In today’s digital world, the importance of inbound marketing is becoming more and more vital for any SaaS business. However, it is not always as simple to manage on your own as you might have wished.
Therefore, you may consider hiring a SaaS marketing agency to help you with your marketing efforts and activities.
In this guide, we will provide you with some helpful aspects to consider when choosing the best inbound marketing firm for your SaaS company.
1 – What is inbound marketing?
Do you know about the idea of push and pull marketing, which has existed for several decades now? If so, you also know about inbound and outbound marketing.
Push and pull marketing has been used as marketing terms, in order to explain two different ways to attract users and customers to your B2B business platforms.
“Push” marketing is normally used when a company tries to push out information about their product, service and/or business to a specific audience. Here you will try to reach as many relevant people as possible. While “pull” marketing refers to an approach where you are creating something valuable for your target audience. Something that draws people towards your offerings.
Outbound and inbound is basically the same as described above. It is just two new terms, which are technically replacing the terms “push” and “pull”, in this modern digital age.
Inbound marketing is about producing engaging and relevant content to pull your B2B audience towards your platforms.
However, you might come across some people who will argue that pull marketing is not 100 % the same as inbound marketing. Still, both terms are about attracting your target audience inbound. Consequently, the basic idea of the two concepts remains the same.
You are probably well familiar with the traditional pull/outbound marketing methods. These include everything from traditional TV and radio commercials, online banner ads, outdoor advertising, print advertising and the like.
Yet, with the constant development within the digital era that facilitates more and more online and social media marketing options, traditional marketing is facing several challenges. These includes:
- Many people are generally getting more immune to advertising. When browsing for online content, a big group of people has developed the so-called banner-blindness. This is a jargon used to describe how online users simply do not notice the huge amount of ppc advertising on different websites.
- Overall, the cost of traditional marketing is constantly growing. No matter if we are talking TV advertising or online advertising, the ads are generally getting more costly.
- It is easy to overspend and expose the same group of people with your traditional advertising over and over again. What will the consequence be in the long run? Most often, you do not end up with a new, loyal customer simply by overexposing. Rather, the user will be annoyed and turn away from your brand.
- There is a lack of trust in traditional marketing. Today people rely on other people’s reviews, opinions, etc. most often on social media or via worth-of-mouth.
- Influencer marketing is getting less valuable as people are now starting to recognize when an influencer is paid to sell and promote a specific product or service.
So how can you fight all the above-mentioned challenges with traditional marketing?
The answer will be to start focusing on inbound marketing, where you attract customers to your platforms with relevant content.
Inbound marketing can be utilized in four ways:
- On your company’s website.
- On your social media platforms.
- By using SEO as a way to promote your content
- By using third-party platforms to distribute your content, such as podcasts, YouTube, Blogs and the like.
2 – The Marketing Funnel
I order for you to really understand how inbound marketing works, it is essential that you are familiar with the marketing funnel.
The marketing funnel is used to demonstrate the customer’s journey from when they first get in contact with your product/service to they might end up being loyal customers of your offerings.
The funnel shape is used to illustrate how there will be more people in the previous steps of the funnel and fewer people at the bottom of the funnel.
Most often, the marketing funnel is explained with four major stages that the consumers can go through, these include:
- Awareness: Prospects are faced with a problem and start to search for a solution, or they become aware of your product/service.
- Consideration: Now the prospects start to search for and consider different solutions to their problem. They might be actively considering buying your offers.
- Conversion / Decision: The prospect eventually decides on a specific solution and purchase a product or service.
- Retention / Delight: Retaining is a fundamental element for all SaaS companies in order to be profitable, as this is where customers are delighted with your brand. Consequently, this will turn them into returning customers and maybe even advocates.
Inbound marketing is intended to draw customers at each of the four stages. Hubspot, the leader in marketing automation for B2B business wrote a very complete course about inbound marketing.
3 – What to look for when choosing an Inbound Marketing Agency
Ask about their process
When you hire a new bureau for your business, you want a firm that has a great amount of experience, and people who know what they are doing.
Therefore, it is a good idea to ask the potential agency about their approach to creating relevant inbound marketing strategies and tactics for clients. This should be easy for them to explain if they know their stuff.
Pay attention to the questions they ask you
If you are convinced that an agency knows how to generate a good inbound marketing strategy, then your next step should be to make sure that they could tailor a specific strategy for your company. Because the same inbound marketing strategy cannot be used for all firms.
