Sell The Solution, Not The Software: A guide to creating better SaaS creative content
This blog post is a condensed version of a webinar – If you prefer to watch the video go here!
At Tug, we have worked with SaaS brands for the past 12 years and we know that they are passionate about their products. Sometimes, however, passion can be as much of a hindrance as a help when it comes to creating brilliant creative because the audience for your product, quite often, just doesn’t care as much about software as you do. Small business owners have enough on with their day-to-day and IT leaders at larger companies are reporting that staying on top of an increasingly complex tech landscape is more difficult than ever.
And that’s in a normal year! In a pandemic year, talking about your product won’t get cut through. What your audience wants to hear is:
- How you will solve their immediate problems
- How you will help grow their business
So why are we still seeing ads like this?
What is wrong with these ads:
- They list out product features rather than focus on user need
- Creative looks like an ad not social content made for Facebook where they appeared
- Too much text for a news feed
I am sorry to pick on Guesty and Zoho – they are simply the first two bad ads I saw in the Facebook Ads Library tool – but they are far from alone. Recent research from The LinkedIn B2B Institute and System1 found that of 1,600 ads served to six million people over four years, that only one in four would have received more than one out of a possible five stars for quality of creative. Ouch! This study proposes that B2B creative is in crisis because B2B firms, unlike their B2C counterparts, aren’t marketing-led. They are led by engineers or sales people – rational types. And when creative is poor and garners poor results – their views about its importance are only reinforced.
The five elements of great B2B creative are:
- A narrative or story arc
- Characterisation or relatability
- A soundtrack or voice over (this is more and more important for social media as news feeds are overtaken by Snaps, TikToks, Stories and Reels)
- A recognisable brand device (logo, visual brand identity, tone of voice)
So how do you make five- star creative for your SaaS brand?
First, know your audience. I think many marketers still think of tech decision-makers as being the old guy in the corner office. This is no longer the case – evidence points to Millennials being increasingly involved in procurement decision making due to their seniority and tech-savviness.
Key traits of Millennials
- Tech-savvy – they are true digital natives
- Self-improvers – they love to add new strings to their bow, see themselves as a work in progress
- Socially and ecologically aware – they align themselves to brands with positive purpose
- More likely to trust brands they are familiar with – more evidence not to ignore top of funnel brand marketing for SaaS
- See themselves as trendsetters – BUT they are scared of falling behind so often not so much leading as following
- They care about the competition – more likely than older generations to base purchase decisions on what others are doing.
Secondly, take into account the channels your marketing will appear on.
Making content that works on social channels
- Your content will need to fit into a news feed environment – if it looks like an ad people will scroll onto family photos and news stores
- News feeds – and Story and Reel feeds – move quickly so you need to grab attention early on
- Moving image can help draw the eye quickly in a news feed but even then you only have about three seconds to hook the user
- Use emotion – for example people’s faces – in order to make that quick connection.
What are some great examples of SaaS social and digital content?
Mailchimp has recently partnered with the creatives at It’s Nice That on an animated series about the highs and lows of work – whether that be in a start-up or a larger organisation. This content looks beautiful and is an entertainment destination in its own right and goes to show that you can create interesting, entertaining and emotive content if you’re a B2C software brand. I also love what Sage are doing with their #BossIt2021 challenge – the first I’ve seen from a B2B brand. What a great way to connect with a new generation of entrepreneurs and passionate small business owners about what inspires them.
And here’s a simple example from our own client Bluebeam, who make software for the construction industry, of just what happens when you follow creative best practice for SaaS:
Yes that’s a 312.5% uplift in Conversion Rate after they focused on solving the user’s problem and connected with their audience using emotion.
Focus on these four pillars to elevate your SaaS marketing:
- Solving immediate users pain points
- Demonstrating how you can help grow their business
- Understand how Millennials see themselves eg socially aware
- Cater to Millennial behaviours eg care about what competitors are doing.