SaaS products are conceived, programmed and built to provide a solution to a problem. A concept which also happens to permeate the entire inbound philosophy.
It’s for this reason that an inbound strategy lends itself so well to SaaS marketing. But for SaaS buyers in particular, the relationship with their vendors can be very sensitive.
A SaaS inbound strategy demands a high level of skill, education and consideration to devise the most successful approach. Each stage of the buyer’s journey is as crucial as the last, and there is no time for complacency in such a disruptive and competitive landscape.
So, it’s only natural that in the commotion of trying to cover all bases and get everything right, sometimes things go very wrong.
Here, we discuss some of the most common inbound mistakes of SaaS marketers that could be impeding on traffic, leads, and sales and how to avoid them.
1. Unaligned content
Inbound best practice dictates that the right content is delivered to the right person, at the right time. This can only be achieved once you have a comprehensive understanding of your buyer personas and the buyer’s journey, which ultimately forms the foundation for your content strategy.
Compelling and engaging content is personalised. It is relevant, and it's delivered via the right platforms in the consumer’s preferred formats.
SaaS decision-makers are often C-suite and influenced by surrounding divisions. If your content lacks a defined purpose or perspective, it can appear too broad and fail to engage with them. Sending an email or offer that isn’t aligned with your prospect’s can impact on engagement and cost you high-quality leads.
Your relationship with your buyers is far more than a transactional one. Through an inbound strategy, you have the power to position yourself as a thought leader, delivering aligned content that has been carefully crafted to answer your customers’ unfulfilled needs.
By capturing prospective buyers early in the sales funnel when they are still exploring potential solutions to their problem, you can align your solution with their needs, and nurture them through the entire funnel.
2. Too much self-promotion
Of course, you consider your brand the best on the market. But your prospects are yet to be persuaded of that. Be wary of over-promoting your brand which can disengage high-quality leads.
Awareness stage content, in particular, should ideally be void of any mention of your product or software.
Potential buyers in the awareness stage are yet to pinpoint their problem, let alone their solution. And they’ll be less engaged by content that talks about a product they are yet to understand can help them. Rather, focus more on offering solution-based, informative content that answers their questions and helps defines their problem.
Demonstrating that you have the knowledge to provide your prospects with insight into all of their options puts you at an advantage. You could even go as far as to evaluate competitors. It’s a bold move, and while it might seem counterproductive, this level of transparency will bode well for you when decision-makers are evaluating their options.
3. Focusing more on features than benefits
Your product is built around a set of impressive features which differentiate you from competitors and give you an edge within the market. It’s only natural that SaaS content writers get carried away and talk about all of the remarkable things that can be achieved with your product.
But it can be a big mistake to solely focus on this when creating content - especially awareness and consideration content.
A far more effective approach is to align these features to the benefits they can provide to your prospects, and how they can solve their ‘pain points’.
Save the features for the decision stage when you’re aiming to complete the conversion, this is where they'll matter the most.
4. Using overly technical jargon
The technology world can be very niche, but when your readers are having to Google every other word in your content, you have a problem.
Your overriding goal is to connect, resonate and engage. And this is reflected in low bounce rates. Keep your language plain, simple, and jargon-free. Or, as Orwell puts it, ‘never use a long word where a short one will do’.
5. Forgetting decision stage content
This has the most significant impact on conversion. You’ve done an excellent job of guiding the prospect through the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey. But the journey is only complete once the conversion stage is fulfilled. Decision stage content supports this. In the case of SaaS, conversion is defined as purchase. This decision needs to be encouraged with fitting content. You have educated, informed and persuaded, you’ve gained trust and authority, now you need to think about different content forms that will complete the conversion.
These might include:
- case studies
- free trials
- product demos
- pricing information
6. Neglecting the Delight stage
A SaaS product purchase is the beginning of the relationship with your customer, so your content strategy needs to extend beyond the decision stage to ensure you establish a long-lasting relationship that is built on trust and authority.
The onus is on SaaS companies to be proactive to avoid churn. Customer retention is just as, if not more important than customer acquisition.
Ongoing content in the form of customer surveys, responding to problems fast and efficiently, and regular updates on new benefits are sure-fire ways to nurture loyalty, delight your customers, and keep churn at bay.
If you've found that you are guilty of any of the aforementioned mistakes, fear not - it's not too late to re-align your strategy.
An inbound methodology can be adapted - it is agile and malleable. So there's always room for improvement.
If you would like to know more about how to build an effective SaaS inbound strategy, download our free guide.