As demand for digital products grows, standing out amongst the competition becomes more of a challenge. With so many SaaS companies on the market, consumers can be confused as to which is the best or whether they even need to use a SaaS product.
And what about if your digital product solves a niche or specialist problem? This is where running PPC campaigns to market SaaS products becomes a key strategy.
Yes, you need a strategy to build your flow of organic traffic too. And very likely you will also need to build your social media presence to generate a buzz and brand awareness.
But there is no substitute for paid traffic, especially in the early days.
So why do you need to consider PPC ads for your SaaS marketing or software product?
What is SaaS marketing?
A SaaS marketing strategy focuses on promoting a product designed for software as a service. Often the market for software products is highly competitive and offers unique challenges such as offering a clear value proposition, building and maintaining brand visibility, and avoiding high rates of churn and fraud.
For these reasons, SaaS marketing is a unique challenge for business marketers and takes careful consideration.
Does PPC work for B2B products?
While PPC ads are often seen as the perfect tool for B2C business, some might question their effectiveness for B2B products. In fact, using PPC ads such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads can have a powerful impact on B2B marketing.
Consider the fact that PPC still accounts for between 40% to 50% of the clicks on Google. It probably is the most effective way to generate quick sign-ups.
Business and enterprise clients will often search for solutions on search engines. And using social media ads such as Facebook or Instagram will allow you to retarget these potential customers.
The competition for PPC ads is extremely fierce though, and you do need to focus on the best practice marketing tips (which we’re about to share) to generate the best results.
The best PPC marketing strategies SaaS products
For any SaaS marketing strategy, whether that’s targeting paid ads or organic traffic, you’ll need to research your target audience. Having your ideal customer profile will be a key part of your business model and will help you optimize your message and improve your ad targeting.
We’re also assuming that your product has launched or is ready to launch, and is real-world ready. Nothing ruins a marketing campaign faster than a product that isn’t fit for purpose yet.
So before making any steps to start spending your marketing budget, make sure that software as a service product is tight as a drum.
With those essentials in place, what are the best PPC for SaaS marketing strategies to put in place?
1. Create a custom audience for your ads
A good way to get a head start with your SaaS marketing is to build a custom audience. If you already have an email list of interested customers, or you’ve built a list of ideal clients or prospective customers, then you can use this to better target lookalike audiences on Facebook Ads or Google Ads.
Google is actually changing the way they target audiences using your data, which will happen later in 2023.
Facebook Ads still allows you to create custom audiences. And if you’re running image or video-based ad campaigns, using the Meta suite of ad tools will be very useful.
If you don’t have a list of prospective customers yet, follow these steps:
- Build a list of potential clients using a CRM system to collect information about your existing customers. You can also use third-party services such as Leadformly to generate leads from people who have filled out a form on your website.
- It’s also a good idea to segment your audience into different groups such as existing customers and potential clients, depending on the stage of the funnel you’re trying to target.
- Continuously track and monitor the performance of your campaigns targeting the custom audience, and make adjustments as needed to optimize their performance.
Read our guide about how to identify and build your target audience on Google Ads.
2. Be clear and simple in your copy
When it comes to running marketing for SaaS products, it helps to spell out exactly what your service is. So keep your ad copy, especially your headlines, simple and easy to digest.
More often than not, this means staying away from complex or industry-specific jargon.
For some products, this might be unavoidable – but in these cases, you are probably targeting a specific user who is likely familiar with the problem you solve.
Think of your ads as your elevator pitch – only you have much less than 30 seconds. Most likely you have a fraction of a second.
Make your platform count.
- Keep it simple with your paid search headlines – say what your product is
- Make your ad copy easy to scan and clarify your product offer
- Add extensions to specific categories if possible
This is a good example of keeping it simple from chatbot software Userlike.
The header makes it clear what the product is, even if you’ve never heard of them. And the ad copy is easy to scan with each of the benefits and features capitalized. And there are even extensions taking you to the right category.
Contrast this with the popular tool Zendesk.
Similar tool, but a different approach. There are less benefits or distractions but it’s clear what the product does. Zendesk also has the benefit of being the well-known option in the chatbot space, so they perhaps rely less on their ad copy.
3. Be visual with your ads
With SaaS products, conveying your features and benefits can be a bit lengthy in text. This is where the use of Facebook Ads comes in useful.
Of course, you still need to keep your copy tight and optimized. But make use of the ad space to create eye-catching banners or ads that explain the benefits of your product.
I like this example from DiiB.
By using colorful buttons, they make it clear what the product is for. And the copy is easy to scan to clarify the details.
And, to add to that, they also give you a clear CTA that entices the user to check it out and get their own test in a minute.
Of course with Facebook and Instagram Ads, you can also make use of video ads and carousels. These can be extra engaging and help to explain complex product offers in seconds.
Check out our pro advice about building high converting Facebook Ads from our SaaS marketing expert.
4. Build a great landing page
All your ad efforts are for nothing if your potential customers just bounce off the page. And this is why the power of the landing page is so strong. With a good landing page, you can streamline your message, keep your customer’s attention, and even highlight additional features.
Some tips for a great SaaS landing page include:
- Have a clear title or header
- Summarise the product offer in a few words
- Use images such as screenshots, gifs, and videos to illustrate the power of your SaaS product
- Include CTA buttons that make it clear where they can sign up
- Make your offer clear too. Free trial? Offering a discount? Perhaps add a pop-up or use this text in your CTA button
Check out our in-depth guide to building great landing pages.
