Enterprise software is a multi-billion dollar industry with heavy competition that keeps getting fiercer and fiercer.
With so many big fish, small fish, and medium-sized fish in such a small pond—just picture your kid’s aquarium with a sea’s worth of fish packed inside—you’ve got to be that one fish that not only looks different from everything else swimming around, but is also worth catching.
(Okay, fish metaphors are over).
Differentiating yourself from your competitors with a winning content strategy can demonstrate brand value and drive lead generation.
But you’re a SaaS company, not a content-writing machine. Your team may not have the bandwidth to write the amount or quality of content you need to reach page one of Google.
Why Software Companies Hire Marketing Agencies
They do it so you don’t have to
Hey, there’s only so much your team can do on any given day. And while you recognise that content is an important part of inbound marketing and brand awareness, you might just not have the time, talent, or resources to generate your own content at the rate a software company like yours needs.
The fact that SaaS brands can pawn off content creation to a team of experts is often the first reason they go searching for digital marketing agencies.
They know how to create valuable content
By hiring experienced SEO writers instead of the dude in accounting who pens YA fanfiction on weekends and who probably knows nothing about on-page optimisation, you’re maximising your marketing budget.
We’re sure that guy in accounting is lovely, but if he isn’t writing optimised landing pages, he’s probably better off sticking to accounting…and YA fanfiction, of course.
A B2B technology marketing agency can create valuable content that appeals to your target audience at every stage of their buying journey, paying close attention to their pain points and delivering messaging that nurtures their relationship with your brand.
From how-to guides to landing pages to blog posts—producing a mix of content and building out your calendar will keep your channels fresh and active.
They can optimise your content for search engines
You can rely on SEO specialists to optimise your content for search engines, which is the whole reason we’re here.
In order to create content that ranks, your SEO specialist will leverage their knowledge and experience of keywords and competitor research to discover the right search terms to get you noticed by the right people.
They monitor and analyse your results
Once your content is out in the world, you need someone to help you understand how your pages are performing.
An IT marketing agency will monitor and analyse your content and make recommendations/changes based on their findings. They’ll monitor your page’s incoming traffic and use the data to optimise future content and marketing campaigns.
Understanding what works and doesn’t work for your target audience will help you fine-tune your messaging and lower your costs.
They set you up for success
Not all SaaS companies need to outsource their content to an agency. And in fact, if your B2B product is nicher than niche and you can afford to keep it all under one roof, you might be better off hiring in-house anyway.
But starting a content marketing team from scratch does come with its own set of challenges that you and other directors may not know how to solve. You need to partner with a software marketing agency that can help you build your team and create an operational framework around content.
In an advisory or consultancy role, a digital marketing agency can help you:
Either way, partnering with a digital marketing firm can set your enterprise software company on the path to business growth.
How do you choose the right agency for your B2B SaaS company?
Let’s find out! In this post, we’ll take a look at agency green and red flags, and at the same time, touch upon the difference between B2B and B2C content. We’ll then explore why AI-generated content isn’t the cure-all for a poor content strategy, and circle back to what your content marketing agency needs from you in order to develop optimised campaigns that deliver results.
If you’re wondering how to boost your SaaS company’s online presence with a content marketing agency, keep reading.
Content Marketing Agency Red Flags & Green Flags
Content marketing and search engine optimisation go hand in hand, but that doesn’t mean that all SEO agencies are equipped with a strong writing team. Like all service providers, some are better than others. But you definitely don’t want to be seduced by an agency that promises you the world and delivers poorly researched, poorly written fluff just for the sake of handing something in.
But, let’s start with the positives. If you’ve landed on an agency that offers the following, you’re on the right track:
Content Agency Green Flags
The best content marketing agencies will have a deep understanding of your industry and the unique challenges that come with promoting B2B software. They should be able to provide insights and strategies that are specific to your business.
It also helps to work with an agency that understands the pain points of your customers and has experience creating content to address them.
I find this to be especially true for B2B content writers. The buyer journey is a long and winding road compared to B2C customers, which means that B2B content teams are generating content that reflects the various rings of fire decision-makers must go through before reaching the decision stage.
