The startup boom is a real thing! Despite the downturn predictions after the pandemic, 2021 saw a record breaking 1.4 Million new business applications, which is 400K more than 2020! Especially the SaaS B2B startup space is exploding.
But what triggered this humongous entrepreneurial effort across the globe? The good ole’ saying “Necessity is the mother of invention”. The thing that drives most entrepreneurs is the need to solve a few problems.
But the necessities of today aren’t necessities at all. If you really look at it, there are 100s of entrepreneurs building a solution for the same problem. Each of these solutions is trying to offer something better than what was already the industry best. For example, a simple popup builder.
You will find hundreds of apps and plugins to just build and set up pop ups. But are all of these SaaS startups succeeding? No.
The fact of the matter is, this flood of online solutions has not only resulted in duplicity, but also made it difficult for businesses to capture their target audience. Entrepreneurs and B2B SaaS startup owners now need to look beyond just building the most intelligent solution.
It is time to tap into what really sells the product, tap into what makes the consumer tick and buy – information!
Introducing content marketing for B2B SaaS Startups.
What is content marketing?
To revisit the basics, here’s a simple definition to jog your memory from the revered Content Marketing Institute itself.
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Everything from planning, creating, sharing, publishing content across blogs, social media, apps, podcasts, media etc. comes under the purview of content marketing.
With one goal, “to drive profitable customer action.”
Which also additionally creates brand awareness, retains customers, and keeps the overall engagement high. Content marketing is the core of inbound marketing.
If you’re totally new to what content marketing is, or is not, I recommend you to go through this resource.
Why is content marketing important for B2B SaaS startups?
Content marketing is one of the more cost effective means of getting attention as a startup. Even for enterprises, content marketing is an unskippable tactic. Any business that is trying to offer something meaningful can’t do without content marketing as of today.
From generating website traffic to leads, even if you are the freshest kid on the block, content marketing will make sure you are seen.
What comes closest is advertising efforts, but it doesn’t really last long. In a short term spurt of investments, adverts might get you somewhere. But organic content, guides, case studies, video content, lead magnets have a long term effect that can drive sustained traffic for a much longer period.
Especially as a startup, content marketing can serve as a means of testing the waters. Many marketers and researchers use content marketing to test the audience’s interest and get valuable feedback.
Content marketing is a great way of building a community, getting a mailing list that is already interested, building awareness and creating a position of influence for your startup.
1. Simplify the solution you offer
Who better than you to talk about your product? If there is anything that the potential customer wants to know about your product, it should come from the horse’s mouth itself.
And enough with the technical specs, they serve a purpose, sure, but they are not going to drive those conversions.
Content marketing gives B2B SaaS owners the opportunity to simplify the solutions they are providing.
Not in the endless lines of codes, but at least in description.
If your B2B content marketing strategy works in alignment with your startup, i.e., from awareness to acquisition, you don’t need PR to talk about you. You can actually create a long lasting impact about your product by offering the curious onlooker a well curated content platter.
From what it is to what it can do, and what possibilities lie ahead, with the right B2B content marketing strategy, you have at your hands the possibility to directly influence your buyer.
And it is not the usual hard sell. Especially with the surge in AI and machine learning, the B2B content marketing for startups adds a bit of simplification. A human touch, so to speak, to translate the techspeak for the target audience without losing its essence.
For example, Moosend is a popular email marketing tool that enables businesses to set up communication workflows across a buyer’s journey based on different trigger points and interactions.
Now if we simplify that, it comes down to something as basic as – an email marketing tool to help you scale customer communication with ease – no coding required.
2. Stand out as an industry expert
Why does the SaaS community love people like Marc Benioff or Dharmesh Shah? They have created something of value, and hold expertise in their own niche industry and aren’t afraid to share it.
Here’s one of the posts made by Dharmesh Shah after having scaled HubSpot:
This is what you can do with your business with the right B2B content marketing in place. Not only do you create brand awareness for your product, but you also build a rapport with the competitor’s audience.
After all, they are looking for a solution and you have the answers.
Even if your solution isn’t in their cart, your expertise on the matter is a part of their decision making process. Imagine the world of possibilities that exist here.
Sooner than later, as they seek your expertise, they will end up seeking your solutions.
Besides, the real kick in SaaS B2B content marketing is customers buy solutions from who they perceive as the brightest minds of the industry.
3. Create that information flow, and build relationships
With the right concoction of content marketing, you offer valuable information. Outbound marketing works, but to an extent.
Cold calling and emails to even the most well curated lists is not an efficient marketing tactic in the long run. However, when without disturbing anyone you begin to offer quality content, that’s when you get those real deals.
SaaS clients necessarily aren’t looking for an over the call pitch. They need to have some basis to what you are offering. Well curated content does just that.
Creating the right funnel between you and the client for an exchange of ideas, strategies, tips is key. In fact, it can serve as a valuable support before you even get on the call.
If you pitch the right kind of content to your ideal customer base, they will come to you. In more ways than one, content marketing is a great way of establishing relationships with your ideal customer.
Once they start engaging with your content, not only do you have their profile, but you have their attention and can learn more about them gradually.
4. Cost effective scaling
With content marketing, you are not trying to shove informating down anyone’s throat. Like content advertising. It’s unreasonable to expect your ideal customer to engage with your advert in a space that is filled with hundreds of businesses from a similar domain as yours.
