Modern SaaS business is a completely new game.
In this very competitive space, potential customers will be exploring every bit of information they can find about your product to ensure it can fulfill their needs.
That includes your product documentation.
In this article, we’ll show you how to create and deploy product documentation that acts like a lead magnet and convinces new users to sign up for your service, helping you grow your business.
Let’s start with our first tip: performance tracking.
Track Your Documentation SEO Performance
Every document in your knowledge base can provide you with a wealth of information about how your users are interacting with your content.
It can tell you things like:
- How many people are accessing the document in search of a specific answer.
- How long people are staying to consume your content.
- What percentage of visitors leave immediately because this wasn’t the information they were looking for.
All of this data isn’t just for show.
It can actually help you develop a growth strategy for your company because it contains information about which problems users commonly face with your product and which features they need the most.
Armed with this knowledge, you have a clear roadmap for your product.
You’ll know which features deserve investment because they bring the most value to users and which parts of the product need an overhaul because people are facing issues and frequently consulting the product documentation to solve them.
So, how do you start collecting all of this data?
By implementing analytics tools, of course!
These tools were developed to show content providers how their material is performing so they can take action to optimize it for search engines and develop new content to better satisfy the needs of users.
An excellent tool that will provide you with all the data you need to start optimizing your content is Google Analytics.
As you can see in the screenshot of the Google Analytics interface above, information such as page sessions, number of unique visitors, and bounce rates are displayed as diagrams, telling you how your content is performing over a certain period of time.
The best thing about this tool is that it’s completely free and easily accessible to any content provider with a domain and email address.
So, if you’re not already, start tracking the performance of your product documentation and learn what you can do to improve it.
Analyze Page Conversions
Now that you’re monitoring the performance of your product documentation, it’s time to learn about the most important metric you can track for business growth.
We’re talking about your conversion rate.
Page conversions give you a simple yet very powerful piece of information: how many of the visitors that come to your site complete the desired action, such as signing up for your service.
In more technical terms, this metric tells you how many visitors to a page convert into paying customers (if the conversion goal is signing up).
In performance analytics, this figure is usually expressed as the ratio of conversions to the total number of interactions on the page.
This kind of knowledge can be very illuminating for product documentation providers because individual pages or documents in the knowledge base can have their own conversion rates.
As a result, you can see which pages in your knowledge base bring in the most conversions.
That’s an incredibly valuable insight. If the pages (documents) about a certain feature entice users to start using your product, then those are the features you should prioritize.
By acting on this data, you can redirect resources into further improving these attractive features and making them more prominent for online users, which, in turn, will amplify the conversion rate even more and make your company grow faster because of all of the new business coming your way.
To sum up, by tracking page conversions, you’ll know exactly what the most attractive features of your product are for potential customers.
Use that knowledge to prioritize those features, maximize your conversion rate, and make your company grow faster.
Make Sure Your Documentation Is Easy to Read
An important insight from the last subsection needs some further emphasis: it’s not just existing users who will be accessing your product documentation.
Potential customers will be exploring your knowledge base as well, in order to collect information and judge if your product is exactly what they need.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to make your documentation as easy and comfortable to read as possible.
If you offer these visitors a stellar user experience, it’s more likely they’ll fall in love with your product and make a decision to become paying customers.
If that makes sense to you, let’s look at some elements that make product documentation easy on the eyes and comfortable to consume.
First, make sure that every article in your base has a proper title that succinctly describes what the document is about, as well as content divided into logical sections with a subheading for each one.
This will make your content more scannable, meaning users will have an easier time locating the answers they came for.
The next thing you’ll want to do is go a step further and break up the text using short paragraphs, bullet lists, and bolded text.
This way, you’re able to single out important pieces of information and organize your ideas in logical ways, making the information much easier to consume and retain.
Big, disorganized chunks of text are difficult to digest for any reader, but they’re particularly off-putting in complex product documentation.
If you want visitors to your knowledge base to feel well-informed and ready to sign up after learning about your product, make that learning process as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Add Clear Calls to Action
Speaking of desired goals, you should know that internet users and potential customers are sometimes hesitant to complete tasks we set out for them while exploring the product.
The reasons for this are diverse and can include:
- Inability to find a clear way forward
- Indecisiveness about the next steps
- Decision fatigue after completing previous tasks
At these sensitive junctions, visitors may simply need a gentle nudge in the right direction to complete a goal that will set them on a path to becoming a paying customer.
These nudges can come in the form of a button strategically placed somewhere on the page that bears a clear message in the imperative mood.
Here’s a common example:
In marketing terms, this is called a Call to Action (CTA) and it’s really effective when it comes to directing user behavior towards completing pre-set goals.
In fact, simple CTAs on your home page, like the one from Trello above, can do wonders for your conversion rate (and, therefore, company growth).
But it’s not just the homepage that can benefit. Your product documentation can use CTAs to help users complete all kinds of goals, such as:
- Creating an account
- Signing up for a newsletter
- Leaving feedback
- Trying out a feature
- Contacting an agent
For example, here are some clever CTAs from Mailchimps's “getting started” guide.
