An excellent SaaS content will drive potential customers to your site. And when they visit, it’s either to:
- Learn more about your SaaS product.
- See if it’d solve their problems, as it claims.
- Sign up for X-days trial, or
- Become an outright customer.
But, once they reach your landing page, a more difficult challenge arises.
Would they go on and take any of those actions?
Let’s face it.
You only get new product fans, trial users, or customers if (and only if) site visitors take action.
This reality unveils the next, most essential and one-million-dollar, question:
How do you get people visiting your product’s landing pages to take the actions you want?
This is where SaaS copywriting comes in.
It’s so crucial, Benjamin Brandall, after he analyzed the copy on 87 SaaS sites, stressed:
“The copy on your SaaS landing page is one of the major factors that determine whether your product lives or dies a horrible death.”Benjamin Brandall.
Ben was right in 2016 and still right today.
You couldn’t find an actionable SaaS copywriting guide (and template), right?
You’re in luck.
I couldn’t find a step-by-step guide exclusive to SaaS copywriting too.
So I created this one to help me (and now you) do just that.
What is SaaS Copywriting?
SaaS copywriting is the art (and science) of acquiring new users for your product using words.
Sounds simple, right?
Like you, not any set of words will pull out your wallet (or credit card).
Hence, successful SaaS copy revolves around identifying and articulating the right words to address all customer “buts.”
And for this, you need factual research and observation skills. Also, and very crucial, you need a keen interest in your target audience.
Writing for HootSuite, Christina Newberry highlighted the importance of this:
“The better you understand your [audience], the better you’ll be able to target them (with relevant content, messaging, and ads).
As your depth of audience insight grows, you’ll start to see higher conversion rates and better ROI—key metrics that matter to all [brands].“Christina Newberry.
The Importance of SaaS Copywriting
On your SaaS homepage and key landing pages, the core function of copywriting is to convert visitors into trial product users or outright customers.
Simple and short.
Its job isn’t to attract or engage. Your SaaS content marketing/strategy should be doing this.
Copywriting, however, should show (and not tell) potential users your product’s value.
And it must compel them to take action by signing up the moment they land on your site.
The short story below captures the importance of SaaS copywriting.
Jenny struggled for several months, trying to launch her online course business.
After three weeks of looking for the right course-hosting platform, she lamented:
“I have valuable knowledge to share, and people are eager to pay for my first course.
But I hate this back and forth and unpredictable cost of setting up a platform to host, sell, and manage my online course business in one place.”
Out of frustration, she shared her dilemma with her childhood friend.
Her friend said:
“You should check out Kajabi. Remember the course I completed last week? I noticed they hosted it on that platform.”
Jenny followed her friend’s advice and visited Kajabi’s site.
Low and behold, from the first copy on the homepage, she felt at home:
Kajabi’s excellent copywriting showed Jenny how it would help her to achieve her goals.
It also compelled her to sign up for a trial.
Now, that’s the utmost importance of excellent SaaS copywriting in action.
In this case, it allowed Jenny to:
- Learn more about Kajabi’s product offering.
- See how it’d solve her problems, using other customers’ success stories, and
- Compelled her to sign up for a trial.
After her trial, Jenny testified:
“Two days into my launch, 75 people joined without me having to tend countless logistic tasks.”
Today, nine months later, Jenny is a happy Kajabi customer. She’s been using it to grow her online course business with ease.
The Jenny I used in this story is fictional. But in case you missed the message, here’s a summary:
“When you blend copywriting with relatable stories, showing how potential users will use your SaaS product to solve their problems, magic happens.“Victor Eduoh.
The magic here is new product fans, trial users, or customers.
This magic is what you’ll get with the SaaS copywriting formula I detail below.
Product-Led Storytelling: My Recommended SaaS Copywriting Formula
First, what is Product-Led Storytelling?
“It is a product-focused form of SaaS content marketing. It involves the art of crafting helpful, discoverable stories showing how your target audiences can overcome obstacles using your product.“Victor Eduoh.
To develop it’s copywriting formula, I examined the trending Product-Led Growth, PLG, concept.
As you’d know, PLG is here to stay.
