How to Find the Best SaaS Marketing Agency in 2022
The SaaS industry is filled with intense competition already, so the only way to stand out is by developing a strategic marketing plan. That's because doing all you can to put your business out there is the only way to get noticed by leads which you’ll eventually nurture into paying clients.
But what happens if you don’t have any genius marketers on your team? What should you do if you lack the time to sift through lots of content gurus and marketers by yourself?
Then you might want to consider hiring a SaaS marketing agency. But even that in itself isn't as easy as it sounds. Finding a marketing agency that aligns with your goals can be one hell of a task. But with this guide, you’ll get all the help you need to decide whether to go with an in-house marketing team or outsource to a competent SaaS agency.
In-house Marketing Team vs SaaS Marketing Agency – Which Is Better?
Before deciding on whether to enlist the services of a SaaS marketing agency, you might have juggled the idea of creating an in-house marketing team instead. At this point, you’re probably wondering which is the better option.
The truth is, you’ll have to consider different factors to arrive at a conclusion. One perk of creating an in-house marketing team is that you’ll have them as your staff, solely focused on your brand alone and nothing else. But doing so also means you could be at risk of your in-house team not being knowledgeable and up-to-date with the most current marketing techniques and trends in the industry.
Having an in-house team has its benefits but the fact remains that you will have to invest a lot of time and resources in hiring and training your employees. And for someone handling the responsibilities that come with keeping your SaaS brand running, chances are you lack the luxury of time needed to get your dedicated marketing team up to speed.
But if you choose to bring in a SaaS marketing agency, you might stand to benefit more. For one, an agency usually comprises a team of experts who possess a wide range of skills. With their experience and knowledge of the intricacies of the SaaS industry and what it takes to implement great marketing campaigns, you'll be keeping your brand in good hands while you focus on other important parts of your business.
In addition to their marketing knowledge, a SaaS agency also knows what the latest tools are and how to get the best out of them for your brand. That means you can hire a full-service marketing agency to handle everything from web development and content marketing to social media management and paid advertising. So why bother spending valuable time and resources building your own in-house team when you can plug into an already existing team of experts and the form of a SaaS marketing agency?
Keep in mind, however, that it will eventually come down to your decision whether to go with a marketing agency or hire and create your own in-house team. But you want to keep in mind the ease and efficiency that SaaS marketing agencies bring while saving you time.
What to do Before Picking a SaaS Marketing Agency
Now you've chosen to go for a marketing agency rather than develop your in-house team. While that's a great choice, keep in mind that the SaaS space is broad, and as such, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting your brand in front of your target audience. So it's up to you to decide what specific services you need from your chosen agency. Some of such services include:
A SaaS marketing agency can adopt a wide range of approaches in order to help you meet your business goals. You’ll find a full-service agency capable of handling various aspects of marketing in the SaaS industry. But some agencies specialize in specific areas alone.
So you must identify what service you need before going on to pick an agency. With that in mind, it makes sense to consider the different SaaS marketing agencies and how to find the right one.
Types of SaaS Marketing Agencies (and How to Hire the Right One)
SaaS Content Marketing Agency
Content marketing is a powerful tool for most businesses in the software as a service sphere, and 91% of B2B marketers even say they drive sales using content marketing. You might have a bigger marketing plan in which content marketing will play a crucial part, or you're probably looking to focus on content marketing alone. Either way, your goal should be to find a marketing agency for SaaS businesses that has a history of excellence in creating a content plan and strategy that works.
It's all about finding a content marketing team that knows the ins and outs of reaching your audience with the right content through the right channel. Virtually every marketing agency out there claims to be an expert when it comes to content marketing. So choosing one that serves your business interests best will need you to do some vetting. Here’s what to do:
Evaluate their proposed approach and find out if it is based on an audience-first strategy. That's because your customers will have different needs as they move along in their journey, and that's something you want to be aware of. Recognizing their needs will help you provide them with valuable resources and content that solve their problems.
Make sure the agency knows how to create excellent content. If they can’t tell their own story, would you trust them to tell yours? It’s one thing to tell a story but yet another to do it in a way that excites and engages your audience. It’d help to have them send you case studies that prove they can provide results.
