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B2B SaaS Inbound Marketing Playbook: 5 Proven Plays (+ Examples)

Would you want your team to test out a new play on the field during the fourth quarter of a bowl game? 

Absolutely not. 

Similarly, you don’t want to test unproven B2B SaaS inbound marketing plays. 

Instead: Borrow our proven plays.

Inbound marketing can feel overwhelming at times. Do you feel like you’re throwing content and strategies at the wall without seeing anything stick? Without the right playbook, you may end up wasting time and energy on efforts that seem solid upfront but that won’t pan out in the end. 

We audited our most profitable marketing campaigns to identify five proven plays for you to steal and use for your B2B SaaS inbound marketing. For each, we’ll explore what the play entails, why it works, and provide an example of how you can use it to 10x your growth.

 

What is B2B SaaS Inbound Marketing (And Why Should You Care?)

Whenever I talk about inbound marketing, I like to bring up the Hero and the Guide. Any great story features a person struggling with a problem that limits their success. 

Along comes a helping hand to guide the hero to succeed.

And so, the hero overcomes their problems and wins the day.

The Inbound methodology is customer-centric. By building human relationships with prospects and customers, you can grow your business by providing value at every stage of the buyer journey. You guide the hero (your customer) to success.

For B2B SaaS companies, the buyer journey is where it’s at! Software is mainly intangible, meaning the only true way of getting in front of your customer is through building trust. If your product or service solves a problem for your customer, your foot is in the door.

Next, you must ensure you’re welcome in your customer’s house. If you don’t provide continued value, you’ll outstay your welcome. If you provide massive value and continued stellar service, your customers might even tell their friends that you’re a great house guest!

Using a combination of content creation, engagement, and retention strategies, inbound marketing draws SaaS users to your brand and keeps them using your product.

Let’s look at five proven plays incorporating the inbound methodology that you can implement today!

Related: The 7 Best Inbound Marketing Agencies

 

1. Start with a Website That Converts

A good-looking website is pretty useless if it underperforms.

Always remember, your SaaS website is your best salesperson. Since 57% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a prospect talks to your sales team, it’s wise to ensure potential customers have a great experience on your website.

You need a strong narrative and intuitive buyer journey.

 

Buyer Journey

To deliver the right message, at the right time, and to the right person, you need to know who you serve and how you can help them. When the right person finds your website, they’ll know if you can solve their problem within the first few seconds.

They want you to educate them, define clear next steps, and guide them towards your solution. Without a well-mapped-out buyer’s journey, your website will struggle to convert.

Related: How to Eliminate Friction in Your SaaS Buyer Journey

 

Modular Design

Modern high conversion websites are living documents that need to be maintained. Building a modular website allows anyone on your team to make changes without needing to write code. 

Using Sprocket Rocket, for example, is as simple as a drag-and-drop editor but utilizes stackable modules instead of component-based templates. All modules are based on common web patterns that people understand, and you can get a high-performing website live in a matter of minutes.

 

Example: Sprocket Rocket

Sprocket Rocket is a no-code modular website builder for HubSpot. By improving the flow and UX of their website, focusing on eliminating friction in the buyer’s journey, and optimizing conversion points, they were able to increase monthly leads by ~200%. 


2. Provide Valuable Content Across Multiple Channels

Which channels will get your message in front of your ideal customers? Those are the channels that you need to invest in.

It would be easy to tell you to put content out on every channel you have access to, but that will spread your efforts thinly, and prevent you from making a deeper impact on the platform that your ideal customer is actually on. 

Inbound marketing is about attracting and pulling customers into your business. So where can you find those customers? You need to go where they’re hanging out.

“Your target market is a place, not a person.” -Kevin Barber 

Create a buyer persona for your ideal customer. What are their biggest struggles and motivations? Where do they go for answers? Where do they hang out, in real life and online? 

Next, go to where your ideal customer is, and deliver a clear message that explains your unique value proposition. Get feedback about your product and messaging from a small group of customers who fit your persona. If you have any, interview current customers and see what they love about your product and why they chose you.

Don’t assume you know what the market needs. Once you have some basic information, dig deeper. Find out which websites your buyer persona visits, the blogs they read, the podcasts they listen to, and where they congregate on social media.

Once you know where they are, you can provide helpful and valuable content to them. When you understand where your ideal customer hangs out online, and how they like to consume content, you might:

  • Start a blog that speaks to your buyers’ problems and offers solutions.
  • Launch a podcast and become an authority in your target market.
  • Post quotes and snippets on Twitter that build authority and trust.
  • Record short-form videos on your iPhone to publish on LinkedIn

 

Example: Atlassian

Atlassian is a leading provider of collaboration, development, and issue-tracking software for teams. And boy, do they let people know about it.

They hang out where their audience is. Business leaders listen to podcasts. They also spend time on Linkedin. So Atlassian posts almost daily to Linkedin and Twitter. They also have a podcast series and an active blog.

Wherever their customers are, Atlassian provides massive value and thought leadership.

