more inclined to invest in the experience – and the product. 

Here are four more reasons you can’t miss out on inbound marketing. 

What is the benefit of inbound marketing for SaaS companies

Drives Growth and Customer Acquisition 

Well-researched and implemented inbound marketing strategies can drive visitors to your website, and you can further nurture them toward conversion. For example, Zapier has built a library of content that brings over 2 million readers to their blog each month. 

If you look at their articles, each one aims to make a conversion. You’ll find natural insertions of their product and integrations in most of these articles, along with well-formulated CTAs. What does this do? It attracts readers to their tool and persuades them to try it out. 

Here’s an example you can look at. 

Snippet of an article page from Zapier

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Builds Brand Loyalty and Trust 

Take these two examples: 

Scenario A: You see an ad for a project management tool (Asana) when you search for “how to manage projects effectively?” 

Scenario B: You see Asana’s article ranking first for the same keyword search. 

Which one would you trust more? For most of us, the company whose article ranks first “organically.” 

Inbound marketing strategies like content marketing, where you publish valuable articles, case studies, and customer testimonials, build brand loyalty and trust in your SaaS business. This trust is a significant factor when investing in SaaS tools, as this decision is crucial for most organizations. 

Cost-Effective Marketing Strategies 

PPC and social media advertising are great ways to increase the visibility of your business. But it also gets costly when bidding for competitive keywords like “project management.” 

Inbound marketing strategies are cost-effective in the long run. You reap the results even after years by creating evergreen content, while you stop getting results when you stop paying for PPC. 

This cost savings allows your team to invest in strategies that bring your business a high ROI. 

Adapting to the SaaS Buyer’s Journey 

A SaaS buyer’s journey is unique and more complicated than that of other industries. For example, there are a lot of buy-ins from different stakeholders, and you need to prove your tool is better than the others on the market. You also have to retain your subscribers, as SaaS does not work on the principles of a one-time sale. 

Inbound marketing strategies take this into consideration. SaaS companies create content for each stage in the inbound marketing funnel (awareness, consideration, decision-making, and retention). This tailoring of content makes your marketing even more impactful, and you attract the right audience at the right time. 

SaaS Inbound Marketing Strategies 

SaaS inbound marketing can seem very complex at the outset. 

The good news is that it’s made of simple steps that combine to form a powerful marketing strategy. We’ll uncover everything in this part so you can start brainstorming on these three inbound marketing strategies. 

SaaS inbound marketing strategies

#1 Content Creation and Optimization 

Name any famous SaaS company. Be it HubSpot, Ahrefs, or Zapier, all have a dedicated content marketing strategy that brings them a lot of visitors and conversions. 

With a focused content creation strategy, you can target the right keywords and position yourself as an authority leader in the niche. 

Developing a Content Strategy 

To create valuable content for your audience, you need a detailed idea of who you’re targeting. For example, if you have a project management tool, you may have to create a lot of different buyer personas. You may be targeting construction companies and IT companies. The way you create content or emails for them would differ. 

Once you have conducted user research, define your content objectives. Are you trying to build awareness or generate leads? How you create content and choose topics would differ depending on your objectives. 

You can then run a competitor search to find the kind of content types they are focusing on, the audience they are targeting and how often they publish content. The results of this should inform your own strategy. 

Content Types That Work for SaaS 

Gone are the days when you could stick with one content format or type. With new content types getting more popular, like video marketing or podcasts, you need to widen your horizons. 

Let’s get you inspired by the different content types HubSpot focuses on. 

