Tag Archives: SaaS

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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 Steve Dang on Mar 2 , 2021

Check off these boxes to ensure your PPC marketing strategies are on the right track for your SaaS brand.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Dos and don’ts when it comes to PPC for SaaS brands
  • How to make your assets work for you
  • Why retargeting (the right way) is key
  • Tips for optimizing your SaaS landing pages

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies have always faced a unique set of marketing obstacles, with long sales cycles and an emphasis on demos. Then 2020 happened, and things got even more difficult.

Many businesses had to make major shifts in their strategies and operations. The sudden changes in routines affected everything, including digital marketing. 

While website traffic and searches experienced a surge, the competition and cost of paid ads took a downward trend, according to Search Engine Watch. In 2021, customer wants and needs are still changing. Luckily, most SaaS teams are more than familiar with ever-changing goal posts.

As one of the most effective digital marketing tactics in terms of ROI, pay-per-click (also known as PPC or paid search) ads can help ensure your SaaS company is set up to weather the next unexpected storm. 

Here are 12 ways you can make PPC work for your SaaS brand.

1. Focus on credibility to convert visitors to leads

It’s especially key for SaaS brands to establish credibility from the beginning. If people are finding you through a search engine, they may not be acquainted with your company. (Unless they’re searching through a brand term, of course).

You want to make it clear that your company is legit right off the bat. One effective way of doing this is by aligning your brand with well-known clients.

If you have Fortune 500 clients in your roster, explore how you could leverage that through marketing, such as including their logos on your landing page (with permission). 

Even better: Create a case study that highlights your partnership with that brand and how they found success through working with you. This establishes credibility and helps people understand your offering on a deeper level.

HawkSEM: PPC Tips for SaaS Brands

OverOps uses brand logos and testimonials to illustrate their credibility.

You can also establish credibility through showcasing:

  • Awards
  • Press mentions
  • Client testimonials
  • Seller ratings

2. Always qualify your leads

Plenty of SaaS brands think they’re covering all the bases. They’ve got a customer relationship management (CRM) tool in place, and they properly store and track their leads. But if you’re not following up on those leads and taking advantage of lead scoring, you could miss out on helpful insights. 

There are two ways to score leads. The first is quantitative, which scores leads from 1 to 10, zero to 100, or something in between, depending on how granular you want to get. The other way is qualitative. For this, you can score with metrics like low, medium, or high probability. (Here’s how to use lead scoring in Salesforce.)

Once you decide how to score your leads, the next step is to optimize your campaigns for qualified leads. You don’t want to fall into the trap of seeing the conversion data inside of Google Analytics and simply optimizing for those conversions. 

Once you score your leads, it’s wise to connect them back to the originating campaigns, ad groups, keywords, segments, and devices. It’s tempting to rely on intuition when you’re optimizing campaigns, but the data won’t steer you wrong.

3. Know how to properly use CLV

Many SaaS marketing agencies focus a ton on lead volume. But, especially with the longer sales cycles that tend to come with SaaS, it’s also crucial to calculate customer lifetime value (CLV or 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. 

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 CLV.

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 CLV, your goal should always be to create clients for life. 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.

This mindset 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 multiple times before making a purchase, but that type of client can be more lucrative in the long run. 

SaaS PPC

Sometimes all you need is a display campaign targeted to a very narrow audience to start attracting the right kind of clients. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Put your best foot forward with landing pages

For SaaS companies in particular, your landing page is often the first step of the buyer’s journey for potential customers. So, it’s wise to prioritize ensuring your landing pages are as compelling and effective as possible.

As a guiding principle, make sure your landing page has a clear purpose. Each page element should work together to get the user to convert by filling out a form or performing some other desired call to action (CTA). You also want to entice visitors to scroll down through the entire page, if applicable, so the page shouldn’t be too long.

Extra features, like a chatbot, can also be quite useful in a landing page. They allow you to engage with your audience, reduce your bounce rate, and get a conversation started right then and there. You can also address any particular pain points they might have while the lead is warm.

Pro tip: Don’t let your landing pages go stale. You should consistently be testing them and optimizing accordingly.

6. Study your ideal client and current clients

If your search engine marketing (SEM) strategy is underperforming, you may have misread what matters to your target audience. Especially for technical and niche businesses, 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. (For example, event planning software for businesses offers something different than a ticketed event platform). It can be helpful to go back through and make some of the following changes:

  • Adjust display times
  • Switch up keywords
  • Refresh your ad copy
  • Tailor by language and location
  • Add negative keywords to your 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, pick your placements carefully and make sure they’re on relevant sites.