 

3. Leverage the Right Social Channels

Following on from play #2, posting across multiple channels only works if you post on the right channels.

Leveraging social media helps to reinforce your marketing efforts and extend the reach of your content to further build trust, engagement, and brand awareness.

Not everyone in your audience consumes the same type of content. Much like we all have different learning styles, some of your audience might like reading long-form blogs; others might prefer reading a short post and engaging in spirited debates on Linkedin comment sections.

Each social channel has its own algorithm and set of rules. Let’s have a brief look at three channels.

  • YouTube: Google likes slow and steady, which is why evergreen content fares well. On YouTube, it’s the opposite. You want to gain as many views as possible in the first 24 hours through push notifications, email blasts, and SMS blasts.
  • According to OmniCore Agency, Linkedin makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs. Creating and publishing content on Linkedin is a great play. You also need engaging comments to get your content in front of more people.
  • Facebook wants you to stay on Facebook. If you’ve identified that your target audience hangs out there, create long-form content that keeps people on Facebook. According to Neil Patel, video content over five minutes performs better by 81.39 percent.

Where is your audience hanging out? Leverage those channels and do your research into what works best for each medium.

 

Example: HubSpot

Connoisseurs of inbound marketing, HubSpot leverages social media well. They start conversations and engage their audience. For example:

Image source

Similarly, on Linkedin, they ask their followers to drop recommendations to their favorite business podcasts in the comments section.

They also regularly post about their mission to help millions of businesses grow better using the right tools and platforms.

 

4. Recognize the Power of SEO

SEO or search engine optimization is the process of getting your website pages to the top of search engine results page (SERP). The aim is to rank organically in the top 10 spots. When your page ranking increases, you’re more discoverable, meaning more of your target audience can find you and hopefully work with you.

When your ideal clients can’t find you or competitors rank higher, you might lose out on customers and revenue.

Where you rank depends on how relevant your company is to your audience. By mastering SaaS content marketing, your blogs will rise to the top of the SERP. If potential customers have a problem and search for answers, you want to be front and center, ready to help.

Search engines crawl your website to ensure the information you provide matches user intent. But remember, you’re in the people business. If you produce content that’s designed to trick the search algorithm into ranking your page, you’re missing the point. 

Google wants to serve up content that is valuable for humans, not keyword-stuffed garbage.

SEO is more powerful than paid advertising. With paid advertising, traffic dries up once you stop pumping money in. With well-structured, helpful content and a website optimized for a seamless customer experience, you can lean on SEO to provide a steady growth in leads that compounds over time.

 

Example: FreshBooks

FreshBooks is an online invoice and accounting company that offers a free invoice template to draw in new customers. It’s a fantastic inbound play, and one of the phrases FreshBooks ranks for is “invoice template.”

According to SEMrush, that keyword alone receives 110,000 monthly searches.

By offering a free template, Freshbooks ranks high on search engine pages and brings their ideal customers to their website to start a relationship with them. It’s a win-win.

 

5. Launch, Iterate, Optimize

Although inbound marketing is a people-first, customer-centric strategy, it relies heavily on data.

To shape your customers’ experiences, you need a culture of experimentation. You can’t be afraid to launch, continuously improve, and optimize your product, website, marketing strategy, or any element of your business.

That’s how companies win. Continuous improvement and learning when to double down or pivot.

How does inbound marketing fit into this framework?

  • Marketing is most impactful when we think of our buyer persona first.
  • What we produce should be repeatable and scalable.
  • We should measure everything and get customer feedback so we can continuously improve.
  • We need best plays and small wins to avoid wasted effort and significant losses.
  • We should make data-driven decisions.
  • Our experiments should give us insights into our customers and their needs.

Can you see how this works in your B2B SaaS marketing efforts?

Your customers are your best marketers. You’re always putting your best foot forward when you map out the buyer journey and continuously improve and optimize your product and customer experience.

 

Example: Spotify

Spotify uses teams or squads to deliver a great product. Each squad has a leader, and each mission focuses on one part of Spotify’s product.

Using this model, Spotify releases minor product updates to its user base with minimal risk and operational cost. They only target a small subset of users with a new feature so they can return to the drawing board if it doesn’t perform well. If it goes well, they roll it out to all their users.

Spotify can then evaluate if the new feature is popular and fine-tune or tweak the new feature.

Related: The Key Players (and Skills) Your Inbound Marketing Plan Needs

 

Getting The Most From Your B2B SaaS Inbound Marketing Plays

B2B SaaS inbound marketing plays like the ones listed in this post can help you fill your sales pipeline, reduce customer churn, and grow your revenue. 

But to get maximum results, you need more than just a few plays: You need an entire game plan.

Lean Labs has helped dozens of deserving B2B brands 10X their growth. How do we do it? With our proven Growth Playbook. Unlock our free playbook today to learn how to plan for growth, budget for growth, and execute a winning growth strategy.

 

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Discover the Hidden Strategies We Use to 10X Our Clients' Growth in 36 Months!

The Growth Playbook is a FREE proven guide to planning, budgeting and accelerating your company’s growth.