March 25, 2022

Product-led content: Marketing Strategy for SaaS that helps win B2B customers

Product-led content strategy is the secret behind the most successful SaaS businesses. Good content drives audience engagement but it is product-led content that will bring you customers. 

Unfortunately, multiple SaaS content marketers consider the strategy as a sales-y approach that may harm brand reputation. As such, they often tend to completely overlook it and settle for the top rank in SERPs that’s backed by growing traffic via email signups and newsletter subscriptions.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

A lot of content marketing tips out there recommend generating enough traffic to rank higher on Google. But aiming only for a higher rank doesn’t make much sense. Diversification is the key to boosting conversion rates. 

You need to create a foundation to promote your SaaS product through content in such a way that it compels your audience to try the product on-the-go!

In this guide, you’ll learn the basics of product-led content, with real-world examples from a few top brands. We’ll also share some tips that will enable you to write your own product-led content today.

Before diving into product-led content, let’s quickly understand what exactly is product-led growth.

What is Product-Led Growth?

Product-led growth (PLG) isn’t a traditional sales approach where the aim is to push your customer from one point to another as it is in a typical sales cycle. 

The goal is to provide your customers the ‘keys’ to utilize the SaaS product and allow them to experience the expected results while using it.

“Product-led Growth is defined as a go-to-market strategy that depends on your product as the driving vehicle to acquire, activate, and retain prospects”, says Wes Bush, Founder of ProductLed and Bestselling Author

PLG isn’t about how many e-books were downloaded or views those well-researched whitepapers garnered. It’s all about your prospects loving your product and discussing it (word of mouth promotion). And, there’s almost zero human intervention.

Wondering how?

A notable example of PLG is ‘Zoom’, a video conferencing platform that has registered over 3.3 trillion annual meeting minutes till date. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom generated $1.021 billion in revenue, an increase of nearly 54% from the previous year.

 Let’s connect the dots now.

What is a Product-Led Content (PLC) Strategy?

“In simple terms, product-led content is all about focusing on your prospects’ pain points, problems, and issues, and making them the heart of your content marketing strategy.”

The basic premise is: Product-led content assures your prospects that your SaaS product is an irreplaceable answer to their problems.

While there is a lot of content present online, product-led content differs because it has the power to convert your audience into customers or buyers for your SaaS product.

“Product-led content is content that weaves a product into a narrative to demonstrate a point, solve a problem, and help prospects accomplish the goals”, says Dr. Fio Dossetto who runs the ‘content folks’ newsletter.

She says that the product-led content is an underrated strategy during SaaS marketing campaigns. 

Precisely, your product-led content:

  • Should show prospects your SaaS product in action such that it leaves a lasting impression.   
  • Should demonstrate your SaaS product as integral to the description.
  • Shouldn’t sound like a sales-y pitch; rather, it should be written naturally to interest your reader till the end.
  •  Should answer your audience’s first question along with revealing the informational narrative advice and how-to without disturbing the reading flow.

 Let’s recall the traditional buyer’s journey process that comprises three discrete stages:

  • Awareness – The prospect has a problem but isn’t aware of it
  • Consideration – They’ve understood the problem and are curious about various solutions
  • Decision – They are choosing the best solution

If these are mapped into the well-known marketing funnel stages used to demonstrate prospect behavior – TOFU, MOFU, BOFU – this is what the complete funnel looks like:

 The goal of publishing well-researched search-driven content is to meet the expectations of the reader. If you can answer their problem, you not only satisfy their curiosity but also position your content URL into the top Google SERPs. This is where your reader can convert into a subscriber, lead, customer, etc.

Considering this, product-led content fits perfectly at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) where your SaaS product is the heart of your content marketing strategy.

In the product-led content framework, the following can be subcategories and their respective product-led content titles:

  •  Awareness –  For example, “Manual searching for B2B email addresses is pulling you behind in the competition.”
  • Consideration – For example, “How to collect and verify email addresses in minutes”
  • Decision –  For example, “GetProspect Email finder to Build Your B2B email list in minutes”.

When you craft a product-led content at each stage in the funnel, ask yourself this question, “Can I hinge this content completely with my SaaS product?”. 

If your answer is “no”, then it’s not product-led content.

For example, for search queries about “email finder tools”, create a page where the user can search his prospects’ email addresses by inserting their name and company, and then offer a 7 to 14-days free trial with a certain number of email credits.

What are the Benefits of a Product-Led Content Marketing Approach?

A product-led content strategy works wonders because it showcases your product as the solution for your target audience’s problems.

It benefits your B2B business in the following ways:

  •   Boosts Customer Acquisition

“All the efforts for content marketing aim for customer acquisition, and the goal of product-led content marketing is assisting in conversion.”

The PLC funnel discussed above allows connecting with your prospects earlier in their buying journey.

In other words, your SaaS product positions itself as the solution to their problems right from step one. Furthermore, since it creates awareness among them about your product at an early stage, your prospects become easily familiar with your brand.

Ahrefs blog, an influencer in the SEO market, is a perfect example of product-led content marketing. This is the screenshot of their blog content titled, ‘7 Digital Marketing Strategies That Work’.

