This is the story of how I helped a no-code platform increase their conversion rate by 13 times using product-led content.
How do you measure the ROI of content marketing? That’s the most common question we get from marketing managers at growth-stage software startups.
It’s a fair question. If you’re spending more than $10K a month on your content efforts, you’ll need some way to quantify the fruitfulness of that engagement.
But measuring the returns from content can be super-complicated. No sales funnel is straightforward. Complicated conversion pathways that jump from podcasts and webinars to content to social media platforms make it very difficult to attribute any sales to a specific marketing channel.
But measuring your blog conversions is one of the most sureshot ways of calculating the impact of your content marketing campaign.
For the last 12 months, I’ve been part of the content marketing team of a no-code app development platform, helping them improve conversions through organic channels by ten times through a range of product-led and intent-driven marketing tactics.
Today, I’m going to dive deep into what made our engagement such a success and talk about some of the techniques I used to improve conversion rates across different types of content.
There’s an ongoing debate among product teams when it comes to product-led and customer-led growth approaches in the startup space. Should you focus on the product or the impact it has on your customers?
But when it comes to content marketing, the debate is a no-brainer. Content usually comes into play long after proper product-market fit has been established, meaning that understanding the product and understanding the customer are really one and the same.
My client was a no-code platform that makes it possible for individuals and businesses to develop apps without programming knowledge. Over the years, it had shifted its focus toward business customers, helping to streamline workflows across departments through intuitively designed mobile and web applications.
So, they needed an organic marketing campaign that generated awareness and drove conversions from business users at every stage of the marketing funnel. These users belonged to different departments, from sales to customer success to HR.
We developed our content marketing strategy using the JTBD Model. What’s that, you ask? The JTBD (Jobs-To-Be-Done) Model is all about understanding why people buy products or services.
It looks at the underlying motivations and need states that drive purchase decisions, rather than focusing on features and benefits alone. The goal is to develop a deep, actionable understanding of the customer and the market to inform strategy and messaging.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. All you have to do is open Google Sheets, then start listing out the different buyer personas that you currently market to. For each buyer persona, come up with a list of potential use cases. For example, if you’re marketing a sales enablement platform to SDRs, a few use cases that immediately come to mind are “lead generation” and “cold pitching.”
Once you have a list of all the potential use cases for all the different customer personas, you can use that spreadsheet to drive your SEO. Find relevant long-tail keywords that coincide with those use cases using Ahrefs or SEMrush, and voila!
Product-led keyword research using the JTBD Model is a great way to find new ideas for content you should be creating. Of course, don’t just rely on keyword research tools for this. If you’re confident that a use case ties to your audience, write about it even if you can’t find a relevant high-volume keyword for it.
It’s not enough just to tell people your product is useful. You have to show them. Help them visualize the product’s importance in their lives through your content creation efforts.
Since our content strategy was already driven by the JTBD Model, integrating product mentions into blog content became way easier. For every piece of content that I wrote — ToFU, MoFU, and BoFU — I’d walk the reader through different ways to achieve the results they wanted through this platform.
A few brands create content that’s way too salesy. Others are afraid to mention their product because it might sound forceful. I think a good rule of thumb is to insert product mentions whenever you can as long as it flows naturally into the subject matter you’re writing about.
So, if an article references a strong use case for your product among the target audience, feel free to include 3-4 relevant and contextual CTAs throughout the content. But don’t just stop there! Include working screenshots, video walkthroughs, and even testimonials!
Even better, plan out your content outline in advance so that you can naturally integrate your product into the process needed to achieve that goal or answer that question. That’s what I did. I’d brainstorm ways that I could incorporate the no-code platform’s offerings, especially their template library, into as many pieces of content as possible.
As much as content writers prefer the written word, the hard truth is that a single image is way more shareable on social media than several paragraphs of polished text.
We’re not talking about stock images here. Sure, they can add a bit of personality to your writing if you don’t have anything else, but what companies should really invest in if they want to succeed is data-rich visual design.
Make a list of key takeaways that you want people to remember from your article. (They can be facts, numbers, or steps needed to achieve a specific outcome.) Then, use a visual or infographic to succinctly convey those points. You can use illustrations, charts, graphs, quotes, and more. Get creative!
Visuals don’t just make your articles more appealing for social media. They also assist with link-building efforts which improve your website’s search rankings in the long run. Just make sure that the visuals supporting your content aren’t purely decorative and add value to the subject in question.
Right now, the client in question has over 19K backlinks from more than 2.8K referring domains. Some of that is thanks to manual link-building, but data visualization has clearly boosted its shareability across channels.
CTAs, or calls-to-action, are prompts that encourage a user to take a specific action. They are an essential element of any website or app, as they help businesses convert visitors into customers.
A contextual CTA should be tailored to the page it is on. For example, if you have a blog post about email marketing best practices, your CTA could be something like “Start Your Email Marketing Campaign Now” or “Sign Up for Our Email Marketing Course”. This provides the user with enough context to understand what action they will be taking when they click on the CTA.
But it’s not enough just to include a CTA. When writing blog content, walk your readers through the step-by-step mental process they need to go through before landing on the decision to purchase your product or service.
Along with a CTA button, I prefer to include call-to-action messages at the end of every article by dedicating an entire section to how that topic relates to the product I’m marketing. Then, I end with one sentence that encourages the reader to take a single specific action. Here’s an example from an article on CRM software that I wrote for this client:
“Sign up for an account with X to build your own sales CRM for free — no coding required. Optimize your sales process from lead generation to outreach to customer support using a single no-code app, with support for custom workflows and countless integrations.”
So, what was the end result? A 12x boost in organic traffic from SEO and a 13x boost in conversions from blog content.
Right now, the website averages 50.5K page views per month and ranks for more than 17.6K different keywords on Google. It also averages in the top 3 search results for 155 high-converting keywords! Having a domain authority of 72, it benefits heavily from organic traffic with very little investment in paid acquisition channels like Google Ads.
A few key takeaways about what made these results possible:
Your product is your greatest asset. Most startups don’t realize this. They treat sales outreach as something to be ashamed of. They hide their lead generation efforts under layers of unnecessary red tape.
Product-led content marketing works because it puts your best asset at the front of your marketing efforts. Instead of playing a game of smoke and mirrors, it targets the people who are most likely to have a use for your product and shows them how it can impact their lives.
Want to learn how product-led content can help drive your revenue goals this year? I’m Ritoban, a startup journalist turned B2B content marketer helping SaaS clients realize their ARR goals through organic and inbound marketing strategies. Let’s schedule a strategy session where we get to know each other and see if we may be a fit for working together!