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Develop the Right Message to Engage Buyers

Drive higher open rates, time-on-site, and click-through rates with buyer-relevant messaging.

Sixty percent of marketers find it hard to produce high-quality content consistently. SaaS marketers have an even more difficult job due to the technical nature of content production. Without an easy content development strategy, marketers have an insurmountable task of continually creating interesting content for an audience they don’t understand.

Globally, B2B SaaS marketers without the ability to consistently produce and activate quality content will experience:

  • High website bounce rates and low time on site
  • Low page views
  • A low percentage of return visitors
  • Low conversions
  • Low open and click-through rates on email campaigns

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Marketing content that identifies the benefit of the product along with a deep understanding of the buyer pain points, desired value, and benefit proof points is a key driver in delivering value to a prospect, thereby increasing marketing metrics such as open rates, time on site, page views, and click-through rates.

Impact and Result

Marketers that activate the SoftwareReviews message mapping architecture will be able to crack the code on the formula for improving open and click-through rates.

By applying the SoftwareReviews message mapping architecture, clients will be able to:

  • Quickly diagnose the current state of their content marketing effectiveness compared to industry metrics.
  • Compare their current messaging approach versus the key elements of the Message Map Architecture.
  • Create more compelling and relevant content that aligns with a buyer’s needs and journey.
  • Shrink marketing and sales cycles.
  • Increase the pace of content production.

Develop the Right Message to Engage Buyers Research & Tools

1. Develop the Right Message to Engage Buyers Executive Brief – A mapping architecture to enable marketers to crack the code on the formula for improving open and click-through rates.

Through this blueprint marketers will learn how to shift content away from low-performing content that only focuses on the product and company to high-performing customer-focused content that answers the “What’s in it for me?” question for a buyer, increasing engagement and conversions.


Develop the Right Message to Engage Buyers

Drive higher open rates, time-on-site, and click-through rates with buyer-relevant messaging.

Analyst Perspective

Develop the right message to engage buyers.

Marketers only have seven seconds to capture a visitor's attention but often don't realize that the space between competitors and their company is that narrow. They often miss the mark on content and create reams of product and company-focused messaging that result in high bounce rates, low page views, low return visits, low conversions, and low click-through rates.

We wouldn't want to sit in a conversation with someone who only speaks about themselves, so why would it be any different when we buy something? Today's marketers must quickly hook their visitors with content that answers the critical question of "What's in it for me?"

Our research finds that leading content marketers craft messaging that lets their audience ”know they know them,” points out what’s in it for them, and includes proof points of promised value. This simple, yet often missed approach, we call Message Mapping, which helps marketers grab a visitor’s initial attention and when applied throughout the customer journey will turn prospects into customers, lifelong buyers, advocates, and referrals.

Photo of Terra Higginson, Marketing Research Director, SoftwareReviews.

Terra Higginson
Marketing Research Director
SoftwareReviews

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

Globally, B2B SaaS marketers without the ability to consistently produce and activate quality content will experience:

  • High website bounce rates and low time on site
  • Low page views
  • A low percentage of return visitors
  • Low conversions
  • Low open and click-through rates on email campaigns
Sixty percent of marketers find it hard to produce high-quality content consistently. SaaS marketers have an even more difficult job due to the technical nature of content production. Without an easy content development strategy, marketers have an insurmountable task of continually creating interesting content for an audience they don’t understand.
Common Obstacles

Marketers struggle to create content that quickly engages the buyer because they lack:

  • Resources to create a high volume of quality content.
  • True buyer understanding.
  • Experience in how to align technical messaging with the buyer persona.
  • Easy-to-deploy content strategy tools.
Even though most marketers will say that it’s important to produce interesting content, only 58% of B2B markers take the time to ask their customers what’s important to them. Without a true and deep understanding of buyers, marketers continue to invest their time and resources in an uninteresting product and company-focused diatribe.
SoftwareReviews’ Approach

By applying the SoftwareReviews’ message mapping architecture, clients will be able to:

  • Quickly diagnose the current state of their content marketing effectiveness compared to industry metrics.
  • Compare their current messaging approach against the key elements of the Message Map Architecture.
  • Create more compelling and relevant content that aligns with a buyer’s needs and journey.
  • Shrink marketing and sales cycles.
  • Increase the pace of content production.
Marketers that activate the SoftwareReviews message mapping architecture will be able to crack the code on the formula for improving open and click-through rates.

SoftwareReviews Insight

Marketing content that identifies the benefit of the product, along with a deep understanding of the buyer pain points, desired value, and benefit proof-points, is a key driver in delivering value to a prospect, thereby increasing marketing metrics such as open rates, time on site, page views, and click-through rates.