Ensure they understand your objectives and can come up with a solid process and strategy to draw your customers in at every stage in their journey. This is how you vet their content-distribution abilities.
Have them prove that they can create actionable personas. You can do so by going over any personas they created in the past. That way, you'll be able to see how invested they are in getting to know your customers and understanding them in order to create the right personas. Personas must be customizable, have rich detailing, and be built on market/customer research.
SaaS PPC Agency
Without the right resources, all efforts channeled towards setting up and implementing an effective pay-per-click advert strategy might just go down the drain. That's because of the complexity and time-sensitive nature of paid advertising. This is where hiring a PPC agency makes sense because they specialize in all things paid advertising for the SaaS industry. Here's what to do before hiring a PPC agency:
Come up with clear goals so you can find a PPC agency capable of helping you achieve them. Are you looking to increase conversions, launch a new product, generate leads, or drive more attention to your brand? Once your goals and objectives are clear, it becomes easier to define them to any PPC agency that will then sell you a solution.
Get a quote and take a look at what pricing structure the agency offers. The goal here should be to find an agency that offers a pricing plan that suits your budget. Some will ask that you pay a fixed rate every month, while others offer a pricing structure based on results. Other agencies will require you to pay a percentage of whatever is spent on ads every month. Another approach to pricing is a hybrid system where you pay a base fee before moving on to a percentage-based model.
Get the agency to explain their advertising strategy for your brand before they implement it. It's normal for most agencies not to divulge all the details of their process until you commit to an agreement by signing a contract. So focus on what’s most important by finding out what channels will yield better results. Ask for their analysis on what they think your current strategy lacks. And then find out how they plan to make use of your resources in the most efficient way.
SaaS Inbound Marketing Agency
When looking to promote your SaaS product/service, you will have to rely a lot on a promotional strategy called inbound marketing. This style of marketing has to do with developing a valuable relationship with your leads up to a point where they eventually check what you have to offer and grab your product.
If that’s what you're looking to achieve, then you want to steer clear of any marketing agency that doesn’t intend to use social media and blog posts to put your brand out there. Follow these guidelines to evaluate the competency of any SaaS inbound marketing agency:
Know what you want from a SaaS inbound agency in terms of commitment. Will you require them to combine inbound processes with other channels such as email or ads? Or do you just need them to focus on inbound alone?
Find out how well they make use of inbound marketing. You want to look at the kind of content they create and how they get it distributed. Check their social media space and blog to see how they build connections. There's no point hiring an inbound agency that doesn't perform well using the same methods to generate leads for their brand. That's proof that they probably lack the skills to get more leads to grab your product.
Determine what inbound marketing tools they leverage to provide their services and deliver results. Find out if they intend to use any software systems and how they plan to do so. Getting all the information necessary to understand their process will help you determine whether a marketing agency is the best one to entrust your inbound fate with.
SaaS SEO Agency
Google’s first page is the desired destination for SaaS companies looking to rank for specific keywords. But not every SaaS brand will enjoy that privilege and the visibility that comes with it. While content is key to ranking in SERPs, churning out random content regularly won't do you any good if you do not put search results into consideration.
A SaaS SEO marketing agency could be your best shot at getting massive attention online for specific keywords that your target audience searches for. But it will also require some level of patience to achieve significant results even while working with an agency. That's because search engine optimization is more of a long-term journey. To make sure you hire the right SEO agency for your SaaS business, here are some important steps to take:
Analyze the history of the agency and consider how they have performed in the past. Were they able to achieve great results for other clients? And how did those results compare to what you are looking to achieve for your brand? You want to make sure your evaluation yields positive answers.
Get online and check them out to see what past clients have to say about them. You also want to look at client references and case studies. Those evaluation sources will give you a better idea of what to expect if you choose to work with the agency. Ask that they forward you their results. They should be happy to do so if they really have achieved excellent results previously. Go a step further to get in touch with any clients of theirs to get an idea of what the experience looks like. That should help you ascertain how genuine the SEO agency is.
