How do you win brand visibility in a crowded market without overspending on resources?
For SaaS companies, content marketing is, in many ways, the most powerful opportunity to achieve growth and outshine competitors.
It's no secret the SaaS market is highly saturated – some would even say polluted. In fact, nearly 60,000 software companies are listed on the G2 Crowd across over 700 verticals as of 2020.
Additionally, startups don't have the luxury of being unique anymore. They must be better – not just different – from competitors if they want attention and sales.
Whenever brands come to me with this issue, I give them the same answer: Focus on customer-centric content, and you'll achieve outstanding customer-centric growth.
The concept is really that simple. Putting it into practice, however, is another story.
Gaining thought leadership in a market filled with intelligent experts is not easy. Ranking for major keywords isn't enough. You must commit to the craft with authority, relevance, and warmth.
Your customer should always be the hero of any story you tell.
That's the secret recipe I've used for years to help SaaS companies thrive. Today, I'll explain my rank-and-win process I used to help a leading content collaboration company (which I'll call "Brand X" for our purposes). While I can't disclose the brand name, I can promise you the tactics I used to help the company achieve growth are very, very real.
Let's dive into four methods you should consider implementing for customer-centric growth.
1. Establish a voice.
Voice is everything. Any successful brand voice must:
- Immediately resonate with your target audience.
- Maintain consistency across all content and platforms.
Brand X developed an ideal voice to suit their content: funky, conversational, and banter-heavy.
Using this quirky voice, we managed to create content engaging enough to spark interest without pushing leads away with a sales-y tone.
Consider how you might find your own brand voice to ensure your readers are consistently delighted with the valuable content your company — and your company alone — can offer.
2. Map the repeating method for customer-centric growth.
Next, I had the team map out a flywheel diagram – an idea I got from Jim Collin's book, The Flywheel Effect. The flywheel diagram dictates a repeatable process that achieves growth every time it's implemented.
Like Jon Dick writes in this post, funnels lose momentum as they close in. Flywheels, however, leverage the momentum to continue spinning.
At the top of the diagram, we placed the goal of increasing Brand X's website traffic. The wheel would spin like this:
Increase traffic to the website → Traffic generates demos and trials → Demos and trials turn into sales → Sales earn brand recognition → Recognition triggers more website traffic and the cycle repeats
At the end, we reinvested in research/development, sales, and marketing.
The flywheel diagram works for customer-centric growth every time because it's focused on buyer needs and pain points, and can prevent lost ROI from bland marketing or sales strategies.
Our analysis found that 438 articles produced more than one lead in the last three years. That's just the average, so that's significant.
3. Create a rank-and-win thought leadership strategy.
You can't complete the flywheel growth process without content. Content marketing – specifically thought leadership – fits perfectly with the flywheel strategy because it delivers ongoing ROI.
Every SaaS company wants to position itself as a thought leader and inspire its audience. I've noticed, however, that most people approach thought leadership the wrong way.
Instead of striving for nuance in every blog post, focus on filling a gap with authority and dedication.
Here's where the rank-and-win idea comes into play: first, Brand X filled an information gap with consistent quality content.
That content then earned Google's approval and ranked in the top-five for high-volume keywords.
Next, other websites found that content and linked back to Brand X. And, finally, people shared the original content widely on social media.
These keyword rankings drove substantial traffic to Brand X's blog, with 80% being new traffic.
But how can you fill gaps and rank in saturated markets? Brand X focused on six key themes in their content cluster. They then built a structure and workflow for each theme for ideation and planning.
Brand X wasn't trying to be annoyingly unique with their thought leadership. They were focusing on authority, and customer-centric content.
4. Develop a content strategy for organic blog traffic.
When content marketing starts delivering conversions, it's not by luck – it's by persistence to quality.
Since our initial flywheel goal for Brand X was to increase blog traffic, we focused on producing quality and consistency. They currently publish four blogs per week on average.
We set Brand X's KPIs to reflect what we hoped to achieve from increasing blog traffic:
- Page views
- Assisted conversions (when a user clicks from a blog page to a conversion page like a content download or a free demo sign up)
For Brand X, volume was instrumental – both in the number of blogs published, and traffic.
They first saw steady returns on traffic from content marketing. As they added more posts per week, the views spiked dramatically.
This dedication to customer-centric content earned them a 50% to 615% increase year-over-year in organic search traffic.
Content is the Secret to Unlocking Customer-Centric Growth in Saturated Markets
For SaaS companies, quality and consistent content wins every time. Today, Brand X has a defined content strategy complete with a mission statement, frequency, resources, and budget.
Best of all, they continue ranking in the top-five for high-volume keywords and producing customer-centric growth from their content.
Ultimately, it's critical you focus on buyer needs and make prospects and customers the hero of all your stories. With a commitment to this mindset and action, you can develop content that reaches, engages, and converts.
To learn more about creating customer-centric content, take a look at 8 Tips for Becoming a Customer-Centric Organization.