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5 SaaS Companies That Have Reaped Benefits From Content Marketing

If you work at a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company, you care a lot about content marketing. After all, content marketing allows you to build brand awareness, generate leads, and get prospects down the funnel.

According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Survey, 88% of B2B companies are using content marketing. That’s because it works.

For SaaS companies that don’t have traditional sales teams, content marketing is an essential part of the marketing mix. By providing educational resources, you can…

  • …teach prospects about your services
  • …help them do their jobs better
  • …nurture leads down the marketing funnel
  • …generally become a go-to expert in your space

Most of us know the benefits of content marketing, but what does it look like in practice? Today, we’re sharing how 5 SaaS companies are reaping benefits from content marketing to inspire your own.

1. Groove HQ

When Alex Turnbull, Founder of Groove, a help desk for small businesses and startups, started digging into his marketing, he realized that the company blog needed some love. The existing blog was full of generic tips on how to be better at customer support. Turnbull knew it wasn’t super inspiring.

So, Turnbull and his team decided to share their journey as an SaaS company, in the hopes that other SaaS companies would read along, and then get interested in the software. The resulting blog was honest, tactical, and inspiring.

The blog doesn’t function alone, either. The Groove team built email marketing into the overall experience, allowing readers to follow the journey through email.

SaaS content marketing example
Source: Groove HQ

Later on, Groove added a blog dedicated to customer support to reach prospects and customers who wanted advice on how to get better at providing a great customer experience.

2. CoSchedule

CoSchedule offers an editorial calendar to content marketers. The software is great, but they’re competing in a cluttered space. After all, there is so much content out there about content marketing.

At first glance, it seems like there’s no room to succeed. But CoSchedule was able to differentiate themselves from the competition with content that was beyond valuable.

Not only do they provide insanely well-researched posts on how to write the perfect blog headline and how to improve content with “the skyscraper technique,” but they also provide a variety of templates that can be printed out and used by any content marketing manager.

Additionally, CoSchedule went all in with content, evident from the images in each post, which are well-designed and on-brand. The team doesn’t rely on silly GIFs or bizarre stock photos. Everything is branded and beautiful.

CoSchedule example of content marketing for SaaS
Source: CoSchedule.com

3. Shopify

Shopify provides an easy to use website builder for those selling goods online, and they’ve long boasted some of the best small business content on the internet.

It’s not just that the content itself is informative and valuable– the Shopify has done significant work in organizing their content to make sure that visitors can find what they need. For example, Shopify has the following categories on the right of its blog:

Shopify example of content marketing for SaaS
Source: Shopify.com/blog

This design allows visitors to navigate towards the topics that interest them, rather than forcing them to read the latest blog post.

4. Wistia

Unlike most SaaS companies, Wistia does much of its content marketing using video, rather than words. Of course this makes a lot of sense for a company that sells video embedding software to businesses.

Wistia provides quirky, educational resources on how to create professional videos through an all-inclusive hub. A lot of their tips explain how to do more with less. Like CoSchedule, Wistia creates many custom images to complement blog posts and videos.

Wistia SaaS content marketing example
Source: Wistia.com/blog/understand-your-audience

Bonus: Wistia publishes their videos using their own software, which makes it obvious how good the videos are when a prospect watches. They feel much like watching the best possible how-to video on YouTube.

5. Grammarly

Grammarly is a best friend to any writer, marketer, or editor. After all, the software helps ensure there are no grammatical or spelling errors in a piece of writing.

When it comes to content marketing, Grammarly is extremely charming. They’ve developed a brand voice that feels like a cool, hip librarian who’s dishing all they know about the written word.

A lot of Grammarly’s posts are positively useful, but it’s clear the team has done a lot of work to consider SEO. For example, how many times have you googled something like “lay vs lie”?

Grammarly SaaS content marketing
Source: Grammarly.com/blog

Caring about content

All the Saas companies we’ve explored have different approaches to content marketing, but they have one thing in common. They all believe that content marketing is important, and have dedicated substantial resources to making sure that the assets they publish are up to snuff.

If your company has questions on marketing your SaaS product, reach out to us! 

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Customer Onboarding Strategies That Do Wonders for SaaS

You’ve optimized your website to increase conversions, figured out a content marketing strategy that works, and new customers are signing on. Yahoo! But before you take a trip to Vegas to celebrate your company’s growth, you have to consider whether these new customers will stick around. Are you doing everything you can for effective customer onboarding?

