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Digital Marketing Guide for B2B SaaS

What is B2B SaaS Digital Marketing? What are the most common strategies? We discuss this in this guide.

Digital marketing encompasses a lot of different things, digital things, and SaaS also involves a lot of different things, sassy things. But how do you execute digital marketing working in or for a B2B SaaS company successfully? Well, in this guide we’ll talk through the most important parts of digital marketing in a B2B SaaS company.

What is B2B SaaS Digital Marketing?

B2B SaaS digital marketing is the use of digital marketing strategies like SEO, PPC, Paid Social and many more to help grow technology companies that sell a Software as a Service (SaaS) product; meaning the product is delivered over the internet rather than on-premise. B2B SaaS digital marketings main purpose is to grow the revenue of these companies by increasing online sign-ups and demo requests (typically).

B2B SaaS vs B2B Digital Marketing

B2B SaaS digital marketing and traditional B2B digital marketing share many similarities but also exhibit notable differences. In B2B SaaS digital marketing, the focus often revolves around promoting software-as-a-service solutions tailored to businesses, emphasising the benefits of cloud-based services, scalability, and subscription models.

This necessitates a strong emphasis on demonstrating the value proposition, highlighting features, and offering free trials or demos to showcase the software's functionality. Additionally, B2B SaaS marketing often involves a more agile and data-driven approach, leveraging metrics such as customer acquisition cost (CAC) and customer lifetime value (CLV) to optimise marketing strategies and maximise ROI.

On the other hand, traditional B2B digital marketing typically encompasses a broader range of products or services beyond software, such as machinery, equipment, or professional services. While both require understanding the target audience and employing various digital channels like SEO, content marketing, and social media, B2B SaaS digital marketing often places a stronger emphasis on ongoing customer engagement, as the subscription-based nature of SaaS products relies heavily on customer retention and satisfaction for long-term success.

The B2B SaaS Marketing Funnel

The B2B SaaS marketing funnel is a very useful framework used by agencies and in-house teams alike to identify the broad stages that a B2B buyer goes through. It is typically split into 3 stages often called Top of Funnel, Middle of Funnel & Bottom of Funnel.

The funnel analogy is useful because it neatly describes how you may get a lot of website visits, fewer people downloading content and then even fewer actually getting in touch or signing up.

The measurement of efficiency for each of these stages are the conversion rates. The more efficient your website and your funnel the better your conversion rates and the better return on investment you are getting for your online marketing strategy.

Top of Funnel: Awareness & Attract

At the top of your funnel your goal is to build awareness of your company and attract visitors to your website. This is typically done through creating useful content and answering buyer questions when they are in research mode.

Middle of Funnel: Consideration & Interest

At this stage the buyer is aware of your company or at least they may have visited your website. At this stage in the funnel you are looking to cement your place as a potential suitor.

Bottom of Funnel: Decision & Conversion

At the bottom of the digital marketing funnel your aim is to drive conversions. From a marketing perspective a conversion is a marketing qualified lead. Not necessarily a sale.

a simple b2b marketing funnel

Digital Strategies for B2B SaaS

Like many other industries B2B SaaS companies have a playbook of digital marketing strategies that are used time and again. The main goal of these strategies is always an increase in revenue, but there are always leading indicators and objectives set before this point which start way up the funnel.

Digital Strategies

The following are the most common and popular digital marketing strategies for B2B SaaS companies:

  • Pay Per Click
  • Paid Social
  • SEO & Data-driven Content
  • Organic Social
  • Email Marketing

PPC for B2B SaaS Companies

Running pay per click (PPC) campaigns is a great channel for a lot of B2B companies and can provide a great ROI and ROAS (return on ad spend). Depending on the LTV (lifetime value) of a client, spending £5,000 through Google Ads to acquire a client that could spend £1million with you is a great return on investment.

Google Text Ads & Buyer Intent

One of the most common mistakes made by marketing teams when conducting PPC ads through channels such as Google and Bing is bidding on broad terms that have little intent behind them.

For example, someone typing in “cloud computing” can be looking for educational information around the subject whereas someone typing in “cloud computing companies” is obviously more likely looking to get in touch with a company in regard to their services.

Often the search volume around these longer tail terms is very small which is what puts people off bidding on the more general terms. The problem with bidding on the more general terms is that you will be serving ads to people who are not looking for what you are advertising for, this drives up your quality score, which is a key factor when determining how much you have to pay for a click.

In some cases you can be paying up to 30% more than other advertisers in an auction because your quality of advert is poor in comparison.

This is an attempt by platforms such as Google to ensure the user experience of the search engines is as good as possible and it wants to serve the most relevant adverts for each search.

