Can a two-person team launching a fledgling SaaS CRM product grow into a $6 million-annual-revenue company?
Yes, and by using content to differentiate itself from the others!
We’re talking about Close, a sales automation CRM platform. When it launched in 2013, the company didn’t have a massive ad budget like its competitors. Through competitor research, it was discovered that other sales blogs had terrible content that didn’t help people at all.
So it chose to focus heavily on educating prospects and customers through high-quality sales content. Founder Steli Efti says, “Out-teaching your competition is one of the best ways to build your brand, especially in the SaaS world. If you teach people how to run their businesses more effectively, they’ll look to you first as they search for software solutions.”
Believe it or not, content is the only marketing channel Close has. And they receive 60% of their trials through content alone!
Close creates fresh content regularly around topics relevant to sales reps, sales directors, and founders and repurposes it into other formats like books, guides, email templates, scripts, newsletters, and even online courses.
How can you leverage content in product marketing?
In a crowded SaaS market, positioning and messaging are crucial for your product to stand out. Product marketing involves understanding and marketing to the target audience and positioning the product to attract new customers.
More than 90% of product marketing managers consider product messaging and positioning to be their main responsibility.
Product marketers generate demand for the product by nailing down positioning, messaging, and go-to-market strategy, introducing new features and updates, and enabling the sales and customer success teams to boost adoption and retention.
Launch content, such as sales materials, landing pages, website updates, demo decks, product screenshots, and blog posts supports the launch plan, which intends to drive more sign-ups, cross-sells, or adoption.
Let’s see how product marketing content should be created for maximum effect.
10 tips for creating on-point product marketing content
Take a look at these 10 ways in which you can craft content to support your product marketing strategy:
1. Define your buyer personas
When writing product copy, define who you’re going to address—your buyer personas. Your approach and tone will be defined by the particular characteristics of your buyer persona.
- What are their needs and desires?
- What are their pain points?
- What gets them emotional and excited?
- Which situations do they relate to the most?
- What language and turns of phrases do they commonly use?
- What are their overall goals?
If you use the customer’s language in your product marketing content, you can get through to them more easily.
HEY, an email service provider, addresses people’s pain points around email and presents the product as the solution. Its positioning is clear from its creative, fun website copy. Email has become impersonal and a chore. HEY aims to replace boring, corporate speak emails with exciting emails that you’d be eager to read.
As compared to heavyweights like Outlook and Zoho Mail, HEY comes across as refreshing and fun. The company also provides plenty of social proof in the form of testimonials from real users to drive home the point that HEY is different.
2. Speak to your target audience (through content)
You may have several buyer personas and product lines in your brand. So when you create product marketing copy, you should know who is your target audience and which product will be showcased. Don’t talk to everyone or you’ll be talking to no one.
Buyers traverse the three stages of the buyer’s journey before making a purchase decision: awareness, consideration, and decision. To create product marketing content that is relatable for buyers at each stage, you have to understand what sort of information they’re looking for at that stage and what sort of language they use when they perform searches.
Examples of different words used at different stages are:
Awareness stage content is typically informative and educational, whereas consideration stage content provides in-depth information about the features and benefits of the product. At the decision stage, product marketing content should focus on overcoming hesitations and objections and convincing buyers to choose your product above others.
3. Answer questions even before prospects ask
What separates good product marketing content from awesome ones is the ability to anticipate the needs of the target audience and be proactive about meeting them.
How can you do this?
- Step into your prospect’s shoes.
- Assess your product marketing content and uncover information gaps.
- Fill the gaps with data that will make your value proposition even more compelling.
Thus, identify what questions prospects are likely to ask and answer them in your product marketing content before anybody asks them.
For example, Bellroy, an ecommerce wallet store, uses close-up videos to show potential buyers every detail of the wallet from various angles—including how many cards, coins, and notes can fit inside it.
It also has a comparison tool that uses a slider to compare the bulkiness of Bellroy’s wallets as compared to competitors. This tool addresses a common pain point: fitting a bulky wallet into a trouser pocket. The copy on this page also talks about Bellroy’s USP—how it keeps its wallets slimmer than other brands.
Thus, Bellroy answers buyer questions before they even ask by giving them all kinds of details such as how the wallets are manufactured, their features, storage capacity, and recommendations on which wallet to buy based on what the buyer carries. Buyers can now make an informed decision without physically handling the product.
4. Showcase benefits over features
Prospects are not just swayed by an array of features; instead, sell them the benefits of your product. The final purchasing decision isn’t made because of the number of features your product has to offer. It’s made by the value you’re able to communicate.
- Tell prospects what they’ll get from your product instead of what the product will give them.
- Help prospects picture themselves using the product and achieving their goals.
- Show prospects how they can save time, money, and effort with your product.
