Using B2B SaaS Copywriters to Improve Conversions
This short article outlines what messaging is, why it is important to get right, and why messaging should be front and center of any discussions relating to new website builds.
When it comes to a new website launch the primary focus is often on discussions relating to Content Management System [CMS] re-platforming and brand refreshes/ visual identity uplifts. Messaging is often an overlooked part of the brief. This short article outlines what messaging is, why it is important to get right, and why messaging should be front and center of any discussions relating to new website builds.
When it comes to B2B and SaaS companies, your marketing website is the most important element to get right. After all, it represents the shop-front for the world, where leads are generated and sales pipelines are filled. For growing tech companies, re-platforming tends to happen every few years with visual identity enhancements happening on a more frequent basis. As this article will argue, baking in a messaging refresh on a regular basis is highly recommended, especially for growing SaaS companies looking to improve conversion rates.
Messaging can be an oft overlooked part of the B2B SaaS website jigsaw. It can be perceived as a relatively straightforward task not worthy of specialist input - one that can be done cheaply and in-house. However, this is rarely the case, as most early stage marketing functions usually consist of team members with more generalist marketing skill sets (typically the case for pre Series C companies) where copywriting specialism is not the norm. It is thus important to leverage the skills of independent specialists to help ensure that visitors arriving at your site can quickly understand what you do and what your core value proposition is.
Messaging refers to the crafting of web copy that is considered, and is designed to get key points across within significant space constraints. It refers to the copy on the page and relates to:
what you say (the language used)
how you rank order key points by priority (the location of the copy on the page)
the tone of voice you adopt, (the tone used)
the tense you use (the language used to help persuade the reader to take action).
Why is Messaging Important?
Software buyers have to navigate an increasingly busy world where choice is abundant. Upon arriving at a page they need to quickly understand:
Whether they are in the right place?
What the key resultant benefits of your application are?
How does it differ from competing alternatives?
What outcomes can they expect from using your application?
What 3rd party evidence do you offer to support your claims?
Strong messaging delivers on all of these, while reassuring the visitor they are in the right place. Similarly, tasking a junior marketing person with writing web copy (particularly for technical solutions) is likely to lead to confusion and depressed conversion rates.
Where to Focus?
If you engage an external copywriter it is important to be clear on deliverables. Most engagements specify deliverables often in the guise of broad guidelines e.g. tone, as well as copy for a specific number of pages. The project scope will depend on the available budget but most SaaS engagements tend to focus on high dollar-value pages like the home page or landing pages used for paid acquisition (as these are where more conversions will likely take place).
Home Page Messaging
Given the percentage of traffic on most sites is heavily skewed to the homepage, optimizing the messaging on it often represents a key priority. Optimizing content and messaging for the following elements is key:
Eyebrow text - the text that appears above the H1 and helps signify the broad SaaS category you are in
H1 - the main heading above the fold that helps anchor the primary use case
H2 - appears below the H1 and helps deliver some key messages
Primary call to action - optimizing the copy on that small button helps ensure a strong conversion rate
Secondary call to action - copy relating to a lower commitment ask for those earlier in their buying journey
Business benefits - When it comes to core features and resultant benefits, they should be rank-ordered by priority and should outline the key benefits for the primary ICP
Hierarchy of benefits - These can be rendered as icons - providing clarity to the benefits arising from the feature set.
Desired outcomes - What does a future state look like?
Social proof - 3rd party validation in the form of reviews, testimonials, case studies and customer quotes.
A common home-page structure will thus follow this content flow:
Step 1 - Establish the Problem
What are the business-critical problems our customers are struggling to address?
Is there an urgent market trend that we can pin this on?
Step 2- Introduce the Solution
What does the ‘ideal solution’ need to do in order to solve these problems?
How does our product deliver this solution?
Step 3 - Demonstrate Value
What does the ‘promised land’ look like?
What stats and testimonials can we use to prove that we can get you there?
Finally, where budget permits, the above exercise can be extended to other key pages including the main product page, landing pages for paid acquisition, and even for optimizing the Top Level Navigation.
The Boilerplate (Incl Positioning)
Aside from website copy, nailing the “About Us” or “Boilerplate” messaging is also a key exercise that should be included with any copywriting engagement.
Can you articulate the value proposition in one-line, two-line, and three-to-five line descriptions?
In an increasingly crowded SaaS ecosystem, differentiated messaging is crucial, and nailing your positioning is something a good copywriter can aid with, helping ensure buyers can place you in their consideration set of shortlisted options.
