Why Every SaaS Blog Must Have An “Alternatives” Post

Why SaaS Companies need alternatives blog posts
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Building a SaaS marketing strategy from scratch isn’t easy. We’ve learned it first-hand working on our own product for the last couple of years.

Yet, creating a strategy that works is even more challenging. At the end of the day, you never know exactly what will work best for your audience, in your specific niche, and at the given time.

Among other strategies, content marketing is often considered a low-hanging fruit. It is affordable (despite the overall effort required) and has proven extremely effective in most business domains.

It is no surprise we have chosen it to be a foundation of our marketing strategy. And, despite all the ups and downs we’ve been through, our efforts have been quite successful so far.

However, not all types of content work equally well. There are undisputed leaders, like “how-to” pieces and listicles. Both of these content types are highly efficient (and, to be honest, slightly overused).

If you are looking for ideas to breathe life into your SaaS product marketing strategy, there’s one more content type to consider: “alternatives” or product comparison articles.

Let me explain why…

How We Discovered The Benefits of “Alternatives” Content

Every time we run out of inspiration for new content, we do keyword research. After all, there’s no better way to understand how to target your prospective users than to look into what they are searching for.

When we started our keyword research this time, our goal was to discover low-competition keywords with a reasonable search volume. Ideally – high-intent keywords, the ones that identify a strong purchase intent and have the shortest lead conversion cycle.

We’ve played with the ones we already targeted in our content, brainstormed some new combinations and gotten a hundred possible keyword phrases to work with.

Further on, we’ve uploaded the selected keywords to Google Keyword Planner, filtered out the most relevant ones by the search volume and – voila! – we’ve narrowed down our list to 20 high-quality keyword phrases.

To top it off, I looked into Google keyword suggestions too. And that’s when I came across this hidden gem.

Google Keyword Planner Screenshot

Needless to say that people searching for a Slack alternative are our potential customers. They are probably unhappy with their current tool (i.e. Slack) and shopping around for other options.

To top it off, the keyword had a relatively high search volume. So it seemed like a full hit.

Our First Try With Product Comparison Articles

The only way to verify our assumptions and take the new strategy for a spin was to create an article around this keyword and see what happens.

To start with, we decided to share our feedback on top 7 Slack alternatives. The goal was to make it a high-quality, exhaustive piece that focused on our first-hand experience using the tools rather than dry facts.

That is why we chose the most popular Slack competitors and actually used them for a month to form a solid opinion on each of them.

The article turned out pretty great, to be honest: a long-read (2,000+ words) but neatly structured and readable, packed with screenshots and charts. We didn’t forget about the on-page SEO too, adding optimized meta description, title tags and image alt texts.

So we hit “publish” and sat back waiting for the results.

The results were not long in coming. The article quickly gained one of the top positions on Google search and started converting visitors at almost a 10% rate. The session duration was above average, and the bounce rate was slightly reduced from the rest of the website as well.

Google Analytics for Blog Post

Needless to say, the data was enough to prove our strategy viable. To nail down our success, we’ve created more articles comparing different team communication and productivity tools.

In fact, we have a whole section on our blog called Team Chat Wars. We even crafted several landing pages (which, surprisingly, turned out to be less effective than the blog posts).

Lessons Learned

To wrap it up, here are some tips based on the insights we gained while experimenting with the “alternatives” content:

Voice an Unbiased Opinion

Don’t focus only on your competitors’ drawbacks. Try to stay fair-minded don’t oversell your product. If it’s good enough, the product will speak for itself.

Make it Personal 

Focus on your team’s personal experience using the apps. Take the time to actually test all of the tools you are going to mention in your article. Ask your teammates for honest feedback (you can even create an improvised leaderboard and ask them to vote for the tools/features they like most).

Support your Opinion With the Evidence

You can illustrate the pros and cons of each tool with screenshots to make the article even more helpful and add extra credibility.

After all, the key to any successful content, be it an “alternatives” article, how-to guide or opinion piece, is to solve a problem. Focus heavily on adding value to the users. In our case, it’s about helping the readers choose the product that perfectly fits their needs (ideally, our product of course).

Why you should consider creating “alternatives” blog posts too (and how to get started?)

If you still have any doubts about using the SaaS product comparison articles, you might be missing a brilliant marketing opportunity. “Alternatives” content has many benefits:

  1. It is most likely to get to the right people at the right time. Do the math yourself: high-intent keyword + low competition = lots of organic traffic sent your way.
  2. It adds value to your blog and helps you build credibility as an expert. That is, if you care to create an in-depth, worthy piece of content, of course.
  3. It simply works. The numbers don’t lie. A 10% conversion rate isn’t something you easily neglect (considering the average inbound marketing conversion of 3.83%).

Plus, you will get to know your major competitors better while using their products and, as a result, find more ways to beat them.

So don’t hesitate to give this strategy a try. You can make a roundup of which tools are alternatives to your key competitor, or focus on one-on-one comparison, whichever works best. Just make sure your content is of practical value and high quality.


Feature Image provided by the author under his or her own license.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.

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Olga Mykhoparkina is a Chief Marketing Officer at Chanty a simple AI-powered team chat. This powerful and free Slack alternative is aimed to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. Having a 9-year experience in digital marketing field, Olga is responsible for Chanty’s online presence strategy, managing an amazing team of marketing experts and getting things done to change the way teams communicate and collaborate.

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