By painting such a positive picture around the product, you can convince prospects to sign up for a trial or book a demo.
Webflow, a no-code website builder, created a place for itself within a market that already boasted of names like Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace.
How did they do it?
By positioning itself as the ideal platform for freelance designers.
Webflow’s product marketing content revolves around how the product helps freelance designers grow, evolve, and build a successful business.
5. Talk about the experience of the product
Rattling off a list of product specifications is not going to endear you to your target audience nor help them make a purchasing decision. Use the power of visualization to help your prospects imagine what it would be like to experience your product in action.
When crafting product copy, don’t just sell dry, hard facts. Evoke emotions by setting up a scene and demonstrating the product in action.
Onboarding programs show new customers how to get the most out of the product, and this is an area where many SaaS companies falter. Instead of walking people through each and every feature (and confusing or frustrating them in the process), focus on personalizing the experience so customers can immediately see how they can benefit from it.
Asana, a collaboration software, has an interactive, contextual, and personalized onboarding experience that highlights the key functions of the platform while gathering relevant information about the user with a series of personalized questions. This helps Asana customize the first landing page inside the app to the user who can understand the product value quickly.
6. Prioritize educational content
Your target audience is likely to balk at having to navigate a new platform or learn a new piece of software. There is a learning curve that keeps people from signing up because they’re looking for something easy to set up and quick to implement.
With educational content that teaches people how to use your product, you can get them excited about the different benefits you can offer.
For example, Canva, a graphic design platform, teaches people how to create professional and attractive designs via the Design School. It features courses, videos, tutorials, and webinars to help people use Canva better within teams, in educational institutions, and on various devices like mobile phones and desktops.
7. Demonstrate value and human connection
Your product marketing content should connect with your target audience at a human level by enabling them to get their work done and providing added value to their lives. Your content should show how you believe in the worth of your product and how you’re committed to evangelizing it without resorting to cheap gimmicks.
Some types of product marketing content you can create to convince potential customers to trust in the value of your product are:
- Case studies that use solid data to show how customers have achieved results with your product. E.g. Zoom has a bunch of case studies, both video, and long-form, that highlight how the videoconferencing platform has helped companies across industries meet their communications needs.
- Whitepapers that build thought leadership, provide facts and figures, and show the impact of your product
- E-books and guides that provide detailed how-to information to educate people about your industry and subtly highlight the potential of your product. E.g. GetResponse, a marketing automation platform, has an excellent library of guides.
- Interactive content like calculators, assessments, and diagnostic tools allows prospects to engage with your team. E.g. Unbounce has a Landing Page Analysis Tool that gives users the current conversion rate for their landing page and offers suggestions for improvement.
8. Employ customer stories
Customer stories talk about how customers have solved their biggest problems by using your product. The focus is on the wings of the customer instead of the features of the product.
When your target audience engages with your brand, they’re trying to understand if your product can solve a specific problem that they’re facing. Through customer stories, you tell them that they aren’t alone in struggling with the issue and that others have faced it and have found an answer to their problems with your product.
Optimizely, a website optimization platform, publishes customer stories that showcase the creative ways in which its customers have improved their web conversions. The strength of the platform is visible in its applicability across a wide variety of industries.
9. Leverage user-generated content
Social proof is still the most powerful way to promote your product. You can demonstrate that people prefer to use your product through user-generated content (UGC). Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to consider UGC more genuine as compared to branded content.
UGC could be unboxing videos, photos, community reviews, social media posts, or even podcasts.
HubSpot is a great example of leveraging UGC to showcase how good the product is. The company employs word-of-mouth marketing to spread awareness about its CRM tool. It encourages customers to talk about their experience of using the platform and the vast number of HubSpot reviews online are a testament to its quality.
10. Create sales enablement materials
Sales enablement materials are meant to empower the sales team with relevant and useful information to build a strong sales pitch, answer questions, and overcome objections. Such content should also equip reps with facts and figures they can use when communicating the value of the product to prospects.
You should create these types of materials:
- Email templates
- Sales presentations/training materials
- Product description cards
- Product demonstration videos (for sales reps)
Quick do’s and don’ts for crafting compelling product content
- Do incorporate long-tail keywords and optimize your copy for SEO.
- Don’t fill marketing copy with fluff and jargon. Use descriptive words to emphasize the value of the product.
- Do go beyond features to evoke a positive feeling in consumers about using the product and deriving results from it.
- Don’t repeat copy for multiple products; speak individually to each type of audience and your ideal customers.
You want your target audience to be invested in your product and excited about using it. Content lends a human voice and a sense of community to your product.
By working closely with the relevant content development teams in your company, product marketers can ensure that content becomes an integral component of the product.
Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of Growfusely, a SaaS content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO.