How I Built A $12K/Month Business With A Niche Marketing Service For SaaS Companies

Federico Jorge
Founder, Stack Against
$12K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
1
Employees
Stack Against
from Valencia, Spain
started January 2021
$12,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
1
Employees
17
followers
2
followers
11
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How I Built A $12K/Month Business With A Niche Marketing Service For SaaS Companies

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello! My name is Federico Jorge and I'm the founder of Stack Against, where we research, write, and design comparison pages for SaaS companies.

Comparison pages are a very effective leadgen and sales asset for SaaS products. But most companies struggle when they need to write them. They have a hard time articulating what makes them different from each competitor and they don’t want to sound biased. That’s where we come in.

We offer 3 packages. Clients can choose to pay us for copywriting services only or copy and design. We also create other assets related to comparison pages, such as sales battlecards, Google Ads, and images for organic or paid social media — but our flagship product is the comparison pages.

Our best customers are SaaS companies competing in a crowded space, where buyers have a hard time deciding which product to choose. When done right, comparison pages can be effective in persuading your best-fit buyers that your product is the right solution for them.

I officially launched Stack Against in early 2021. Today, we’re making $12,000 a month in sales. This revenue is entirely based on one-off projects but we’re planning to add new recurring services to our offer.

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Stack Against was officially launched in 2021

I put effort into building my brand on LinkedIn, it’s easier to connect with your ideal audience and reach bigger companies there when you show up consistently.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I've always been a copywriter. I worked at agencies when I was younger. Then, I founded my creative agency back in my small town, in Argentina. That business was doing OK but I wanted bigger clients and more challenging projects.

In 2017, I closed the agency and became a full-time freelancer. I niched down and started working with SaaS companies and taking on clients from all over the world.

My clients kept asking me to do comparison pages for them. By trial and error, I’d come up with a very strong process for writing comparison pages. I knew how to do the research, the copywriting, and the design (even though I’m not a designer).

That’s when the lightbulb went off in my head…

“I need to package this up and create a brand that’s specialized in comparison pages.”

I hated the idea of starting another full-blown agency, where no two projects are the same. I still wanted to work with SaaS. I still wanted to offer copywriting projects — that’s what I do best. But I wanted to narrow down and become the expert at solving this very particular problem. And that’s what we’re doing with comparison pages and Stack Against.

I'm a moderator in the SaaS Growth Hacks Group, one of the biggest SaaS groups on Facebook. Way before we had a logo or a website, I started sharing the idea there and with my private network.

People loved the positioning. Everyone went “Oh, it's just comparison pages. That’s smart!”

From that moment on, when they thought about comparison pages, they immediately thought about Stack Against.

We closed a handful of clients right away at a discounted rate so we could test our processes and get some case studies going.

Word of mouth spread and people started hearing about us. We landed projects with FreshBooks, ProcessKit, and Cloudways. All great companies, making a lot of money online. They were interested in what we were doing and that quickly validated we were on the right track.

Stack Against is a bootstrapped effort. I was still taking personal copywriting projects. I used that money to grow the business, and come up with the initial branding, the website, and the fundamental stuff. And then, to start promoting it and building a team so I could remove myself from the execution.

I knew that if I wanted to scale Stack Against, I couldn't be the one doing all of the research and writing all the copy. I started building a team and funding that growth with my projects until Stack Against could stand on its own.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

I knew offering comparison pages could be scalable. Something that a lot of clients would come to us to get done. The challenge was mostly around packaging the service as a strong offer and positioning the company around that single idea.

We did. And that’s doing a lot of the heavy lifting for our marketing and sales.

When prospects see we're all about comparison pages, they're immediately hooked. If they've been considering doing comparison pages, we become the obvious choice. They know they can do them in-house or with a generalist freelancer. But they immediately perceive us as the experts, which removes a lot of the objections during the sales process.

Our first projects started by replicating what I was already doing for my clients. We broke down the process of creating a comparison page into steps and created an industrial line to work through each different stage.

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The 4 stages of our process: discovery, onboarding, research, and delivery

There are tons of best practices we've learned along the way on how to:

  • Do our client discovery
  • Find which competitors to target
  • Get competitive insights from clients
  • Research competing products

Initially, we were just offering the classic “Product A vs Product B” comparison pages. Clients themselves started coming up with ideas on more deliverables we could help them with.

They wanted to share our research insights with sales reps, so we started doing battlecards.

stack-against
Sample of a sales battlecard we created for Sprinto vs Vanta

They asked us for help bringing traffic to their pages, so we added content for organic social media posts and Google Ads to our offer. We wrote welcome banners to send visitors to their comparison pages as they landed on the website.

All of these ideas came up from working on projects and listening closely to requests from clients.

stack-against
We offer free keyword research to show prospects where to focus their efforts

In the beginning, it was just copywriting. But that's not enough. When you finish a copywriting project, a lot of critical steps are out of your control. Clients still need to design the page, code it live, make sure it's attracting the right traffic, and optimize it for conversions.

