Case studies and statistics have proved the effectiveness of content marketing over the last years. The recent State of Content Marketing report by Semrush marked content as one of the revenue generators.
So how exactly does content marketing work? What should you write about to actually sell?
Working with a decent number of SaaS businesses, we’ve noticed that companies create content that is often not tied to their product. Our number one advice is to genuinely address people’s problems in your articles, showcase how to solve them with your business and therefore generate interest in your product.
This can be done through a product-led strategy. In this article, we’re going to discuss the meaning of the term and the most common approaches to product-led content, as well as check out some of the examples of such content. Stay tuned!
How to run sales in the era of product-led
First, let’s answer an important or maybe controversial question. As marketers and business owners, we’re all familiar with using content to generate leads. But sometimes, leads are not quite ready to buy and we call those people Marketing Qualified Leads.
Usually, MQL is a potential customer who meets the minimum criteria to continue sales activities; such leads are just showing an interest in your business. We hope people will buy, but they’re still checking other alternatives, competitors or whatever the case may be.
Related content: Check out this case study on how we wrote a series of articles that covered competitors’ alternatives and comparisons and got our client 650 leads.
So marketers continue developing new strategies to get people’s email addresses hoping to nurture them into customers or Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).
SQL is a prospective client who needs your services or products and is almost ready to close a deal.
But many marketers have experienced that most people who share their email with you – sign up for a newsletter, download an ebook –will never convert into actual customers. That’s where Product-Led Content can help you influence buyer decisions.
What is PLC?
Product-led content or PLC is a different way to attract, educate and convert readers into actual SQLs. With PLC, you can convince your customers that your SaaS tool is the one that can help them solve their pain points and move on.
Your customers will pay you for your tools’ ability to solve their problems. It makes total sense, right?
In other words, product-led content covers all the possible use cases of your SaaS. It can be done in the form of:
- Case studies
- How-to blog articles
- User guides
What are the benefits of creating PLC?
Let’s check out a more detailed list of advantages. Here is why you should focus on product-led content:
1. Supporting user acquisition
Many newcomers find it challenging to get their SaaS products across the board. An important first step is educating potential clients about your product and getting them interested in what you’re selling. Complicated software that requires a lot of education will take time to win over clients but this goal can be achieved with patience.
Product-led content is a great way to tell customers how to use your product. The best thing about using this approach is that you are not trying to aggressively promote your business but rather provide readers with the problem solution, which builds confidence in the brand.
The more trust customers have the higher the chances of purchasing your goods or services.
2. Supporting customer retention
Users may be turned off by a product if they find it difficult to use. Product-led content that provides a guide for new users helps with retention. The more knowledgeable customers are, the higher their satisfaction level is apt to be.
To increase retention rates, you should regularly include updates or blogs on your website – this will help maintain customer loyalty and attract future ones.
3. Putting your SaaS business ahead of competitors
The aim of product-led content is to provide solutions. When companies create this type of content, they rank higher in search engines and have better chances of getting new customers willing to try their services.
Why is that?
Normally content that provides solutions is a very detailed, long-form article with many screenshots and other visual materials to present the product from the best angle. According to Brian Dean, those factors influence your ranking positions the most.
PLC can also encourage sleeping customers. Getting updates from you regularly can motivate them to start paying you again.
4. Providing qualified leads
Traditional strategies are good enough to get people into the sales funnel, but they can’t take them through it. You need high-quality leads for qualified conversions.
You will get more qualified leads in return when you create blogs based on the PLC model and show people how to use your services. Focusing on customers who are likely to purchase your product is a way to success.
Product-led content that explains how something works leads to more knowledgeable users who sign up for free trials and purchase your software.
Step-by-step guide on how to create PLC
Now that you know the advantages of product-led content let’s find out how to go about it. Here are five main steps to create your content piece:
Step #1: Identify the customer challenges
This is the most crucial step. The strategy for PLC marketing relies heavily on two things: what problems the target audience may face and how you can resolve them.
All in all, knowing your customers’ pain points and the challenges your niche market faces is a cornerstone in the development of an appropriate solution.
Where to search for insights? Ask your customers!
Reach out to your long-time users and interview them. Here’re the questions to start with:
- What is the biggest challenge you are facing right now?
- How do you solve that?
- Have you tried any software solutions?
- What do you wish you knew before using our services?
- Have you used any other similar tools before?
When Stefan Smulders from Expandi started his company, he had numerous calls with the early adopters to find out their issues.
Addressing some relevant issues through your content will help you gain a reputation as a trustworthy market expert. That way it will be easy for you to attract potential customers.
Step #2: Research public data
Say you’ve talked to some of your brand ambassadors and have a list of topics to cover on your blog. You’re ready to make a content strategy out of it and get the SaaS content writing process started.
No rush! Do additional research and ensure you have proper evidence of the pain points on your list.
Check the keywords and see how many people are potentially interested in a problem solution (that’s your search volume).
In the example above, we see that there’s an interest in the LinkedIn outreach topic, but we can also plan some supporting articles with outreach templates, automation tools, a list of agencies etc.
Now you have a very rough content plan.
When it comes to article research, ensure you find relevant statistics, market reports and link to trustworthy resources. Speak about the issue you will solve in the article and don’t forget to mention the methodology you used to gather data.