As you can see, the page motivates the user to start building an audience for their first Mailchimp campaign.
To start, the user simply needs to follow the button at the bottom of the page.
There are also buttons to find further support (Chat with us) and complete the signup immediately.
CTAs are a powerful weapon for marketers. But there’s no reason technical writers can’t use them, too, as a means of securing conversions and contributing to company growth.
Enrich Your Documentation With Videos
Remember how we talked about the importance of making your documentation easy to read in order to make the decision to sign up easier?
Well, one more tactic you can employ here is to use more than text to get your point across.
Other information formats, such as diagrams and pictures, can help you explain the value of your product in visual terms.
However, nothing beats video when it comes to helping users get to know your product and decide to sign up for it.
The research on this is unambiguous.
In 2022, marketers are overwhelmingly certain that video is unmatched in increasing user understanding of a product and that it has a direct impact on sales.
Since videos have the power to show users how a product works, step by step, they’re especially effective in product documentation.
For example, have a look at how well Shopify manages to spark interest for their platform, while at the same time providing a useful introduction to their service to new users.
In this way, the video is a powerful marketing tool, as well as a helpful document in the product knowledge base.
Shopify’s video also has a very human quality because it uses a host to explain the product, instilling the idea that this platform is a community of people and not just a cold piece of software.
As powerful as video is in conveying your message, it’s surprisingly easy to implement into your knowledge base.
For example, if your product knowledge base is powered by Archbee, videos from YouTube and Vimeo can be embedded into any article in just a few clicks.
To sum up, video is an immensely influential tool for documentation providers.
It can help new customers become successful users of your product, and it can also help you convince visitors that your product is the right fit for them. Use it to your advantage.
Convert User Feedback Into Content
Customers need more than just a working product if they are to commit to a purchase.
Especially in the SaaS space, where the decision to subscribe needs to be renewed periodically, companies need to show that they can be trusted to fulfill customer needs.
In fact, customers themselves are saying they need to be able to trust a company before deciding to buy from it.
So, what signals can you send to potential customers to show them they can trust you?
From the perspective of documentation, the biggest one is transparency. You need to be open to customer feedback and tackle the issues customers are facing head-on.
A good example is providing resources such as troubleshooting guides, known error fixes, and FAQ sections that address problems your users commonly face.
However, to create these resources, you’ll first need to collect feedback from your existing users.
That feedback, in the form of customer questions, issues, and complaints, can then be turned into new product documentation that helps others deal with the same problems.
There are several options at your disposal for collecting user feedback, such as:
- The customer support database of user issues
- On-page elements, such as a Leave Feedback button or rating systems
- Customer surveys via email
The best strategy would be to combine these methods.
For example, you can establish a continuous collaboration between the customer support and technical writing teams to share known issues and send customer surveys periodically.
Unsolicited feedback is meanwhile collected using on-page elements where users can speak out about their issues, like the one from Mailchimp below:
To make a long story short, users of your software will run into issues eventually; there’s no preventing that.
The worst thing you can do when that happens is trying to hide that your product is imperfect.
Instead, turn that customer feedback into new content for your product knowledge base and show existing and potential customers that you work tirelessly to provide the best possible service.
Draw Attention to Your Documentation
Having followed the advice in this article, you should have plenty of product documentation that works like a lead magnet when it comes to attracting new customers and growing your business.
Now it’s time to get all that content in front of potential customers.
The easiest and most basic thing you can do to draw attention to your documentation is to display it prominently on your home page.
That way, you’ll provide easy access to visitors landing on your homepage and starting to explore your product.
Also, it’s a good idea to apply some basic SEO techniques to ensure that search engine users can find your product documentation when inquiring about your service on Google or Bing.
Basic SEO will allow search engine algorithms to understand your content and offer it to users as the best possible result for their query.
Many users will search for answers to their questions about your product on Google instead of going straight to your knowledge base, so it’s smart to take steps to optimize your content for search engines.
Most importantly, focus on delivering plenty of high-quality, easily digestible, user-centered content.
If your product boasts excellent product documentation, users themselves will act on your behalf and spread the good word about your documentation (and product, by extension), which will motivate others to take a look at your offer.
For example, Stripe is famous for its excellent documentation that makes using this complex product a breeze, which is evident from the amount of praise Stripe’s documentation gets online.
And with all this attention coming their way, you can be sure Stripe is successful in generating high-value leads that keep the company in a state of steady growth.
Remember, your product documentation can definitely impact company growth in a major way, but only if enough people actually see it.
Use the tactics we suggested in this section to draw attention to your content, and you’re sure to convert many interested visitors into paying customers.
Product documentation isn’t just nice to have anymore. It’s an integral part of your offer to users who will be counting on it for educational and support purposes.
Not only that, but product documentation now also plays an important role in marketing and sales because potential customers are exploring it to see if your product is the right choice for them.
That means that product documentation has the power to generate new signups and accelerate your company’s growth, but only if it’s expertly written and strategically deployed.
And the tips outlined in this article will help you do exactly that—turn your product documentation into a growth engine.