Unlock Sales: The Ultimate Comparative Content Funnel

For SaaS Companies in Competitive Markets

Miha Cacic

Published: June 14th, 2024
Updated: June 14th, 2024

This is the best content funnel you can install in your SaaS company marketing strategy in 2024 and beyond. And you’ll see it’s not just me talking, I got proof. 

The focus is on attracting high-quality traffic and by that, I mean prospects who are in the market for your tool right now. They’re literally looking to buy it. And that’s where you should come in. 

Now let’s review the strategy that’ll position you right where your potential clients are looking. 

There are 5 simple steps:

  1. Create your own comparative SEO content.
  2. Leverage other people’s comparative SEO content.
  3. Use competitor Google Ads to promote your comparative content.
  4. Retarget visitors who visit your comparative SEO or Google Ads content on LinkedIn.
  5. Reach out to people who have visited your comparative content via Email.

It doesn’t get any simpler than that. Here’s how you do it.

Step 1: ‘Your Own’ Comparative SEO Content

In the competitive landscape of SaaS companies, standing out amidst the noise requires a strategic approach. That’s where comparative SEO content comes into play. 

At the core of our strategy are the “X vs Y” posts, designed to capture the attention of prospects who are one step away from making a purchase decision. We get them at the bottom of the funnel where they’re certain they need it, they just don’t know what to choose yet.

For example, think of someone searching for “HubSpot vs Pipedrive” – they’re actively considering CRM platforms and are ripe for conversion. 

If you’re one of the big players in your niche, you can make a direct comparison to the others like “HubSpot vs [your tool]”. It will work if your tool is already widely known and searched for on Google.

But if you’re not any of these giants, guess what?
You can still use their thunder. 

⭐ You can write comparison content on “HubSpot vs Pipedrive” and add your tool to the mix. Position your tool shoulder-to-shoulder with the most popular ones and utilize their popularity for your own gain.

And it doesn’t have to feel unnatural at all!
Right in the intro explain that “[the two competitors] are good, but they don’t serve [your Ideal Customer Profile] that well, which is why I added [your tool] in the comparison”.

For example, “[HubSpot and Pipedrive] are some of the best all-purpose CRMs out there, but they don’t serve [eCommerce companies with lots of repeat orders] that well, which is why I added [Assistive CRM] in the comparison.” 

Right from the intro on, if your ideal customer finds themselves among those who need a specialized tool like yours, you’re selling directly to them. If they don’t feel called out in this initial positioning, they’re not your ideal customer and they’re free to go with the competitors. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Ideal customers are what we’re looking for, right? 

Here’s our actual case, so you’ll know this 100% works. 

SessionStack is a digital experience insights platform and so are its competitors Hotjar and FullStory. The competitors have done an amazing job putting their names out there and are deservingly very well-known. 

SessionStack, our client, needed a way to position their tool among the best of the best. How else could this be done other than literally putting their tool shoulder-to-shoulder with the tools everyone knows?

We worked on a comparative content article, where we took the popularity of Hotjar and FullStory, found SessionStack’s unique selling point compared to the competitors, and catered to the ideal customers who would find SessionStack’s strengths really useful.

This article has been ranking in second place on Google for a year now. Right after Hotjar’s article. Right where anyone ready to invest in a digital experience insights platform would be looking. Right where you want to be.

Respectively, this article is a monster of an article. 

It has over 4,000 words, a giant comparison table, feature-by-feature comparison sections with declared winners, pros & cons tables, real use case screenshots, and recommendations for each tool with ideal use cases and users.

⭐ It’s way more than an article. It’s a pitchbook, benchmarking study, and quality testing report.

It’s a point of sale.     

Our clients get one PAYING user every 300 to 350 organic clicks to comparative content like this.

This is what I call a backend conversion metric, a ‘traffic to a paying user’ metric. 

In between there’s another conversion metric, which is either a ‘free trial sign-up’ or a ‘demo call’ metric.

Now for a ‘free trial sign-up’ metric we usually see it’s ranging between 5% to 8%, maybe going up to 10%. And for a ‘demo call’ metric it’s between 1 and 2%. 

That fully depends on the messaging and positioning you choose to use in a particular comparison. If your messaging is very niche then, of course, your in-between conversion metrics will be lower. Fewer people sign up for a trial, fewer people schedule a demo call. And that’s perfectly fine because you’re being very specific about your ideal client which naturally means lower numbers. 

However, on your frontend conversion metric, a ‘free trial to a paying user’ or ‘call to close’ metric, you’ll see beautiful results. Because this kind of visitor truly wants your tool. They’re not one of the random visitors in the crowd. They’re your ideal customer.

  

🪙 Golden Nugget: By optimizing pages to rank for specific tool comparisons and subtly positioning your tool as the solution tailored to their needs, you attract high-quality traffic with strong purchase intent. You attract your ideal customer. You attract paying users. Not masses.

