Freshworks Uncovered: Understanding Search Engine Marketing

Today, the easiest way to find information about any topic under the sun is to ‘Google it!’ Every 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 these 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 at that 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 leverage 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 that relies on cloud-based software for their business solutions. The SMB segment of mature markets have a long tail.

A SaaS industry report from Accel and Google has estimated that SMB SaaS revenue will overtake enterprise revenues by 2020. This would be the first time the SMB market share overtakes its enterprise counterpart.

This is a golden opportunity for Freshworks, and we look forward to tapping into the market.

SaaS revenues

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, thanks to 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 have an advantage.


It is crucial to ensure that these audiences are able to find our product amidst hundreds of other similar softwares 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 the 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 and how it is used:

Let’s think of the search funnel as an ice cream cone.

ice cream cone

It’s divided into three parts-

The upper funnel is typically like the first mouthful of the ice cream. It has a predominant, generic flavor. Similarly, the upper funnel includes generic terms used by target users, such as ITSM solutions, customer support software, cloud sales software. 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 of the cone as well as the remnants of the ice cream. Mid funnel 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 closely related to our business and our product line. Examples – Asset management software, lead management tool, multichannel support system.

The lower funnel is like a solid chunk of chocolate hiding away in the bottom of an ice cream cone. It has the flavour of the ice cream and the cone as well as an added chunk enhancing the flavour!
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 clean, uncluttered, and is designed to enable easy navigation.  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 establish credibility.Freshdesk website

We also include screenshots of the product to display the UI/UX. 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) to sign up for a 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 important to ensure that the sign-up page is well structured. Here’s how the Freshdesk page is designed:

  1. The first important element in the sign up process is the Call to Action (CTA) 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.
  2. The sign up form is presented in two different ways – on page and light box. The form collects contact information and the layout is minimalistic so as to avoid ambiguity.
  3. The helpdesk name is an auto-generated, tailor-made field derived from the company name.
  4. The forms avoid distractions and have a clear design. They adopt conversion rate best practices. We use Freshworks’ conversion rate optimization product—Freshmarketerto optimise conversion rates on our landing pages.
  5. We have also been working on bringing single sign-on forms in our pages as an alternative to traditional sign up 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 sign-ups to be transferred into 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.