Why Content Marketing and B2B SaaS Are Made For Each Other

September 2021

Buffer, HubSpot, Shopify, InVision, Canva, Salesforce... We could go all night name-dropping multi-billion SaaS brands that made their name using amazing content. Instead, let’s check out the facts: 60% of top-performing B2B brands have a documented content marketing strategy, 80% have an editorial calendar where they plan the content to be published, and a mind-blowing 94% of them use metrics to measure content performance.  

Content marketing has clearly become an essential part of the business revenue generation strategy. In this article, we will show how it can help B2B SaaS brands attract and convert more leads for their software.

Content marketing and B2B SaaS belong together

Buyers consume 13 pieces of content before deciding whether to purchase/subscribe to a B2B product or forget about it. Now, let that sink in. If you don’t have any content to show—or any useful content that solves the reader’s challenges—potential buyers won’t even get close to considering your SaaS solution, let alone buying it. 

Purposeful content serves four basic goals:

  1. It makes the world aware of your brand/product (brand awareness).
  2. It helps customers understand what you do and how to use your product (customer education).
  3. It helps you attract potential buyers (lead generation).
  4. It is essential for establishing credibility and building trust.

SaaS-related content has some specific barriers to tackle to achieve these objectives, and we’re going to spell them out.

Making buyers aware of the problem—and solution

To beat the competition, SaaS products often need to be as innovative and unique as it gets. This means that they might need to address a completely new issue that many customers aren’t yet aware of.

If we traveled back in time by a decade, we could see marketing people starting their day by posting company social media updates to every channel that existed at the time, one by one. Customizing each post, logging into every account separately, and adding the relevant update could have easily taken a few hours. And oh boy, was it tedious!

Then, Buffer appeared, making it possible to schedule posts to various social media ahead from a single place. That was a huge time saver! But how could a marketer know he or she needed the platform if nothing like it had ever existed before! Content generation was the answer for Buffer to make its target audience aware of the issue and promote their software as a relevant solution.

Because for many B2B SaaS brands, the main barrier to creating relevant content isn’t talking about a solution customers know. Their biggest pain is how to reach companies who aren’t aware of the problem or don’t know a product exists that can help them resolve it.

One of our clients, PP (can't share full name) grappled with the same challenge. To raise awareness of its product among short-term rental businesses, the company launched a series of webinars on dynamic pricing strategies. It also publishes a blog to educate customers about the solution, making them aware of the available options for managing revenue from rentals smarter.

Debunking common misconceptions

Content marketing also provides a robust tool for B2B SaaS companies to debunk myths around their matter of expertise. Because various falsehoods and misconceptions seep their way into every industry, often standing in the way of successful sales.

Let us use a customer example again. One of our clients, a US medical call answering company, was struggling with reaching small and medium-sized healthcare providers. Many of them incorrectly assumed that phone answering services were only affordable for hospitals and clinics, not for SMEs. They also feared that an external team would not know how to handle patient calls in a professional and considerate manner.

To overcome these customer qualms, The Doctors Answer had to educate its target group and convince the buyers’ decision-makers that their fears had been unfounded. The company has achieved this with content marketing.

A niche service is hard to find

Imagine that a financial company is looking to ensure compliance with position limit regulations. The compliance managers would like to automate and streamline the process, and they are looking for software that would monitor derivative positions. Where do they start the search? Will your SaaS providing this feature show up in Google (on the first page) so they can easily find it?

It will, if you have created enough quality content on the topic for Google or Bing crawlers to place it on page one. That’s what another client of ours does to put its SaaS in front of the right audience. FundApps generates quality content around position limits, derivative traders, short selling, and shareholding. It also establishes authority in the field with online-based seminars and other learning resources that nurture existing customers and attract potential ones.

Read more below

How did we help with content for SaaS brand

Check our case study for scandinavian aviation training company who hired us to help with content.

Apples and oranges

No two SaaS solutions are alike, so comparing them usually poses a challenge. Let’s think about a PM who realizes that her team’s task lists, notes, and wikis are a total mess. She needs a solution that would bring all of them together and store them in a single place. She knows what product she needs; she understands the pain point but doesn’t have the slightest idea where to look for the solution.

Sure, she can go to G2Crowd or another software comparison platform and browse product categories. But what category does the platform she needs belong to? Is it a project management tool? Maybe, but there are hundreds of PM solutions out there, with a plethora of features, and probably only a few of them offer the function our PM seeks. And once she finds the ones that do, what criteria to assume for deciding which one will be the best?

The more innovative a product, the bigger the problem as it becomes more difficult to allocate it to a fixed category. Besides, the top products usually appear first in the search because the site algorithms look into the total number of reviews, among other factors, to order suggestions. Add the choice overload effect to it, and it seems that software review sites, while helpful, aren’t the best tool to market your SaaS, especially if it’s relatively new.

Another client of ours, Infermedica, faced similar problems when promoting their software. It leverages AI to support healthcare providers and insurance companies with various tools, including call center triage or smart symptom checker. While these products are listed in popular directories, the company uses content marketing as a primary promotion channel to increase the awareness of its services among potential clients and boost visibility on Google.

When is content marketing NOT the best option?

In our agency, honesty is the best policy. So at this point, we need to stress one more thing. All the campaigns we mentioned have been leveraging inbound marketing techniques, where content tightly integrates with the conversion strategy. You can read more about inbound on the HubSpot website. But if yours is a highly-sophisticated, industry-oriented, and bespoke solution, you’ll be better off with a robust account-based marketing strategy. It still uses some content, but in an entirely different way.

Most of our clients are small to medium B2B SaaS companies that offer self-service or transaction supported products. And here’s why:

Their average deal size is much lower (ca. $50K/year)

Which means that they sign more deals in a year. More deals equal more clients, and getting them requires more leads. With the extensive use of marketing automation and heavy generation of content, inbound techniques are a perfect match in this case. Since lead volumes are high, we can run test campaigns and try out various attribution models to constantly optimize the published content and steadily drive better results.

Sales cycles are shorter

Thus, ROI is faster. With sales happening constantly, we can generate trial submissions, pass leads to the sales team in short cycles, and get quick feedback on what works. While if you’re only signing a couple of deals a year, understanding your inbound marketing campaigns’ profitability and performance would be extremely hard.

Content marketing is worth the effort

Let’s be clear: content marketing IS NOT easy (if it were, our agency wouldn’t probably need to exist). Effective and sales-boosting content pieces don’t just happen, even if they’re brief social media posts. For your content to bring $$$, you need a well-thought-out marketing strategy. Developing it will take some time and investment, but you won’t wait long before seeing hefty returns.