A Strong Content Strategy
A good agency will have a team of experienced writers, editors, and CRO specialists who can produce high-quality content that is both educational and transactional. They should also be able to produce content quickly and efficiently, without sacrificing quality.
A great digital marketing agency will back up its work with keyword research. Understanding how your potential customers search the internet is how optimised brand awareness content is made.
For example, let’s take a look at our friends at Sapio Sciences, a LIMS software provider that initially came to Geeky Tech because their ads weren’t generating the leads they were expecting. Upon taking a thorough look at their website, we realised that their web pages were the bigger issue.
You see, while Sapio had (and still has) a formidable platform on its hands, the company’s target audience really wasn’t reflected in its pages. Without a keyword strategy, Sapio’s pages weren’t visible to lab managers looking for the solution it offered.
But, of course, Sapio Sciences isn’t the only LIMS in town, which means that we had to find keywords that other laboratory information management systems either hadn’t maxed out or weren’t using.
But first we needed to get into the mind’s of Sapio’s ideal customer so that we could capitalise on the search terms they were using to find more information about LIMS software on Google.
As you can see, keyword research and strategy pave the way for smart content.
Content that Converts
If you’ve stumbled upon a gaggle of content writers that can demonstrate a solid grasp of conversion rate optimisation (CRO), you’ve found a good team. CRO-focused content is both engaging and also drives visitors to take desired actions on a website.
Using a CRO mindset means that writers and SEO teams are making not only creative but data-driven decisions to ensure your content is as effective as possible.
Examples of content that’s optimised for conversions:
Content Agency Red Flags
For every good egg, there’s bound to be a few bad apples (how many mixed metaphors can a single blog post take?). For every digital marketing agency with content chops, there are a handful of agencies offering nothing but content fluff that likely won’t drive traffic or lead generation.
But how can you tell if the agency is bad news? Here are common characteristics:
No Knowledge of SEO
Working with an agency that doesn’t understand the fundamentals of organic search can be really frustrating, as you might end up feeling like you’re constantly taking one step forward and two steps back. They may be producing blog posts, social media posts, and emails on the regular, but if they’re just creating content for the sake of it, then you’ll have to hire another agency to optimise everything after the fact.
No matter how you look at it, hiring an agency that just knows how to write is a long and costly decision that ultimately won’t differentiate your enterprise from other software companies.
Make sure you’re working with strategists that can help you create content that’s optimised for search engines.
Unfortunately, there are many bad actors in the world of online marketing. Be sure to do your research and only work with an agency that has a good reputation.
Unethical practices can be insidious because so many of them look legit.
For example, there’s optimising your page with keywords, then there’s keyword stuffing. There’s creating a backlink strategy by optimising your social accounts and networking with other high-authority sites, then there’s link buying.
Unethical SEO agencies may look like legit companies who will try to sell you their services, but even if what they’re offering looks too good to pass up, keep this in mind:
This type of SEO comes with a lot of risk but not a lot of reward.
Fraudulent and/or unethical SEO may provide short-term gains in search engine rankings, but they also come with significant risks. Google’s algorithms are frankly too sophisticated not to catch on to sites using these tactics, which means that when they do discover what your site is up to, you may be facing a dramatic drop in rankings and the death of your site credibility.
Let’s not forget that credibility is a huge ranking factor, and if you’ve decided to go down the wrong path, you’ve probably ignored best practices and user experience.
Unethical SEO is…well, unethical
Besides doing absolutely nothing productive in the long-term, it’s also kinda bad from a moral standpoint. Don’t get us wrong—all search engine optimisation practices do require some level of manipulation. But even so, it’s a fair game in which all webmasters have a chance to win (more or less). But shady practices are based on buying or stealing rankings and often hurting other websites in the process. Sometimes these tactics are even illegal.
And like we said, it’s not even worth it because none of these practices will get you the long-term results you need to outrank other B2B SaaS companies.
Avoid any agency that uses spammy techniques, as we guarantee that anything they offer will just lead to headaches and money down the toilet.