Your Challenge

65% of marketers find it challenging to produce engaging content.

Globally, B2B SaaS marketers without the ability to consistently produce and activate quality content will experience:

  • High website bounce rates and low time on site
  • Low page views
  • A low percentage of return visitors
  • Low conversions
  • Low open and click-through rates on email campaigns

A staggering 60% of marketers find it hard to produce high-quality content consistently and 62% don’t know how to measure the ROI of their campaigns according to OptinMonster.

SaaS marketers have an even more difficult job due to the technical nature of content production. Without an easy content development strategy, marketers have an insurmountable task of continually creating interesting content for an audience they don’t understand.


Over 64% of marketers want to learn how to build a better content
(Source: OptinMonster, 2021)

Benchmark your content marketing

Do your content marketing metrics meet the industry-standard benchmarks for the software industry?
Visualization of industry benchmarks for 'Bounce Rate', 'Organic CTR', 'Pages/Session', 'Average Session Duration', '% of New Sessions', 'Email Open Rate', 'Email CTR', and 'Sales Cycle Length (Days)' with sources linked below.
GrowRevenue, MarketingSherpa, Google Analytics, FirstPageSage, Google Analytics, HubSpot
  • Leaders will measure content marketing performance against these industry benchmarks.
  • If your content performance falls below these benchmarks, your content architecture may be missing the mark with prospective buyers.

Common flaws in content messaging

Why do marketers have a hard time consistently producing messaging that engages the buyer?

Mistake #1

Myopic Focus on Company and Product

Content suffers a low ROI due to a myopic focus on the company and the product. This self-focused content fails to engage prospects and move them through the funnel.

Mistake #2

WIIFM Question Unanswered

Content never answers the fundamental “What’s in it for me?” question due to a lack of true buyer understanding. This leads to an inability to communicate the value proposition to the prospect.

Mistake #3

Inability to Select the Right Content Format

Marketers often guess what kind of content their buyers prefer without any real understanding or research behind what buyers would actually want to consume.

Leaders Will Avoid the “Big Three” Pitfalls
  • While outdated content, poor content organization on your website, and poor SEO are additional strategic factors (outside the scope of this research), poor messaging structure will doom your content marketing strategy.
  • Leaders will be vigilant to diagnose current messaging structure and avoid:
    1. Making messaging all about you and your company.
    2. Failing to describe what’s in it for your prospects.
    3. Often guessing at what approach to use when structuring your messaging.

Implications of poor content

Without quality content, the sales and marketing cycles elongate and content marketing metrics suffer.
  • Lost sales: Research shows that B2B buyers are 57-70% done with their buying research before they ever contact sales.(Worldwide Business Research, 2022)
  • The buyer journey is increasingly digital: Research shows that 67% of the buyer's journey is now done digitally.(Worldwide Business Research, 2022)
  • Wasted time: In a Moz study of 750,000 pieces of content, 50% had zero backlinks, indicating that no one felt these assets were interesting enough to reference or share. (Moz, 2015)
  • Wasted money: SaaS companies spend $342,000 to $1,080,000 per year (or more) on content marketing. (Zenpost, 2022) The wrong content will deliver a poor ROI.

50% — Half of the content produced has no backlinks. (Source: Moz, 2015)

Content matters more than ever since 67% of the buyer's journey is now done digitally. (Source: Worldwide Business Research, 2022)

Benefits of good content

A content mapping approach lets content marketers:
  • Create highly personalized content. Content mapping helps marketers to create highly targeted content at every stage of the buyer’s journey, helping to nurture leads and prospects toward a purchase decision.
  • Describe “What’s in it for me?” to buyers. Remember that you aren’t your customer. Good content quickly answers the question “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) developed from the findings of the buyer persona. WIIFM-focused content engages a prospect within seven seconds.
  • Increase marketing ROI. Content marketing generates leads three times greater than traditional marketing (Patel, 2016).
  • Influence prospects. Investing in a new SaaS product isn’t something buyers do every day. In a new situation, people will often look to others to understand what they should do. Good content uses the principles of authority and social proof to build the core message of WIIFM. Authority can be conferred with awards and accolades, whereas social proof is given through testimonials, case studies, and data.
  • Build competitive advantage. Increase competitive advantage by providing content that aligns with the ideal client profile. Fifty-two percent of buyers said they were more likely to buy from a vendor after reading its content (1827 Marketing, 2022).
Avoid value claiming. Leaders will use client testimonials as proof points because buyers believe peers more than they believe you.

“… Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer. (Robert Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion)

Full slide: 'Message Map Architecture'.

Full slide: 'Message Map Template' with field descriptions and notes.

Full slide: 'Message Map Template' with field descriptions, no notes.