It’s been proven time and time again that it’s more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, in particular, depend on customers spending money each and every month.

When a new customer signs on, you want to do everything you can to keep them around. You want them to benefit from all that your software has to offer. You need your customers to see how valuable your product is.

How to do it? With good customer onboarding, of course.

Outline each and every touchpoint

Customer onboarding begins before someone signs up. When someone chooses to pay for a subscription or try a free trial, they already have some information about your company. They already believe something about what your product can offer them.

In order to develop an onboarding journey, you have to figure out how much prospects already know when they decide to convert into paying customers. This will help you assess how much education they need, and where you should get started with the onboarding process.

You should think of the onboarding journey holistically, from the moment someone learns about your product to when they become a loyal customer. What are all the moments and interactions they experience? Write all of them down, and be ready to improve on each one.

Assess your onboarding funnel

Once you’ve plotted out the customer touch points, it’s time to assess your onboarding funnel. Basically, you want to figure out where and when prospects and customers drop-off. Do they stop using your software one week into a free trial, or do they never start using it at all?

In order to figure out where customers drop off, you need to know how customers are interacting with your software. If you’re struggling to get the data, you can read KISSmetrics Conversion Funnels Survival Guide.

Additionally, you want to know where customers get stuck. By using tools like Usertesting.com and YouEye, you can learn how prospects interact with your website and software. This will help you assess whether all the things you intended are clear to your users.  

Usertesting.com can help you analyze customer behavior on your site for better onboarding
Usertesting.com can help you analyze customer behavior on your site for better onboarding.

Reach out for the info

If customers aren’t having a good onboarding experience, you want to hear about it from them. That’s why we recommend reaching out to customers during or after the onboarding experience.

You should reach out to three groups of customers:

  • Loyal customers who went through your onboarding
  • Customers who partially completed the onboarding experience
  • Prospects who canceled their accounts

There are a few ways of gathering information. First, you can automate Net Promoter Score (NPS)® emails that go out throughout the onboarding process to get a pulse on how things are going. This will help you assess how customers are feeling throughout the process.

Net Promoter Score®, or NPS®, measures customer experience and predicts business growth.
NPS® measures customer experience and predicts business growth.

You can also send out surveys to find out why customers canceled, as well as conduct customer interviews to find out where customers get stuck. By collecting this information, you’ll be able to determine where customers are getting stuck, and then develop solutions.

Determine the path that loyal customers take… and make more customers take it

Loyal customers who do not churn are the lifeblood of any SaaS business. When you’re assessing your onboarding, ask yourself what separates these loyal customers from those who don’t stick around.

Are these loyal customers…

  • …more likely to complete your onboarding process?
  • …more likely to open your email messages within the first day of joining?
  • …from companies that are a certain size or in a particular industry?
  • …using coupons, discounts, or referral promotions to get into your company?

You’ll be able to create a better onboarding experience if you understand what makes loyal customers stick around. For example, if you notice that your loyal customers set up their account within the first three days of joining, you can take steps to make sure new customers set up their accounts as quickly as possible.

Wrapping up

Changing your customer onboarding process is a worthwhile endeavor, and SaaS companies are catching on. For example, Magoosh, an SaaS company that specialized in test prep resources, found that users who got their welcome message converted 17% better than those who did not, proving that onboarding can make a big difference.

Great customer onboarding will help reduce churn, which will increase revenue for your SaaS company. By improving your messaging, changing up your email flow, and studying prospects and customer, you’ll be able to create an onboarding journey that hooks customers for life.

If your company needs help putting an onboarding process in place or analyzing your existing one, reach out to us! 

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The 9 B2B Website ‘Must Haves’ For Driving Traffic & Leads

You know having a great-looking website is important, but what’s the point of the site if it doesn’t help you win more business? Yep– your website needs to sell. A sharp B2B website not only looks great, but also drives traffic and leads.

Whether you’re building a new site or want to optimize an existing one, there’s much you can do to create a winning site. You need inbound links, on-page SEO, and an emphasis on design that converts.

It isn’t always straightforward. That’s why we’ve put together 9 B2B website ‘must haves’ for driving traffic and leads. When you’re done with this guide, you’ll…

  • Understand the 9 ‘must haves’ for driving traffic & leads
  • Have a sense of what needs to be done to improve your site
  • Know how CTAs impact conversions
  • See how SEO impacts a B2B website
  • And more!