Custom Landing Pages

Another common mistake is not having custom or bespoke landing pages for each of your Ad Groups or at least Campaigns. You need to change the content and CTA or your landing pages to match the search queries and keywords in your ads. A disconnect between these two things makes for a jarring user experience and again will lower your quality score and conversion rates.

Too many companies send their Google Ad campaigns to the homepage of their website, you should always try and create custom landing pages with one conversion goal for your PPC campaigns.

Conversion Goals

When setting up your Google Ads campaign you should ensure you have your desired conversion goals correctly configured through Google Analytics and potentially Google Tag Manager if it’s required.

By setting up your conversion goals correctly in Google Analytics you can them import these goals into Google Ads and use them in your campaigns to track the success of them in relation to the amount of leads generated.

The most common conversion goal used by a B2B website is a form submission. The easiest way to track if a form submission has happened on your website is to redirect users when they have submitted a form to a unique page with a confirmation message. You can then use the URL of that page, for example www.yourwebsite.com/confirmation in your goal configuration.

By using the Destination Page goal in Google Analytics you can track every time someone views this page, therefore meaning you can track every time someone successfully submits a form.

Micro-conversions & Smart Goals

Sometimes in B2B PPC you don’t have much conversion data to optimise on. This is because the number of conversions is much lower than on an e-commerce website as an example.

A B2B website may get a or 2 conversions a day vs an e-commerce site may get thousands or even tens of thousands. This means when Google is attempting to optimise your ads based on conversion data it doesn’t always make the right choices because it doesn't have enough data to act upon.

The work around for this is to either enable something called smart goals or to build what we call micro-conversions with Google Ads. These can be actions taken on your website that indicate intent but don’t go as far as submitting a form.

As an example, visiting 2 or more pages, visiting your case studies or spending longer than 3 minutes on your website can be good indications that someone has an interest in your company services but they may not have reached out to submit a form.

This is data we can use to tell Google Ads that the traffic is good quality and therefore by setting up micro-conversion goals for the examples I have mentioned above you can optimise your Google Ads campaigns with automated bidding strategies without having lots of form submission conversion data.

SEO for B2B SaaS Companies

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is one of the best digital strategies that can be employed by any company with a website. We all use search engines every-day to answer all of life’s questions. Anybody who uses a search engine like Google will also tell you that in most circumstances you will tend to trust the results that appear on the first page the most.

Very rarely do people go beyond the first page when searching for something in Google, nevermind the 3rd or 4th page. Companies that can appear in these top search results benefit from a lot more traffic on their website and therefore have a much higher probability of generating more leads and more customers.

B2B SEO and Search Intent

B2B SEO is all about the intent behind the search. A common mistake made by many companies is assuming that targeting very popular keywords/queries with lots of search volume each month are the best terms to target as logically more volume = more visitors which in turn leads to more conversions and leads.

The reality however is that the terms with the largest search volumes often relate to information search terms and the intent of the searcher is usually relating to educating themselves rather than buying or converting.

As an example, someone searching for “email marketing” may be looking for general information around the subject. But someone searching for “email marketing solutions” is in the market for a purchase.

Also queries with large search volumes are often broad and generic and therefore non-specific and it is very hard to determine why someone typed it in. If someone just typed in “email” it is almost impossible to figure out what they are looking for. The term for a longer more specific search query is usually called ‘long-tail’ search terms.

Some Expert B2B SEO Tips

SEO is a huge topic to try and cover but what I have done is put some of my top B2B SEO tips below that will get you started along the right path to increasing your search rankings in platforms like Google & Bing.

Make your H1’s descriptive

Your page titles (H1’s) should describe your service/solutions not your messaging. This is a common mistake made by a lot of companies who over think their website content and messaging.

For example, if you are a Digital Marketing Agency your H1 should read something like, “A Digital Marketing Agency for…” not something vague like “We increase your website leads” - this is simply because when a search engine crawler like the Google Bot is trying to rank pages, if someone types in “digital marketing agency” it will serve the user the content that matches that search as closely as possible.

So no matter how clever your tag line may be, you should always lead with what you actually are. You can add your messaging underneath as part of the page content.

It’s also worth remembering here, the point of SEO is to get people who have never heard of your business to discover you so your page titles need to explain exactly what you do.

Ensure your website loads quickly

Technical SEO is an important part of your strategy. There are a lot of variables but having a fast loading website can improve your usability scores and therefore increase your search rankings.

One thing that can help your page load times is making sure your images are not too large, you should never have an image on your website that is over 1mb, ideally they should all be below 200kb or even 100ks if possible.

