If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a content marketer or you work in marketing. If not, you might want to consider exploring the world of content marketing because this is a role you will play many times over the course of your career. Why? Well, thanks to the likes of TikTok and Slack, we’re living in the age of the customer. And, as a marketer, you will always be writing copy for customers. It might not always be obvious, but in some cases, you will be the customer.
One of the challenges when creating content for customers is knowing what they want. If you’re following traditional marketing methods, you might be tempted to write about what you know – your product or service – but that isn’t necessarily the best approach. After all, you might not always find your customers where you think they are, especially if your target audience overlaps with another group.
What is SaasCopywriting?
SaaS (Software as a Service) copywriting is a method of marketing that relies on data rather than assumptions. It is increasingly important that you establish a clear connection with your audience – even if that means creating a fictional persona – in order to tailor your content to them and improve the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
While this might come as a bit of a shock to you if you’ve been writing for traditional audiences, who tend to prefer more traditional advertising methods, this isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to marketing to the rapidly expanding world of digitally native consumers.
For example, if you’re a financial services company and your target audience is composed of millennials who prefer to use their phones rather than their papers to keep track of their finances, you might find that your audience overlaps with the people you serve via Facebook. In this case, establishing a clear connection with your audience – and, more importantly, understanding their needs – is critical in order to serve them content that is both relevant and useful.
Why should you care about connecting with your audience?
Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that you run a digital marketing agency and you work with a bank to create a content strategy. You want to ensure that your content is not only relevant to the audience but that it also serves a useful purpose. This might mean that you want to create content that answers common questions about the bank’s products or that it teaches your audience about budget management. So, you decide to write about the importance of budgeting and tracking your money digitally.
However, rather than starting from the standpoint of, “Okay, I need to write down everything my audience might want to know about budgeting,” you could begin by asking yourself, “What do I already know about budgeting? What is my audience currently searching for? What do I feel certain they will benefit from learning?”
The better you get at answering these questions, the more you will be able to tailor your content to a specific audience – and determine the usefulness of your content (and, in turn, your marketing campaign) from the outset.
How does this differ from marketing to “real life” customers?
Inevitably, we’re all too familiar with the countless examples of businesses that have been destroyed by bad marketing. But even the most careful and well-intentioned marketers can run into problems when it comes to tailoring content to digital audiences. This is because many businesses that rely solely on online marketing – especially those that rely on social media – for their customer outreach underestimate the power of SEO and paid marketing.
Although SEO and paid marketing are important, the reality is that your average customer comes to you via a search engine or a banner ad. So, while it’s important that you learn how to market to digital customers, it is also important that you learn to market offline as well. Knowing when to shift your focus to different channels – such as SEO for your website and social media for your brand’s bio – can help you cut through the noise and reach your target audience, whether they’re online or not.
The difference between marketing and sales
Even if you’re not directly responsible for converting leads into paying customers, you will be involved in the process. After all, marketing and sales are two parts of the same team, and you will be working with sales to determine the content and messaging that your target audience needs to hear.
Even before you begin working for a brand or a company, you will inevitably be asked to pitch in for a marketing campaign. This is one of the reasons that most marketers start their careers out of school. Not only do you get experience, you also get to participate in the exciting world of marketing.
An example of SaaS copywriting: The Chase Sapphire Card
If you’re interested in exploring SaaS copywriting, it’s important to note that there are multiple examples out there and you don’t need to limit yourself to the marketing tactics of a single brand or company. One of the more recent examples that I come across is The Chase Sapphire Card, which allows the user to earn cash back on purchases at hotels, restaurants, and travel. In addition, users can earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
For a while, The Chase Sapphire Card was the world’s most downloaded app. And that’s not an exaggeration. The number of times the app was downloaded is equivalent to about 1.8 billion users on TikTok, at the time.
Thanks to the app’s global notoriety, The Chase Sapphire Card became one of the world’s most recognizable brands, with over 500 million downloads and a 55.2% market share as of March 2021.
Although the app is no longer free, the site still features an active community of cardholders, with over 400,000 members actively using the service. And if you’re curious, you can visit the site to view the full terms and conditions of the card.
Where do I begin?
If you’re ready to get started, the first step is to identify your audience and determine the purpose of your content.
In the example above, we learned that the target audience for this content about budgeting was digital consumers. This means that your audience is not limited to those who downloaded the app or signed up for the credit card program; rather, it is anyone who is searching for budgeting advice using a search engine or who is seeing a digital ad for the card.
Once you have your audience – both online and offline – and you know what they want, you can begin to write content that will help them achieve their goals. But it doesn’t end there.
You also need to consider how to distribute your content. In the example above, we learned that the target audience was using digital channels – primarily social media – to discover information about budgeting. In this case, it’s important that you take this into account when thinking about how to distribute your content. You don’t want to bombard your audience with pitches for the Chase Sapphire Card; instead, you want to establish yourself as a trusted source of information that they will turn to time and time again.
With your first few pieces of content, you will want to experiment with different types of media. As we discussed above, not all of your customers will necessarily find you online. So, while SEO is extremely important for ensuring that your website shows up when someone searches for your product or service, you also need to consider investing in creating engaging content for social media.
For my own part, I prefer to write for a fairly general audience. Even if I have a specific target market in mind, it’s usually hard to predict exactly what they will want to learn about. This is why I try to create content that will be useful to as many people as possible.
As I write this, I’m reminded of a quote from Maya Angelou: “I knew people would respond to my books because I had been through such similar experiences, but I didn’t necessarily foresee the extent to which they would respond.”
What this means is that, while we often have high hopes for our work – and perhaps even for ourselves as individuals – we can never truly know how much an audience will value our content. In some cases, a brand might choose to ignore the content itself and focus instead on the writer’s credentials – i.e. their “platform” – in an effort to secure the maximum reach for their message.
In other cases, the content might prove so useful that it inspires someone to do further research or to make a purchase decision, even though they might not have turned to that source otherwise. Inevitably, there are many examples of both situations.