7. Nurture cross-channel alignment

Another common issue we see when it comes to PPC for SaaS is that various channels are too siloed and separate. This can result in miscommunication, unnecessary or repetitive efforts, and missed opportunities.

Synchronizing your channels can keep everyone working towards the same goal with a cohesive vision. When aligning on an element like your copy, you’ll know that you’re speaking to your target audience with a consistent voice and tone, whether it’s a followup email or a landing page.

Remedying this issue can be as simple as a weekly video sync or phone call with all the necessary team members to review and discuss current projects.

8. Take advantage of 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 concept can be applied to PPC for SaaS. Going after more relevant long-tail keywords targets those with higher intent and snags those potentially in the “research” stage of the funnel, which can be just as valuable.

Long-tail keywords are effective for SaaS brands because they help bring in better leads with PPC campaigns. This often results in more affordable leads that are highly qualified.

In the SaaS space, keeping low acquisition costs and sticking to budget are often major concerns. Focusing on long-tail keywords is a way to achieve desired results with these concerns in mind. To find the right long-tail keywords for your company:

  • Know your unique selling proposition and use that information in your keywords to highlight what makes you stand out 
  • Conduct keyword research to ensure your long-tail keywords are the same words customer would use in a query
  • Use keyword research tools to find ideal long-tail keywords for your market
  • Never use long-tail keywords that aren’t a good fit for your software or product, regardless of how easy they may be to rank for
  • Include questions in your long-tail keywords

9. Leverage all of your assets

It’s common for companies to generate a hefty amount of assets in their lifetime. But what good are assets that get lost in the shuffle or can’t easily be found?

SaaS marketing relies heavily on audience education — assets play a key part in that. In the past, keeping premium content gated was the best practice. Nowadays, it’s better to keep this content ungated to improve the chances of converting the lead instead of, as Search Engine Stream explains, possibly increasing your website’s bounce rates.

Whitepapers, insightful research, templates, and other similar content are excellent assets to educate and nurture your audience. Plus, having assets covering each buyer’s journey stage is an easy way to target the right person with the right content at the right time.

Pro tip: Keep your assets organized in a spreadsheet — preferably a cloud-based doc that your team can access, such as Google Sheets. It can include things like links to each piece, what stage of the buyer’s journey it addresses, and the type of content it is.

10. Avoid ad fatigue

With the lengthy sales cycle for SaaS brands, you can almost bet that leads will see the same ads over and over as they perform similar searches during their “research” phase. Eventually, this can cause ad fatigue with your target audience, and they may begin to ignore the ads.

This not only hurts your click-through rates and results in higher PPC costs, but it can also reduce the chances of a lead coming back to you when they’re ready to purchase. 

The best way to avoid ad fatigue is to cycle out ads regularly. Changing out your ads every month or so will likely result in better campaign and conversion results. 

11. Look beyond Google Ads

While Google is a major player in the search engine game, others, like Microsoft’s Bing, shouldn’t be ignored. 

Microsoft Advertising makes it easy to export your Google Ads campaigns to their platform. Plus, you could see even better results with a lower average cost per click (CPC) and have your ad spend budget go further. Depending on your target audience, you may find less competition on the Microsoft Ad platform, which includes those searching on the Bing, Yahoo, and AOL platforms. 

12. Consider retargeting

When it comes to PPC for Saas, retargeting can be a game-changer. This type of ad connects your SaaS offering with people who have already visited your site or mobile app. 

Google Ads is set up so that the default audience is generally set at 30 days. But this is often not enough time for the SaaS sales cycle, which can end up being three or six months out.

Once you determine a rough estimate for how many days it takes your leads to convert, you can tailor your campaigns accordingly, as long as it follows the platforms’ rules and is within the maximum membership duration. 

A lot of educating can take place during the buyer’s journey. If you’re serving white papers or other content campaigns that last longer than 30 days, your retargeting should do the same.

Lastly, don’t just retarget your entire audience. Make sure different audiences are getting different tailored messages when possible.

Pro tip: Platforms like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn all have their own retargeting tags, so make sure you’re placing each retargeting tag properly.

Speaking of LinkedIn, here’s a bonus video tip taken from our webinar all about PPC for SaaS:

 

 

 

The takeaway

PPC for SaaS brands often isn’t a straight-line path from A to B. Rather, it’s about different campaign types working together, nurturing your audience with education, and serving up various resources that ultimately get them to convert. 

As you talk through your digital 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. 

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. Want even more PPC for SaaS tips? Check out this webinar recording.

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

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.

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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.

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