According to PLG, and rightfully so, you’re better off using your product as the primary vehicle to get and activate users.
This copywriting formula leverages the PLG concept. It does this by ensuring your product is central in the final copy.
But more importantly, the product-led storytelling copy formula does something extra.
It leverages human beings’ intrinsic nature to always fall for stories and desire to see before believing.
In this case, see stories of your product’s value or how it provided value for others before signing up.
In short, stories don’t only get potential customers to see value in your product quicker. Science proves it can get them remember your SaaS tool more:
Seeing all these incredible stats, I started developing this formula and found it was a better SaaS content marketing approach.
When I first unveiled it, a client (and now friend) said:
Indeed, the need for this formula shouldn’t be overemphasized.
According to influential SaaS investor, Ben Horowitz:
“Storytelling is an underrated skill…
You can have a great product, but storytelling puts your company in motion.”Ben Horowitz.
At its core, this formula aims to show (and not tell) a product’s value, using stories your target audience can relate with.
For example, remember Kajabi’s site copy?
It showed Jenny how it could help her become a successful online course creator. And They achieved this by showing her other course creators’ success stories.
How I Formed the Product-Led Storytelling SaaS Copywriting Formula
First, I examined Copy Hacker’s extensive list of 54 copywriting formulas.
None was specific to SaaS copywriting. But I discovered three excellent for writing copy for SaaS products.
The product-led storytelling SaaS copywriting formula is a combination of those three formulas.
However, it goes one step further.
Each story using this copy formula should make your target audience visualize better outcomes if they use your product.
To further explain, let’s get practical.
Product-Led Storytelling SaaS Copywriting Guide
Writing compelling copy using this formula has six connected steps:
- Deep product knowledge.
- Target audience research.
- ICP (Ideal Customer Persona) segmentation.
- Competitor benchmarking.
- Main traffic sources, and
- The actual copywriting (using the Product-Led Storytelling template)
If you observe well, the 1st five is all about research.
In short, with proper research, copywriting using this formula takes a natural course.
I’d walk you through all the steps, mirroring the exact way I go about it myself.
I’ve also created two free resources to help you go through every step seamlessly:
- A research guide on Google Docs, and
- The Product-Led Storytelling SaaS copywriting template, all free.
Before we dive in…
Keep in mind that copywriting won’t reinvent your product or make it useful.
So, if you don’t consider your product to be great (i.e., solves a real need), learn how to do so here.
This formula shows the most important features and why prospects should care.
Then, it’d get them to appreciate benefits, visualize outcomes, and compel them to sign up and start using it.
Ready to dive in?
1. Deep Product Knowledge
Product knowledge is a simple way of saying that even in SaaS copywriting, charity begins at home.
You can’t write a compelling copy if you don’t trust or understand the product.
But don’t take it from me.
How did legendary copywriter, David Ogilvy, write one of the world’s best ads?
It was by knowing the product in-depth.
According to him:
First, study the product you are going to advertise. The more you know about it, the more likely you will come up with a big idea for selling it.
When I got the Rolls-Royce account, I spent three weeks reading about the car and came across a statement that ‘at sixty miles an hour, the loudest noise comes from the electric clock:
This became the headline, and it was followed by 607 words of factual copy.”David Ogilvy.
Although David’s copy was decades ago, following his steps still work today.
So, how do you get in-depth knowledge of a product?
It’s simple. Understand its core offering, features/benefits, and expected customer outcomes.
The following questions will guide you to know a product’s core offering:
- What’s the primary problem(s) this product will solve?
- Why was it built in the first place?
- Was it developed in some unique ways that give it undue advantages?
Outline the Product’s Features/Benefits
Every product has features, which produce certain benefits.
And effective product copywriting starts by outlining and linking features to benefits. The last job of your copy is to focus on the most important ones.
Better still, use them and see how they work for yourself.
For me, I spend time perusing EVERY feature of a SaaS product before writing a single word.
I recommend you do the same.
These questions will help you to outline a product’s features/benefits:
- What are the features of the product?
- How does each feature work?
- How does each feature align with the product’s core offering?
- What benefits will your target audience derive by using each?
- What outcomes will an ideal customer get from each benefit?