In order for the agency to be able to create a unique plan for your SaaS business, they should try to understand the following:
- What are your specific goals with inbound marketing?
- Who is your audience and what do they respond to?
- What makes your company unique for the competitors?
The right agency will not just be pitching themselves only by focusing on what they are capable of. They should also be interested in gathering information about your company.
Ask about their current clients
You should always ask the agency about their current clients as this can help you clarify a few points.
First of all, if a bureau have several customers who they have worked with for many years, it indicates that the company is capable of delivering valuable work.
Furthermore, by understanding the agency’s past and current clients will give you an idea of whether or not they have worked with similar companies to yours – both in regards to size and industry. If the agency has similar experiences, you will know that they most likely will be able to help your firm.
Check out their work
Do not just trust what they are saying though!
It is always recommended that you talked with some of the past or current clients of the agency yourself. If it is a reliable bureau that is confident about their work, they should not have any problems with putting you in contact with other clients.
You can also visit some of the other clients’ websites and blogs where you can review the content they promote for their audience. Take a good look at the different kinds of work that they do. If you like what you see, then the agency might be a good fit for your business as well.
Find out who would be working on your account
Even though you might be hiring an inbound marketing agency, you will only be working with a few people from that company. So ask about who exactly would be working on your account. Get to know them and learn about their experiences and what kind of ideas or tactics they might have.
These marketers will be an essential part of the overall experience you will get while working with the chosen firm.
Find out what reports they provide
For you to reach you overall inbound marketing goal and ROI, you need to make sure you focus on the right metrics. Hence, it is important that you ask the agency what types of metrics they track and what kind of reports they will provide. For example, are they focusing more on acquisition or conversion?
Will the reporting be able to help you measure if you are meeting your inbound goals and conversions? If not, you might consider a different company.
Check how they do inbound marketing for their company
While it is always good to check out what they have done for other clients, it can be even more beneficial to look at their work on their own blog and/or website.
What content do they promote? Is it persuasive, helpful and interesting? Is the content of high quality? Has their content actually persuade someone like you to choose them as an agency? If so, then you can assume that the agency will be a good match for your business.
4 – SaaS Inbound Marketing Agency Pricing
When deciding on the best agency for your company it is also necessary to consider the used pricing structure.
A fixed fee price structure is the most simple price model a bureau can use. The agency will simply charge a fixed price based on the amount and type of work you have decided upon.
It is important that both parties have agreed to the actual work before the price is established.
Hourly Price Consulting
Just as with the fixed fee price model, this price structure also includes the inbound agency to charge an agreed amount. Yet, the cost is charged on an hourly basis.
This is not fundamentally a great solution. Because by practicing an hourly rate pricing structure you can sometimes endanger the efficiency of the overall marketing performance. That is not ideal! The inbound marketing execution should depend on the agency’s efficiency and not on the time they spend on it.
Pay for Performance
Another pricing model will include paying the agency according to the outcomes that they can deliver. This is called pay for performance pricing structure.
Most often, this is not an ideal price model for any inbound marketing agency, as good results can take time to create. One cannot expect great results to occur overnight.
In addition, there are numerous external factors that can affect any marketing performance. Factors, that are out of control for the specific agency. However, this doesn’t mean that the company is not providing great work and shouldn’t be paid for it.
The project-based price model is very similar to the fixed-fee model. With a project-based price structure, you establish a flat fee for a specific project. But this time, the price is based on an agreed amount of work and time required to complete it.
The project-based pricing model is usually used because it’s simple and well defined.
The monthly retainer price structure is where the agency will set up a monthly fee for predefined inbound marketing maintenance work.
There will most often be a defined set of tasks that are delivered every month involved in this pricing agreement. All jobs that are done outside the monthly retainer contract are commonly billed using the hourly rate-pricing model.
This price structure constitutes a partnership where the agency is paid according to the outcomes they produce. More particularly, the SaaS inbound marketing agency is paid a percentage of sales they generate for a client.
So essentially, the agency makes money when your SaaS business makes money.
So there you have our guide that should help you choose the right SaaS inbound marketing Agency for your firm.
Be aware, that inbound marketing is a lot of hard work and it is not easy. Nevertheless, it is easier for people who actually know what they are doing and have the right amount of experience.
If you choose the right SaaS inbound marketing agency it can truly help your business and take a lot of hard work off your shoulders.