This approach will help you gain the trust of new readers and turn them into leads over time.
Step #3: Offer various solutions
When potential customers realize their core issues will not be fixed with your product, they will begin looking for alternatives. Don’t be afraid to showcase the competitive solutions in your article, listing their pros and cons. Try to be unbiased, not to seem desperate or force your product on customers.
You want customers to feel as though they are in control of decision-making.
Note! When you provide other solutions apart from your product, it builds trust.
Step #4: Showcase your product
Once you’ve ensured that the audience is interested, you can mention your product. Businesses worry that disclosing their products might make readers believe that they are only interested in making money.
However, the proper approach will draw in more clients. You may still discuss your product without forcing a deal. The objective is to provide a unique perspective on solving a problem.
Step #5: Direct your readers to take the next step
It’s a common mistake to think that users know what to do after reading your material. Guide your readers throughout the text, adding banners and call to actions (CTAs). Those can be:
- Sign up for a free trial
- Download an eBook
- Schedule a demo
- Watch a promo video
Articles with CTA provide guidance for the reader – what to do, where to click, how to sign up. If used properly – they may result in additional conversions.
You probably won’t win a deal from a single PLC article on your blog. According to the research conducted by the Marketing Insider Group – you should post an average of 11 blog articles per month in order to win the ranking race.
Even if you start with a lower number—publish regularly, refer to other articles and showcase your market expertise through your articles.
Create content pillars to group the articles addressing similar problems. They will help you keep your focus and, at the same time, present your product from different angles.
PLC marketing examples
Strong examples can show how effective product-led content marketing could be. We decided to analyze a few companies:
This company knows how to weave its product into the content.
Let’s check an article on “How to go paperless to save your business’s budget” As you can see, the company literally described “How to go paperless with PandaDoc to save your business’s budget”
It is an educational article, but at the same time, it is a tutorial.
Their article “How To Get More Connections On LinkedIn (3 Growth Hacks You Didn’t Know About)” explained how to get those connections using Expandi.
FullSession in their article The Customer Feedback Report: What You Need to Know say directly that they’re going to discuss how to use FullSession to combine web analytics and user feedback.
And that’s exactly what they do further on:
This company has found ways to incorporate keywords that relate to its products. Readers are provided with more information on how PlayBookUX products work through the content. Also, they try to offer the right features that would be effective for each reader.
Why is product-led content important for SaaS?
SaaS needs product-led content for three main reasons:
1. PLC helps onboard new customers
User onboarding starts from the first interaction with your brand. This is usually far before the user signs up. So to help your customers get the proper experience with your product—you can showcase all the angles of it through the PLC blog.
This applies to B2C and B2B customers, whether a startup or a set SaaS.
2. PLC increases the lifetime value of a customer
How much does it cost you to acquire a new customer? How much is the support cost? What’s the average time the customer stays with your product and when do they start to bring you revenue (dedicating the operational costs)?
With the PLC approach, you can reduce the support costs and decrease the costs for acquisition, and therefore faster reach profitability. This, in turn, will increase the lifetime value of your customers.
3. PLC highlights product gaps
Constantly analyzing the practical usage of your SaaS product and comparing it to the competitive solutions will highlight the product gaps and help lead your future development.
Sometimes users think they need an additional feature, while they need a solution that is already possible within your current product. PLC articles will showcase those solutions while helping you identify what is actually missing.
How can Quoleady help you with the PLC?
Yes, we’re using the PLC approach for our content as well.
Here’s how working together we can help you get leads from your blog:
- We can help you do keyword research and develop a content strategy and topic ideas.
- We can conduct thorough copywriting research and come up with detailed article briefs.
- We can write SEO-optimized content that will bring you traffic and conversions.
- We proofread and edit all of the content pieces we create until you’re 100% happy with them.
- We work on internal linking to guide your readers through your blog and present your product from different angles.
Btw all the examples listed in this article are the texts we created for our clients’ blogs 😉
With the increased competition, especially in the SaaS market, PLC has become critical. People want to get and understand the value quickly.
Product-led content is the best way to tell your target audience about your business from the use-case point. The PLC strategy allows you to seamlessly weave your product information into blogs, addressing the problem that potential prospects were searching for.
Product-led content marketing has so many benefits, especially for SaaS companies. It improves your customer retention rates and allows you to build trust. It lets you generate leads of higher quality to push through your sales funnel.
In the article, we covered several steps to create product-led content. The main point is to focus on your target audience’s needs and determine their pain points. After your research, you can create articles where you discuss the problems, consequences and possible solutions. Do not be shy about telling customers how your solution can help. Adding a proper CTA will encourage users to purchase your services!
What is product-led content?
Product-led content is a way to naturally weave your product or service information into your blogs, articles or promo materials. It helps you to introduce your product while tackling customer problems.
What does product-led mean in marketing?
Product-led means focusing your marketing strategy on your product. The goal is to show prospects how your product helps solve a challenge they are facing.
What is a product-led culture?
A product-led culture in the digital industry entails putting the product at the company’s center. So any growth of the company is directed towards improving a product.
What is a product-led approach?
This is a way for companies to put their products at the center of all company activities. Instead of relying on sales reps, all marketing strategies are done through the product.