Create breadcrumbs between pages

A web crawler follows links between pages, so the more links there are the easier it is to crawl your page and therefore rank it. Creating breadcrumbs is a good way to not only build links but provides a useful UX tool for website visitors to navigate easily back and forth between pages.

Create blog posts based on search data

Blogging gets a bad rep. But in the B2B marketing world blog posts can be used to increase your ‘authority’ on certain subjects or topics. Buyers are often researching topics and solutions when it comes to selecting the right product for their company's problem so creating informational content in the form of blog posts can actually be really beneficial to your business.

A lot of companies or marketing teams make the mistake of only producing blog content based on opinions and ‘thought leadership’. But from a search engine perspective you need to answer questions rather than provide opinions. This is why using tools such as SEMrush and AHREFs to discover the questions people are asking online can be beneficial as it allows you to create blog content that answers questions and contributes to the broader goals of increasing lead on your website.

SEO takes time

One important thing to remember is that SEO takes time and it’s not guaranteed, these are the two main reasons companies don’t invest enough in it. As such another strategy that is part of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is PPC or Pay Per Click.

What’s the difference between SEM and SEO?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and covers both paid and organic strategies whereas SEO is focused purely on search engine rankings. PPC and SEO together make up your search engine marketing strategy.

PPC targets the same audience as SEO but it’s based on the search queries you think users are typing in and you are paying every time someone clicks on your link, unlike an organic search listing.

PPC is popular because if done correctly you can start to generate traffic and leads very quickly in comparison to SEO which can take a long time. Generally most companies will have an integrated PPC & SEO strategy that work in tandem to gain the best results possible.

B2B Website Optimisation

Inbound marketing strategies including PPC and SEO can bring users to your website, but what then? It’s not enough to just have people visit your website, you want them to take action and convert based on your key conversion goals.

Key Conversion Goals

A key conversion goal is something you want a user to do on your website. Usually for a B2B company this involves getting in touch via email or filling in a form on a website. A form is usually the most popular choice because it is easy to track and allows you to ask the user to provide some useful information upfront such as name, email and phone number.

The number of conversions your website gets is a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for a B2B website. An increase in the number of conversions indicates greater performance.

Website Efficiency & Conversion Rates

One important part of your B2B digital strategy is ensuring your website is easy to use and efficient. There is little point in sending thousands of people to your website if they can’t use it effectively.

The aim of a B2B website is to increase the number of conversions and importantly you want as many people on your website to convert as possible, the % of people who convert after visiting your website is called the rate of conversion, or conversion rate.

An average conversion rate for a B2B website is around 2-3%. This means for every 100 visits, you may get 2 or 3 people converting. This can be higher or lower but as you can imagine if your conversion rate is low you need a lot more people to visit your website to ensure you get the right number of conversions.

The practice of improving the conversion rate on your website is known as conversion rate optimisation (CRO).

What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a broad term that covers the practice of improving the efficiency of your website. This is done by increasing the percentage of people that convert on your website after visiting it.

Conversion rate optimization is usually measured by the number of goal conversions divided by the number of sessions on your website. Obviously to be able to measure your conversion rate you need to be able to first measure your conversions.

How to set up website conversion tracking

To be able to measure the performance of your digital marketing strategy you need to be able to measure how many conversions you get. This can be done manually by counting the number of enquiries you get and cross-referencing this with the number of sessions on your website.

The problem with this is that it isn’t very scalable and can be very time consuming. I’ll outline below some basic steps to setting up conversion tracking for your website that should make things easier.

Step 1: Decide what your key conversion goal(s) are

The first step is to decide what you think is your hero or key conversion goal. Usually on a B2B website this involves submitting a contact form. But less important goals are still worth tracking, such as if somebody downloads a piece of content or clicks on a certain button on your website.

Step 2: Map out your conversion goals

Once you have decided what your conversion goals are it’s a good idea to write these down on a spreadsheet so that everybody is clear what they are. Write down what define a conversion goal and also give them a priority. So for example, someone filling in your contact us form would be a high priority conversion goal.

Step 3: Install & set-up the correct tools

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics are two key tools you should be using as part of your B2B digital marketing strategy. They are both free tools provided by Google and they are essential for measuring the performance of your marketing and your marketing website. With these tools you can easily measure the conversions on your website.

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics combined allow you to measure when users visit, browse and take actions on your website. You can measure events such as page scrolls, button clicks and form submissions to name some of the most common actions.