You can use the free Google Doc template (it’s among the resources you get if you subscribe) to outline a product’s features/benefits.
2. Target Audience Research
In plain English, call this customer research.
I’ve used plain English to summarize this step because nothing else will work if you get it wrong.
According to Consumer Intelligence:
“Consumer research is a broad term that covers the collection and analysis of data about and from consumers.
In its simplest form, it is talking to ‘real people’ and getting to know the customer to understand their opinions, attitudes, behaviors, and needs.”
Remember, copywriting is the art (and science) of using words to sell.
But for any word to be effective, you must know whom you’re writing for. In other words, who your target audience (including demographics and psychographics) are.
Customer research is your window to find them.
So, how do you go about customer research to identify your target audience?
I have two steps, and my goal is always to come with a target audience list of 15-30 people.
a. Examine why its founder(s) developed the product
To me, doing this is foundational.
Well, knowing why someone built a SaaS tool in the first place gives me reasonable ideas of its target audience.
So, if you’d like to begin your customer research like me, find out:
- What problems or needs led to building the product?
- What set of people did the product’s founder(s) have in mind when developing the SaaS tool?
Make a list of the people the founders(s) originally developed the product Wfor. Then, proceed to the next research step.
b. Research Your Existing & Competitors’ Customers
Survey existing customers to know more about them, their work titles, roles, and other demographic and psychographic information.
Most importantly, ask your customers for reviews, testimonials, use cases, and results achieved from using your product.
Doing this is the turning point of the Product-Led Storytelling copywriting formula.
When it’s time to start writing your copy, reviews, use cases, and testimonials of results obtained from using your product are indispensable.
They form the stories, showing your site visitors or target audience that your product works well for people like them.
With this, they can visualize outcomes possible with your SaaS tool, because, as we all know, seeing is believing.
Next, research your competitors’ customers.
Visit their websites and other public portals, and look at case studies, use cases, and product reviews.
Also, peruse third-party sites like G2, Technology Advice, Capterra, and others for reviews/testimonials.
Doing this will reveal what your target audience likes/dislikes about your competitors’ products.
Use this information to decide what user stories you should use in your copy to show your target audience. Prioritize what the like. Address what they don’t like.
Lastly, scrape demographic and psychographic info about your ideal customers by looking at those who reviewed your competitors’ products.
If need be, use LinkedIn to find more people with titles like the ones you found in steps one and two.
Aim for an audience of 15-30 people.
Call this your core audience and proceed to the next step in the research process.
3. ICP (Ideal Customer Persona) Segmentation
Your list of 15-30 people gives you demographic information about your target audience.
Unfortunately, demographics data isn’t enough for crafting effective copywriting. Again, don’t take it from me. According to Sonia Simeone:
How do you overcome this hurdle of generalizing your copy to a broad audience only to miss the mark?
First, segment your target audience into groups of potential customers with the most similarities.
You can group them by age, industry verticals, income level, experience, or whatever categories you find necessary.
Second, and most importantly. For each group, decide who among them cannot do without your product.
Those you believe can’t do without your product are your Ideal Customer Persons, ICPs.
So, if you grouped your target audience list into 3-5 segments, you need to have 3-5 ICPs.
An ICP example could be as follows:
Now, Match ICPs to Your Product’s Features/Benefits
The first step in this research process was to define your product’s offering and outline its features/benefits.
In the last steps, you grouped your target audience and defined your Ideal Customer Personas, ICPs.
Match your product’s features/benefits to your ICPs.
Not all features will be beneficial to each of your ICPs.
Hence, instead of using your copy to tell them all your features, focus on showing them what they need the most.
Doing this helps them to see value in your product quicker. When this happens, they’ll visualize outcomes and be compelled to trial your product.
It also helps you to better organize sections of the copy with the relevant stories for the most impact. As you see below:
Don’t worry. When we get to the actual copywriting phase, you’ll see how this plays out.
4. Competitor Benchmarking
This step sets the ground to develop a core messaging/positioning for your product.
As you’d know, to develop yours, it makes sense to understand how your direct and indirect competitors position themselves.