  • Blog posts: One of the most go-to content types for SaaS companies is blog posts. You can target TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU content with this format.
Hubspot featured posts page

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  • Ebooks: Many SaaS companies use ebooks as a lead magnet to gain visitor information and further nurture them.
Hubspot "Free Instagram for business kit"

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  • Videos: You could create YouTube videos, tutorials, or bite-sized videos for social media to engage your audience.
Search results for "hubspot" featuring "Hubspot Marketing"

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  • Webinars: This is a great content format to evoke enthusiasm around your niche and provide valuable tips to your audience.
Free Webinars page from Hubspot

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  • Podcasts: Podcasts have seen a rise in popularity as people can easily listen to them on the go.
Snippet of a page from Hubspot with some context about "Inside Hubspot"

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SEO and Keywords: SaaS-Centric Best Practices 

SEO and keywords help your quality content reach the targeted audience and increase engagement. Here are some practices you should follow: 

  • Create strategies to find, analyze, target, and prioritize the best keywords. Here’s a keyword research guide you can look at.
  • Map keywords to the buyer journey stages.
  • Align keywords to search intent.
  • Decrease website and crawl errors.
  • Optimize your website and landing pages for speed and mobile.
  • Focus on technical and on-page SEO.
  • Promote your content to garner more backlinks.

Building a Content Calendar for Consistency 

A content calendar helps your team organize their efforts visually, clearly communicating your editorial plans and content schedules. 

Snippet of a table containing columns like, title, URL, format, doc, meta title and more

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A detailed content calendar has all or most of these elements: 

  • Content pillars/themes/topic menus.
  • Content name/targeted keyword research.
  • Content format.
  • Deadline.
  • Assignee and collaborators.
  • Links to content briefs or required documents.
  • Content collaboration capabilities.
  • Filtering and reporting mechanisms.

This benefits your team in two important ways: 

1. Everyone knows what they need to work on by when

2. You achieve consistency in your content creation and publishing, which is one of the most important aspects of getting good results from your SEO and content strategy. 

#2 Lead Generation and Nurturing 

You want to grow your SaaS business – and that means generating leads that your team can nurture and convert further. 

In this section, we’ll touch upon three key inbound marketing tactics we’ve used at MADX to get results for our SaaS clients. 

Crafting High-Converting Landing Pages 

A landing page is a standalone web page that conveys information or targets a specific advertising or marketing campaign. They are great for capturing lead information and nudging them to try your product or complete the first step in the lead nurturing process. 

Here are some best practices, along with real-life examples to get you inspired. 

  • Feature short product videos/screenshots with relevant and actionable CTAs.
ClickUp landing page

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  • Show social proof in the form of brand logos, reviews, or video testimonials.
Postalytics testimonial section

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  • Use white space to ensure your landing page does not overwhelm the visitor.
Evernote landing page

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  • Limit the form fields if you’re capturing data.
Snippet of a newsletter registration page

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Mastering Email Marketing for SaaS 

With email marketing still generating a massive ROI, it would be unwise not to include them in your inbound marketing campaigns. You can use email marketing for a number of campaigns, like welcome emails, retargeting emails, newsletter emails, content promotion emails and referral emails. 

To get the most out of your email campaigns, here are some strategies you can employ: 

  • Personalize and customize your email for different segments or buyer personas.
  • Create a compelling subject line that encourages the recipient to open your email.

  • Stick to one or, at the most, two CTAs.
  • Ensure your email is optimized for mobile.
  • A/B test your emails.

The Power of Marketing Automation in SaaS 

Marketing automation allows you to set up workflows and processes that help you reach the right leads with the right message at the right time. 

For example, you can create an email marketing workflow for re-engaging your cold leads. This could be done by automatically sending a reminder email to start a free trial five days after they watch your demo or contact your sales team. 

As your company grows and your marketing team becomes more invested in other high-value activities, these automation sequences can help save a lot of your time. You can subscribe to tools like HubSpot, Zapier, and Mailchimp to create automated workflows. 

#3 Social Media in Inbound Marketing 

Social media is no longer limited to fashion, beauty, or ecommerce brands. With so many Saas buyers active on social media, you need to have a strong presence on relevant platforms like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.  

Leveraging Social Media for SaaS Growth 

You can leverage the power of social media to educate users about your solution, provide insightful tips related to your niche, display social proof by showcasing user-generated content or video testimonials, and create hype around your events and promotions. 

Many SaaS companies also partner with relevant influencers. For example, Moz worked with Cyrus Shepard, an SEO and digital marketing expert, to create a long-form content guide.  

An X (formerly twitter) post from Cyrus

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The article went viral across many platforms and brought in a lot of visitors to Moz’s blog. 