Website & CRM Integration

Form submissions and enquiries are the main goal of a B2B website if you want to keep a record of them. To build a list of contacts is an important goal of your marketing strategy. Most companies realise the importance of maintaining an accurate list of contacts and nurturing them over-time, this is where a CRM system is essential

Digital Marketing for B2B SaaS Companies

You can’t really do marketing without ‘digital’ today. The world has pretty much transitioned from offline to online. When the term ‘digital marketing’ was coined, there were lots of types of marketing, like event marketing, content marketing, partnerships marketing etc. But now nearly everything is digital marketing when you think of it, apart from giveaway stress balls, they are not digital, yet.

From my experience in marketing, digital marketers are often the ones in the engine room, making sure everything is ticking over and performing well, ready for an injection of content for fuel. That’s why when companies often have to make cuts, especially common in funded SaaS companies, digital marketing is usually one of the last roles to go, they keep the lights on for a lot of SaaS companies, and fuel their growth.

B2B SaaS is a big industry and that means there is a big opportunity. “Companies spend approximately $145 billion per year on B2B SaaS technology, and experts forecast a YoY (year-over-year) growth of 40% (Gartner)”.

Along with a great product, product market fit and an approach of product led growth (PLG), digital marketing helps B2B SaaS companies scale from boiler room operations to multi-billion dollar companies.

Digital marketing for VC backed startups

There is no greater test of your metal than working in digital marketing for a VC backed startup. Especially in the SaaS industry. Venture Capital firms invest heavily in SaaS companies. SaaS VC investment reached $94 billion spread across 4,459 deals in 2021.

Venture capital (VC) is a form of private equity and a type of financing that investors provide to startup companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential.

Venture capital generally comes from well-off investors, investment banks, and any other financial institutions. Venture capital doesn't always have to be money. In fact, it often comes as technical or managerial expertise. VC is typically allocated to small companies with exceptional growth potential or to those that grow quickly and appear poised to continue to expand.

The thing with a VC backed company is that their investment expects a return. This means hitting growth targets, which are basically revenue targets. This is all fine when you hit the targets, but if you don’t this is when things can unravel fast.

As a digital marketer, one of your main objectives is to generate revenue through your website, so you are really at the heart of growth when it comes to growing a SaaS business. It’s therefore important to have a playbook of strategies and tactics you can utilise.

Learning on the job as a digital marketer can be brutal and a lot of time you will also be assisted by the product you are marketing, making your life a lot easier or harder.

How to choose a B2B SaaS company

Not all B2B SaaS businesses have great products and/or employees. No matter how good you are at digital marketing, if the product and the product-market-fit are poor, the company will struggle no matter what.

So how do you go about choosing the right SaaS company to join? I can give you a few pointers here based on my experience;

  • Pick a product led business, rather than sales led
  • Look for an experience marketing team
  • Look out for high turnover
  • Check Glassdoor reviews
  • Review their funding rounds on Crunchbase

All this said, you can never really know what is going to happen when you join a company. There are so many variables to consider, the macro-economy being one of the most important ones, and no company can control that. You can look out for a few things during your interview process and think about these common reasons why B2B SaaS companies fail and ask yourself do any of these ring true for the company?

  • Lack of Market Fit
  • Insufficient Validation and Research
  • Poor Product-Market Strategy
  • Weak Customer Acquisition and Retention
  • Inadequate Financial Management
  • Lack of Scalability and Technical Challenges
  • Ineffective Leadership and Team Dynamics
  • Competitive Landscape and Industry Dynamics

Stages to join a SaaS company at

Your experience in working in a company massively depends on the stage you join them at. For example, joining a B2B SaaS company like HubSpot that is now a large company with many employees is very different to joining them when they were just starting out in 2005/2006.

Early Start-up Stage

The benefits of joining a company early are usually better stock options and growth potential. The downsides are that it is often scrappy, not as well-paid and can be frustrating at times as everyone is figuring out a lot of different things.

Growth/investment Stage

On the other hand, joining a company during the growth stage is probably the most common scenario, mainly because this is when companies are on a hiring drive after getting funding. At this stage there are still decent stock and equity options but by this point they have been severely diluted by investors and the fact that you weren’t there at the beginning.

The benefits of joining at the growth stage is that you will typically have the investment you need to grow and do what you need to do. This is often the thing missing at the start-up stage which makes it hard, money.

Late Stage/Exit or Buyout

This is the last stage to join a company, this is the point where they have ‘made it’ if you will. At this point they are a solid, stable company, perhaps they were acquired or perhaps they IPO’d on the stock exchange? This can be a tricky stage, especially if the company is acquired.

Digital Strategies for B2B SaaS

Once you are working in a B2B SaaS company, you will have to decide which strategies and tactics to implement. Strategy choice depends on the audience you are trying to reach. This is because the cost per lead, opportunity and the total cost of acquisition are important metrics that help dictate the money you can spend on acquisition, and in turn that will dictate your strategy.

