SaaS companies face unique obstacles from a marketing and advertising perspective that few other industries have to deal with. The sales cycle is long, your team will need to make multiple touchpoints to close deals, and it isn’t easy to keep your company in the front of customer’s minds.
Every company would love to stay cemented to the top of the search results, ensuring that they stay in front of more customers through each stage of the sales cycle. Unfortunately, the only thing constant in the world of search is change, and it’s incredibly difficult to stay at the top of search results.
Thankfully, Google AdWords and other PPC platforms makes it easy for software providers to keep themselves in front of the most relevant eyes possible. Today, we’re going to cover some actionable tips you can put into practice now to revolutionize your PPC for SaaS efforts.
When you’re paying for clicks, you must be providing the user with a hyper-relevant landing page that speaks to their intent immediately. The worst thing that can happen in the world of PPC for SaaS is to have your lead instantly bounce from your landing page because it wasn’t what they expected, or because it doesn’t speak to the purpose of their search.
Pull out all the stops when developing the landing pages for your PPC ads. Each element on the page should lead the user down the path to answering your call to action, whether filling out a form, downloading a whitepaper, or anything else.
Chatbots can be incredibly effective at this step in the customer journey. They help reduce bounces while also encouraging leads to immediately begin a conversation about their needs so you can discover their pain points and begin ushering them through the sales cycle.
Put yourself in someone’s shoes using a search engine to find a SaaS provider like your company. Chances are, they have no preexisting knowledge about your company, what you’re about, or how you can help them. Since they don’t know you from a hole in the wall, why should they trust that you have the tools they need?
The best way to overcome this hurdle is to begin showcasing your credibility and inspiring truth from the second the user ends up on your landing page. If you’ve worked with any showpiece clients already, this is the perfect time to play up your relationship. Place logos of publications you’ve appeared and companies you’ve worked with (provided you have their permission to disclose your relationship.)
Case studies are also a way to inspire trust while showing proof of concept. Create case studies to highlight successful relationships with major customers, and make sure it’s clear how these brands have benefited from their partnership with your software.
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For years, the best practice has been to gate off your premium content and require some form of buy-in from your lead. After all, your team has spent countless hours creating the most informative and insightful content possible, and if all you’re asking for is some contact information from a potential lead, there should be no issue, right?
The problem is that this creates friction between you and your lead. In especially competitive verticals, that friction can sometimes be all a potential customer needs to steer their focus to one of your competitors. Plus, it leads to tons of bounces from your landing page.
Nobody likes dealing with bounces, but if the traffic is organic, it didn’t cost you anything to have that potential lead bounce from your site. With PPC ads, that bounce costs you money, and in especially competitive verticals, those costs will add up quickly, blowing through your ad budget in the process.
When demoing your product for prospective clients, you’ll want to spend a good deal of time wrapping your head around what they do and what makes their business tick. Pay special attention to the wants, aspirations, fears, and frustrations of each prospect.
Their responses to these questions help you sell better and better address their needs, but it’s also a great way to inform your future ad copy. You’re likely to notice that most of your prospects have similar concerns and goals for their business, and each different fear, frustration, want, or aspiration they have for their business is an angle you can use when creating ad copy.
Focusing your bidding strategy on long-tail keywords is effective for two reasons: it can help you find better leads, and it can provide you with affordable clicks that are still highly qualified, which is the lifeblood of a successful PPC campaign, since SaaS PPC costs tend to be quite high considering the lifetime value of a customer.
When a user searches with long-tail keywords, it often speaks to buyer intent. Let’s say two users are both in the market to purchase a new baseball bat. One user searches for “baseball bat,” while the other searches for “Easton ADV 360 BBCOR baseball bat,” who do you think is further along in the sales cycle?
Long-tail keywords are also a great opportunity to find some hidden gems with very low CPCs. These keywords are a great opportunity for you to get some qualified leads on the cheap, which is key if you’re trying to keep your budget protected and your acquisition costs as low as possible.
SaaS businesses’ lengthy sales cycle means that leads often perform similar searches multiple times before they decide on a particular software. As these leads see the same ads over and over, your target audience will begin to ignore them.
The result is lower click-through rates, a poor quality score, and higher PPC costs from AdWords when your ads actually do get clicks.
The best way to avoid ad fatigue is to regularly cycle ads in and out of use every month or biweekly.
Google owns the vast majority of the search pie, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find viable opportunities for PPC for SaaS advertising elsewhere, like Bing, for example. Bing might not have the search volume that Google has, but they have qualified searchers and affordable CPC costs.
Advertising on Bing allows you to stretch your ad budget further, and Microsoft’s ad platform allows you to export your Google ads and load them right into Bing, so there’s no need to create new ads specific to Bing.
Retargeting can be expensive, but it’s also one of SaaS companies’ most effective ways to increase their conversion rate. With ad retargeting, users see your ads only if they’ve already visited your site or used your app in the past.
These users already know about your offering and are presumably further along in their buyer journey than they were the last time they interacted with your company.
If you’re new to remarketing campaigns, you’ll want to make sure you know exactly where to place retargeting tags in your web code. Depending on where you’re buying ads (Google, LinkedIn, Facebook), the retargeting tag and its placement will be different. When they aren’t placed correctly, you may end up displaying ads to the wrong people.
When you’re dealing with PPC ads, a portion of the clicks you receive will never become the qualified leads you need. Perhaps your software doesn’t fit their needs, or they aren’t the right type of business to use your product. Whether they’re a quality lead or not, you’re still paying for the click.
You can greatly reduce the number of ads being served to users who aren’t a strong fit by using negative keywords and audience exclusion.
With search advertising, negative keywords allow you to avoid serving your ads to certain people that you know off the bat will be a poor fit for your service.
Let’s say your product is an enterprise-level CRM intended for companies with 1,000 employees or more. Adding “small business” to your negative keywords is an easy way to prevent your ads from showing to users searching for keywords like “CRM for small business.”
If you do any advertising on social media, audience exclusion can help target your ads more accurately. With audience exclusion, you’ll be able to eliminate certain demographics from your audience network that you know will not be a strong fit for your offering.
As a marketer, you’ll want to optimize your negative keywords and exclusions at two points in your ad’s lifecycle.
When you first create your ads, do some preliminary brainstorming to come up with negative keywords and exclusions and add them to your ad. After your ad has run for several weeks and generated some actionable data, take a look at the type of users who are bouncing right away, and find ways to exclude those users.
When it comes to PPC for SaaS companies, there are tons of ways to optimize your advertising and drive more qualified leads. The best practices and tips we’ve covered above are all opportunities to refine and improve your current PPC practices.
Whether you maintain your advertising in-house or partner with a SaaS marketing agency, paid search advertising will continue to be one of the most effective ways for software providers to drive engagement and new business.
Since 2009, we have helped many SaaS businesses grow strategically. Let us do it for you!
We’ve been growing businesses since 2009, let us do it for you!