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Written by Sam Yadegar on Sep 7 , 2021

Check out these expert strategies to lower CPA for your SaaS brand.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Why PPC isn’t the only way to keep CPA low
  • How content, SEO, and landing pages can help lower CPA
  • Why audience targeting is crucial (and not just on Google)
  • Reasons why you should also measure LTV

Sure, a productive tech company’s office needs physical items like pens, printer paper, and sticky notes. (Oh, and snacks, don’t forget the snacks). 

But at the end of the day, digital rules all. It’s what lives at the core of these businesses — and that includes the software as a service (SaaS) industry. 

No matter the market and target audience, SaaS brands create software to solve a problem. Because of this, it’s likely that digital marketing and paid search have been part of your core business from the start. 

No spoiler alert here: as your business changes, so should your digital marketing strategies.

Why CPA matters for SaaS

One metric you’re likely familiar with in your SaaS paid search strategy is the cost per acquisition (CPA). Also called cost per action, CPA is defined as an online advertising payment model based on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations. 

Many SaaS companies only associate PPC or paid search with improving cost per acquisition (CPA). And while you’ll find a wealth of information linking the two, these things are not mutually inclusive. 

If you’re a SaaS company focused on CPA over cost per lead (CPL), you’re already ahead of the game. Many businesses get too hung up on low CPL. But even if an ad doesn’t bring in a ton of leads, if the conversion rate is high, you know you’re doing something right.

Lowering your CPA is a broad-based task. PPC is just one tool available to help you accomplish this. As you’ll see, there are other digital marketing strategies you can also leverage to help bring in new business without breaking the bank.

close up of a screen with digital marketing data

You don’t need to overhaul your content in order to make it a solid tactic for attracting new, high-quality leads. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Leverage good ‘ole SEO

With new online marketing trends cropping up nearly every day, it can be easy to overlook the effectiveness of classic search engine optimization (SEO)

This isn’t meant to downplay the complexity of this style of marketing. Rather, it’s to remind you that you don’t need to overhaul your content to make it a solid tactic for attracting new, high-quality leads.  

Understanding search engine algorithms and how to mold your SaaS content to better accommodate them eliminates the need to rely solely on new advertising campaigns. By learning to master the intricacies of SEO, you can enjoy benefits such as:

  • ‘Evergreen’ sustainability
  • Greater ROI
  • More leads and sign-ups
  • Free or inexpensive traffic increases
  • Increased authority in your industry or field

For SaaS companies in particular, gating content can be a great way to generate leads. However, it doesn’t do a whole lot for your SEO, since the content isn’t publicly available without filling out a form. Content marketing can still be a big boon for your biz, though, whether or not it’s indexed for SEO.

2. Focus on quality content marketing

In the world of internet marketing, if SEO is what brings them in, then good content is what keeps them around. 

Rather than trying to manipulate the search engine ranking system to work in your favor, content marketing is about understanding your customer base and tailoring your content to them. 

But truly knowing your customers entails a lot more than just having their names and email addresses on file. You need to understand what really makes them tick when it comes to doing business, such as their:

  • Buyer personas and backgrounds
  • Intent
  • Problems and pain points
  • Expectations
  • Values

What makes SaaS content marketing such a cost-effective method of improving your CPA is that you already possess most of the info needed to improve your content. A thorough analysis of your sales history and the feedback provided by customers will give you a ton of information about what content and topics really hook them. 

Understanding just how to use SEO and content marketing to bring new visitors to your site is key if you hope to see high conversion rates from your organic traffic.

3. Look into your competitors

It’s also worth taking the time to see how your competition stacks up in the content marketing department. Which topics are they outranking you on, and how are they doing it? Identify content gaps and see how you can leverage them for your own brand’s benefit.

By highlighting new trends and innovating ways to help your audience, you can start building the relationship and brand trust. See what you can learn from your competitors in the SaaS space, then determine how you can beat them at their own game in your own unique way.

Add into that a detailed analysis of keyword trends and their conversion rates, and content marketing allows you a virtual sneak peek inside of customers’ heads without them even knowing it.

4. Optimize your SaaS landing pages

In case it wasn’t already apparent, we’re big fans of landing pages around here. That’s because we know it’s a solid way to take a user from an organic search result, paid search ad, or marketing promotion straight to a specific page on your website with a clear call to action.

An optimized landing page can be a major key to your digital marketing success, particularly when the competition is stiff and the cost-per-click (CPC) is high. A few ways to ensure yours are optimized include:

  • A killer headline
  • A consistent message
  • A mobile-friendly experience
  • A thoughtful design

Experts know that designing your landing pages to have a specific purpose and drive a particular action will help boost your conversion rate.

Plus, a lot of SaaS lead capture campaigns represent just the starting point. Once they’re in, you can work your lead through an email drip campaign or additional display remarketing that serves up something like a free whitepaper download. These follow-up efforts are natural areas to iterate on and optimize.

We’ve helped plenty of clients strengthen their online presence and achieve a greater ROI from their marketing dollars. Looking to join the ranks? Let’s chat.

crowd with their hands raised

Demographic targeting and ads on social media platforms are great methods for meeting your prospects where they are. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Find your audience

Google’s audience tools are great for targeting users in the consideration stage. You want to get your SaaS product in front of people who are looking to buy what you’re selling, are similar to an existing audience you have, or are researching one of your competitors. 

Using Google Ads audience targeting to pinpoint or even just “observe” these users can be highly valuable and help you lower your CPA. Just don’t forget to perform regular testing so you can be sure you’re aiming in the right places. 

This doesn’t just apply to Google. Demographic targeting and ads on other search engines like Bing and the main social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) are great methods for meeting your prospects where they are.

Connect with these users by offering high-value content that shows you’re a thought leader and guides them right to (you guessed it) an eye-catching, targeted landing page.

6. Don’t forget about lifetime value (LTV)

CPA is no doubt a crucial metric for SaaS companies. But to get a full picture of your digital marketing ROI, it’s wise to be looking at lifetime value (LTV) as well. 

Many SaaS companies operate on a subscription or annual contract level, meaning the transaction isn’t a one-and-done deal. Looking beyond the initial CPA can tell you much more about the actual value and ROI of your efforts. 

For example, if your customer refers two other businesses who end up purchasing your product, you’ve just saved money by not having to use marketing to gain that business. The LTV can also be affected if your customer re-ups their contract for 2 years at once. 

The Balance Small Business explains that a simple way to break down this number is through the following formula:

Lifetime Customer Revenue – Lifetime Customer Costs = LTV

The takeaway

For SaaS companies, there’s no shortage of data — the key lies in translating all that noise into a cohesive and useful narrative. 

Combine these marketing strategies with a successful PPC campaign, and you can immediately see your site quickly transform into a powerful (and efficient) sales tool. 

This post has been updated and was originally published in September 2014.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on May 24 , 2021

Properly optimizing your SaaS website is essential for your brand’s long-term success. Here’s how to do it right.

Here, you’ll find: 

  • Top tips to properly optimize your SaaS website
  • The important role search engine optimization (SEO) plays 
  • Specific ways optimize site pages 
  • Tools to help track your progress

From event-planning programs to video chat platforms and everything in between, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) space is booming. And with tech becoming more and more a part of our daily personal and professional lives, we don’t see the trend slowing down anytime soon. 

As more players continue to enter the SaaS market, competition grows, making it harder for brands to stand out. And while you may have a good understanding of basic SaaS SEO strategies, beating out your competitors may require taking things a step further. One way to do just that: fully optimizing your SaaS website. 

Technology is constantly changing. As such, your SaaS brand’s digital marketing plan and strategies need room to evolve with these changes so you can avoid getting left behind.

Check these tactical tips off your list to ensure your SaaS website is fully optimized. 

Why optimize your SaaS website? 

For many SaaS brands, the homepage plays a key role when marketing their service offerings.

Search Engine Journal points out that the homepage has a bigger role than just welcoming visitors. It also:

  • Is the first impression of the brand
  • Showcases the brand’s purpose
  • Explains the value the company provides over competitors 
  • Guides visitors to the information they’re looking for

When first establishing your SaaS brand, your homepage attracts most of the organic links received, from press references to guest posting or podcast appearances. 

Because of that, properly optimizing your SaaS website from the beginning will set you up for long-term success. Follow these six tips to optimize your SaaS website and start seeing the benefits of monitoring your progress. 

woman brainstorming saas website

Adding quality content to your SaaS website can help establish your brand as a trusted resource for industry information while building SEO. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Find the right SaaS keywords for your website

Conducting keyword research is the first step to finding the best words and phrases to optimize your SaaS website. We advise focusing on these three types of SaaS keywords:

  • Brand-related: Brand-related terms, such as your company or product name, should be sprinkled appropriately throughout your SaaS website pages. 
  • Product category: Use keywords that best define your product’s primary category and use search phrases potential clients would use to describe your product. Add your primary product-category keyword on every page on your SaaS website if you can, such as in meta tags, a page’s H1 tag, the opening of the page’s body content, and in alt tags. 
  • Related to the service’s core offerings: While these won’t be primary keywords, it’s highly beneficial to include them on your SaaS website. These keywords will be other phrases used to describe your product, along with its features and functionality. 

Pro tip: Use a list of your SaaS brand’s core competencies on your homepage and link each of those sections to a landing page using keywords for your product’s core offerings in the anchor text. This can help increase your website’s relevance on the search engine results page (SERP). 

2. Create original, quality content

Adding quality content to your SaaS website can help establish your brand as a trusted resource for industry information while building SEO. 

Original content can consist of blog posts, product demos, videos, photos, or tutorials to educate visitors about your SaaS product. Regularly publishing quality content helps drive organic traffic to your SaaS website and can increase your position in search rankings relevant to your business. 

3. Optimize your page titles and meta descriptions

Page titles and meta descriptions are two important components of your website in terms of search engine ranking factors. That’s because these features provide crawler bots with helpful context when it comes to what your pages are about.

Your title tag should include your primary keywords, while the meta descriptions should also give customers a quick rundown of what to expect from a specific page. The general rule is to keep your pages’ title tags less than 65 characters and meta descriptions no more than 150 characters. You can use a tool such as TechnicalSEO’s Google SERP Simulator to preview how your titles and descriptions will appear in search results.  

Pro tip: Include a call to action (CTA) in your meta description to help improve click-through rates (CTR).

 4. Add alt tags to your website’s images

Another key way to optimize your SaaS website is with alternative text, also known as alt tags. Since search engines can’t “read” or understand visuals the same way as humans can, using alt tags with images gives search engines a textual translation of the photo’s content. 

For alt tags, the same rules apply as with any SEO optimization: avoid keyword stuffing, and keep tags short and to the point. You can optimize your website images further by choosing a descriptive file name before uploading to the page. 

man working on saas website

Whether you’re a SaaS start-up or a well-established brand, competition in the market isn’t getting any less fierce as technology continues to evolve. (Image via Unsplash)

Need more help with your SaaS marketing? Let’s chat. 

5. Enhance the user experience (UX)

Two main factors to enhance your SaaS website UX are decreasing page load times and having a mobile-friendly website. Visitors expect pages to load lightning fast these days. And if it doesn’t? Visitors will likely bounce and move on to the next site with the product or service that meets their needs. 

Besides lowering bounce rates, page speed also can affect your website’s search rankings. The data is clear: with over 60% of organic site visits coming from mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is more important than ever before. 

6. Consistently monitor your progress

Taking the time to optimize your SaaS website isn’t a “one and done” project. Rather, it’s important to monitor your results consistently and optimize regularly to stay ahead of the game.

You can leverage website tracking tools such as Google Analytics to see detailed reports on metrics like your website’s traffic and conversions. From there, you can determine the best strategies for further optimizing. Just be sure to note any significant changes you make to your site to compare which tactics are working and which are not. 

The takeaway

Optimizing your SaaS website is more than just aiming to rank for the right keywords. Whether you’re a SaaS start-up or a well-established brand, competition in the market isn’t getting any less fierce as technology continues to quickly evolve. 

Optimizing your SaaS website for long-term success includes preparation for even unexpected industry changes and will help you build a strong foundation so your site can continue to appear in search results. 

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Jan 25 , 2021

Ensure your SaaS SEO strategy is on par for long-term success with these expert tips and insights.

Here you’ll find: 

  • What defines SaaS SEO 
  • The importance of SEO for these companies
  • Overcoming common SEO challenges
  • Ways SaaS brands can improve their SEO

Are you familiar with companies like Google, Slack, Shopify, Zoom, and Square?

Then you’re familiar with the software-as-a-service industry, or SaaS. 

With an annual growth rate of 18%, SaaS brands have become one of the fastest-growing business models in recent years. In fact, experts project the global SaaS workload will reach 380 million in 2021. 

Because of how quickly technology changes, goals and strategies often evolve quickly in the SaaS world. That’s why having a strong SEO strategy as part of your digital marketing plan is essential to stand out from the competition. 

SaaS SEO strategies

With SaaS being the competitive space that it is, an effective SEO strategy is imperative if you want to stand out. (Image via Unsplash)

What is SaaS SEO?

Of course, SEO is important for all businesses with an online presence. It helps your website and content have the best chance of ranking in a potential consumer’s organic search results. It’s also a cost-effective way to position your brand as a thought leader and grow your reach. 

The main goal of SaaS SEO is to increase your organic website traffic by securing high rankings for a list of relevant keywords people might use when searching for something that matches or is similar to what you offer. With SaaS being the competitive space that it is, an effective SEO strategy is imperative if you want to stand out. 

PPC, social ads, and affiliate marketing are often used by SaaS companies to rapidly grow their customer base, but it can sometimes result in higher acquisition costs. This is due to more competitors entering the market and targeting the same audience as your brand. A strong SaaS SEO strategy is a proven way to drive consistent traffic, which results in organic growth and lower cost-per-acquisitions (CPAs). 

The importance of SEO for SaaS companies

SaaS companies have seen a whopping 5,000% growth from 2011 to 2020, according to Scott Brinker’s Annual Martech 5000 analysis. With so many players vying for leads and attention across a variety of markets, it’s more important than ever to be sure that your SEO is where it needs to be. 

More than just helping your organic rankings, a strong SEO strategy can help you:

  • Scale your growth: When you focus on producing helpful evergreen content, you can reap exponential growth that will benefit your brand for years to come.
  • Reduce CPA: With paid media, such as all types of advertising or sponsorships, your CPA usually increases over time as most-likely to convert audiences are exhausted. While SEO requires ongoing investment, the costs rarely increase with each click. This results in reduced CPA over time.
  • Bring customers from other marketing channels: The SaaS content created for SEO purposes can also be used as part of other marketing strategies such as social media and email campaigns. Work smarter, not harder, by repurposing this content for a multi-channel approach that helps drive and convert consumers. 

Overcoming a common SaaS SEO challenge

To paraphrase Spider-Man, with great opportunity comes great responsibility. Most SaaS companies have robust tools at their disposal (not to mention unparalleled access to their customers). But working so closely with a tech product isn’t without its challenges, from outages to data breaches and plenty of unexpected setbacks in between. 

The same goes for SEO. One common SEO challenge SaaS companies face is consistently creating and optimizing high-quality content. Creating better content that provides consumers with more benefits is key to outranking competitors in the SaaS world. 

Taking the time to create engaging blog posts and product content that positions you as the expert will differentiate your SaaS brand from others. Tips for creating strong SEO content include:

  • Leveraging the right keywords
  • Ensuring your pieces are formatted thoroughly and consistently
  • Only publishing accurate, up-to-date content
  • Including engaging images or videos with your posts
  • Styling content in an easy-to-read way (with section headers, bulleted lists, and concise copy)
  • Including internal links along with external links to relevant, credible sites

Need more assistance with a digital marketing strategy for your SaaS company? We can help.

Tips for better SaaS SEO

The more time you spend on digital marketing for your SaaS brand, the more you realize things never stay stagnant for long. (Image via Unsplash)

5 SEO strategies for SaaS companies

1. Leverage knowledge centers

Along with an active blog schedule, it’s wise to consider having a knowledge center on your website. Similar to blogs, these centers often feature granular, in-depth content about your SaaS platforms functions and features. It’s a great place for tutorials, how-to videos, and screenshot-heavy walkthrough posts.

2. Promote your content

While creating engaging content is crucial, your posts shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Prioritize backlinking, which helps improve search rankings through other websites and online sources. This tactic illustrates that others trust your brand. You should also have a consistent practice of content promotion, whether thorough paid channels, on social media, via your newsletter or all of the above.

3. Include tools on your website

Having linkable assets and helpful tools on your SaaS website is another proven way to build your linking strategy and improve SEO. Tools can include calculators, downloadable checklists, product comparisons, or other items that provide value to visitors and make sense for your niche. This is a tangible way to provide value to visitors while they actionably engage with your site.

4. Ensure mobile optimization

Mobile-friendly websites are no longer a “nice to have.” They’re a must. Having a responsive web design ensures your website will render and work properly, regardless of the device your customers use to view it. Not only that, but Google’s mobile-first indexing has made a mobile-optimized website a top factor for ranking in search results. 

The takeaway 

The more time you spend on digital marketing for your SaaS brand, the more you realize things never stay stagnant for long. Goals evolve, rules change, and new competitors crop up all the time.

Luckily, building a strong SEO foundation can set your brand up for long-term success, without the fear of having to scrap everything and start from scratch because of a new, unexpected industry development. 

The idea behind SaaS is to make it easier for people to solve problems. By maintaining your SaaS brand’s SEO, you can be sure that the solution you’re providing connects with as many members of your audience as possible.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Jane Serra on Jun 1 , 2020

Check off these boxes to ensure your paid search marketing strategies are on the right track for your software as a service (SaaS) brand.

We’re calling it now: “pivot” is the theme of business in 2020. That goes for digital marketing, too. Across industries, customer needs and wants are changing. If you haven’t revisited your strategy playbook, now’s the time.

Luckily, SaaS teams are often more familiar with ever-changing goal posts than most. Whether B2B or B2C, SaaS products and platforms play a huge role across many industries, from finance to project planning and everything in between.

As your SaaS company adapts its marketing strategies to the changing times, there are a few key areas to focus on to make your paid search campaigns more effective. As one of the most effective digital marketing tactics in terms of ROI, this strategy can help ensure your SaaS company is set up to forge ahead. Here are some expert insights for how to do it right.

1. Aim for the right type of lead volume

Of course, there’s a drastic difference between increasing your SaaS lead count and attracting high-quality leads. If more people are clicking on your ad but there’s no increase in on-site conversions — or, ultimately, sales — you know adjustments need to be made. (This is especially crucial because you’re paying for each click.)

Sometimes, aligning yourself with well-known clients or customers can encourage higher caliber prospects to jump on board. Consider using recognizable industry names from your portfolio of happy customers in ads or on landing pages. This, paired with any industry awards, certifications or accolades, can boost your credibility and authority in the industry. 

2. Focus on the facts

As a SaaS company, successful sales often rely on how effectively you demonstrate the value of your product — and how it stands out from your competition. When you know the challenges faced by your prospective clients, you can cater your ads and content to the product features that will be most relevant to their needs.