We realized there was a gap between what we were offering (copywriting) and what clients needed to be successful with our work.

We’re now heavily focused on closing that gap with design, traffic-generating initiatives, SEO optimization, and sharing insights with other teams in the company, such as sales.

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SEO optimization process for our clients’ drafts

My biggest challenge, and something that I learned pretty early on, is finding a way to multiply myself. And that's not gonna happen if I keep all my knowledge locked inside my head.

Describe the process of launching the business.

​​Stack Against is a productized service that runs like an agency.

I was doing 99% of the work at the beginning. I knew that if I wanted to scale, I would have to remove myself from the execution as much as possible. I focused on that early on.

We started by outsourcing the easiest research tasks. Lots of data entry that was time-consuming but easy to teach others how to do. Then we outsourced brief creation.

When we closed our first project that included design, we had to outsource that, too. We tried a couple of “unlimited designs a month” services but that didn't work out. There's a lot of collaboration and internal knowledge that’s hard to scale with an external partner — no matter how good they are.

The final step I wanted to delegate was copywriting. This one took an incredible effort from my side because I'm a copywriter. I know what I want and I can be a bit of a perfectionist in terms of delivering copy to our clients.

We used freelancers first to control our margins as much as possible. Now we're building our team to handle research, copy, and design.

Finding the right talent is still a major effort. People who understand what we’re doing and how to think about comparison pages. People who can join and fit into our processes. People who can deliver drafts to a certain standard and write the kind of copy we feel is necessary to persuade users to choose our client’s products.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

A lot of the initial growth came from my network. People know my face in different SaaS groups on Facebook. The minute I started promoting the idea to my private network, the word spread around that I was doing comparison pages.

These are the channels that brought us initial results:

Building in public Facebook groups

Building in public is a very effective way to attract early adopters. Not just clients, but people that are going to love what you’re doing and help you get the word out.

Here’s the kind of stuff we shared on Facebook:

  • Picking up a name for the company
  • Showing logo ideas and asking people which one they liked best
  • Sharing different hero sections for our soon-to-be-launched website
  • Detailing specifics of our offer and asking people if they found it valuable

stack-against
Building in public helped us get validation and early buyers

All of these conversations allowed us to talk about Stack Against and generated buzz around the company. People would message me “Hey, is this live already? Can I get a comparison page from you?” — that’s how we got our first clients.

Then, word of mouth started kicking in. Really cool people (like Steve Toth and Joel Klettke) wanted to help us. Once they learned about what we were doing, they’d send us referrals. That’s how we secured a project with FreshBook, a company that would’ve been out of our reach otherwise.

Using LinkedIn to grow my personal brand

I put effort into building my brand on LinkedIn. LinkedIn gives me a bigger platform than Facebook. It’s easier to connect with your ideal audience and reach bigger companies there when you show up consistently.

stack-against
Slowly but steadily building my audience and reach on LinkedIn

Don't keep your idea to yourself. Share as much as you can about your business and your idea as soon as possible. The sooner you share your ideas, the faster they start multiplying.

Adam McQueen, who’s doing content at Klue, heard about Stack Against and reached out. That opened the door to a whole new space I didn’t even know existed: Competitive Intelligence.

Lots of growing SaaS companies are building Competitive Intelligence teams. It's a very tight community with true collaboration since everybody's somehow new to these roles. And Stack Against is a great fit there because we deliver an asset that many product marketers doing competitive intelligence need.

Leveraging other brands’ audiences via partnerships

Adam McQueen invited me to his Competitive Enablement Show. Around 150 product marketers joined and showed real interest in our ideas, which validated people wanted to hear about us.

Our partnership with Klue grew deeper. They launched The Compete Network, which is an aggregate of all things compete: videos, podcasts, and articles. We created an original show called Compared to What, where we discuss and dissect comparison pages.

Klue has a customer list that would take us years to develop on our own. Being able to tap into that list and having Klue promote what we’re doing is a massive shortcut to getting in front of big companies that could be our clients.

The key? You first have to create content that adds value to a very specific audience. That’s what makes partnerships easier to happen.

Delighting our clients and doing multiple projects with them

Our product is a one-off purchase. We can’t “retain” clients at Stack Against because we don’t have a recurring offer. However, we can do repeat projects.

We put a big effort into making people enjoy working with us. Clients appreciate that we have a solid process to get their comparison pages done. And when they see the results they can get from these pages, they usually come back.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of our repeating clients:

stack-against

Content marketing and SEO are the short-term future

We haven’t put as much effort into SEO as I’d want. I’m still too involved in the day-to-day of the business and, frankly, creating content for our website is something I struggle with. I tend to prioritize other initiatives that could have faster results.

