SaaS Copywriting for Humans: Avoiding the Smart Talk Trap

Copywriting for SaaS (software as a service) comes with a unique set of challenges. In this post, we’ll break down what makes copywriting for SaaS so challenging, and why clarity always trumps smart talk—even for the wittiest of audiences.

Copywriting for SaaS presents unique challenges.

Copywriting for SaaS presents unique challenges. The software as a service (SaaS) industry is highly technical, with complicated jargon and mind-boggling processes. When you’re selling complex products online, clear and effective copywriting is a must: it enables you to connect with your audience and build trust. 

SaaS—or cloud-based software based on the Internet rather than installed on a computer—is one of today’s fastest-growing tech sectors. And with the rise of remote work and digital transformation, it’s only expanding.

But it’s still a relatively new category. We’re learning that buzzwords like “solutions,” “innovation,” “functionality,” and “state-of-the-art” are starting to get old. And we’ve realized that exciting product features mean little to people without the technical knowledge to fully understand them. 

These mistakes often result in confusing, inaccessible copy. And that leads to frustrated readers who don’t become customers.

Learn why the best return on your marketing dollar comes from copywriting.

Why is copywriting so important for SaaS?

While some SaaS firms use enterprise or transactional (in-person) sales models, a big part of the sector relies on self-service models—meaning that no salespeople are involved in the sales process. SaaS sales primarily take place online, supported by websites, email, digital advertising, and content marketing. 

To sell complex products without a salesperson, SaaS firms need copywriting that communicates what their software does and how it benefits customers. In general, copywriters help SaaS firms:

  • Communicate. For those directly involved in the development of a SaaS product, value is all about the nifty features that they worked so hard to build. For customers, value depends on what the product can do for them. Great SaaS copy decodes complex product features, conveying a clear value proposition that resonates with customers’ needs.  
  • Humanize. When discussing its own complexities and inner workings, the tech industry has a bad habit of defaulting to smart talk. Smart talk sounds confident and exciting, but it’s difficult to understand and does nothing to build trust. Copywriters help SaaS firms translate their offerings into simple, straightforward language.
  • Convert. If customers can’t understand a product offering and what it can do for them, they won’t act. Writing that converts creates a compelling value proposition and builds trust by addressing pain points and objections. 

How is copywriting for SaaS different?

SaaS copywriting isn’t fundamentally different from copywriting for any other product or service. But it does come a unique set of challenges:

  • You’re describing products and services with few precedents. Today’s SaaS offerings—including email automation platforms (like Mailchimp) and customer relationship management software (like Hubspot)—haven’t been around for long. While many are now familiar with brand-name SaaS players, there’s a good chance you’ll be describing technologies that are still new to your audience. Plus, software is intangible—which only intensifies the challenge of describing it with concrete language. 
  • You’re describing highly complex products to audiences that might not grasp all the technical details. Those making purchasing decisions or working directly with SaaS products may not have the skills to describe what’s going on under the hood. Writers walk a fine line between explaining important features and getting so technical that their efforts become counterproductive.  
  • You may have trouble understanding the product or service yourself. There’s a good chance you aren’t your own target audience—or that you might not fully understand your product. You have to familiarize yourself with your offering—by asking lots of questions, for example—so you can communicate those benefits to your audience. In some cases, you might even need to draw on user research to identify pain points and understand exactly how customers interact with the product. 

We provided an advocate for women with standout copy

Her mission was to empower women to build their wealth. But in a crowded, largely undifferentiated space, Hilary Hendershott was struggling to get her message across. Together, we stripped out anything generic or long-winded from her old website, and reframed her copy to show off her powerful differentiators: her advocacy of women, her standing as a true fiduciary, and her no-nonsense strategies. Pretty soon, her revamped copy was ready to go—providing her with a friendly, rich website and the chance to grow her brand in a busy field.

> Read the full study

Crafting SaaS copy for humans

Whether you’re working on web copy, an email series, or a presentation, clear and concrete language will always outperform smart talk. Here are some best practices for humanizing highly technical SaaS products and services:

  • Speak your audience’s language. Your audience will decide how technical you can get with language. For example, a niche audience will be more tolerant of complex terms and detailed descriptions. But even for expert audiences, simple language is always best. If you need to use jargon, do so only when necessary, alternating it with more accessible phrasing. 
  • Find the pain points. Pain points act as emotional hooks. To get your audience’s attention, target unique stressors, frustrations, or goals. When you acknowledge specific troubles, customers feel heard and compelled to read on. After all, you’re telling their story—not yours. 
  • Frame features as solutions to pain points. People buy software to solve problems—including those they didn’t know they had. Show them a world where they work faster, easier, and more effectively—all thanks to your product. Presenting features as tangible outcomes spotlights your value proposition, helping customers picture your product’s benefits. 
  • Use social proof. Even the greatest copywriter is no match for a raving customer review. That’s because people don’t trust businesses—they trust other people. Social proof supports your claims and further humanizes your copy by backing it with spontaneous, emotional, and authentic language. Plus, customer reviews are an excellent resource for discovering new benefits and pain points.
  • Back up your claims with data. Numbers communicate results better than words. They transform vague claims into concrete outcomes, building trust along the way. Take Geico, for example: “Save on car insurance” doesn’t pack the same punch—or promise—as “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
  • Get specific with CTAs. CTAs are prime real estate, often wasted on vague phrases like “Get started” or “Let’s go.” Whenever possible, use CTAs as an opportunity to nudge readers, inspiring concrete action or reiterating your value proposition. Instead of asking visitors to “Sign up,” for example, MailChimp’s website tells them to “Pick a plan.” And Atlassian reminds customers that they can get started with Jira, a leading project management software, without the hassle of investing in it: “Get it free.”
  • Test and measure. When it comes to copy that converts, great writing isn’t always enough. Optimizing copy for clarity and conversions may take a few tries—especially when describing unique, first-of-its-kind SaaS products. Conversion rates, bounce rates, email open and reply rates, and lead numbers can help you gauge the effectiveness of your language. Why guess when you don’t have to? Extraordinary results might just be a few carefully crafted words away.  

Need writing that demystifies complexities and drives growth? The MarketSmiths team can help.

Carol Guasp

Carol Guasp

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