Doing your due diligence puts you in a better position to tell if your SaaS business will benefit from working with the marketing agency. However, there are some mistakes you want to steer clear of while trying to vet a SaaS SEO agency:
Avoid looking at “TOP SEO” guides. That's because there are lots of websites online that come up with these articles for SEO agencies. So a simple “best SEO Marketing Agency” search on Google will expose you to most of them. What you should know, however, is that some of these agencies pay those websites to book a spot on the list. That makes them lack credibility.
Never write off an SEO agency simply because it doesn't rank on Google's first page. While you might want to begin your quest for an SEO agency by searching on Google, it would be wrong to assume that the best marketing agency should be at the top of the results page. It might surprise you to know that the best SEO agencies don't always channel resources towards optimizing their pages for search engines just to gain leads. Rather, the best marketing teams already have a large clientele which they have built through referrals from existing clients. SEO agencies that channel so much time and resources into boosting their performance in SERPs are usually the ones without a robust client base.
Don’t settle for cheap instead of value. Search engine optimization is technical, so what you pay for is what you get. With that in mind, you don’t want to base your selection on how cheap an agency is just to cut down on marketing costs. Doing so will most likely see you end up with an agency that delivers subpar results because they will have no option other than to make use of mediocre solutions. It's best to come up with a reasonably flexible SEO budget and then find an agency that can deliver value around your budget.
SaaS Branding Agency
A branding agency could be what you need if you want to focus on building a brand around your SaaS product. But you have to look for a couple of important things before making a choice. Some of those things include:
Experience: you want to focus on finding a branding agency that has worked with other businesses that specialize in your niche. But the most important part of their expertise should be the ability to show that they can communicate to your audience how your product stands out from your competition.
Connection: you want to work with an agency that is willing to collaborate and innovate proactively. Since you will have to work closely with the branding agency, you want to make sure that they have some sort of chemistry with your team. If the cultural feeling doesn’t fit, then it could be a wrong decision.
It’s always in your best interests to make sure you are clear about the kind of branding service you expect to get for your product. Do you want to completely relaunch the brand? Or are you just looking to add some level of freshness to the already-existing brand? Being able to communicate your ideas clearly will help you find a branding agency that aligns with your objectives. Keep in mind that every branding agency has a particular area where it excels. So you want to choose one that possesses the expertise that benefits your product.
Helpful Advice for Choosing a Marketing Agency
The one mistake some SaaS business owners make when looking to find a marketing agency is believing that any marketing is marketing. They think that any agency can get it done, no matter the strategy or process they choose to implement.
While that notion could apply sometimes, that's something you’d gamble on if you had the luxury of time and patience to spare in order to reach your marketing goals. The truth is, not all marketing is marketing today. SaaS marketing is not entirely the same as digital marketing, thanks to how specialized the industry has become. So it’s in your best interests to seek out expert marketers in your industry because that’s the only way to ensure you succeed in the long run.
That’s to say, your SaaS brand can’t survive on having a robust marketing strategy alone. You’ll also need to bring in a SaaS marketing agency that is experienced and skilled enough to help you implement it in your vertical.
It's quite clear that you will need to put a lot of factors into consideration before selecting a SaaS marketing agency that is the right fit for you. But while doing so, you don't want to make the selection process complicated. Instead, focus on the aspects that are most important, and everything else will fall in place.
Consider these 3 key areas to keep in mind in order to choose the best-fitting SaaS marketing agency:
- Your situation and goals
Before you start doing research to find a good marketing agency to help bring your ideas to life and goals to fruition, you ought to have an idea of what those goals are in the first place. If you can't identify your needs and clarify them, you’ll be hurting yourself in the end. No agency, no matter how prolific, will be able to achieve satisfactory results for you.
Knowing what your goals are and being clear about them doesn't have to be complicated. Try to keep it simple and tailored. It could be that your company wants to reduce the rate at which unqualified leads visit your website from your adverts. Or you might want to solve the problem of low volume from organic search traffic. Sometimes it can be more specific needs like deciding whether to stick with your current CRM or to get an entirely different one.
If you can determine your goals, then the agency you pick has a higher chance of meeting your objectives or solving a problem. Knowing what you want will also make it easier to pick the best SaaS marketing agency during your research process. To help simplify your goal analysis and then leverage that to select an agency, do the following:
Isolate your targets and objects, then start searching for marketing agencies that have been able to achieve the same target for their clients. Ask them for proof that shows they can do the same for you as well.