Showing metrics is also a good way to prove your offering’s worth. It’s one thing to say you can save a company money, for example. It’s quite another to say you can potentially save them at least $50,000 — and have the data to back it up.

3. Know how to properly use LTV

Too many SaaS marketing agencies focus on lead volume. But especially with the longer sales cycles that tend to come with SaaS, it’s crucial to be calculating lifetime value (LTV). This figure can be used to make critical decisions, such as how much you pay for user acquisition and how your target through paid search ads. This is why lead scoring, as we’ve mentioned before, is crucial for a strong SaaS marketing strategy.

Hubspot explains you can determine lifetime value by calculating the average purchase value, average purchase frequency rate, customer value, and average customer lifespan. Ultimately, multiplying customer value by the average customer lifespan should give you your LTV. Once you have an accurate number, compare that with your customer acquisition cost (CAC) to make sure you’re getting the ROI you want. 

4. Understand what constitutes quality conversions

Speaking of LTV, your goal should always be to create clients for life. Because it costs money to acquire new clients, the more clients you keep, the less it’ll cost you (no surprise there). Plus, an increase in client volume coupled with a decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA) can save you serious money.

Understanding this can help you market with the long game in mind. Big players and key clients will sometimes visit your website or contact you with questions many times before deciding to make a purchase, but that type of client can be more lucrative in the long run. 

Pro tip: Investing in remarketing is a great way to keep your brand top of mind with those who are already aware of your business but maybe weren’t yet ready to buy the last time they interacted with your site. 

10 Tips SaaS Companies Need to Know About Paid Search Marketing

Using charts, diagrams and grids can allow you to clearly display how you’re different from your competition. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Consider your landing page your lifeline

A landing page is where a user ends up after clicking your paid search ad. This page needs to present the purpose and products of your company clearly and convincingly. It should give viewers a reason to take an action, whether that’s downloading a piece of content or filling out a form. 

One way to create landing pages that offer a wow factor is to use impressive numbers and statistics as proof points. Think of it as walking the walk — not just talking the talk. For example, stating that you can save clients up to 50% or cut their customer service calls in half (and even offering a past customer example) is more convincing than saying your product “utilizes the latest technology.”

Along with potentially incorporating metrics, visual aids can be effective at drawing attention to the desired call to action (CTA). Using charts, diagrams and grids can allow you to more clearly display how you’re different from your competition in terms of:

  • Cost
  • Features and benefits
  • Contract or subscription type
  • Results

You can also mention specifics, like cost per user and “freemium” models. This helps attract clients’ attention and makes it easier for someone to familiarize themselves with your offerings before making a full-on purchase decision.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to target your competitors and their keywords with your SaaS paid search. This helps increase your exposure and gives you a chance to highlight what sets you apart from the rest, whether it’s a certain feature or a special offer.

6. Study your ideal client and current clients

If your search marketing strategy isn’t working as well as you’d hoped, you may have misread what matters to your target audience. Especially for technical and niche business, keyword targeting is crucial.

Due to the hyper-focused nature of the lingo in some of these industries, one keyword may have multiple meanings, some of which may not apply to your business (like event planning software for businesses vs. ticketed event platforms). It can be helpful to go back through and make some of the following changes:

  • Adjust display times
  • Switch up keywords
  • Use more compelling ad copy
  • Tailor by language and location
  • Add negative keywords to your paid search campaigns

Sometimes all you need is a display campaign targeted to a very narrow audience to start attracting the right kind of clients. When you choose to go this route, however, it’s key to pick your placements carefully and make sure they’re on relevant sites.

7. Leverage long-tail keywords

When it comes to paid search marketing, longer search terms often mean higher intent. Think of it this way: someone searches “blender,” and someone else searches “Vitamix black 5200 standard high performance blender.” Who do you think is more inclined to make a purchase?