Introducing CAC & CLTV

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) are two important metrics to assess when devising a digital marketing strategy for a B2B SaaS. This is because these metrics can dictate your investment, which directly impacts your available strategies.

The CAC represents the cost incurred to acquire a new customer, while CLTV measures the total value a customer brings to the business over their entire lifetime. By comparing CAC to CLTV, you can determine whether your customer acquisition efforts are generating enough value to justify the cost.

Ideally, the CLTV should be significantly higher than the CAC. This indicates that the revenue generated from a customer throughout their lifetime exceeds the cost of acquiring that customer. A healthy CAC-to-LTV ratio is typically considered to be 3:1 or higher, meaning that the customer generates at least three times their acquisition cost in lifetime value.

If the CAC is higher than the CLTV, it suggests that the cost of acquiring customers outweighs the value they bring, which can result in unsustainable business economics. In such cases, it may be necessary to reassess customer acquisition strategies, optimise marketing and sales efforts, improve customer retention, or explore opportunities for increasing customer lifetime value.

Tracking and analysing the correlation between CAC and CLTV can help direct your digital marketing strategies to ensure the return on investment (ROI) is working favourably for the money spent on digital marketing.

Problems with relying on CAC

Because CAC encompasses all costs associated with acquisition such as marketing spend and sales spend + salaries, as a digital marketing professional you may not have access to some of these figures, and besides that, some B2B SaaS companies don’t use this metric or track it enough or share it with so you won't be able to use it.

There are also factors that can compromise the accuracy or reliability of the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) metric in a B2B SaaS company including being able to attribute clients to certain channels, timing and overlapping efforts, not too mention incomplete data.

You can mitigate these challenges and improve the accuracy of CAC by establishing clear tracking mechanisms, investing in reliable data systems, and regularly review and refine the attribution models used for calculating CAC.

Using Cost Per Lead (CPL) Instead of CAC

Because CAC can be a bit more difficult to measure, and also it requires more information from a top business level to be able to measure it correctly, Cost Per Lead(CPL) is a simpler metric to not only measure, but it is a good leading indicator to CAC and you can measure it in a few different ways, at different levels of lead qualification.

  • Cost Per Lead
  • Cost Per Qualified Lead
  • Cost Per Opportunity

How to use data to estimate cost per lead benchmarks

If we can assume the lifecycle stages of a contact go as follows:

  • Contact
  • Lead
  • Qualified Lead
  • Opportunities
  • Acquisitions (Customers)

We can use some sample data to estimate the cost for generating contacts at each stage of the customer acquisition funnel, including estimated conversion rates from one stage to the next. We'll assume a quarterly period for this example.

  • Contacts: $100 per contact (500 contacts)
  • Leads: $5,000 (50 leads)
  • Qualified Leads: $1,500 (15 qualified leads)
  • Opportunities: $300 (3 opportunities)
  • Acquisitions: $90,000 (1 acquisition)

These estimates provide a general understanding of the cost associated with generating contacts at each stage of the customer acquisition funnel.

Whether or not these metrics are favourable will depend on the average customer lifetime value. Because if the cost of acquisition for one client is $90,000 and the lifetime value of that client is $90,000 that is a 1:1 ratio and not a financially viable path to growth. On the other hand if that lifetime value is $300,000 then the ratio is more like 3:1 and it is a much healthier metric.

Different Digital Strategies for Different CLTV Values

Really what it comes down to for a B2B SaaS digital marketer is, what strategies do you deploy for the different values of Customer Lifetime Value.

Using common sense you can understand that the investment for one customer with an average lifetime value of $200,000 will be different to one of $20,000.

Bring this into the practical word of digital advertising. You can start to analyse the cost per click and cost per conversion and see if this equates to

B2B SaaS Strategy for Enterprise (Large CLTV)

For enterprise products, where you are targeting larger organisations with large budgets, a B2B SaaS strategy needs to shift more towards sales enablement and account based marketing. This needs the digital marketing tactics to be in lockstep with sales. This can mean micro-sites for accounts, using ZoomInfo intent data solutions or equivalent and investing

B2B SaaS Strategy for Mid-market (Medium CLTV)

The mid-market is sometimes the hardest type of company to target. There is often the greatest danger of leaning too close to SME strategies or the other way to Enterprise strategies, the danger being you either under invest or over-invest.

B2B SaaS Strategy for SME Businesses (Small CLTV)

Targeting SME usually involves a larger market and a lower cost per conversion and acquisition. With SMEs and B2B marketing you can start to swing your strategy more towards B2C type strategies, this is because, as an example, if you sell software like Tide Business Banking, you are also targeting Sole Traders and people setting up their own business, these are individuals, so it is really a B2C strategy.