The General Process
Good copywriters will look to speak to customers and users to ensure that the language used by the key buyer personas is reflected in the copy. They are going to need to learn about the category you are in, who your ideal buyer personas are and what your basis for differentiation is (positioning).
Ideally, any website copywriting is done in collaboration with a front-end developer to ensure there is alignment on the structure/information architecture of the website. Together they’ll determine the structure that best fits the positioning. The developer can mock up some appropriate lo-fi wireframes, and the copywriter can populate them with the final website copy (hopefully they are familiar with structured content, a way of managing content effectively).
What Does a Typical Engagement Look Like?
The following represents an example of an engagement, of course, these will vary from consultant to consultant and will also link to the agreed budget.
1. Discovery Questionnaire (Internal)
Expect to share access to brand guidelines, transcripts from customer calls (Gong.io or Jiminny), G2/ Capterra reviews, the core product, the competitive landscape, case studies
2. Product Demo
Ensuring the copywriter gets to see the SaaS app themselves and understands the key features
3. Customer Interviews
Depending on company stage and budget, the copywriter will likely seek to interview a certain number of customers directly (or at least to review transcripts).
4. Competitive Research
A review of two / three competitor websites focusing on their copy, as well as their public reviews (G2 and Capterra) is to be expected. The research may be in the guise of a Loom video and in some instances may also include the use of tools like SEMRush and aHRefs to analyze keyword strategies. If you understand how competitors frame the problems and solutions, you can spot opportunities to tell a better story, and de-position their approach within your own narrative.
5. Positioning Review
Review your current positioning to ensure you’re accurately reflecting your customers’ pain-points—and are positioning yourselves clearly and effectively against your competitors. This positioning will then inform your website messaging (and any other Go To Market collateral you wish to produce in the future).
6. Final Report
A final insights report will usually be delivered that outlines the key messaging for the site, including by persona and with a heavy bias to language used by existing customers.
Testing Your Messaging
Once you have rolled out your messaging it is worth road-testing with some friendlies who represent key buyer personas to ensure the copy resonates. Alternatively you can test using a tool like Wynter. Wynter is a B2B message testing platform where you can source feedback from your target customers in just 12-48 hrs.
Conduct message testing to learn if your target customers find it clear, relevant and compelling. Use the insights to improve your messaging, value propositions and differentiation.
Sourcing a Copywriting Specialist
So who are some of those copywriting and messaging specialists operating in the B2B SaaS space?
There are a growing number of copywriting specialists focused on B2B SaaS clients exclusively, who can ensure that your messaging resonates with your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) or Buyer Personas.
Here are some of the main players I am aware of (listed alphabetically)
Kerry Campion - God Save the Serp - SEO power-up for SaaS companies
Pedro Cortes - B2B SaaS Conversion Expert
Josh Garofalo - Sway Copy - SaaS Copywriter and Consultant
Louis Grenier - Everyone Hates Marketers
Alex Napier Holland - Gorilla Flow - SaaS Copywriter
Victor Ijidola - Premium Content Shop - Content Marketing Services For SaaS & B2B Brands
Annie Maguire - Conversion Copywriter
Helen Peatfield - B2B Tech & SaaS Copywriter
Racheal Pilcher - Mighty Fine Copy - B2B SaaS Copywriter & Growth Strategist
Finally, it is worth raising the topic of the growth of AI assisted copywriting tools. We have witnessed an explosion of AI based tools in recent months designed to support copywriting efforts. Two of the most well-known ones are Copy.Ai and ChatGPT (OpenAI). There is no doubt that these tools, while in their infancy, are pretty powerful. At this stage, I’d view them as compliments to support copywriting (perhaps helping with outlines or topic ideation) rather than substitutes.
While I have tested them and have been impressed with the copy they tend to be very scientific/factual and thus lack real-life examples, nuance, and personality. I for one want to read the thoughts of real people and fear they will only exacerbate the signal-noise problem we all face given they will make content creation easier.
Messaging represents a key part of any B2B SaaS website, but it is sometimes overlooked by marketing leaders when refreshing the website (especially early stage SaaS startups when resources are more constrained). As I have argued, employing a specialist copywriting freelancer (or agency) to improve messaging is a worthwhile investment as SaaS companies look to improve conversion rates on their sites.
How to nail your product positioning | April Dunford (Obviously Awesome)
Co-Founder / CEO