When you think of the words content marketing for SaaS, you’re most like likely to associate it with “customer acquisition.” And rightfully so: strategically developing and promoting relevant content on your website is an important part of growing your customer base, both when it comes to optimizing your site for SEO and web visits and when nurturing trial users into paying customers.
At the same time, that’s not where the usefulness of content marketing in SaaS ends. In fact, we’d argue that it can be just as important for customer retention and reducing churn, which makes it a crucial part of your entire marketing cycle.
As you’re likely well aware, low churn should is one of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in any type of SaaS marketing. Because even a difference of a five-percent annual churn and a ten-percent annual churn can be the difference between turning a profit or operating at a loss: customer retention is crucial.
So how do keep your customers engaged and your churn rate low? We’re back to where we started: with relevant and quality content. Tweet
Start with Tracking
Of all the data available to today’s SaaS businesses, none is arguable as important than customer usage data. How often subscribers use your service, and what they do once signed in can offer you invaluable window into behavior and preferences of your users and the utility of your products and services. It also presents an incredible opportunity to identify user patterns and map out a targeted content strategy to take advantage of them.
What Content Do You Need?
Put yourself into your customers’ shoes. Picture yourself as a long-term user of your service, and there’s that one feature you’ve never used because you just can’t figure it out. You’re becoming increasingly frustrated, but then, like magic, you’re directed to a tutorial that explains exactly how to use the feature, and how to get even more out of it than you thought possible.
It’s a hypothetical example, sure. But it’s a very real example of the power of directed and relevant content. Successful SaaS providers use targeted content like this to keep their customers engaged and happy. Here are the three specific types of targeted content that can help keep your customers satisfied:
1) How-To And Tutorials
By explaining the more in-depth features of your software, you not only avoid regular customer-service interaction on the same type of issues, you also delight your audience with features of your software that they may not have even known existed. In addition to targeted content campaings, an easily searchable tutorial database, like MailChimp’s Knowledge Center or HubSpot’s Academy, can go a long way towards keeping your audience engaged.
Of course, these tutorials do not have to be in text form. Explainer videos or even customers-only webinars can be just as effective.
2) Creative Uses Of Your Software
Ever wonder just what your customers could do with your software that goes beyond your core-value proposition? HubSpot runs marketing automation and inbound-marketing software, but has begun to help its customers build entire websites based on its landing-page format. MailChimp is primarily an e-newsletter service, but has begun to offer options for its customers to create e-commerce responders and marketing-automation workflows. By opening up new avenues for your customers, you keep them engaged and excited about what might be next. Tweet
Of course, you have to communicate these new uses of your software as well, which is where content marketing comes into the equation. In addition to targeted campaigns, webinars, blog posts, or testimonials relating specifically to these creative uses are effective ways to get the word out.
3) New Opportunities
Both types of content we described above should help reduce your churn rate. But in truth, content marketing can do more: when done right, it can effectively communicate cross-sell and up-sell opportunities to your customers, resulting in higher sales for your SaaS solution.
You can communicate these messages to users through your application, at renewal or at other relevant intervals, as well as through other touch points and social media, blogging, webinars, emails, and more. But a golden rule in marketing is even truer here: make sure not to be too promotional about these messages. More likely than not your current customers do not like hard-sell pitches.
Instead, highlight the benefits of your higher-level subscriptions, or publish testimonials of customers who are already using the additional features. You can even publish and promote tutorials of features that are only available to your higher-level customers, subtly letting first-tier audiences know just what they’re missing.
Content marketing is crucial in today’s marketing environment. But that isn’t only true for customer acquisition. Especially in the SaaS industry, customer retention can be influenced significantly by targeted, quality content that keeps your customers engaged. Tweet
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