Content advertising has its own place, but content marketing is much more cost effective in the long term.
Ads require constant feeding. You don’t need to constantly keep adding money to keep your content running.
A one time investment in a quality piece of content can yield more conversations than ongoing ads. It has happened before, and in the case of SaaS startups, it is a regular occurrence.
The curious case of content is, if it sticks, it sticks. And once it sticks, it sells! And if the content sticks, all the world’s your oyster. Algorithms will favor you, and once you have that, everything else just falls in place. You will scale without additional costs.
Besides, content marketing doesn’t necessarily require a full time resource. Start off slow and small, and keep an eye on the feedback you are getting. Then build over accordingly. You can outsource content writing, or the entire spectrum of content marketing, from strategy to execution.
For example, Radarr, a social listening tool, found that their target audience was reading a lot about NFT marketing. So they decided to create one quality piece of content on their blog that addressed the information-hungry internet users.
Now this blog is leading to a lot of organic traffic and social shares; the business is also seeing the content rank for a lot of other related phrases on its own:
The game just begins here; by continually optimizing the blog above; they will be able to keep it ranking, turning impressions into clicks and eventually conversions.
If you’re interested in reading this blog, click here.
5. Everyone buys thought leadership
Going back to Marc Benioff, how many of us are really interested in his technical analysis of the CRM? It is his marketing that sells. And his thought leadership that makes him who he is, and what makes Salesforce what it is today.
Thought leadership is the content of today.
No matter what your SaaS startup provides, there is a charm to your brand once you enter the “thought leadership zone”.
Whether you do it yourself, or hire industry experts, bloggers, influencers to do it for you, thought leadership content builds credibility and establishes the brand.
Having a growing network of industry specialists voice their views, opinions on a variety of industry related topics will give your content a niche audience.
Slowly, the idea is to make your brand a thought leader in the industry. Marked by a unique approach to business solutions, or a general marketing strategy.
Well curated thought leadership content becomes a push for your brand. And in the long run, for your business.
6. Get the funnel flow right
Content marketing takes care of a lot of things in one go, brand awareness, engagement and business development. In more ways than one, it flattens the curve between marketing and sales. And adds a blend to your growth funnel.
Content can be used at multiple stages, simply to introduce your solution to a prospect, or as a sales collateral guide during the decision stage. Further, it adds value to your product even after you have made the sale.
Various types of content serve different purposes, and the same content can be repurposed at different stages, including in adverts.
By balancing awareness level content and high intent content, you can create a powerful strategy for your B2B SaaS startup.
Here’s a simple content funnel we typically refer to at Contensify when working with B2B SaaS startups:
Deciding whether you need content marketing for your startup
Before you start convincing your investors and higher ups to get on board and invest in content marketing, you have to have some clarity.
Especially, knowing exactly what the benefits of content marketing for your particular B2B SaaS startup will be and what is the measurable impact you are looking for. And of course, a clear definition of success.
Of course, don’t go overboard, set absolutely realistic expectations.
Content marketing might not yield immediate results, especially if your focus keyword is not really driving a lot of traffic. Or your business is catering to a niche audience.
Truth is, before you even step into the market, you need to create awareness and build the demand. This is where content marketing works!
Steve Jobs said “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
This is what content marketing does!
Although, in such a case, content marketing can help you occupy the niche space, it is not a recipe for overnight success. Content marketing strategies need planning, time, and patience.
Content marketing unlike adverts is a long term process. And its effective results aren’t in spurts but in compounds. As you build brand awareness and garner more influence, your customer acquisition cost will come down. Making content marketing a great investment.
Start by looking at where you stand, right now.
Your content marketing strategy should work in alignment with your startup roadmap. Establish the benefits that it has to offer your business by keeping a realistic picture in mind. And then proceed to create a custom strategy that aligns with your operations and goals.
BTW, B2B startups are catching up with content marketing
There is an explosion of startups in the SaaS sphere with the onset of AI and machine learning. Think about this, you are looking for a business solution, how many options do you have to choose from? All things considered, still, hundreds, probably.
When such a volume of software exists, feature set, and pricing alone are not the deciding factors. Any thinking customer will look for something that understands their needs better. A platform that is willing to educate them, nurture them, effectively solve their problems without intimidating them with technical know how. Yet customers seek industry expertise and authority.
Content marketing exactly helps you tap into that dimension of the buying psyche. Where you can address the customer’s need of being understood whilst retaining your authority.
The customer is not just looking for a solution, but for valuable information that helps them understand both the problem and thus, the effective solution better.
The numbers stand by the theory.
More than 80% of all customers expect B2B brands to produce content. Now is not the time to sit on the fence, if you are still in the inbetween of things, it is time to step up and dive in.
B2B startups are tapping into the potential of content marketing with all the might.
A whopping 91% of B2B marketers use content in their overall marketing strategy. And almost all of them say they are extremely committed to content marketing for higher success rates.
Content marketing is no longer another good marketing option, it is a necessity for any B2B startup if numbers and trends are to be believed.
It is the way to go if you want sustainable growth in times when there are all too many marketing strategies that fall flat all too soon.
Not sure if your B2B startup needs content marketing? Let’s talk.