Doing this is vital, so you don’t mimic the competition. Instead, align your copy to a central messaging/positioning to differentiates you from others.
Here’s how I do this.
I examine the core messaging/positioning of 3-5 direct and indirect competitors to a product I’m copywriting for.
What do I look out for?
First, the logic behind the copywriting on their sites and key landing pages.
Then, I take note of the actions they expect of their visitors to get an idea of their positioning.
You should do this before you…
Define Your Core Messaging/Positioning
Understand how your competitors position their business, and you can craft better copy.
However, don’t only aim to craft a better copy. Strive to be different in a way that’s more appealing to your target audience and ICPs.
Looking for an excellent way to develop a messaging/positioning for your product?
Check out the SaaS Content Topic Clusters Strategy, CTCS.
The CTCS framework helps you to identify and stick to a concept you want your product (and company) to be known for.
And I’ve received praise for developing this framework:
5. Main Traffic Sources
Finally, before going on to start writing your copy, ask:
Where will you drive traffic from?
Yes, where people visit your SaaS site/landing pages from matters.
To crafting high-converting copy, little things like knowing where you’ll drive traffic from can make a big difference.
The mindset of one who visits your site from search engines (organic or paid) will be different from those who came from social media (organic post or ad).
The same is true of those visiting from a cold email outreach, guest posts, or articles from platforms like Hacker News, Medium, etc.
Want a free way to discover where you drive the most traffic from?
Look at the top traffic sources in Google Analytics:
With that, we’ve come to the end of the research phase.
It’s now time for the fun part: Writing your copy.
The Product-Led SaaS Storytelling Copywriting Template
If you do an excellent job with your research, writing the copy for any SaaS using this formula follows a natural course.
At most, all you’ll need is only a few tweaks.
The Product-Led Storytelling SaaS copywriting homepage template used for reference has nine sections.
It is self-explanatory and makes sense of all the research steps explained above. In short, you’ll love it.
Let’s dive in.
Section One: Header/Hero
The 1st section, also called header or hero section, is the first thing a visitor sees once they land on your SaaS website.
Its goal is to give potential customers visiting your site a promise. Your heading and subheading should do this.
It should also give them the key to unlock and access that promise. Your CTA and supporting texts come in here.
At worst, it should spark interest and get visitors to continue exploring your site.
Section Two: Ignite Interest/Build Trust
Here, you want to show off your tool in action.
This section can also serve to highlight a prominent testimonial of your product.
In the end, use this section to build trust and ignite an interest in your product. Get the visitor aching to give it a try and see how it works.
Sections 3-5: Match Your Product’s Features to Benefits and ICPs
At this stage, start introducing your product’s features. Talk about its benefits and show your ICPs that people like them have achieved results with them.
There’s no limit to the number of sections for matching your product’s features to benefits and ICPs.
My rule of thumb for doing this is as follows.
- Go back to the reviews/testimonials of your product.
- Scrape those, which showed how your current customers used each feature to achieve essential benefits.
- For each of your ICPs, examine which reviews/testimonials will resonate with them.
- Introduce the benefit in the subheading of each section between 3-5 (more as needed).
- Discuss how a feature of your product achieves the benefit.
- End with a relevant testimonial/review. Your goal here is to show your visitors that others have used the feature to achieve results.
The screenshot of the Product-Led Storytelling template shows this in action:
6-9th Sections: Show Relevant Integrations/Capture Leads/Final CTA, etc.
There’s no perfect way to go after you’ve shown and matched your product’s features to benefits and ICPs.
The complexity of your product, what your ideal customers care for, and what you want to achieve will determine.
However, in the free template I created, I did the following from the 6-9th sections:
- Show relevant integrations. This assures your target audience your SaaS product integrates with their existing tools.
- Offer a lead magnet to convert undecided browsers into leads for nurturing.
- Show more testimonials/reviews of your product.
- The last CTA: All good things come to an end. No matter how much you try, not everyone will be your customer. Because this isn’t a bad thing, this section is your final invitation to try your tool.
For example, here’s how I ended the copy on my own site:
Download the complete template, as well as the entire research steps outlined for you in a Google Doc.
If you need help, ask me in the comments below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.