Written by Steve Dang on Apr 15

How pay-per-click (PPC) for SaaS can help your company drive maximum impact this year and beyond

Here, you’ll find:

  • Dos and don’ts when it comes to PPC for SaaS
  • How to make your assets work for you
  • Why retargeting (the right way) is key
  • Tips for optimizing your SaaS landing pages

With long sales cycles and an emphasis on demos, SaaS companies have a unique set of marketing obstacles. The same goes for advertising on platforms like Google and Bing.

Like most digital marketing methods, PPC (or paid search) advertising isn’t one size fits all. So, how can you make it work for your SaaS brand? Read on to find out.

1. Focus on credibility to convert visitors to leads

When it comes to PPC for SaaS companies, it’s key to establish credibility from the beginning. If you look at users who are finding their way to you through a search engine, they may not be acquainted with your company (unless they’re searching through a brand term, of course).

Because of this, you want to make it clear to someone unfamiliar with your offering that your company is legit right off the bat. One effective way we’ve seen of doing this is to align your brand with well-known clients. If you have big-name Fortune 500 clients in your roster, it’s wise to leverage that. As long as there’s a level of recognizability, it’s a good idea to include those logos on your landing page (with permission). 

Even better: See if you can create a case study that highlights both your partnership with that brand and how they found success through working with you. Not only does this help establish credibility, but it allows people to understand your product and service on a deeper level.

HawkSEM: PPC for SaaS Brands in 2020: 6 Tips

OverOps uses brand logos and testimonials to illustrate their credibility.

You can also establish credibility through showcasing:

  • awards
  • press mentions
  • client testimonials
  • seller ratings

2. Always qualify your leads

Plenty of SaaS companies think they’re covering all the bases: They’ve got the proper CRM in place, and they perfectly store and track their leads. But if you’re not following up on those leads and doing the work of rating and scoring them based on their perceived value, you could be missing out on helpful insights. 

There are two ways to score leads. The first is quantitative, which scores leads from 1 to 10, zero to 100, or something in between, depending on how granular you want to get. The other way is qualitative. For this, you can score with metrics like low, medium, or high probability. (Here’s how to use lead scoring in Salesforce.)

Once you decide how you want to score them, the next step is to optimize your campaigns for qualified leads. You don’t want to fall into the trap of seeing the conversion data inside of Google Analytics and simply optimizing for those conversions

Once you score your leads, you also want to connect them back to the originating campaigns, ad groups, keywords, segments, and devices. It’s tempting to rely on intuition when you’re optimizing campaigns, but the data won’t steer you wrong.

HawkSEM: PPC for SaaS Brands in 2020: 6 Tips

A clear CTA, impressive stats, and a chatbot are all elements of an optimized landing page.

3. Put your best foot forward with landing pages

For SaaS companies in particular, your landing page is the starting point for many potential leads — the first step of the customer journey. That’s why you want to use all of the resources at your disposal to ensure your landing pages are as compelling and as effective as possible.

As a guiding principle, make sure your landing page has a clear purpose. You want to make sure all of the page elements work together to get the user to convert by filling out a form or performing some other desired call-to-action (CTA) step. You also want to entice visitors to scroll down through the entire page, if applicable, so it shouldn’t be too long.

Extra elements, like a chatbot, can also be quite useful in a landing page. They allow you to engage with your audience, reduce your bounce rate, and get a conversation started right then and there. That way, you can address any particular pain points they might have while the lead is warm. Lastly, of course, you should always be testing your landing pages and optimizing accordingly.

Pro tip: We’ve seen more and more SaaS companies ungating their longer content (aka making it available without having to fill out a form), such as white papers and market research. Particularly when competition is stiff, this can be an effective way to get interaction instead of having the visitor simply bounce.

4. Nurture cross-channel alignment

Another common issue when it comes to PPC efforts for SaaS is that their various channels are too siloed and separate. Perhaps each channel is led by a different owner, and these owners don’t regularly check in with one another. This can result in miscommunications, unnecessary or repetitive efforts, and missed opportunities.

Synchronizing these different channels can keep everyone working towards the same goal with a cohesive vision. When aligning on an element like your copy, you’ll know that you’re speaking to your target audience with a consistent voice and tone, whether it’s a followup email or a landing page. Remedying this issue can be as simple as a brief weekly meeting to review and discuss current projects.

HawkSEM: PPC for SaaS Brands in 2020: 6 Tips

Having assets to cover each stage of the buyer’s journey, it’s easy to target the right person with the right content at the right time. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Leverage all of your assets

It’s common for companies to generate a hefty amount of assets in their lifetime. But problems arise when these assets get lost in the shuffle or can’t easily be found. After all, what good is spending time, money, and resources to create something that you’re not actually leveraging? 

SaaS marketing relies heavily on audience education — assets play a key part in that. You can use these pieces of content to educate and nurture your audience. Moreover, when you have assets to cover each stage of the buyer’s journey, it’s easy to target the right person with the right content at the right time.

Pro tip: Keep your assets organized in a spreadsheet — preferably a cloud-based doc that your team can access, such as Google Sheets. It can include things like links to each piece of content, what stage of the buyer’s journey it addresses, and the type of content it is.

6. Consider retargeting

Since SaaS companies tend to have longer sales cycles, retargeting (also called remarketing) can be a game-changer. Retargeting connects your SaaS offering with people who have already visited your site or mobile app. 

Google Ads is set up so that the default audience is generally set at 30 days. But this is often not enough time for the SaaS sales cycle, which can end up being three or six months out. Once you determine a rough estimate for how many days it takes your leads to convert, you can tailor your remarketing campaigns accordingly.

A lot of education can take place during the buyer’s journey. If you’re serving white papers or other content campaigns that last longer than 30 days, your retargeting should do the same. Lastly, don’t just retarget your entire audience. You want to make sure different audiences are getting different tailored experiences and messages when possible.

Pro tip: Platforms like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn all have their own retargeting tags, so make sure you’re placing each retargeting tag properly.

Speaking of LinkedIn, here’s a bonus video tip taken from our recent webinar all about PPC for SaaS:



The takeaway

SaaS digital marketing often isn’t a straight-line path from A to B. Rather, it’s about a composite of different campaign types working together, nurturing your audience with education, and using PPC to serve up various resources that ultimately get them to convert. Want even more PPC tips for SaaS? Check out this webinar recording.

Looking for more help with your SaaS PPC? You’ve come to the right place.

Steve Dang

Steve Dang

    Steve Dang is Director of Digital Marketing & Strategy at HawkSEM. He's got more than 10 years of experience leading digital teams and revenue growth, working with clients in SaaS, FinTech, E-commerce, higher education, financial services, and more. In his spare time, Steve enjoys long runs, long swims, and long books.

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