Marketing styles of every kind and focus change rapidly as organizations search for new and different ways to promote their products and services.
As a SaaS consultant, you know selling your products in today's highly competitive space is no easy feat. You need to get your voice and brand in front of multiple forms of consumers.
This is where proper marketing strategies such as SEO optimization and Inbound Marketing comes under the light because it helps voice your singular intention with multiple methods. Here’s a glance into what is the best path you can take to drive better traffic and garner more revenue in the long run.
Here’s a question: When was the last time you bought a product or a service, and how did you buy it?
Did you buy it after approaching their sales team, or because a friend recommended it to you? Alternatively, did you buy it after you stumbled upon a persuasive infographic or video?
Chances are you never even considered the first option. The second option, purchasing on a recommendation from a friend, is always a possibility. The third one, given how most adults spend close to 6 hours daily browsing the web, is very likely. This is one of the many ways inbound marketing works: once someone clicks into your anchor, they’re welcomed with related and engaging content related to your product.
To make the most of these click-throughs and other organic traffic, you need to learn your product's every capability and feature, as well as how it can serve various kinds of customers, so you can anchor in better leads. As a SaaS consultant, you’ll probably never have only one type of consumer—you’ll have many different consumers with different journeys to their end goals, so you should have a gameplan for how to engage various consumers and put your solution into the mix.
So what's the best course of action here, you ask? For a start, identify your most important user persona’s path to your product, and then work towards shortening their path and making it more direct.
To start with, here are six steps to making your consumer's path to your product more direct:
- Create your user personas and learn what their needs are.
- Find ways in which your product (or products) can provide solutions to those needs, or redesign your products to address your customer’s needs.
- Create informative, engaging content to anticipate and answer questions your focus audience may have.
- Add or edit related keywords on your website, then check how your website or marketing content rates up with content optimization. Take a look at how you script your pages, especially the headers.
- Cycle back to step one. Consider using a different type of content as well. Create multiple audience personas to find out how you can capture those leads.
- Reach further and increase your spread. Don’t pool in your content in only one place!
Be your own customer (or make one)!
Here’s an example of a user persona:
If you’re a SaaS consultant who deals in related products, how would you help Kurt with these issues? You might aim to create a product package including customized items to cater to him and his company’s needs. You'd probably do a bit of retuning to add the right APIs and customized features to offer the maximum value, then sell and install it at a reasonable price. But how are you then going to push forward with just a solution at hand and no means to spread its word? Here’s how.
Are you content with your content?
The next part is setting up your content and improving your webpage’s SEO ratings to help Kurt see your firm is the best solution for his business challenges.
The easiest way to get your website indexed by search engine crawlers is to have a noticeable amount of human content around—as in it’s accessible and informative to the people reading it, and isn’t just a chunk of text stuffed with keywords. Confusing or uninformative pages created only to house multiple keywords are a big "No" for web crawlers, who can blacklist your website from a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Go through each search-engine’s guidelines to make sure you’re not mistakenly doing anything detrimental to your site (we’ll talk more about this in a later section).
Of course, this brings up a classic chicken-and-egg problem: which comes first? The content and website, or the SEO?
Well, we say the content should come first. It’s fine to stay obscure for a little while and amass a substantial amount of work. Once you have a decent amount of content ready, you can map it according to how your buyer will likely navigate your content across platforms. Kurt, for example, would start in social media and move into your blog content or infographics on your site, then check other content like videos and webinars for last. The end goal, however, is to lead Kurt to the checkout page and fulfill all his needs in a single application suite.
If you aren’t up to speed of it yet, this ideology bases itself off the Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action (AIDA) buying process. What we did here was to make Kurt aware of our product suite via social media, make him interested in the product's capabilities, and used his desire to lead him to buy the suite using the content on our site, which in turn made him act on the impulse to purchase and try it out.
While we briefly mentioned SEO and inbound marketing earlier, we’ll go more into detail here. With a flourishing content plan and an idea of what to sell (and how to sell it), we should now work on raising our content's search engine rank with the power of SEO.
Keyword research is an important aspect of making your product and content more accessible to the hidden eyes of the internet: search engine crawlers. Take a look at your product, your related content, and your competitors' content, then do some research with a keyword analytics tool like Buzzsumo or Moz. What content results and popular keywords do you find?
Are these keyword results coming from short-form tweets or long-form blog posts? Are they from your own ads, or something from your competitors? How are their keyword choices affecting their content? Are the highest-ranked pieces in your field link-heavy, or filled with images and videos? There are many factors to consider in keyword research, and these are just a few of them.
Document your primary and secondary keywords, then look at those to see what you can improve without changing your content beyond recognition.
With all this in mind, you can position your keywords to flow with your content while being detectable to web crawlers. While you know you should optimize your words, the way you have your website directed like a well-paved pathway also matters. The number of clicks it takes to get to a certain destination on your site is important because you want to aim to reduce it as much as possible.
What hat are you wearing?