Step 2: ‘Other People’ Comparative SEO Content

Only a few marketers out there are aware of comparative content targeting “X vs Y” keywords. The competition is thus low and the probability of ranking is high.

⭐ “VERSUS” content: Great for companies with a newer site, at the beginning of building an online presence. It will be easy to rank for this.

More marketers tap into comparative content targeting “X alternatives” and “best software for [specific category]” keywords, where the competition is higher, search volume is higher, and so are your chances of being seen.

⭐ “ALTERNATIVES” and “BEST OF” content: Great for companies with established online presence that want to capitalize on being an alternative to even bigger companies. It will be harder to rank for this.

Is it worth investing in a long-form article that might not even rank? Not for a newer SaaS startup.

But you can use your competitor’s thunder, again.

This is how you do it.

Since the “alternatives” content is fairly saturated, there won’t be a problem finding an “alternatives” article in your niche. 

Let’s say you’re in an email marketing software niche. One of your competitors is ConvertKit. Your tool is an alternative to ConvertKit. So let’s see what Google says about “ConvertKit alternatives”. Well, all of the results are lists listing ConvertKit alternatives. ConvertKit’s alternatives like Moosend, Drip, and Beehiiv are ranking for the keyword and putting themselves first on their lists. They are putting themselves as a #1 alternative to ConvertKit, using ConvertKit’s thunder.

Now every website won’t be able to rank for such a competitive keyword.

⭐ But wouldn’t it be nice to be one of the alternatives on the lists that are ranking on the first page on Google?  

All you have to do is ask nicely. Reach out to the company that wrote the comparison listicle and simply ask “What will it take for you to add our software to the list?”

People are usually glad to include your tool in their lists, but you’ll have to give something back. 

If the author of your chosen listicle is an affiliate marketer, they’ll expect an affiliate deal. Bloggers and other content creators who are not your competitors will ask for a flat-rate payment. And your direct competitors will want you to include their tools in your own listicles. You’ll be surprised that your direct competitors will be the most willing to partner up with you. 

Company Deal Type
Affiliate marketers Affiliate deal [%]
Non-competitors & bloggers Flat-rate [$]
Direct competitors Include them in your list

Do this for 10 comparative list keywords and that’s how your software will get a strong presence in the bottom-of-the-funnel, right where your potential users are. It will also act as a social proof. And it won’t cost much – if anything at all. Pretty rich for a startup, right?

You don’t have to be placed in the #1 position in these lists! Even if your software simply appears in the majority of them you’re golden.

🪙 Golden nugget: If you don’t have an SEO strategy currently in place, you’re a newer SaaS company, or your online presence is almost nonexistent, tapping into existing resources can also yield significant results. Keywords like “X alternatives” or “best software for [specific category]” often have high search volumes and fierce competition. Rather than trying to rank for these keywords yourself, you can leverage other people’s content, particularly listicles. By reaching out to authors and suggesting your tool for inclusion, you expand your visibility and credibility within your target market.

Step 3: ‘Competitor’ Google Ads

In this step, we’ll have to spend some money.

Google Ads have a price. But we’ll get extremely specific here so the budget will be extremely lean.

We won’t be using this for general prospecting. We are targeting people who we already know are more likely to convert.

With the previous two steps, we focused on prospects who are ACTIVELY researching different tools and comparing them to find which one will work out the better for them. 

Here, we are targeting prospects that are researching a single tool. They might be dissatisfied with their current tool, and would gladly switch if presented with a better opportunity.

⭐ You simply have to position your tool as a better option.

For example, someone is looking at Mailchimp. They type it into Google to research its offerings. Right away, right at the top of “mailchimp” search results, there’s Brevo, Mailchimp’s competitor. Subtly but undoubtedly they’re telling you to don’t let them overcharge you… It’s clear who’s “them” in this context. 

This way they’ve hit right into the pain point that the current users of their competitors’ tools have. They have positioned their own tool as a better option.

We took “bidding on competitor’s keywords” to another level.

The landing pages marketers usually link to in these kinds of Google Ads are basic pitches for their products. Or regular demos. 

THIS WILL NOT WORK because nobody will be clicking on that ad.

It needs to be a comparison.

Simply take the competitive intelligence from creating the “X vs Y” pieces and prepare a shorter form landing page, highlighting the major weaknesses of the competitor and how your tool solves them. 

(Highlight the #1 problem with the tool in the Google Ad meta copy as well!)

If you’re researching Mailchimp and you see an ad from Brevo inviting you to see a feature-by-feature comparison between the two, wouldn’t you be intrigued? 

You’re researching email marketing tools anyway, so I think you’d click on it. 🙂

Positioning your tool on a Google search that belongs to your competitor is a smart approach. 

⭐ Giving people who are researching tools in your niche exactly what they want—a comparison of the tools AND positioning it on a Google search that belongs to your competitor is a smart approach THAT WORKS.

