Online marketing usually consists of SEO, social media marketing, and PPC, and that is what, in short, search engine marketing (SEM) is.
What people either do not recognize or, out of various reasons, lack the will to recognize and do is that there are other creative and very useful tactics to be found within SEM.
To name a very productive one, that would be resource-based marketing, namely, providing useful tools and education to help people, promote your company, gain an increase in reputation and in the end get the bonus of converting visitors into customers and reaching a new audience.
Yes, it would be much more effective if the resources would be free, otherwise it could be considered more of another product or service that is being sold and less marketing.
Having explained that, we will move on to the showcase of five companies that have created significant resources which really helped people and boosted awareness of the respective SaaS (Software as a Service) companies’ products or services.
This company’s content marketing operation has been brilliant. The inbound marketing-focused company HubSpot made themselves something to really drive leads.
It started with the currently defunct Twitter Grader. It would grade your presence on the social media platform and, naturally, everyone wanted to share their handy statistics and it became popular.
The result was a tremendous gain in awareness. Now it does not exist, but HubSpot replaced it with a more appropriate (for their product) Website Marketing Grader.
Of course, when that was outdated too, a better version of Website Grader appeared. Once your site has been graded, an offer to try out HubSpot’s services comes.
It is vital to understand your audience to be able to use data-driven strategies to create and deliver the right content in the most effective formats.
There is also a content library which provides marketers with very useful guides on starting a marketing operation with everything from best practices to practical templates for implementation.
These are product-based launches that are relevant to the company’s business and that is, naturally, very convenient: to offer a free tool that will both provide something the people want and lead them to want to know how to fix the problems you identify for them and, of course, you have a product or service that presents the solution.
Also, alongside having materials for people of various experience, it helps to have a good design and site navigation.
Zapier’s service enables users to combine 2 apps to automate tasks.
Roughly said, apps are linked with a few clicks, so they can share data, creating workflows, and such a creation is called a Zap.
It is process automation in order to get more done in a faster manner without needing to code. For example, you could create a Zap for creating Asana tasks through Evernote or maybe share Instagram photos automatically on Twitter.
As far as promotion and resources are concerned, Zapier has a great blog and a learning center with exhaustive guides on various subjects.
They are really attractively designed and provide great value through information in the long guides ranging from, naturally, numerous ways how you can use Zapier up to great guides getting you through things like email marketing, creating forms and surveys, performing customer support or remote work in which they cover every aspect of the subject, e.g. in remote work everything from how a remote office could look like to running meetings and building culture in a remote team.
Naturally, providing quality content that is useful, interesting and also well-designed creates a good company image and boosts customer conversion.
Also, when something like this is not even related to the service they provide, it tends to get the company a bit more reputation points because it shows they are not focused only on selling their product.
Possibly the founder of SaaS industry, Salesforce is best known for its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software of the same name, even though they also offer other services, like PaaS (Platform as a Service), AppExchange (a market for cloud computing applications), or Work.com, a social performance management platform.
The success and popularity came, of course, from their software, but marketing always plays at least the other half of success.
Apart from the software services, the Salesforce marketing resources are highly regarded by marketers, namely they have an impressive library of eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, blog posts, and videos examine the latest developments and best practices in social media, CRM, marketing automation, email marketing, and analytics.
Also, Salesforce engages and connects their customers through the Salesforce Success Community, where users can browse all the how-to guides and toolkits, ask questions, and collaborate in real time.
In this example, we see that a company not only offered a great amount of helpful content, but also a space for the community to ask questions and connect.
Intuit also creates targeted content to help build a quality relationship with the community of interested people and customers.
For example, Intuit’s Mint Life Blog offers a wealth of personal finance news and advice in the form of articles, infographics, and other useful and good-looking content.
For businesses, Intuit also made a QuickBooks blog, aimed at small business owners and startups, featuring step-by-step guides, tips, and advice from influential experts like Danny Sullivan and Wendy Lea on the QuickBooks software subjects.
The SEO consulting company Moz provides friendly, fun and valuable content. The “Learn and Connect” section of their website features in-depth beginner guides on SEO, social media, link building, local search, as well as other things like a Help Hub, Q&A, Community and Events part and Moz Blogs.
The Moz Academy contains useful and up-to-date lessons on inbound marketing, and the well-designed, easy-to-navigate aforementioned blogs contain articles on every marketing category imaginable.
Moz has also made a name for themselves on YouTube with a channel providing low-budget, but very informative “Whiteboard Fridays” and other popular videos that are actually both educational and entertaining, which is usually hard to fuse.
As demonstrated by these successful companies who keep growing using the same mode of operation, it really does pay to provide free resources and help.
There are many terrific ways to market your product the resource-based way.
It does not need to be something world-changing at the very start, it can start out as mere short blog post about a simple problem and its solution from almost any branch or field or an advanced and original app if there is enough creativity, willpower and expertise.