The same goes for SaaS. Going after more relevant, long-tail keywords not only targets those with higher intent, but it also snags those who are potentially in the “research” stage of the funnel, which can be just as valuable.

ten-tips-saas-companies

Offering educational content shows clients and prospects that you genuinely want to help them solve problems and illustrates that you’re a thought leader. (Image via Unsplash)

8. Aim to educate

While you’re certainly aware of the benefits your products and services offer, you have to assume prospective clients aren’t. That’s why educating your audience should be a big focus in your digital marketing strategy. You can do this through leveraging content like:

  • Demos
  • Video tutorials
  • White papers
  • Case studies

Offering educational content not only shows your clients and prospects that you genuinely want to help them solve problems, but it illustrates that you’re a thought leader in your space as well. You can offer this content via your paid search ad or on the landing page to get interested leads clicking around your site. 

9. Stay true to your brand

Using a variety of simultaneous campaigns and platforms is often a strong approach, since most viewers don’t become clients after one touchpoint or interaction. But even though you’re using different ad channels, your message and mission should be consistent across all of them.

Analyzing your data through Google Analytics or your CRM can highlight typical user patterns. This lets you focus your efforts on the best channels to increase ad effectiveness. When you know your standard user goes from an ad click to remarketing to white paper to a YouTube video before converting, you can budget better.

10. Look beyond Google Ads

There’s no denying that, by and large, Google is the top search engine around. But that doesn’t mean others, like Microsoft’s Bing, are worth ignoring. In fact, Microsoft Advertising makes it easy to export your Google Ads campaigns to their platform. 

Not only that, but you could see better results with a lower average cost per click (CPC). Depending on your target audience, you may even find less competition on the Microsoft Ad platform, which includes those searching on the Bing, Yahoo, and AOL platforms.

The takeaway

As you talk through your paid search marketing goals and strategies, you may find that a SaaS marketing agency is what you need to take your program to the next level and leverage ideas you might not have thought of before. 

For example, you may achieve a lower CPC when you push content downloads and assets and then follow up with an email or retargeting instead of focusing solely on free trials and demos. Whether you partner with pros or keep things in-house, the above best practices will set you up to craft winning paid search campaigns for your SaaS company.

This post has been updated and was originally published in August 2019.

Jane Serra

Jane Serra

Jane Serra is the VP of Marketing at HawkSEM. She's an accomplished marketing executive with more than 12 years of experience leading digital marketing teams across demand generation, branding, events, content, and communications. When she's not strategizing, networking, and honing her craft, she enjoys traveling and scrolling Yelp for new restaurants to try.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Steve Dang on May 27 , 2020

In SaaS, goals and plans often change fast — you need a marketing agency that can keep up.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How marketing agencies can benefit SaaS brands
  • What questions to ask potential agencies
  • How to prepare before you start searching
  • What red flags to look out for

Whether you’re building your company from the ground up or are slated for a near-future IPO, there are tons of benefits for SaaS brands looking to partner with a digital marketing agency. After all, a strong marketing strategy is key to properly targeting your audience and expanding your reach.

Working with an agency is one way to focus on growing your business while knowing your initiatives are in good hands. But how can you determine which SaaS marketing agency is right for you? Let’s find out.

hawksem: saas marketing agency

Once you’ve decided to look into partnering with an agency, there are steps to take before you start scheduling consultations. (Image via Rawpixel)

Know when it’s time to partner with an agency

Whether you’ve been operating your marketing program in-house or were working with a consultant, there are some signs that’ll tell you it might be time to partner with an agency. SaaS companies are fast-growing by nature. If you’re looking to scale your business, working with an experienced agency just makes sense.

With an agency, you get the perks of having multiple people with years of experience working on your marketing efforts without having to put together a full-time team yourself, which can end up costing a lot of money and time. For SaaS companies in search of top marketing talent, agencies can serve as a one-stop shop for PPC, SEO, and everything in between.

Clearly define your marketing goals

Once you’ve decided to explore a partnership, there are steps to take before you start scheduling consultations. Namely, you need to have your digital marketing goals clearly defined. Knowing your company’s roadmap is also helpful during this process, but the nature of SaaS is that roadmaps can change quickly — and often. A good SaaS marketing agency will understand that.