Full slide: 'Message Map Template' with blank fields.

Full slide: 'Message Map Template' with 'Website Example segment.com' filled in fields.

Full slide: 'Website Example segment.com' the website as it appears online with labels on the locations of elements of the message map.

Full slide: 'Website Example segment.com' the website as it appears online with labels on the locations of elements of the message map.

Full slide: 'Website Example segment.com' the website as it appears online with labels on the locations of elements of the message map.

Full slide: 'Website Example segment.com' the website as it appears online with labels on the locations of elements of the message map.

Email & Social Post Example

Use the message mapping architecture to create other types of content.

Examples of emails and social media posts as they appear online with labels on the locations of elements of the message map.

Insight Summary

Create Content That Matters

Marketing content that identifies the benefit of the product along with a deep understanding of the buyer pain points, desired value, and benefit proof-points is a key driver in delivering value to a prospect, thereby increasing marketing metrics such as open rates, time on site, page views, and click-through rates.

What’s in It for Me?

Most content has a focus on the product and the company. Content that lacks a true and deep understanding of the buyer suffers low engagement and low conversions. Our research shows that all content must answer ”What’s in it for me?” for a prospect.

Social Proof & Authority

Buyers that are faced with a new and unusual buying experience (such as purchasing SaaS) look at what others say about the product (social proof) and what experts say about the product (authority) to make buying decisions.

Scarcity & Loss Framing

Research shows that scarcity is a strong principle of influence that can be used in marketing messages. Loss framing is a variation of scarcity and can be used by outlining what a buyer will lose instead of what will be gained.

Unify the Experience

Use your message map to structure all customer-facing content across Sales, Product, and Marketing and create a unified and consistent experience across all touchpoints.

Close the Gap

SaaS marketers often find the gap between product and company-focused content and buyer-focused content to be so insurmountable that they never manage to overcome it without a framework like message mapping.

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Bibliography

Arakelyan, Artash. “How SaaS Companies Increase Their ROI With Content Marketing.” Clutch.co, 27 July 2018. Accessed July 2022.

Bailyn, Evan. “Average Session Duration: Industry Benchmarks.” FirstPageSage, 16 March 2022. Accessed July 2022.

Burstein, Daniel. “Marketing Research Chart: Average clickthrough rates by industry.” MarketingSherpa, 1 April 2014. Accessed July 2022.

Cahoon, Sam. “Email Open Rates By Industry (& Other Top Email Benchmarks).” HubSpot, 10 June 2021. Accessed July 2022.

Cialdini, Robert. Influence: Science and Practice. 5th ed. Pearson, 29 July 2008. Print.

Cialdini, Robert. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Revised ed. Harper Business, 26 Dec. 2006. Print.

Content Marketing—Statistics, Evidence and Trends.” 1827 Marketing, 7 Jan. 2022. Accessed July 2022.

Devaney, Erik. “Content Mapping 101: The Template You Need to Personalize Your Marketing.” HubSpot, 21 April 2022. Accessed July 2022.

Hiscox Business Insurance. “Growing Your Business--and Protecting It Every Step of the Way.” Inc.com. 25 April 2022. Accessed July 2022.

Hurley Hall, Sharon. “85 Content Marketing Statistics To Make You A Marketing Genius.” OptinMonster, 14 Jan. 2021. Accessed July 2022.

Patel, Neil. “38 Content Marketing Stats That Every Marketer Needs to Know.” NeilPatel.com, 21 Jan. 2016. Web.

Prater, Meg. “SaaS Sales: 7 Tips on Selling Software from a Top SaaS Company.” HubSpot, 9 June 2021. Web.

Polykoff, Dave. “20 SaaS Content Marketing Statistics That Lead to MRR Growth in 2022.” Zenpost blog, 22 July 2022. Web.

Rayson, Steve. “Content, Shares, and Links: Insights from Analyzing 1 Million Articles.” Moz, 8 Sept. 2015. Accessed July 2022.

“SaaS Content Marketing: How to Measure Your SaaS Content’s Performance.” Ken Moo, 9 June 2022. Accessed July 2022.

Taylor Gregory, Emily. “Content marketing challenges and how to overcome them.” Longitude, 14 June 2022. Accessed July 2022.

Visitors Benchmarking Channels. Google Analytics, 2022. Accessed July 2022.

WBR Insights. “Here's How the Relationship Between B2B Buying, Content, and Sales Reps Has Changed.” Worldwide Business Research, 2022. Accessed July 2022.

“What’s a good bounce rate? (Here’s the average bounce rate for websites).” GrowRevenue.io, 24 Feb. 2020. Accessed July 2022.

Drive higher open rates, time-on-site, and click-through rates with buyer-relevant messaging.

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