24X Growth SaaS Case Study

Fractional CMO and Marketing-as-a-Service for 24x SaaS Tech Growth

The Problem ~ SaaS Struggling to Scale

The founder of a $15M software technology integration firm has built a solid reputation over 17 years, becoming a trusted provider of software solutions for document-intensive sectors, serving both private and government clients. 

Despite its rapid growth to 130 employees (mainly software engineers), the company was facing challenges in an evolving market. Newer competitors are effectively capturing leads online, moving away from traditional networking and cold calls. 

This shift has left the established $15M/year SaaS company facing an uncertain future, struggling to secure new deals in a highly competitive landscape.

 

Discoveries from Our Initial Marketing Audit and Assessment

Most technology companies prioritize technical innovation to fuel growth. However, in today’s competitive market, technical prowess alone isn’t enough. Digital marketing has become a critical growth driver. 

In a company with 130 engineers there was no marketing department. The initial audit assessment of their marketing revealed several gaping holes:

❌The absence of basic tools like Google Analytics 

❌There was no ongoing digital marketing to build a steady flow of leads for their SaaS company.

❌The website used an outdated, corporate-y language that was from a bygone era.

❌The design of the website was dated and not in line with their brand as an innovative tech company.

❌There was no marketing strategy in place for their 3 key offerings

❌There was a lack of understanding of the Customer Journey as a driving principle of their digital marketing strategy

These issues had left their website stagnating at just 500 visitors per month. Our initial evaluation had to rely on AWStats to uncover these figures, signaling a dire need for a strategic overhaul.

Tech companies hope for technical innovation as the key growth-driver.
But what got you here; won’t get you there.

Smart tech leaders know when it’s time to leave the Engineering hat, and allow for a Marketing expert to take the lead on business growth. Otherwise, competitors will teach them an expensive, life-altering lesson.

 

The Solution: Modernize

The SaaS founder was not ready yet for the comprehensive multi channel marketing program, so we just started with Content Marketing. As results became obvious, the dynamics of the conversation changed, and we were up for an interesting ride for the next 6 years. Then things went south. And then things started changing again. But let’s take this one step at a time. 

The Services: Onsite SEO, Content Marketing, Website Modernization

Our team of SEO experts conducted comprehensive research which

✔️identified missed opportunities on the SaaS site.

✔️gathered insights and data on prevalent search trends to inform 

✔️the right value-driven 2 year content editorial to grow organic traffic

Our content experts then went to work to:

✔️craft highly informative, authority building blog articles

✔️optimize each content piece with precise keywords

✔️tailor the text to align closely with user search intent preferences.

 

The Results from Strategic Content Marketing

  • We initially published four blog posts per month, which led to a 10% increase in monthly organic traffic. 
  • Several months later we tested increasing to six posts per month which immediately increased a 15% monthly traffic growth.
  • In the first year, we achieved a milestone of 5,000 visitors per month, marking a 10X increase in organic traffic. 
  • The owner noted an unprecedented increase in phone inquiries and averaged 30 form submissions per month (leads!) from their website.

 

The marketing investment this Tech company made 

resulted in $2M increase in revenue in their first year, 

yielding a 40X return on investment (ROI). 

 

As money was flowing in, the owner grew more confident in our services. However, in early 2019, they hired an in-house marketing manager with a sales background from a competitor. He significantly slowed down our content efforts, extending the review process from two days to over a month. As a result by the time the articles were published these “news” weren’t news anymore. 

To address these challenges and give the new manager time to acclimate, we proposed a website redesign aimed at reducing bounce rates, increasing time on site, and boosting sessions per user. The website redesign successfully 

✔️cut the bounce rate from 60% to 39% and 

✔️increased time on site by about 30%

Tech Company Sales Declines After Making the Wrong In-House Marketing Hire  

During this period, we also redesigned their second website for a newly launched SaaS product. After this pause of a few months with content, we got back to publishing new materials, but we found the same friction in the internal review procedures which now meant the blogs were waiting for over 6 weeks for internal review. 

 

This inefficiency led to a decline in traffic, severely impacting growth. From an annual revenue growth from $15M to $20M, the company began to struggle financially again, dropping back to just over $15M by the end of 2022. 

Their new in-house marketing manager was cost-cutting rather than ramping up operations. By September 2023, relations with the client deteriorated, leading to our contract termination in December.

Unfortunately, things didn’t last under the new management, and numbers are now down to only 100 visitors per day compared to the 400 visitors per day we achieved when we were able to fully manage their marketing. 

 

The Roller Coaster Transformation

From only 15 visitors per day back in 2017, we brought the count to 400 visitors per day at the peak in September 2019. This resulted in a $2M annual revenue growth for a few years, breaking the $20M annual revenue in 2019. 

The screenshot below is the period of September 2023 to today May 2024, averaging around 2500 visitors per month. 
Traffic has dwindled down to June 2018 levels.

Choosing the right person to spearhead Marketing operations is critical.

Placing the right person in the wrong position can lead to significant mismatches between personality and expertise, costing companies millions in lost revenue.

When challenges arise, Marketing is the lifeline. If you cut that out, and you’ve killed the business’ ability to grow.

Conclusion

This software technology company is in a highly competitive niche where each deal is six figures per year. Losing a single deal can result in significant losses. But winning a few good ones can propel you much further than you’d imagined possible.

Our engagement with this client, and the results we generated in the first few years were an amazing case study of how content marketing drives organic growth in a highly competitive niche.

But it’s also a painfully accurate illustration of what happens when you get the wrong person to make critical marketing decisions. This client has struggled for over a year now, until the owner reached out and asked for a meeting to discuss renewing SEO, content marketing, website optimization and Fractional CMO services.

This will keep the inhouse marketing costs to zero, while all strategic and tactical decision making is done and implemented by our world class team at Trustbook Media.

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