You can even create bite-sized videos like reels on Instagram to attract and engage your audience. Here’s how Canva creates reels around their features or use cases. 

An instagram post from Canva showing a woman and some text in the middle showing "Hey did you know you can draw on Canva?"

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Selecting the Right Social Media Platforms 

The social media platform that works for a productivity-based SaaS company would differ from the one that works for a financial SaaS tool. That’s why you need to understand your audience better to pick the right platforms to target. 

One easy way to do this is by looking at your competitors. Find out which platforms they are active on, the kind of content they are posting, and how engaged the audience is on each social channel. 

Here’s a reference guide for you. 

Social media platform breakdown banner

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Create Engaging Social Media Content 

To make your social media content reach more people and get higher engagement, you need to make it appealing and engaging. Here are a few ways SaaS companies do that. 

  • Focus more on visuals (images and videos) rather than text.
  • Repurpose your evergreen content by turning it into infographics, carousels, videos, and charts for social media.
  • Showcase your product in action.
  • Find unique use cases for your product and show users how they can adopt the same.
  • Conduct short quizzes, surveys, and competitions to engage your users.
  • Create hashtag campaigns. See how competitors are using hashtags and generate a branded one for your business to garner more UGC. Look how Adobe does it for Photoshop.
Instagram profile for #madeiwthphotoshop

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How to Craft an Effective Inbound Marketing Strategy? 

You could try adopting different marketing techniques and strategies with different goals. But you'll get nowhere. It's better to have an overall strategy that guides all your campaigns. 

Here are four steps to help you develop and refine your overarching marketing strategy. 

Steps on how to craft an effective inbound marketing strategy

#1 Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals 

Many marketing teams assume they haven't achieved results because there’s no consensus on the definition of success. 

Setting S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals helps your team stay on the same page regarding what you are looking to achieve. 

You can define this for your overall marketing strategy and for each campaign you undertake. 

For example, here’s one S.M.A.R.T. goal for an email retargeting campaign: 

“Get 15 sign-ups within a period of four weeks from those people who have watched our demo.” 

Important tip: Ensure you bring all the different teams on board to set these goals. 

#2 Identifying Your Target Audience 

You wouldn’t want to waste your resources targeting the wrong audience. The result would be low conversions and ROI. To ensure this doesn't happen, identify your target audience for each campaign. 

For example, you wouldn’t send your free trial and enterprise users the same promotions or email content. The tone, CTAs, and how you format your content will differ. 

You can even create different mailing lists for different audience segments. One way to do this is by using CRM tools like HubSpot and Salesforce so you can manage and organize this data easily. 

#3 Create Buyer Personas 

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market or audience research. It ideally has a demographic and psychographic profile, values, desires, pain points, behavior trends, and affiliations data. 

It gives your marketing team the insights they need to create targeted campaigns that hit the mark.  

Typically, five teams come together to create these personas: marketing, sales, product development, customer service, and management. To conduct buyer persona research, you can conduct customer research, get data from government sources, collect industry research data and purchase data. 

Here’s a sample buyer persona template to inspire you. 

A sample buyer persona

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#4 Competitive Analysis and Positioning 

Competitive analysis is the process of researching and analyzing how your company/product stands up to your competitors. You can cover both direct and indirect competitors in this research. 

This analysis can answer many questions, like;

  • Which keywords are they targeting?
  • What different marketing strategies are they using?
  • Where do they get the most reviews?
  • What are the gaps in their strategies?

The main benefit of conducting this analysis is learning how to position your product and its USP better. This makes your marketing campaigns stand out from the rest. 

The Power of Inbound Marketing

The role of inbound marketing will continue to gain importance as people become more adept at ignoring pushy marketing tactics. 

With content marketing, SEO, or email marketing, you can generate results from inbound marketing efforts and enjoy both short and long-term benefits. If you’re only starting, you can follow what your competitors are doing or use our guide to develop unique ways to make your SaaS tool more appealing and desirable. 

If you’re short on time or you don’t want to waste your valuable resources on guesswork, get in touch with our team of SEO and marketing experts. 

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