With all this in mind, you also want to avoid publishing nonsense content stuffed with keywords and end up being blacklisted by search engines. To avoid this, it helps to establish a standard for your search engine marketing (SEM). As you create content for your solutions, what type of strategy are you willing to use? As a rule of thumb, we’d recommend going through a search-engine’s best practices guidelines and stick to that—the White Hat approach. As we've mentioned before, keyword stuffing and hidden sponsored links are risky tactics that may lead your targeted search engines to detect and blacklist your pages. In the long run, it pays to be careful.
Tag, you’re it!
While optimizing your website, make sure your tags are maintained properly. The title tag should be short and informative, while the details can be saved for the meta description tag. Both of these tags are crucial, as they’re the ones you see when a website is shown on a search engine results page (SERP).
The alternative text tag is another one to keep in mind. Your website should be as flexible as possible for every type of browser, so having an alternative piece of text is essential for replacing any image that the said browser may have blocked or is unable to show.
There are several other important tags to note. For example, the robots tag helps prioritize pages for web crawlers by forming a sort of page hierarchy and showing them which page on your site require precedence. This prevents any under-construction or deleted pages from being accessed by search engines and leads from turning into a dead-end.
While you could do everything mentioned above for free or at a minimal cost, let's talk now about the expensive side of SEM: paying for popular keywords. Before you start, we recommend making sure your budget is manageable and realistic enough to sustain a long run for your solution’s reach. Methods for cutting costs include using less popular keywords or combining certain expensive keywords with niche or negative keywords without unnecessarily stuffing your site to bring down its cost per click (CPC) value. While it may slightly hurt your overall SERP reach, this method gives you a more focused audience willing to buy your solutions, while also giving you leeway and budget to advertise in other channels.
For example, the word ”software” (currently one of the costliest keywords) costs $35.29 per click in AdWords, while the minimum bid for any keyword starts at 5 cents. That’s a wide monetary range. Knowing that you could be paying anywhere between $3-4000 every day with a combination of keywords, you may want to minimize costs.
Above all, use your keywords in a way that makes sense with clear, human-oriented content. This makes the quality of your site clear to any visitors and increases your overall Quality Score, which brings in more qualified leads that will convert.
After all this talk on tying up loose ends with the strength of SEO and SEM, it’s finally time to use your looped content cycle and reap the benefits. This means reaching out to build your inbound network for more reach, reworking old content into updated pieces, posting regularly on social media, hosting online events, and more. Establishing a solid online presence is a vital part of getting people to return to your pages and create a cycle of impressions and feedback.
Picking out the best stuff to recycle
Always keep a running list of your top content pieces, and always save your shelved content too.
Because you don’t know what gem might be hidden in your so-called wasted content pieces. Whether it was a popular statistic work making into an engaging infographic, or a video that works even better as an interactive webinar, most outdated or underperforming content can be reworked into an updated or new type of piece.
It also helps to hoard your content for later if you aren’t an active writer and usually hire freelance writers. You'll want to make every word count here. Check out business-aggregator sites such as GrowthHackers or G2Crowd where you can pitch your solutions and look at how much you can utilize your content in such circles. Additionally, featuring your content on sites such as LinkedIn, Reddit and Quora, where you’re generally closer to your own network, helps to get the word out more easily.
This will help you gain more backlinks and impressions while also steadily increasing your feedback loop. With this, you’ll also end up getting more focused leads, who are more interested in your solution, rather than people who either don't know how to use it or don't have any need for it. Building your web presence in relevant areas is an effective first step into community building for your solutions and your brand as a whole.
On the path of influence
While we’re on the topic of social media and business aggregator sites, let's take the time to check out on social media influencers and other fellow SaaS specialists who may be good candidates for guest posting.
Having established journalists, bloggers, and influencers write about your solutions is a good method to increase your outreach. Go through a relevant writer's articles and viewership before you approach them to see what types of products or marketing strategies they’ve written about and have a following for. You'll want to make sure their business ideals resonate with yours so no one's time and effort are wasted.
Your job then is to guide these guest writers through what your solution offers, and if needed, direct them to the right channels to write about your products. Whether you need a full blog post to publish on your website, a simple Tweet review of your product, or an infographic on LinkedIn, it's good to be clear about what type of content you want and how.
Making it eventful
Email marketing (especially paired with some snappy slides or videos) and online events are also good ways to gain interest. Highlighting a featured suite of products or offering a special service for a limited time are ways to entice customers into trying out your products. Even just one happy customer who’s already a part of your community circles can help spread the word.
Once you've established an increasing customer base, you can leverage their backgrounds, current situations, and stories to create more customer personas for future products and customer insight posts. Pick out your top customers and interview them for customer testimonials about your solution’s reliability.
Setting the anchor for your product content means you have an almost infinite source to base your next set of content for. Don’t lose your momentum. The beginning of this process is always a bit rugged, but once you have a solid foundation to build on, nothing can stop your progress or your revenue!