Come up with a reasonable marketing budget and find marketing companies willing to work within the limits of your financial resources.
Evaluate your analytics tools, CMS, CRM, and tech. Then find out which agency has the most experience solving problems related to your tech stack.
Look into the specific SaaS vertical you’re operating in and look for agencies that have experience in your area of specialization.
- Your budget
You guessed right. Enlisting the services of a SaaS marketing agency that has a track record of delivering results will cost you more than if you decided to go with a smaller agency. So how do you find the balance between your budget and the exorbitant price required to work with a big agency?
Being realistic does help. Hiring a marketing agency with the skills, expertise, and track record to deliver results will require a big budget, but you stand to gain a bigger ROI which will offset the costs for you. But picking a brand just because it offers a lower price is more like gambling with the possibility that you may see results or not.
In the end, knowing what your goals are can help you come up with a reasonable budget for a marketing agency. That’s to say, if you want to achieve a boost in your profits by a specific margin within a given period, make sure to factor in the hiring cost for an agency. That way, you’ll get a better idea of what your returns should look like and what you consider fair enough to spend. You’ll also have to give the agency time to create results that repay your investment.
- Key Performance Indicators
So let's say you’ve had some success determining what your goals are. That’s great, but it doesn't end there because you need metrics to keep you on track as you work to meet those goals. So whichever SaaS marketing agency you decide to bring on board must have an understanding of the most important metrics to track. We’ll highlight some of those key metrics below.
-Conversion Rate to Customer
-Customer lifetime value
-Leads by Lifecycle
-Qualified Lead Velocity Rate (LVR)
-Product-Qualified Leads (PQLs)
-Average Revenue Per Account (ARPA)
-Organic vs. Paid Traffic ROI
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of important metrics every SaaS business has to track. But the fact remains that knowing what the metrics are is just one side of the equation. You also want to set realistic key performance indicators (KPIs) as well to measure how well on track you are. That could also be tricky because setting very high KPIs means you may never achieve your targets. But setting them too low could translate into subpar wins.
Since you don't want to waste valuable time and resources chasing performance indicators that you can’t attain or tracking metrics that have no significance, focus on hiring a SaaS marketing agency that has an extensive understanding of the most important ones.
Picking a Valued Partner
In the end, you owe it to your SaaS business to go for a marketing agency that you can collaborate with professionally and constructively. So your agency of choice must meet specific criteria if you look at things objectively. Don’t compromise. Put in the work to find a marketing team that has all the requisite skills and knowledge to take charge of your marketing strategy and get your SaaS business to the next level.
You must trust your gut too. No matter how enticing the offer is, if you've got a bad feeling about the agency, take steps to find out why. Do everything within your power to vet the agency you’re bringing on board. Research them and verify that they are the best fit for your working style and cultural values. Look into their clientele to verify that they have a positive record.
You must go through the process because choosing a marketing team is like adding reinforcements to your business. You want to be sure that they have what it takes to do for your brand what they claim they can. Vet them along the following lines:
-Referrals from clients-How long the client relationships do last
-The background of the team
-Case studies to prove their expertise
-Reviews from past and existing clients
As soon as you’ve done all you can to prove the agency’s credibility using all the tools and resources you can find online, take it a notch further by requesting a discovery call. That should help you get into a much deeper discussion with an expert at the agency, most likely a project manager. Doing so will create room to discuss your expectations and ask relevant questions. You will also get to know what to expect if you eventually decide to move ahead with the agency.
The idea behind the discovery call is to evaluate the personality of the brand because you want to pick a valued partner that you and your team will feel satisfied working with during the coming months or years (as long as is necessary to create results). So if the discovery call ends with you not feeling right about the person or their work process, then they probably are not the right fit for you.
You’ll need energy and focus to choose the best SaaS marketing agency for your business. But if you can apply the advice in this guide, you’ll find how much easier it is to work your way through vetting any agency until you find one that can help you achieve your marketing goals and eventually go on to become a trusted partner.