Inbound Marketing for B2B SaaS

One strategy that works for all sizes of deals is inbound marketing. It’s one of the most widely used strategies to grow a B2B SaaS company, which is why it gets its own chapter. This is because it is a somewhat organic approach to growth and can cost less than some other strategies that rely more heavily on investment.

The idea of ‘inbound’ is that you attract people to your brand and then nurture them all the way through the buying process and beyond, ending up with customers who refer you to other potential customers, this generates a virtuous circle for growth.

Inbound vs Outbound marketing

Inbound marketing is focused on attracting customers to your business when they are actively looking for something, outbound marketing is focused on approaching your target audience whether they are looking for information or not.

What does Inbound marketing involve?

Inbound marketing can include a variety of different marketing tactics and techniques, and new ones are emerging over time as technology advances and so does consumer behaviour. However, these are currently the most popular activities involved in inbound marketing:

  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Search Engine Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Paid Social Advertising
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing

5 B2B SaaS Inbound Marketing Hacks

Ok so knowing inbound marketing is great doesn’t mean it's going to do the work for you.Based on our experience these are some of the hacks we have discovered over the years that have served us well.

1. Use Capterra to find your software categories

First things first, what categories does your B2B SaaS software fit into? And there will be multiple categories, you can use software comparison and review websites like G2 and Capterra to see which categories you fit into. This is important for everything that follows.

2. Use ChatGPT to find keywords for free

If you don’t want to invest in some SEO software to do keyword research you can use ChatGPT to find keywords for free. As a large language model, ChatGPT is a great tool for finding relevant keywords.

3. Create “What is” blogs for each category

So this isn’t that sophisticated but it's a good starting point. If you imagine you are teaching your audience from start to finish what something is, you have to start with the basics, that means explaining what someone is.

4. Create a landing page for each category

Once you know which categories your software falls into, you should create a landing page for each of those categories.

5. Look for software specific keywords

When you are conducting keyword research for SEO and/or PPC. Look for words related to software, examples would be systems, apps, solutions. If you get your keywords into a Google Sheet you can use a REGEX match.

Using AI for educational content creation

One thing that you should consider is using AI tools like ChatGPT for its educational content creation. This is content that is created in order to inform your audience about a topic. This is different from creating opinion pieces and thought leadership, that should always come from you as a company. That’s the chance to provide your take on something.

For educational purposes on the other hand, AI is probably better than most humans at producing educational content because it has a much wider data-set to use to write that content. Also with educational content, people are looking for the information, not your opinions. So in this scenario you should utilise AI to churn out useful information quickly, this also helps your SEO.

Content for B2B Companies

Content can mean anything from a social media post to a long report. In B2B marketing content is the fuel of your strategy. The companies with the most useful content will often find themselves winning more business.

B2B buyers are often in a stage of research and are essentially looking for the best tool for the job and ensure they are spending their companies money wisely.

B2B marketers are often risk-averse and when shopping for tools they are not spending their own money so they are very careful about selecting a solution that will not only enhance their career but also not get them sacked!

The best way to plan content for your buyers is to match content of different stages of the digital marketing funnel we mentioned earlier, so awareness, consideration and decision.

Content for Funnel Stages

Matching content to the different funnel stages means you are ensuring you have the right answers to buyer questions at the different points in time.

Top of Funnel Content

Top of funnel content should be focused on answering questions early on in a buying process, this can include answering basic questions about the services you offer and the topics in general.

The objective of top of funnel content is to build awareness of your company and hopefully attract them to your website to read, watch or listen to your content.

Middle of Funnel Content

Middle of funnel content should be aimed at people who already know about your company and are potentially considering your company's services.

Examples of middle of funnel content can be your service and product pages, your company pages and potentially your case studies as initially buyers are looking at qualifying whether or not your company is worth getting in touch with.

An important factor for this type of content is building trust with your audience quickly, for example having logos of your clients and testimonials are great examples of this.

Opinions vs answers

It’s important to recognise when you are answering a question vs voicing an opinion when it comes to B2B content. Answers help build awareness and attract new people to you whereas opinions come further down the funnel as people are aware of you.

Think of it when you consider whose opinions you value. You are more likely to listen to those of people you know rather than strangers. Therefore I would recommend leaving your opinion pieces of content to further down the marketing funnel

Bottom of Funnel Content

To be honest there is a lot of cross-over between middle and bottom of the funnel of content. But often the content at the bottom of the funnel are the bits that tip you over the edge when making your decision are questions you need answering at the point of decision.