Taking AI Way Too Far
Here we go again talking about AI. We just can’t seem to avoid this topic. But there’s a reason for that. Ever since OpenAI released ChatGPT to the public in November 2022, people from all walks of life have been capitalising on this ridiculously helpful writing tool.
It’s the perfect assistant. It can perform poetry at the drop of a hat in any voice of your choosing and spit out content ideas on any subject (I once asked it to write a poem about tape in the voice of Beaker and all I can say is that Beaker’s got bars).
In fact, it can even write your company’s content for you.
(If you’ve been listening to our podcast I feel like you know what I’m about to say.)
But ChatGPT isn’t a magic genie that’s going to solve all your problems. In fact, anything it writes still needs to be heavily edited, fact-checked, and optimised.
If you’re in talks with an agency that promises to deliver a metric buttload of content every day, week, or month, there’s a chance they aren’t writing it. There’s nothing necessarily bad about this. It’s really helpful and can significantly speed up your writing tasks.
But AI is still a work in progress, so content agencies need to understand that anything it generates is by no means a finished product, and therefore it’ll take some time to deliver it to you.
In conclusion, a content agency that has nothing to show for itself without AI is probably just capitalising on the craze and hoping that software companies will be seduced by the volume of content they can get.
I would definitely call this a red flag.
What Your Content Marketing Agency Needs from You
Now that we know what to watch out for and what to avoid, you might want to consider what an agency will need from you to help it create a successful content strategy, and ultimately, build the foundation for a successful partnership.
Your B2B Audience
Who are the people you’re trying to reach with your content? This is the missing puzzle piece that all digital marketers need to start their strategy. Since your software is marketed to other professionals, it’s important to understand who the human is behind the job role.
What are their needs and pain points?
What problem do they have that your software solves?
How many people do they have to convince before buying your product?
Answering these questions will help you create full-funnel content.
Let your content agency know what you consider a win and what your KPIs are. The purpose of content isn’t always about making a sale. Sure, that’s the ultimate goal. But B2B marketing is a marathon, not a race.
It’s not a one-size-fits all answer, either. For example, if you’re an emerging CRM and you’re positioning yourself as the next monday.com, you’ll probably want to focus on brand awareness and a campaign that compares your sexy new brand with your biggest, better-known competitor.
If you’re an established brand with a loyal customer base, but your sales of a particular product have stagnated, your goal will probably be to create content that highlights your product’s features and benefits.
Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can develop KPIs (key performance indicators) to track progress and measure success.
Sounds almost pedestrian to mention this, but you need to know how much gas is in the tank before you settle on your destination.
Yes, knowing your budget right off the bat is probably the only way to have an honest conversation about expectations from both sides. While budgets can be limiting, they also give us a container to work in, which sometimes makes the job easier.
The sky’s the limit, but your budget might not be, so let your content team know what your budget is and they can design a strategy to most effectively spend your department’s money.
Overall, knowing the budget is essential for creating a content strategy that is both effective and financially viable.
Like your budget, your timeline and your expectations need to hold hands. Content marketing, like all organic SEO practices, takes a while. There’s no denying it. We tell our customers that results start pouring in at about six months after the page has been indexed.
If your software company is about to drop a new product and you’ve left your content to the last minute, you’re probably not going to see loads of traffic if you don’t consider buying ad space.
If you’re working on a campaign that’s going to run for months in preparation for the biggest event your company’s ever seen, you’re way more likely to generate traffic in time for the big day doing organic SEO and social media.
When you and the content team can align on expectations based on your company’s goals, budget, and timeline, you’ll be amazed by the amount of qualified traffic that starts pouring into your website.
In this article, we established that digital marketing agencies with content writing teams can benefit enterprise software companies by either taking content off your hands or providing advisory services to your content department.
Not all content marketing agencies are created equal, and there are some very obvious red flags that give these bad actors away (so pay attention). Finally, being clear on what you want from your content marketing by knowing your audience, company goals, budget, and timeline, sets you up for success and provides your team with realistic expectations.