Software as a service is becoming more and more important both in our work and in our social life. According to the SaaS Trend Report 2020, app usage among companies of all sizes increased by around 30% from 2018 to 2019.
For SaaS businesses looking to drive traffic, raise awareness, and generate leads, pay-per-click advertising is one of the most powerful tools out there.
However, with the tremendous growth in the SaaS industry, PPC ads are becoming increasingly competitive. It’s just getting harder to stand out from the crowd and put yourself in front of your ideal audience (and staring helplessly at your dashboard with Google Ads can be daunting).
This article compiles our favorite PPC tips that have helped make SaaS campaigns stand out from their competitors.
1. Focus on micro conversions
If your business is running PPC ads, it makes perfect sense to direct people to a landing page with the expectation that they’ll commit to a demo, sign up for a trial, or inquire about your service. However, try to look at the situation from a customer perspective: they may never have heard of you or your product and only have two options: sign in or leave. It’s like buying a new house: you don’t just walk through the front door and decide immediately.
A monthly SaaS subscription is a big commitment regardless of the price. No company wants to keep switching software, especially if multiple people or teams are using it. As with any big engagement, you need to build a relationship and win the customer’s trust. This can be done incrementally using content, newsletters, and white papers.
If you keep visiting your audience, it is only a matter of time before they review your product.
2. Rethink your keyword strategy
Marketers often use PPC for search terms at the end of the funnel that indicate buying intent. Instead, move your focus up into the funnel to take a lead nurturing approach.
The search volume for commercial terms for SaaS is often low because in many cases it is not even known that a solution to your problem is available. So instead of running ads for the name of your software, bid on ads for “problem” keywords: think about the most common problems your audience is facing and the reasons they would contact you to fix them.
For example, suppose you deploy team management software. Instead of using keywords like “team management software”, try something like “improve team performance.” People often start looking for their problems before looking for a solution. Content marketing is usually an option here. However, it doesn’t hurt to serve Google Ads to reach the same audience.
3. Test your ads in split mode
We all have our own needs and preferences, as people and as a company. While software can have many functions, every company has its own needs and priorities. Therefore, you should experiment with your ad copy. What is important to one customer may not be so important to another. There may be features in your software that you think are great but that your customers don’t really care.
Select the three main functions of your service and write a different ad for each. Make sure your landing pages are aligned with your ad messages. Create a landing page for each role you’ve created an ad for. Nothing is worse than landing on a page that is irrelevant to the ad you just clicked on.
Run the ads for a few weeks and compare engagements. How long you run each ad depends on the number of impressions and clicks: 500 or 1,000 clicks are a much more realistic view of performance than 10 or 20.
Once you know which ads are performing the best and worst, try pausing or rewriting the worst, or try another ad that highlights a different software feature.
4. Bid on your competitors
Another great way to showcase yourself in front of your relevant audience is to run a campaign that displays ads to people who are actively searching for your competitors’ brand names. This is a great opportunity to create a comparison landing page or discuss why your product is a better alternative.
Here’s a good example – an ad that Samsung used a few years ago when the iPhone 6s was released:
Source: Think with Google
All types of people could search for your competitor’s brand name: their customers, some of whom are unhappy with their service; or others who are new to the market looking at all potential service providers. Both of these are great ways to run an ad that gets them noticed about your business.
5. Stay on the front lines
The greater the engagement, the longer the customer sales cycle. It’s important not to push the customer too quickly, but it’s also important to stay in front of them during the decision-making phase. A good way to do this is remarketing, and specifically displaying remarketing: displaying banner ads on other websites to people who have previously visited yours.
The simplest approach would be to create generic branded banners. You may also want to set up exclusions for customers who have already visited a sign-in page or customer service section of your website.
A more advanced method would be to segment your target audiences across previously visited pages. For example, suppose you have a number of pages or blog posts that are related to a specific audience or role of your service. You may want to create a series of ad banners with specific messages targeting that particular audience or role so that anyone who has previously visited those pages will see those targeted banners on the web.
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There you have it: five tips for better SaaS PPC performance. The sooner you start testing and implementing improvements, the sooner you will see results. Good luck.