Examples of bottom of funnel content could be pricing sheets, technical documentation (APIS etc) or case studies. These are the types of content that people consume when they are looking to make a decision.

Perform a content gap analysis

One useful process is to do a content gap analysis across the different stages of the funnel. This will show you where you are potentially missing the different types of content for the different stages of the buyer journey.

Content is also not always just consumed on your website. Once you obtain someone's contact details, and especially their email address you can serve contacts content in their own inbox. The thing is every contact is at a different stage in their journey and needs content served at a different point in time.

Serving Content With Marketing Automation

One way to serve the right content at the right time is to use a marketing automation tool such as HubSpot to serve your contacts content based on certain conditions. This enables you to customise the buyer journey for every prospect without having to manually build every campaign for them.

Before you can distribute contain over email you first need to identify (qualify) what stage each contact is at, you can do this based on certain conditions.

Qualify leads using conditions

If you are using a marketing automation and CRM tool such as HubSpot you can make life a bit easier for yourself by automatically scoring and qualifying leads as they appear in your CRM based on certain conditions.

The first point of call with this is deciding what key questions you need to ask to be able to make a decision on whether or not the lead is a good one or not. For example if you only really want to work with companies based in London in the uk then you need to have a question on your web form to ask about location. Based on the response you can use a marketing automation tool such as hubspot to say if the location is not London then set as qualified out and send an automated email to the lead or you can set a score based on a system of points that is not so black or white.

Lead scoring can get complicated if you overthink it. The best approach with lead scoring is to keep it simple, the detail you need to go into will depend on the volume of leads. If you have thousands each week then having a more detailed scoring system will be required to be able to prioritise work. If you are receiving maybe 20 leads a week you probably don’t need a detailed lead scoring system but it may be worth having some simple questions that can help your sales teams qualify them before they spend time talking to them face to face or on the phone.

A B2B SaaS MarTech Stack

Wow, there are a lot of acronyms in that header, sorry! Marketing technology (MarTech) is essential for the success of a B2B SaaS company.

It can be difficult figuring out which technology to use when you are starting out, it doesn’t help that new marketing tech is released every year, promising bigger and better things. Often, as marketers you will end up with the fear of missing out on some new tech that is going to catapult your efficiency and growth.

From my experience, the analogy of an athlete with all the gear but poor training practices is a great way to summarise a lot of B2B SaaS marketing tech stacks. I’ve found it is best to start simple, build strong practices and processes with some core tools and then expand on that as the business grows and requires more complex functionality, such as intent data etc.

In fact in this article I talk about a lean marketing tech stack that is a great way to set up your B2B SaaS martech.

B2B SaaS Website Strategy

The website is perhaps the most important digital asset you will be managing. For a SaaS company, the website is almost part of the product itself and it is usually the main gateway for people to sign-up for your software.

There are some key components to consider when designing and launching a website for a B2B SaaS company. Of course, if you are employing an agency to build your website for you, then they will be able to advise you on some if not all of these elements.

The thing about a website for B2B SaaS is that it follows a certain design pattern, most of them have the same underlying architecture and strategy. There is a reason for this, it’s because it works for Inbound Marketing and especially for SEO.

The framework below shows how most growing B2B SaaS companies create a landing page for every potential search query. The reason this works is because people all search based on different priorities, some look for a specific feature or integration and some look for a well known solution term like “project management software”. Others also look for industry specific solutions such as “project management software for agencies”.

The only time a company steps away from the normal framework is when they have grown big enough by reputation that they no longer need to focus on generating net new traffic from unbranded search terms. For a growing company though, you should follow the proven framework.

Reducing friction

The other main principle of a successful B2B SaaS website is that you should always try to reduce the ‘friction’ or the effort it takes for someone to take action, in most cases that means to sign-up for the software.

To do this you should try and do a couple of things:

  • Reduce the number of clicks it takes to get anywhere (less than 3 ideally)
  • Reduce the amount  information required to sign-up for the software
  • Ensure the website loads quickly
  • Show elements of trust (case studies, badges, awards, reviews)

B2B SaaS Marketing Maturity Index

The B2B SaaS Marketing Maturity Index is a framework used to assess the level of maturity and effectiveness of a B2B SaaS company's marketing efforts. It provides a structured way to evaluate various aspects of a company's marketing strategies, tactics, and capabilities.

The aim of the index is to help identify your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, enabling you to prioritise their marketing initiatives and drive better results.

