The Problem

For years we’ve been running effective, high ROI-generating digital marketing campaigns for a software company who traditionally catered to non-profits and associations. But they wanted to get into the highly lucrative (but notoriously difficult to penetrate) world of government, specifically federal and state.

They put our agency in charge of figuring out how to “crack the code” in the public sector, while also not completely losing sight of their bread and butter non-profit audience.

The Solution

We needed to test multiple different messages across multiple different channels. Here’s what we did…

Nichey, nichey keyword targeting

It turned out these prospects were so “nichey” that we got very little search volume from Google’s Keyword Planner… we needed to go deeper.

Using a variety of lesser-known keyword research tools, we developed a “universe” of phrases that our elusive public sector prospects were searching. Once we zeroed-in on these keywords, we went to work on building two types of campaigns:

  1. SEO / Content Marketing: The core “product” pages of our client’s website were optimized for the best possible “buying” keywords. Then, we developed a steady stream of fresh blog content that brought traffic in from “long-tail” keywords and turned the company’s CEO into an industry thought leader.
  2. Pay-Per-Click Marketing: We started out by running Google AdWords campaigns on our “money” keywords… which were expensive. But we had a “Eureka!” moment about government buyers that allowed us to shift budgets to another search network where we got better leads at a much lower cost (see full case study for details.)

Niche ad networks

ATTENTION SOFTWARE MARKETERS: Google isn’t the only game in town. The truth is, there are hundreds of little ad networks out there that none of our competitors knew about. These networks offer placements on select websites that cater to your exact target prospect (in our case, it was public sector executives.)

We tested multiple niche networks that ran display ads on a CPM basis (cost per thousand impressions) on select government-focused websites. While our first several attempts flopped, we persisted and finally struck gold with an obscure little network (details inside the full case study.)

The result? A highly profitable campaign which generated leads that (compared to other marketing channels):

  • Converted to opportunities at nearly twice the rate
  • Had a higher average opportunity value
  • Closed at a significantly higher rate

Vertical-specific marketing funnels

Using insights from our client along with data from online user surveys, we re-engineered the homepage experience to speak to the needs of government agencies.

We also created unique landing pages and offers designed to cater to the public sector market. We presented the offers in an “upper funnel” manner by asking for just a name and email address. This reduced the potential “friction” that prevented users from giving over their contact information.

The Results

Compared to the 6 months prior to the pivot, our client experienced a whopping 160% uptick in public sector leads, and was converting public sector website visitors at an 81% greater rate.

The best part? When we “closed the loop” we were delighted to see lead quality was right on point.

Not long after the initial successes from our B2G pivot, our client landed their biggest deal of all time — a contract with a major government agency that netted over $1 million in annual recurring revenue!

When we traced the opportunity through their CRM back to its marketing source, we discovered that the lead came through an organic search… directly attributable to our efforts. Damn, that felt good.

But you won’t believe the even better news that came next. Wanna know what happened? Download the case study to find out, along with an in-depth breakdown of key lessons you can apply to your own software company’s digital marketing campaigns.

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