Today, the easiest way to find information about any topic under the sun is to ‘Google it!’ Every single day there are millions of individuals on the internet, seeking information that varies from a grammatical doubt to a product they are looking to purchase.
For your product or company to feature online as an answer to their queries, you need to understand and implement search engine marketing, the right way.
Here at Freshworks, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is treated as a performance driving channel. It helps us reach our target audience exactly at that precise moment, when they are searching for information related to our products.
When it comes to the search engine marketing ecosystem, Freshworks finds itself with an innate advantage. From product lines to the business model itself, there are many aspects of the organization that leverages the power of online search.
We have always paid close attention to the size of a market, before plunging into it. Participating in large and mature markets enables us to avoid evangelising the need for the product category.
In these markets, enterprise customers are used to being ‘sold to’ through the traditional sales-consultant approach. Recently, there has been a growing need to cater to the vast SMB segment of these markets, that rely on cloud based software for their business solutions. The SMB segment of the mature markets have a long tail.
Analyzing the above data, a joint SaaS industry report from Accel & Google has estimated that the SMB SaaS revenue will overtake enterprise by 2020. This would be the first time the SMB market share overtakes its enterprise counterpart.
This is a golden opportunity for Freshworks, that we look forward to tapping into.
Let’s understand how Freshworks benefits from this market prediction:
The self-service nature of our products gives us the freedom to move away from traditional and sometimes cumbersome sales approaches.
What happens when we offer a free product trial for a considerable time period?
The end user has maximum control, directly allowing them to try out the product. Within minutes of signing up through our website, customers are given a hands-on experience.
This system plays right to the tune of SMB decision makers who ideally prefer to try products, before they make any decisions that could impact their business.
The volume of SMBs is only growing, generated by the large numbers existing in each segment of the SMB market. Targeting a larger audience is a more efficient way of selling to them; and as more SMBs now prefer online search for purchasing business software- we are optimally placed with an advantage.
It is very crucial to ensure that these audiences are able to find our product amidst the hundreds of other similar softwares out there in the market.
So now, how do we target the key decision makers? Here’s how Freshworks does it:
We target key decision makers through our online SEM strategy. This has created an opportunity, to directly invite ourselves to the evaluation phase of the buying cycle. For instance- with Freshdesk, our flagship product, we have been able to tap into the high volume category of customer support software through online search.
The primary means of targeting the right audience is through Keywords. We build them based on intent and awareness; targeting upper, middle and lower parts of the search funnel. This helps us determine the cost associated with each keyword and provide curated messaging based on user intent.
Here’s a deeper look at what the search funnel comprises of and how it is used:
Before that, let’s think of the search funnel as an ice-cream cone.
It’s divided into three parts-
The upper funnel is typically like the first mouthful of the soft ice cream. It has a predominant, generic flavor. Similarly, the upper funnel includes generic terms used by target users, like ITSM solutions, customer support software, cloud sales software etc. These users are aware of the industry, but might not be sure of what solution could apply to their business and their problems.
The mid funnel users are a little more aware of the product as well as other players in the market, just like the middle of an ice cream cone that has a little bit of both, the crunchiness as well as remnants of soft ice cream. These users typically search for terms that are related directly to the product or a feature. These are more qualified searches with higher intent as the terms are very closely related to our business and our product line. Examples – Asset management software, lead management tool, multichannel support system
The lower funnel is like that solid chunk of chocolate hiding away in the bottom of the cone, that cannot possibly be discarded. This has the flavour of the ice cream and the cone as well as an added chunk of the flavour-source!
These users are not only aware of our product but also have brand recall, so we target this segment of this audience very specifically. They signify the results of the brand awareness created by us.
Now that we have our search funnel in place, how do we enhance user experience?
Once a user clicks on our ad copy, he is directed to our website. This is a crucial part of the process, as the content, messaging, colours and themes displayed on the site, defines the user’s perception of the company. You have to grab their attention and keep them glued.
To understand this better, let’s have a quick look into how the Freshworks website has optimized online search engine marketing –
The website is designed in a clean and efficient manner with minimum fuss; enabling easy navigation for the users. The messaging is focused around product offers, features and benefits; with emphasis on solutions to pain points. We also highlight relevant testimonials, awards and customer logos to drive credibility.
We also include clear screenshots of the product, to display the clean UI/UX that we pride ourselves on. More importantly, the messaging includes transparent pricing without any hidden costs.
The focus stays on providing accurate information that users are looking for, to help with their decision making process.
The final stage in this process is for the user from the SERP (search engine results page) who was redirected to our landing page, signs up or registers for the product’s free trial.
Ensuring that there are ample opportunities for the user to provide their information for future communication, is vital to optimizing every visit.
It’s also very important to ensure that the sign-up page is well structured. Let’s take our product site for instance:
- The first important element in the signup process is the ‘Call to Action’ button. The text, colours and positioning of the CTAs are based on various A/B tests we run across pages. This helps grab attention and keeps the messaging clutter free and clean.
- The sign-up form is presented in two different ways – on page and light box. The form collects contact information and is laid out in a clean and minimalistic way to avoid ambiguity.
- The help desk name is an auto generated field derived from the company name and this is a tailor made field that is of importance in our instance.
- The forms avoid distractions and have a clear design and adopt conversion rate best practices. We use our very own Freshmarketer to optimise conversion rates on our landing pages.
- We have also been working on bringing single sign on forms in our pages as an alternative to traditional signup forms. This allows a broader volume of users to provide just their email information and move straight into the product.
The last leg of this journey is for the signups to be transferred in to our CRM software Freshsales. We let our superstar sales folks cast their magic from there on!
After all, we do not believe in ‘selling’ but instead, we practice assisted buying.
At Freshworks, we never forget that the small things matter and the devil is in the details. All these clichès notwithstanding, we put a lot of emphasis on search engine marketing and after reading this blog, we’re sure you’ll see why!