The specific components and criteria included in the B2B SaaS Marketing Maturity Index can vary depending on the source or company using it. However, here are the ones in our digital marketing maturity index:

  • Branding and Positioning
  • Analytics & Attribution
  • Performance Marketing
  • Website
  • Marketing Technology

By evaluating these aspects and assigning scores or ratings, the B2B SaaS Marketing Maturity Index provides a comprehensive view of a company's marketing maturity level. It helps identify gaps, prioritise areas for improvement, and establish a roadmap for enhancing marketing capabilities to drive business growth.

The Stages of Digital Marketing Maturity

A maturity matrix, also known as a capability maturity model or maturity model, is a framework used to assess and improve the maturity of a process, system, or company. While specific maturity models may vary, there are typically five common stages or levels within a maturity matrix. These stages represent progressively higher levels of maturity and capability. Here is a general overview of the stages commonly found in maturity models:

Stage 1: Ad hoc

This is the starting point where processes are often chaotic, undocumented, and inconsistent. There is a lack of standardisation, and activities are typically reactive and driven by individuals rather than established procedures.

Stage 2: Repeatable/Managed

At this stage, companies begin to introduce some level of consistency and structure to their processes. Basic procedures and guidelines are established and followed. The emphasis is on documentation, planning, and ensuring that processes are repeatable.

Stage 3: Defined/Standardised

In this stage, companies have well-defined processes that are documented, communicated, and followed consistently across the company. There is a focus on establishing standard practices, templates, and guidelines. Processes are tailored to meet specific needs and are continuously improved based on feedback and lessons learned.

Stage 4: Quantitatively Managed:

At this stage, organisations start to collect and analyse quantitative data to manage and improve their processes. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics are established to measure process performance and make data-driven decisions. The emphasis is on continuous monitoring, analysis, and improvement of processes to achieve predictable outcomes.

Stage 5: Optimising/Continuous Improvement:

This is the highest level of maturity, where organisations strive for continuous improvement and innovation. There is a culture of learning and experimentation, and processes are regularly evaluated and refined. The focus is on proactively identifying opportunities for improvement, adopting best practices, and driving innovation to stay ahead of the competition.

Reporting & Analysis

Reporting is an important part of any marketer's job but putting together informative reports that really contribute to your overall marketing strategy can be difficult if you don’t have the right elements in place to begin with.

Steps to successful digital marketing reporting:

  1. Ensure conversion tracking is set up correctly: As mentioned earlier in this article, conversion tracking performs the most important part of this whole process. If you are not measuring your key conversions through tools such as Google Analytics then you have fallen at the first hurdle.
  2. Track KPIS at each funnel stage: If you imagine the funnel shape, we want to be able to spot at which point of the funnel you need to do more work. There are different conversion rates at the different stages and by measuring these
  3. Report monthly: With B2B marketing it makes sense to report on these KPIs monthly, if you start to track things day-to-day you will end up too close to it and make decisions based on snap decisions rather than trends. Reporting at the end of the month allows you to see the real trends.

B2B Digital Marketing  Reporting

These are the reporting metrics I use for measuring the success of my digital marketing strategies. I’ve found these simple metrics are a great starting point. You can of course customise these to meet specific requirements over-time if you wish.

MQL’s: The Most Important KPI

MQL stands for Marketing Qualified Lead. This is the most important metric to measure as a B2B marketer. Leads turn into clients and clients generate revenue for the business. You could 10x your website traffic but if you don’t generate quality leads then it’s not having the impact it needs to.

What is a Marketing Qualified Lead?

Generally a marketing qualified lead is someone who gets in touch with your business inquiring about your services, besides that they must also match a certain set of conditions that mean they are the type of potential customer you would like.

These conditions should be agreed internally with your business owners and sales team so that you can agree when a lead is qualified or not. If you don’t have this company-wide agreement then your measure is purely subjective and therefore meaningless.

Summary

Inbound marketing and product-led growth are both part of the same ideology. It's one that focuses on doing what's best for the consumer. Focusing on providing the best product and service possible and growth will occur naturally. In my opinion, all companies should be focusing on what is best for their audience rather than selling but that's not always the case.

Inbound marketing should be the default strategy B2B marketers IMO. Put ego aside and focus on what the data and what your audience wants.

I hope although long and perhaps a little wordy, that this has been a useful guide and a good introduction to those of you discovering and looking into B2B inbound marketing.

Digital marketing can be really fun and rewarding. It can also be very challenging and difficult sometimes. When things are not going as planned (your company is not growing) it can be tricky.

The key to keeping on top of things is to continue to learn and educate yourself, read lots, watch videos and keep on top of new technologies. Speak to other B2B SaaS digital marketers doing the same thing and keep faith in yourself.

Other Useful Guides

We've created some useful beginner guide to marketing and digital marketing topics like Inbound Marketing and SEO, written by industry experts we hope you find them informative.

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