You may have heard of SaaS, software as a service. The term refers to a newer way for software vendors to offer their products to consumers. Rather than sell software that the consumer installs on his or her computer hard drive, SaaS provides software over the Internet for a subscription fee rather than a hefty, one-time price. This has two big advantages over software that is resident on an individual computer hard drive: the consumer buys only the level of service that he needs and maintenance of the software becomes the vendor’s responsibility, not the customer’s. It’s a much more convenient way for both suppliers and consumers to operate.
As a matter of fact, we have our own SaaS software for local businesses to rank higher in the local search engines. You can try it out here: Local Site Submit.
That got me to thinking about ways that our agency, Advice Interactive Group, provides content as a service. Just as one person might only require a free account on, say, LinkedIn, another might be willing to pay a monthly fee for the premium level of service because it includes analytics. That’s SaaS. The parallel in content marketing is that one consumer might need just a few tips on a particular topic, SEO for instance, while another might need the greater detail an e-book provides, and yet another might want to hire an expert to handle SEO altogether. It all depends on the customer’s particular circumstances.
We offer four main levels of content services at Advice Interactive Group:
- Here in our blog and in our TV advice segments we offer useful tips and free advice for people who just need basic information or a few new ideas.
- In our self-published e-books, we go into more detail, and in return for the more pithy information, we ask customers to “pay with a tweet,” which makes it easier for other consumers to discover our content.
- For those books that are published by an outside company, such as Rob Garner’s Search & Social, the industry standard, we offer the first chapter for free. Then, after customers have had a chance to read and evaluate the sample, we provide a link where they can purchase the entire book if they think it’s right for them.
- Finally, for those customers — usually other business owners — who want the most professional work possible, we provide direct consultation and professional assistance with social media strategy, SEO, website design and other aspects of digital marketing, along with our proprietary (and groundbreaking!) local search technology.
The point here is that each customer decides what level of service and support is right for the business s/he represents. There’s no need to buy a Learjet when what you really need is a Chevy. But if you’ve got a Learjet kind of brand, we’ve got the power to be the wind beneath your wings.
Looking forward into 2015, it’s a pretty sure thing that content will continue to be a focal point in the marketing universe. And with that, search — both organic and paid — will continue to rise in importance. Content may be king, but it doesn’t do your business much good if no one can find it. We’re looking ahead to a great year, and we hope that you will be with us all along the way.