🪙 Golden nugget: By targeting keywords associated with our competitors, we intercept users who are actively seeking alternatives. Through careful ad copy and landing page optimization, we address pain points and showcase our unique value proposition. This targeted advertising ensures that our message reaches those most likely to convert, maximizing our advertising ROI.

In some niches, the Google Ads are simply too expensive. 

There’s no shame in admitting that.

This framework will fix that. 

For B2B SaaS companies, enterprise-grade SaaS companies, and even startups, LinkedIn retargeting ads offer a powerful means of engaging with warm leads. 

⭐ By installing a LinkedIn pixel on your website and creating retargeting audiences based on visitors to your “X vs Y” comparative content, you can deliver tailored messaging to individuals with high buying intent. 

Setting this on LinkedIn Ads is a piece of cake, create your audience by defining the URL of your comparative content and you’re good to go:

Again, these people are warm traffic AND have high buying intent.

This is absolutely the best audience to show ads to.

And it gets better: add a native LinkedIn targeting filter on top of the custom audience specifying that you only wanna retarget companies that fit your Ideal Customer Profile. For example, any company the size of 11 to 50 employees.

With the ability to further refine our audience based on attributes like company size and industry, we ensure that our ads resonate with decision-makers, driving conversions and sales.

Then, over a period of 90 days, show your retargeting audience a mix of:

  • testimonials,
  • case studies,
  • product comparisons,
  • product facts,
  • company story,
  • and company positioning ads.

Show them what you’re good at or at least better at than your competitor. From there you can lead them to a signup form, a landing page, or a special offer.

Check out some examples of how these comparative ads would look like:

And about the ad budget here…

You can start with a $10-a-day budget because at the beginning your audience could be as small as 300 people, which costs next to nothing to reach.

 

🪙 Golden nugget: LinkedIn retargeting allows you to target high-buying intent individuals by creating custom audiences based on comparative content they have visited on your website. For an extremely low budget, you get to show up on industry professionals’ LinkedIn feeds. Right where a B2B SaaS would want to show up.

Step 5: Content-Triggered Email Outreach

Completing the loop in our comparative content funnel is content-triggered email outreach.

This works great for SaaS companies with higher ARPPU, especially if they have a sales team.

By leveraging traffic de-anonymizer tools like Opensend to identify individuals who have engaged with your comparative content, you can initiate personalized email sequences aimed at guiding them through the buying journey.

I recommend Opensend because, unlike the more popular Leedfeeder, it precisely identifies the person who has visited your comparative content. It’s not just “someone from X company”, it’s Jane Doe and her email is “jane.doe@xcompany.com”.

You can immediately import collected emails into your CRM and trigger an automatic communication sequence, which goes right into the action as soon as someone’s looking at your comparative content.

Whether it’s offering assistance, providing additional resources, or highlighting success stories, these emails nurture leads and facilitate conversions. 

This targeted approach ensures that your efforts remain focused on those most likely to convert, maximizing our sales potential.

 

🪙 Golden nugget: Content-triggered email outreach, using tools like Opensend, helps you identify and nurture leads through comparative content. This targeted approach nurtures leads, provides resources, and highlights success stories, maximizing sales potential.

I strongly believe that this is the best content funnel you can add to your marketing strategy in 2024 and beyond. 

Our full focus is on leads actively seeking solutions like yours right now. What makes this approach truly exceptional is targeting everyone who is interested in investing and nobody who is not. 

Directing content strategy towards top-of-the-funnel and middle-of-the-funnel content, such as how-to guides and glossaries, might bring large traffic. But these pieces primarily attract novices who lack clarity on their software needs and are unlikely to make significant purchases. Even if they do make a purchase, it’s usually at a minimal budget and often results in dissatisfaction due to their limited understanding of what they’re buying. These individuals typically don’t have decision-making authority and they don’t have complex software needs.

On the other hand, comparative content, which is bottom-of-the-funnel content, targets individuals within large companies tasked with finding solutions the company will no doubt invest in. But they’ll need to be assured it’s the right tool they’re investing in. They’ll need a lot of research and comparative content makes this easier for them.

🪙 Golden nugget: Now you’re free to apply this content strategy in your SaaS by yourself, but if you’re seeking THE #1 EXPERTS in comparative content marketing – a term we’ve pioneered – with a track record of success with numerous SaaS companies, then look no further. Our agency specializes in Comparative Content Marketing for SaaS companies. 

We’re here to lend our expertise and take your marketing efforts to the next level. 🙂

This is where you can go from here:

  • Reach out if you’re one of the following types of SaaS companies: B2B, B2C, Enterprise, Startups, and you need help with comparative content marketing.
  • Book a relaxed Zoom call to talk about:
    • your current marketing system,
    • and if/how Comparative Content Marketing would fit in.

Looking forward to meeting you!

Stay blessed 🙏