I know this is a mistake, though. We plan to invest in content creation and start dominating searches related to comparison pages and competitive marketing in the near future.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Our current focus is creating a stable team. Initially, we were mostly working with freelancers on a per-project basis. I love freelancers but they can be difficult to work with because if you want them to do their best job, you need to respect their processes, timelines, and rates. And it's hard to communicate and manage your client expectations when you can’t solidify your internal processes.

I want Stack Against to scale. I want to work with more clients at the same time. For us to do that, we need the predictability that comes from having an in-house team.

stack-against
An early look at our organizational structure

We hired a project manager and a designer already. And we're in the process of finding and hiring a copywriter to come to join our team.

Once we build our first steady team, we’ll know what works and where things fall apart. As we serve more clients, we’ll have a better understanding of things we need to replicate and the kind of talent we need to hire to keep building new fulfillment teams.

Thankfully, we've always been profitable. Even during this transition stage, which is putting a strain on our margins.

We doubled our revenue from 2021 to 2022. Most of the money goes back into growth initiatives: hiring, automations, content creation, and leadgen initiatives.

We’re working towards adding recurring services to our offer. Cracking the recurring piece of our offer should give us a revenue boost and a solid platform to invest even more in marketing and sales.

Our 2023 goal is doubling revenue again.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

A lot of the success we're seeing at Stack Against comes from me being a copywriter and understanding the fundamentals of comparison pages. That’s not a coincidence.

My biggest challenge, and something that I learned pretty early on, is finding a way to multiply myself. And that's not gonna happen if I keep all my knowledge locked inside my head.

Even before we started building a team, I was already writing processes and documenting everything I knew about comparison pages. From short SOPs to full training videos that are 1-hour long or more. We needed to have a library of knowledge accessible to everybody on our team — from research to copywriting to design to project management. Everyone needs to know how their part of the process is done and the high standards we hold ourselves to.

Especially when it comes to copywriting and design. It’s incredibly hard to create rigid processes for creative skills. For creative tasks, we focus more on coaching and training, rather than fixed SOPs.

It’s about transferring best practices and setting up guardrails to guide our team’s work while giving creative people enough freedom to explore their ideas and execute them with confidence.

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Stack Against’s training portal for team members

Hiring and managing people is probably the hardest part of being a business owner.

As a bootstrapped company, we launched with limited funds. I thought the best approach would be working with cheaper freelancers and virtual assistants to execute the work, following extremely detailed instructions they’d get from me.

Reality taught me the opposite. Instead, I got too involved with execution and micromanaging people. It took me longer to transfer my knowledge to the team which prevented me from focusing on growth initiatives and strategic moves.

This is a lesson I need to be constantly reminded of. I still fail to fully remove myself from tasks my team could be handling — even better than I would.

Hiring the right people and betting on talent, even if it costs you more at the beginning, is the right move.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Hosting: Cloudways — They’re friends of ours and a former client. We moved our website to Cloudways for better performance.

Meetings scheduler: Calendly — We have multiple types of meetings before and after a client signs up with us. Calendly handles them all.

Automations: Zapier — We tried other tools but none covered all the use cases we need, other than Zapier.

SEO research: Keywords Everywhere — Super simple to use and has a big database of keywords to search through.

SEO optimization: Surfer — Helps us make sure our clients’ pages will rank.

Customer research: Dovetail — Allows us to import a lot of reviews for different products and analyze them. It’s a beautiful tool everybody on the team loves to use.

Project management: Trello — There's not a lot of complexity in our projects. Our Project Manager suggested Trello, so we gave him what he wanted.

Design: Figma & AdobeXD — We use whatever tool our clients are already using.

Video walkthroughs: Bubbles — Clients love getting a video walkthrough of their drafts and it helps us reduce reviews and corrections.

Team communication: Slack — Everybody knows Slack and feels comfortable with it.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I follow many groups, communities, and people who are already building the kind of business that I want to build.

Here’s a short list:

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Don't keep your idea to yourself. Share as much as you can about your business and your idea as soon as possible.

The sooner you share your ideas, the faster they start multiplying.

When you share what you’re working on, you attract the kind of people that want to follow you, partner with you, and buy from you. None of that happens if you don't tell people what you're building.

Even if you don't have a logo or a website yet. Just telling people what's on your mind gets the ball rolling.

The other piece of advice is: to document everything.

When you're starting, your brain is the biggest asset your company has. The knowledge inside your head needs to be extracted and documented so others can learn from it.

Start documenting what you know as soon as possible. Those documents will become obsolete… You'll have to update them, redo them, replace them… Which is a major pain! But it's necessary if you want to speed up how you onboard new people to your team and standardize the kind of work you aim to deliver.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We're always looking for talented copywriters and designers. Anybody that has experience writing copy for SaaS or writing comparison pages could be a great fit for us.

The same goes for designers. If you have experience designing conversion-oriented landing pages, we would like to talk to you and see the kind of work you do.

Feel free to email us at federico [at] stackagainst (.) com and share more about your experience.

Where can we go to learn more?

-  
Federico Jorge, Founder of Stack Against
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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