Growth Hacking Not Required: How Our PPC Team puts New Media Dollars to Work in a White-hot SaaS Market

For the second year running, Page Zero is traveling to Ottawa to attend SaaS North, Canada’s foremost event for founders and investors in software-as-a-service companies. Attendees will network, share the latest trends and tactics, and even “match-make” (from an investment standpoint). There are more dollars chasing good ideas than ever before. That’s good for startups that want to raise money at favorable valuations—sometimes pre-revenue. From an investor’s standpoint, it’s challenging. Even the “bargain bin” of lower-profile startups may be pricey, and that bin tends to have a picked-over quality.

Last year, attendance at SaaS North led me and two friends to join a seed investment round for Needls, a startup focused on automating Facebook advertising for the benefit of advertisers with small monthly budgets who just don’t have the time or expertise to properly target, optimize, and monitor results. The success of Needls depends on a number of factors, including whether its machine learning will lead to better and better results for its customers. I’d say (and I’m just spitballing here) that if the technology can outdo 80% of the existing practitioners out there working with such small budgets, that will be “good enough.” But of course, 97% would be better. We live in an age where big data makes such advances possible. Usually, this requires quite a bit of capital.

Shopify fever

The white-hot climate for the SaaS sector in Canada has been superheated further by the immense success of local hero Shopify, as it joins a relatively short list of “default” platforms that nearly every company with even one toe dipped in the digital world will either use or at least be familiar with.

We like this event because it’s more, er, Canadian, and thus cozier than larger events in the U.S., and because Ottawa is a great city (I lived there as a boy). As a backdrop to understanding our clients’ marketing needs – and the technology trends driving epochal transformations in the economy – it’s a nice departure from conferences mired in the groupthink of tired marketing tactics or the minutiae of “managing up” in a Fortune 500 organization.

This year, our Mona Elesseily is speaking at SaaS North, so we’re extra excited. Her topic covers “scaling up,” a fancy startup word that covers the Jenga-like game of growing a new company through stages—from revenue and headcount levels x, to the next levels y and z. Our contribution is a key component of “scaling up.” We help companies with growing marketing budgets to efficiently allocate every new digital media dollar.

Driving SaaS success

Page Zero has a long history of driving sales growth for SaaS companies, primarily through PPC (Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook, etc.). Lead account managers like Mona, Dean, and Jon have been at the forefront of these efforts. Mona once ran PPC for a large HR software startup that later went public and then got acquired for over $2bn. Dean has led, via depth of expertise in shaping search intent to hit target CPA’s, at least two well-known startups from the seed stage through major VC funding rounds. (If the cost per acquisition and growth numbers weren’t there, there is simply no way our clients would have reached Series A, B, C rounds and beyond – investors look keenly at the financials and the growth trajectory, obviously.)

Some SaaS startups tend more towards being privately held, with no major outside funding. Such startups may still be high growth and aggressive, but they’re also frugal. They want to get to EBITDA-positive and even net profitability sooner than their frequent-raising Silicon-Valley-style counterparts.

Persistent growth with PPC

Such is the case with [our client X, a software firm in the midwest of the U.S.], quite demonstrably our agency’s biggest current success among our clients of a SaaS bent. From modest origins, this firm has worked closely with our PPC team to aggressively pursue (both consumer and business) signups for its varied lines of fleet tracking, vehicle tracking, and asset tracking systems. They’ve increased their media budget every year since we started working with them in 2013. Jon on our team has done a wonderful, comprehensive job on this account. We’re looking forward to a record-breaking 2019, with a few shiny objects, channels, and ad platform features to help us counteract the inevitable (someday) flattening of growth. The company is shooting aggressively for $47 million in profitable revenue for 2019.

Hats off to this amazing client for making it into the Inc. 500, and for becoming one of the most-awarded startups in their region.

Think your company could benefit from Page Zero’s depth of expertise in SaaS? Feel free to reach out.