All businesses need customers to survive. If you’re a small SaaS company, it becomes even more important to find the customers you need to remain in business.
An easy way to do this is by building a sales funnel. A sales funnel is a marketing strategy that looks like an actual funnel.
The bottom of the funnel will represent your committed customers, people who already trust your business and have no problems buying.
At the top of the funnel, you have potential customers, call them leads if you like. They could buy from you in the future. That part of the funnel is wide because it represents a large number of people.
Top of the funnel SaaS content marketing is targeted at potential customers.
There are many SaaS companies that are using this to grow their businesses, let’s look at some of them:
SaaS Companies Using Top Of The Funnel Content The Right Way
HubSpot is an inbound marketing company, there’s no way you won’t come across them if you’re in the digital marketing space.
After more than ten years in business, HubSpot still produces content like this:
HubSpot sells email marketing software, they handle things like email tracking, scheduling and sales email templates.
But that post title doesn’t scream: buy our product! That’s top of the funnel content marketing. It makes readers aware they have a problem.
Someone may read that post, love the campaigns and would want to do something similar. A pitch from HubSpot at that point will sell because it’s now targeting a warm lead.
And HubSpot publishes lots of this type of content monthly on their blog.
If you think TOFU content marketing can’t go viral and get your company off to a good start, then you’ve never heard of BootstrapBay.
It’s a company that develops bootstrap themes and templates for web projects.
According to this case study, the founder published a case study that generated 17,000 site visits, 240,000 shares on social media and thousands of customers to his business.
Here’s the title of the post, originally on Bootstrap, that generated so much buzz:
I’m sure you’re wondering how a post about free stock photos generated so much attention that it sold products for a theme developer.
Here’s how it worked: BootstrapBay knew it had to attract a lot of web designers and developers to its products to remain in business.
For a new SaaS company, very few designers will pick you over the more established companies.
But web designers use lots of photos, the company understood this and published a well-curated list of sites where they can be gotten.
Many of those who read the post will check out their products too, that’s how TOFU content generated customers for a new business.
Everyone working in SEO has heard of Ahrefs. They’re involved in everything from keyword to site exploration.
The Ahref’s blog is a melting pot of TOFU content, at least in the SEO space.
It’s not unusual to find blog posts like this:
It’s not hard to see why blog posts like this do very well to convert readers into buyers.
People who read this post are potential customers. They’d land on the blog after searching for this keyword on Google.
Ahrefs has tools to perform a backlink audit easier and faster than most free and paid tools in the market.
This post helps sell that point to the reader, and it won’t be strange to find people paying Ahrefs to get their links audited after reading.
We’ve looked at three SaaS companies that are getting it right with this type of content, but how do you replicate this on your site?
How To Create Top Of The Funnel SaaS Content That Works
There are three steps involved in creating great top of the funnel content for your target audience:
- Targeted keyword research
- Great copywriting
- Aggressive content promotion.
Go For Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are low competition keywords, they aren’t necessarily keywords with a high search volume.
There’s no point investing time on a post if it’s going to be buried in the search rankings.
Low competition keywords are those queries that generate lots of searches but with no comprehensive source that serves the users.
Let’s take a keyword like “best email subject lines,” if it’s a high search volume query with only a few guides ranking for how to write a catchy subject line, that’s a gap you can fill, especially if you run an email marketing company.
Two metrics you should look at when analyzing if a query is a low competition keyword are the search volume and average backlink count for the top ten ranking pages.
If you sell premium themes and plugins, targeting a keyword like “how to start a blog” is a bad idea.
Yes, that’s TOFU content which can expose readers to your plugins for their site, but there’s just no chance you’d rank for that keyword.
That’s a result from the free tool Ubersuggest. You don’t need to worry about the other metrics because that’s all subjective data but look at the search volume column.
74,000 people are searching for this every month. When a keyword has such a high volume, you can bet thousands of sites have already published something on it.
And that’s not the only point, your potential customers may not even be searching with that keyword.
If you’re selling software that runs on WordPress, it’s a waste of your time publishing a post that would attract visits from potential Blogger or Joomla users.
You’d avoid that by not writing a generic “how to start a blog” post.
And the average backlink count from Ahrefs for that keyword is 850, so fighting for that keyword will definitely be a waste of your time.
Publish Copy That Converts
Gathering those long tail keywords is just the first step, writing a post that makes people want to share and converts readers into buyers requires a different kind of thinking.
Here are some copywriting techniques you can use:
You’re writing in an age with declining attention spans, publishing one large block of text is the easiest way to fail.
Use subheads in your content so the white space makes it easier for readers to skim.
Someone who’s never heard about your software will need the section defining the major terms but an active user who’s just looking for help with a particular section doesn’t need that and subheads help with that.
Write A Call To Action That Gives Direction
People need that little nudge to take action and a call-to-action helps with that.
Adding “click here to share” can increase your post views as people who wouldn’t normally bother get moved to take action.
Here’s an example below:
Employ An Aggressive Content Marketing Campaign
The most popular blog posts aren’t written by the best writers but by the best marketers.
Employing all your favorite copy techniques keep visitors reading when they come but if other people don’t spread the word, that post dies on your site.
Most of these tips would involve link building:
Create Linkable Infographics
An infographic is simply information that’s presented graphically, making it easier to digest and understand.
A link-worthy infographic is one that can be published by other sites without any contact with you. You’ll need to embed a link below your infographic to make it easier for others to share.
Promoting your infographic involves treating it like a guest post, this is a tactic called guestographics in marketing circles.
It’s very easy to apply, pitch sites in your niche that accept guest posts and let them know about your infographic, tell them you’d write an intro on their site so they know you’d do all the work for them.
Use Link Roundups
If you hang around blogs in your niche, you’d see blog posts like this:
That’s a link roundup. And many established blogs that can’t consistently publish fresh blog posts, curate lists like this.
Getting a spot in these lists would expose your business to new readers but getting that spot is actually the hard part.
Although the rules are generally similar, most blogs have guidelines for what they accept on their roundups.
Your post needs to provide a new angle to an already covered topic or it should provide more information on a topic than what’s out there.
You’d do fine getting it if you use long tail keywords as outlined in this post.
Reverse Engineer Your Competitors’ Backlinks
It’s impossible at this age of the internet to discover a profitable keyword that no one has written a blog post about, except if you’re breaking the news on a recent event.
Success with top of the funnel content doesn’t mean mining for completely new keywords but beating your competitors who already rank for them.
It’s very easy to do this. Plug your keyword into the Google search bar and look at the backlink data of sites that are actually targeting your keyword.
You can do this with the free MozBar tool.
It provides real-time backlink data for any keyword you search for. Successful campaigns will have more links.
Copy each of these referring domains into a spreadsheet and use the free version of SEMrush to generate competitors for those referring domains.
You’ll be pitching your post to those competitors using the infographic and link roundups method for sites that offer this.
Creating great blog posts at the top of the funnel is an art within itself.
Get it right and you’ll find your site ranks for popular (traffic-heavy) keywords and you’ll increase your site’s reach.
When you create top of the funnel content, you’re creating assets that help nurture potential customers. Then, by the time they reach the bottom of the funnel, your sales team is well equipped to speak with them.
Use the tips in this post to help you mine, refine and promote your top of the funnel content marketing.