Whether you want to focus on one aspect of digital marketing (like PPC) or experiment with a few, you’ll likely find the most success through partnering with a well-rounded agency.

That’s because agencies with multiple specialties will be able to offer you suggestions for new programs or campaign approaches that have worked well for them in the past, versus simply sticking to one SaaS marketing vertical.

hawksem blog: saas marketing agency

Lead scoring is crucial for a strong SaaS marketing strategy, so make sure the agency you work with is doing it. (Image via Rawpixel)

Look for a SaaS marketing agency with experience

This may seem obvious, but it can’t be overstated how beneficial (and time-saving) it’ll be to find an agency with experience in your industry. Digital marketing strategies aren’t one size fits all. 

When you find an agency with SaaS experience, there’s a good chance they already have insight into things like:

Pro tip: Lead scoring is crucial for a strong SaaS marketing strategy. Ideally, you want the agency you work with to do end-to-end attribution, which means optimizing for business outcomes (and signed deals and contracts) rather than just leads.

Ask them how they’d optimize your program

During your searching and vetting process, you may encounter SaaS marketing agencies that boast incredibly impressive results and make big promises. While they should be able to show you past successes, make sure that they don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well.

One effective way to discern which agencies can actually deliver on their projections is by getting them to check out your program (if you already have one in place). Ask them what they recommend doing differently to achieve better results. Even a mini-analysis should give you helpful insight into their process, how they communicate, and whether or not they truly know their stuff.

Pro tip: The agency you choose should have a deep understanding of the SaaS sales process, which often means longer sales cycles and more emphasis on demos

Look out for any red flags

Under-delivering isn’t the only red flag you should be on the lookout for. While different agencies operate in different ways and work with the resources they have, you want to feel like you’re in good hands. 

Knowing you’ll be working with an experienced account manager instead of a more junior-level specialist is a great start. Having more than one person working on your account is also beneficial. This means you get the benefit of more combined skills, and leaves you less vulnerable to issues or hiccups if someone goes on leave or exits the company.

Low cost with a high promised return can be another red flag. In digital marketing, as in most aspects of business, you generally get what you pay for. If a firm offers a surprisingly low cost, that may mean they’re outsourcing your account to more low-level analysts who rely too much on automation and not enough on a personalized approach.

hawksem: saas marketing agency blog

Even if an agency checks all the boxes, if something feels off to you, don’t ignore it. (Image via Rawpixel)

Follow your instincts

There’s only so much vetting you can do before choosing a SaaS marketing agency, and no crystal ball can predict if your partnership will work out. Along with all of the tips outlined above, it’s most important to go with your gut.

Pay attention to how these potential agencies communicate with you: Do they seem to have positive attitudes? Are they transparent and clear? Do they seem organized and in the loop when it comes to SaaS marketing trends?

Even if an agency checks all the boxes, if something feels off to you, don’t ignore it, or you may be kicking yourself months down the road.

Pro tip: Don’t fall for a company that touts itself based solely on a few top-tier clients or how long they’ve been in business. While these can be signs of a good agency, you still want to see if they’re a good fit by doing your homework and asking for actionable insights into your current program.

The takeaway

Working with a marketing agency that’s experienced in the SaaS space means less time spent onboarding and familiarizing, and more time pinpointing exactly what changes need to be made to improve your program.

By knowing what to look for in a potential agency, you can partner with a team of knowledgeable experts that can transform your digital marketing and help you stand out from the competition.

Wondering how HawkSEM has achieved success for SaaS brands? Let’s talk.

Steve Dang

Steve Dang

    Steve Dang is Director of Digital Marketing & Strategy at HawkSEM. He's got more than 10 years of experience leading digital teams and revenue growth, working with clients in SaaS, FinTech, E-commerce, higher education, financial services, and more. In his spare time, Steve enjoys long runs, long swims, and long books.

    Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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