If you have a SaaS business, most of the time you’re going to need to hire a SaaS marketing agency to help you with content.
This article is going to evaluate whether or not the agency you’re dealing with has the skill and the human resources to create the content you need. First of all, we’ll go through what do you need to plan your marketing strategy, then we’ll map out the questions you need to ask yourself when choosing your SaaS content marketing agency. In the last part, we’ll explain what you need to look for in a content marketing agency.
1.1 – User Research
In any kind of business, it is essential to know what makes your users tick. What are their problems that your product solves? What do they have in common in terms of demographics and location?
This kind of information and any data that can help you determine your buyer persona is highly relevant to figure out how to choose your SaaS content marketing agency. You need to be aware of the problems your target audience has and how to solve them using your product.
There are several ways to figure out what does your target audience look like. These are a few:
- Personas – Define your user demography and location, interests and goals;
- Surveys – Research into your user base and use their answers to understand them better;
- Face to face interviews – Old school technique, but still highly relevant;
- Phone interviews – Quick and simple to do;
- Emails – Less intrusive than phone or face to face, but still highly targeted;
- Competitive analysis – Reviews from your competitors can be useful to help you understand the biggest issues your SaaS needs to solve.
1.2 – Mapping your SEO Strategy to the SaaS Marketing Funnel
When defining what do you want from your SEO efforts, you need to study your user journey.
It’s no surprise that SaaS businesses have a very specific marketing funnel. The sales process for SaaS products is long, in the sense that users need a little bit of time to make up their mind.
This is why your content activity needs to mirror your SaaS marketing funnel: you need to give your audiences what they need from you from the awareness stage until there is a decision to purchase. This can include different resources: ebooks, white papers, case studies, infographics… In B2B SaaS marketing, educating your users is essential to make sure you stay in your prospects’ mind.
If your email marketing gets you most of your visitors, that’s an indicator that you should remember when developing a comprehensive game plan. Same goes for other channels – you need to know if your SaaS content marketing agency adapts to the channels and audiences that are already working for you.
2 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Ask Your SaaS Content Marketing Partner
There are a few things you should be aware of before starting to look for a SaaS content marketing agency ( or marketers). We’ll go through the three main questions you need to ask yourself beforehand.
#1 What are your expectations for results? What, why, and when?
A content marketing strategy is just like any other kind of advertising: if you don’t know what you actually want, you’ll never get there. It’s not easy to determine goals, but you definitely need them for your content marketing.
First of all, experts like Joe Pulizzi, the father of content marketing, say you should expect results from a content marketing strategy within 12 to 18 months. If you can’t wait that long, maybe you shouldn’t invest in content marketing. Perhaps PPC will be better for you.
So, the “when” is highly important, but also the “what” and “why”. What is your target with this campaign? To increase awareness? To improve your conversion rate? You need to know. And why is that relevant?
Usually, your “why” should give you the “what”. What motivates your business gives you the goals you should aim for.
#2 What parts of content marketing do you need the most help with?
If you do part of your content marketing in-house already, maybe all you need is someone to help you find the right topics. Or perhaps you know the keywords you want to target, but don’t have any writer working with you to create your content. Either way, you need to know what you need.
Define your needs when it comes to content marketing and you’ll more easily be able to tell if that SaaS content marketing agency is “the one” for you or not. Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions that come to mind. You’re the client, you should know what you are buying.
#3 Have you considered the budget required?
Content is an area of marketing that’s not as old as, let’s say, design or copywriting. This makes it more difficult to budget for content marketing.
Nonetheless, you should ask for budgets from several different companies to figure out how much you are willing to pay. Each company quantifies their work differently, but that’s an uncertainty you have to deal with if you’re looking for a SaaS content marketing agency.
Of course, you shouldn’t accept either too high a budget (because it takes a while to see results) or a budget that’s too low (when agencies cheap out, it’s likely they’re not going to put much effort into your content).
Find a balance between the budget required and a comprehensive content service proposal.
3 – What to look for in a SaaS content marketing agency
Now, on to what you really want to know: what should you look for in a SaaS content marketing agency? In this final section, we’ll go through what you need to know in order to be able to hire a SaaS content marketing agency confidently. Read on to find out!
3.1 – Track record of client results
If you don’t have any references from previous clients of the agency you’re considering, you need to be careful.
Look up their website and see if they have reviews. Check for testimonials from previous clients, the brands they show in their portfolio, everything. If you need to make a few phone calls, so be it. It’s not much time to lose when it’s probably going to save you thousands of dollars. It’s important to make sure you have an idea of what to expect when hiring that agency.