Get Your Guide Here

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5 B2B Content Marketing Trends That Will Take Over 2017

At the start of the new year, you’re probably considering what you can do in the coming months to drive traffic, revenue, and more sales. But marketing is an ever-changing landscape. Will the tactics that worked last year continue to work in 2017? Are people still downloading eBooks? Has the social media sphere changed? Enter content marketing. 

You need to be on top of the latest trends if you want to propel business forward. One thing is for sure– B2B businesses continue to see content marketing as an integral part of their customer acquisition and retention strategies.

Content marketing is here to stay, and B2B companies that want to generate more business need to pay attention. That’s why we’re sharing 5 B2B content marketing trends that you should focus on in 2017.

1. Email takes a front seat over social

In the past few years, the social media landscape has changed. It used to be that B2B companies could gain substantial organic traffic from sites like Facebook and Twitter by promoting their content. Today, it’s become much more pay-to-play, and many companies feel jerked around by ever-changing algorithms and ad prices.

Because of this, many companies are focusing their efforts on email marketing. Although email marketing is a more traditional tactic, B2B businesses are finding clever ways to use email to nurture leads and convert them to prospects. Enhanced features such as personalization, segmentation, and automation have made email one of the best channels for ROI.

Content marketing provides the fuel for every successful email marketing program. When you email your base, you need great content that inspires them to engage with your brand. According to a study by CMI and MarketingProfs, email was rated as as the top success metric for measuring content marketing.

HubSpot b2b email marketing
HubSpot targets business professionals with this email campaign promoting their webinar.

2. Shifted focus on influencers

In 2016, we saw many B2B brands going after influencers for content marketing assets, with a flurry of blog posts with insights from the experts. Many brands created round-up posts featuring industry experts from around the web, in turn finding ways to get links and mentions.

This tactic proved successful, but it has become overplayed. Influencers are more careful about what the say, where they get quoted, and how they share the content. Influencer content was a hot trend of 2016, but we expect the focus on it to shift in 2017 as B2B brands get savvier about how to use influencers.

A McKinsey study found that influencer marketing earned, on average, $9.60 for every $1 spent in 2015, compared to 2014 where $6.85 was generated per $1 spent. If you want to see substantial ROI from influencer marketing in 2017, you need to be deliberate in your strategy and approach.

Joanna Gaines of HGTV's Fixer Upper promotes Darling Magazine.
Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper promotes Darling Magazine.

3. Higher quality content for niche audiences

As the content marketing space gets more competitive, it won’t be enough to just have content. In fact, B2B businesses are not only going all in with content marketing, but they’re getting much better at producing better content.

According to Content Marketing Institute, 72% of B2B marketers cited creating engaging content as a top priority in 2016. This coming year, we expect that companies will create even better content at a more efficient rate.

Additionally, brands will get better at narrowing their focus and speaking directly to their audiences. Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz, tweeted that marketers should “get more niche—serve smaller and smaller interest groups.”

4. Organizations get real about what it takes to do content

In the past, marketing leaders saw content marketing as something they could throw at an inexperienced intern, reasoning that writing blog posts wasn’t that time consuming or difficult. Many in-house content marketers complained that they didn’t have the budget or human resources to create the big, bold content that gets attention in the B2B space.

In 2016, that changed. According to CMI, 85% of B2B organizations are now investing in content. These organizations are realizing that in order to do content marketing well, they needed to hire experts in the field, people who have experience building and running content marketing strategies.

5. Rise of native advertising

Ads are everywhere. According to a study by HubSpot, 85% of people notice the ads in their Facebook NewsFeed. Because ads have taken over, people are beginning to opt out. This makes traditional digital advertising less effective.

Enter native advertising. B2B brands are increasingly turning to native advertising strategies as a way to promote content. This allows them to get the message out about their brand while providing value to the audience. It’s a win-win for B2B, and we expect to see more of it in 2017.

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
LinkedIn sponsored updates captures the attention of engaged people on LinkedIn and drives qualified traffic back to your business page.

Wrapping up

Content marketing will take centerstage in 2017, as marketers focus on new ways to get audience attention. They’ll double down on email, get real about investing in content, and experiment with native advertising. Do you have any additional insights on B2B marketing trends for content creators? We’d love to hear them and continue the conversation!