Observe

  • how each piece of content is related to their tool – Ahrefs.
  • how the content indirectly suggests Ahrefs as the solution to search audience problems.
  • the Ahrefs screenshot showcasing their tool in action.

With such stellar PLC content, hardly any digital marketer can ignore Ahrefs subscriptions. No wonder, the tool gets over 1 million visits per month.

  • Encourages Customer Retention

Existing customers are 50% more likely to try your business’s new product or upgrades in your existing SaaS product. PLC encourages your existing customers to keep discovering new ways to use your product to its full potential.

  •  It’s a Win-Win for Your Brand

If you aren’t yet convinced with acquisition and retention benefits, that’s okay. Of course, they don’t depend only on PLC.

The fact is that only a few companies are serious about product-led content marketing. Thus, your PLC will stand out from the crowd.

 Despite your competitors ranking ahead of you, your product-led content can still catch audience attention since your product  has been positioned as the solution to their problems right from the start.

It’s therefore a win-win for your brand.

How to Craft Actionable Product-Led Content?

Time to put theory into practice.

Create a conversion-driven product-led content piece by implementing these tips:

1.   Highlight the pain-points of your audience.

2.    Plant a seed directly or indirectly hinting your product application

3.   Evaluate your product narrative with reference to Ahrefs scale

4.   Craft the article outline and locate possible hinges for your product into the narrative.

5.   Include a compulsory call-to-action (CTA).

 Let’s walk through each step in detail.

1.    Highlight the pain-points of your audience.

Your SaaS product aims to solve the problems of your target audience. Every customer’s buying journey commences with:

  • Problem-Awareness (“How to Figure out Competitors SEO Strategy”)
  • Solution-Awareness (“By Performing Competitor Analysis”)
  • Product-Awareness (“Ahrefs/Ubersuggest/SEMRush, etc.”)

So how can you search for your target audience’s problems and challenges?

By performing-

  • SEO Keyword Research – Run keyword research to figure out search volume for issues and challenges.
  • Customer Surveys – Conduct on-site surveys/interviews on how many customers are searching for solutions to their problems.
  • Research to come up with 7-8 content ideas and moving to the next step.

2.   Plant a Seed Directly or Indirectly Hinting Your Product Application

Recall the funnel diagram where the PLC introduces your product at the start itself. That’s the turning point of the whole exercise. In the next screenshot, Dossetto has perfectly hinged the product ‘Hotjar’ in the first paragraph without sounding sales-y.

Here’s another product-led content example of indirect reference to their product by Kinsta – A WordPress hosting provider.

 3.   Evaluate Your Product Narrative with reference to Ahrefs Scale

The success of Ahrefs blogs lies in their ability to score their product narrative.

“You need to ask yourself. What are the chances that a person, looking for that thing in Google and reading my article on that topic, would become my customer?”, urges Tim Soulo, the CMO at Ahrefs while explaining how to prioritize your list of content ideas.

Tim recommends scoring your product narrative throughout the content from 0-3, where 0 means no mention of your product and 3 means your product is the only solution to audience problems.

Your product-led content should score 2 or 3, because we aim to generate content having massive business potential and not the one that gets tremendous views or traffic.

4.   Craft the Article Outline and Locate Possible Hinges to Fit your Product in Narrative

Crafting an article outline varies according to one’s talent or creativity. However, the general thumb rule in PLC  is to establish a healthy conversation with your audience about your product without sounding promotional.

Here’s how you can achieve this:

  • Elaborate the solution with relevant real-life examples related to your product. Avoid using promotional phrases like, ‘Our product provides you…’. Instead, try using phrases like, ‘You can use a product like (Your tool name) to (solve the problem)
  • Educate about concepts and principles by showing demo videos or screenshots of your product. Never openly praise your product. This indirectly signals to your audience about your product’s features and benefits.

5.   Conclude with a Powerful Call-to-Action (CTA)

At this stage, your content would have successfully convinced your audience about your product’s ability to solve their problems, but an actionable CTA or pop-up will motivate them to try your product.

Therefore, include a CTA link that directs to your product demo and not to subscriptions or e-book downloads.

Additionally, the product link should be relevant to the problem and product narrative. For example, for a content price related to  backlinks, your CTA should link to a backlink checker and not competitor analysis or homepage URL.

Are you ready to start your product-led content strategy today?

As you can see, product-led content is a powerful approach that bypasses the traditional lead generation process and wins customers directly for your SaaS product.

Every SaaS website should be planning a product-led content marketing approach to make sure their content is product-optimized to convert people landing there – be that in terms of making a purchase or at least signing up for a free trial.

It’s important to remember that product-led strategy is not something that can be outsourced. It can be done best only by your team since you know your product and market better than anyone else. That is one thing that companies struggle with the most, in addition to leveraging SEO as a distribution channel for their content. 

That’s exactly where Spear Growth can help you. We’ve achieved this for companies like SuperTokens and X0PA, and we’re sure we can help you do the same. 

Schedule a call with us today to see the impact of product-led content strategy first-hand. 


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