If your agency has good references from previous clients, a good track record, and shows off some pretty awesome results, you know you’re in for a winner.
3.2 – Case studies
Case studies are highly relevant, but you need to make sure they are showing the truth. We recommend having an SEO tool to check the truth in those claims – usually tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush are able to give you indicators such as traffic growth.
You should always ask about case studies and insights in order to get specific metrics clear. Of course, sometimes the SaaS content marketing agency you’re after does not have case studies (not common these days, but it happens). In that case, I recommend to keep on looking.
It’s not that case studies are a deal breaker: however, they have huge relevancy for a modern marketing agency. An agency that does not care about case studies can be sloppy and old-fashioned – two things you definitely don’t want in your marketing.
3.3 – Content that ranks on Google
Does the agency you’re considering have high ranking content in Search Engine Result Pages? This is of the utmost importance. You can ask for examples of ranking content, and check it yourself. As we mentioned in the previous question, SEO tools can help you figure out whether the results your SaaS content marketing agency shows are true.
Why should you worry whether the agency you’re after ranks on Google? Well, if they promise to you you’re going to rank, they should be able to do the same for their articles.
It’s difficult to rank high for a specific keyword, and that’s why you should demand proof. If your agency can’t rank for their own keywords, it’s likely they won’t be able to rank your articles either.
3.4 – Do they offer content strategies?
As we mentioned previously, you need to have a “what”, “why” and “when”. This translates into content strategies for the agency you’re working with. Is that company able to provide you with a strategy, a plan for what they are going to offer you?
If the agency just gives you vague guidelines such as “improving your content”, tread carefully. The agency might be able to improve your content, but are they going to achieve your content marketing goals?
The right SaaS content marketing agency will give you measurable goals and design a specific game plan to achieve them.
3.5 – Does the agency understand your target customer?
This is an important question in order for you to pick your ideal agency. If you’re talking to an old school agency and your target are Gen X’ers, you probably won’t get the message across. So, you need to make your customer specificities clear with the agency you’re negotiating with. Your goals need to match your target audience, and you can’t hire an agency that’s not aware of it.
Sometimes, the SaaS content marketing agency you hire might not exactly fit your users perfectly. That’s alright. If your agency is able to match your target audience with their communication, it doesn’t matter their demography. Understanding is accessible to anyone.
3.6 – Do they create their own content?
We don’t have anything against agencies that do not produce their own content. However, if the agency you’re hiring uses a freelancer to produce all their content marketing, you might as well go after the freelancer and hire him or her directly.
It is also relevant to consider that agencies that delegate their content production might not be that knowledgeable in content strategy. You need to make clear where the agency work starts and the freelancer participation ends.
You should make sure that the agency you’re going to hire is able to produce your content without depending on anyone else. If the whole content plan for an agency depends on one single person, that’s not a structure you should get behind.
3.7 – Pricing
Pricing is not just about the general cost of your content marketing, but also about how it is measured.
Let’s say a SaaS content marketing agency charges you by the piece. Is that better than paying a monthly fee?
Well, that’s going to depend on how much you need that agency to create and on your posting frequency. You need to make sure you’re hiring what you need according to your budget too.
3.8 – Results and reporting
If you have already figured out your “what, why and when”, this should be easy for you. Once you know what you need to measure, it’s easy to ask for the right reports and insights from the agency you’ve hired.
Let’s say you want to build awareness through your content. Then you need to measure the number of shares you’re getting, the number of new visitors in your website, the bounce rate… It takes a bit of skill to be able to understand which metrics can tell you if you’ve reached your objetives
In this article, we went through all the key elements that should guide you when looking for a SaaS content marketing agency. It’s not easy, but if you know what you’re looking for, that’s an advantage you have against your competitors.
The questions we posed in this article should make it easier to define your objectives and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for your content marketing. We’ll sum it up: get track records, investigate case studies, check if their content ranks for Google, if they offer content strategies, if the agency understands your target costumer, do they produce their own content, and, finally, what is their pricing, and how to calculate results and reporting.
These are the main questions in order to make your content marketing efforts work and have a positive ROI. However, only you will know the right questions to ask. No one knows your business better than you.
If you’d like to learn more about how we help B2B SaaS companies grow their MRR through content marketing and SEO, schedule a free SaaS scale session to speak with someone on our team.
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