For many of us B2B marketers, it’s not a question of whether or not to “do” SEO, but rather in what way it makes sense to do it.
For most of us content marketers or marketing generalists, this question involves pulling in help (unless you’re an SEO expert also, in which case, stop reading this, look in the mirror, and remind yourself that you’re a badass). The question then is really around what type of help makes the most sense to pull in.
The options are vast – contract an SEO expert, hire a B2B SEO Agency, work with a full service B2B Marketing Agency / B2B Digital Marketing Agency that also handles SEO. Many of these different options can get the job done for you – that is, optimize your site. But they’ll go about it in potentially different ways and with varied success.
In my experience…here’s what you need to keep in mind:
B2B SaaS Focus:
B2B Marketing Strategies, and SaaS Marketing Strategies are very different from other business models. Here’s why:
From the perspective of the person buying the software, they’re facing these challenges:
- Expensive product – ranging in cost from a used car all the way up to a Brownstone on Fort Greene Park. Buying a SaaS Product can range anywhere from a $10,000 to sometimes over a million dollar contract depending on the size of your business and the pricing model of the software. That requires a very different type of marketing than a $100 sweater.
- Group buying decisions – now imagine making such a serious buying decision with your CAREER on the line and a full committee of people to report to. Since you’re spending your company’s money, you have to get buy in from everyone around you, and if the software fails you, your reputation can be tarnished by that failure. It’s one of the highest stakes purchases that they may ever make in their lifetimes.
From the perspective of the B2B Marketer:
- NRR is very important if you want to be interesting to investors – if you’re not hitting 125% that’s a problem. When selling a B2B SaaS product, NRR is critical to consider – i.e. you have to sell to people that you think will renew their contracts and buy more software year-over-year. They have to have an idea of what goes into using the software and what the outcomes will be before they even see a demo.
To wrap this all up – people make buying decisions based on the perceived value of the product, compared against the perceived price and the friction associated (like all the demos required, full team implementation, the stress of placing their career on the line etc etc).
A good B2B SaaS Marketer will think about making the perceived value of their product seem as high as possible, so that it automatically tips the scale – so that a million dollar contract seems worth the cost, the peer pressure internally that it has to be the right thing, and the stress of implementing.
The best B2B SEO Companies, SaaS Marketing Consultants, and B2B SEO Agencies will understand this scale, and strategize accordingly. Thus, you want to try to work with B2B specialists rather than people who work with all business models.
B2B SaaS + SEO Focus:
Next, make sure you find someone who has not just a B2B Focus, but also a SaaS focus, and an SEO focus specifically. Many B2B companies are not Software-as-a-Service. But the SaaS model has all the challenges mentioned above, in addition to a specific SEO Challenge:
SaaS companies are constantly trying to fit into new “categories,” constantly developing their product, and constantly expanding their target audiences.
Part of the business model creates this challenge: if you want to grow and scale your business over time, you need to add on more products that will increase the value at which you sell, and also the options for existing customers to buy more of your products.
The SEO challenge that this creates is that you need to rank for NEW SETS of relevant keywords all the time. For mature B2B SaaS businesses this could be a quarterly challenge.
B2B SEO specialists, and B2B SEO Services with an emphasis on SaaS businesses should understand how to create small universes within your main keyword universe and help you set up the infrastructure to rank for those keywords as quickly as you can.
They should also bear in mind that, if you’re entering a new “category” you should also target existing categories that already have search volume.
Tactically, the best agencies or services or consultants will help you across the following tactics:
- SEO Audit
- Rank Tracking
- Link Building
- Keyword Research
- Conversion Rate Optimization
- Content Optimization
- Content Creation Platforms
- Content Planning Tools
The B2B Agency model sometimes falls short here in terms of really enabling the content creation, planning, and optimization elements that we find necessary for a company to really rank.
They’ll likely do some run-of-the-mill auditing and keyword researching. But I don’t see the amount of work and content creation required to get your site to really rank really happening at the agency level. If you’ve found a “B2B Marketing Agency Near Me” one thing to see is if they partner SEO with Conversion Rate Optimization – the top B2B Marketing companies do this religiously.
Traffic is only good if it’s turning into customers.
Ultimately though, you need software that helps you scale the amount of work you can create in addition to guidance from SEO experts.