5. Add social proof
In the age of social media, nothing is more powerful than a bit of social proof. And this is key when it comes to selling a software tool that your audience might not even have heard of. So how best to convince them that you offer value?
Testimonials or highlights from reviews can go a long way to persuading your audience to try you out.
Embedding links to your TrustPilot, Google Reviews, or other review sites can also be powerful. And if you don’t have any of this yet, perhaps you’re an early-stage product launch, then you can always display your certifications or any reviews that highlight your value.
And of course, on the other side of this, a key part of SaaS marketing is also winning those positive reviews. Having a badge on your site saying you have a 4.8-star rating on Capterra or G2 puts your potential audience’s mind at ease.
So, as part of your general marketing strategy, you will want to encourage feedback as often as possible.
6. Avoid ad fatigue
If you’re running ads via retargeting, your leads can continue to be exposed to your PPC campaigns. And if you’re running display ad campaigns, they might end up seeing your banner plastered all over the internet.
Without care, this can lead to ad fatigue. Seeing the same copy and creative over and over again can cause prospects to disengage from your brand and maybe even be actively anti-your products.
Consider cycling through multiple variations of your ads, switching up the copy and imagery to minimize the chances of ad fatigue. This allows your prospects to discover new ways to think of your offer and keep you top of mind, all without annoying your leads.
On some level, most people will experience ad fatigue if there is an aggressive ad campaign. But what you can do is improve how people perceive your ad copy and overall PPC marketing campaign by keeping it fresh and interesting.
- A/B test your ads to improve the performance of your marketing efforts
- Don’t run your ads 24/7 – draw up your SaaS marketing plan to run certain times of the day or the month
- Use humor where possible and understand how you can build brand awareness in a fun way
7. Target competitor keywords
When running paid search ads, it’s common practice for businesses to bid on brand keywords. For example, if a tool to rival Hubspot was launched, they might bid on the search term ‘Hubspot’ and run an ad that says something like:
“Product X – The Best Alternative to Hubspot?”
Another clever way of running this type of ad campaign is to highlight your benefit over the competition.
“10 x faster than Product B”
“Trusted by more professionals than Product X”
“Biggest database vs Product Y”
Of course, running ads against your competitors opens you up to all kinds of issues. Tread carefully to avoid any legal issues, for example, don’t call them out for poor performance or any controversies.
And if you run ads targeting your competitors’ keywords, they might just return the favor. So be prepared!
8. Give away free content
A classic content marketing strategy is to give away free guides or content in exchange for contact details. You can promote the benefits of your SaaS company by being a thought leader in your industry, and giving that thought leadership away for (sort of) free.
The lead magnet is still an effective inbound lead marketing tool, including for SaaS marketing, and people will often happily provide an email in exchange for a guide or to attend your webinar.
Typical lead magnets for SaaS marketing might include:
- Downloadable ebooks and guides
- Reports and white papers
- Access to video courses
- Signup for a webinar or free course
- Pre-launch trials or beta access
- Free tickets to conferences/events
- Free merch!
8. Use clear CTAs (and make it easy to sign up)
One key part of any PPC campaign is adding a clear call to action. This might be on your paid search result, your landing page, your Facebook Ad, or a display banner on the GDN.
What your CTA says is entirely dependent on your product offer or service. But we have previously looked at how to use power words to encourage more conversions.
9. Prevent fraud in your funnels
All forms of paid marketing are open to various forms of fraud. With regard to PPC campaigns, the most damaging problems are click fraud or ad fraud. These fake clicks on paid links have been shown to waste on average 14% of Google Ads campaigns.
This invalid traffic can come from:
- Bots and click farms
- Fraudulent ad placement (ad fraud)
Beyond clicks on paid links, another challenge for SaaS companies is the issue of account takeover bots, payment card fraud or carding, and spam injection.
All of these forms of fraud can be hugely damaging to both the business and your customers. Stolen data and payment details can be more than just embarrassing. It can undermine trust in a software product, result in legal action and even cause the collapse of a company.
Using a tool like ClickCease is the most effective way to prevent the most common forms of fraud on SaaS marketing campaigns including click fraud and bot-based website fraud.
Mistakes to avoid in SaaS marketing campaigns
Of course, in any marketing campaign there are mistakes that can trip up your efforts. These are some of the most common mistakes that can affect SaaS marketing strategies and ad campaigns.
- Not aligning your message with your audience
Perhaps the most glaring mistake is miscueing your brand message. Being too technical, not making your benefits obvious, or complicating your offer are some of the obvious mistakes for SaaS companies.
- Failing to establish a unique value proposition
Why is your product unique? What makes it better than the competition? How would your SaaS product change your target audience’s life for the better? Make it obvious in your content marketing, including your PPC ads.
- Not optimizing for conversions
SaaS products live or die by their conversions, and SaaS marketers need to make sure they keep a steady flow of new customers. Whatever the stage of the funnel that your marketing is targeting, you need to keep those CTA’s and value propositions front and center.
- Make it easy to get value from your product
Because SaaS customers don’t always see the immediate obvious value in their subscription, it’s also a good idea to give ample opportunity to improve the customer knowledge of your service and product. A good example of this is regular webinars, AMAs with the team, or access to a free training course on sign-up. When customers don’t see value in their (usually high-priced) monthly subscription, they’re more likely to churn.
Preventing fraud on SaaS products and their marketing campaigns
Fraud prevention is an important part of any marketing strategy, and this definitely goes double with SaaS companies. With such a high cost per click and an often very competitive marketplace, SaaS businesses need to ensure they keep a close eye on their ad traffic and their leads.
ClickCease provides a layer of security that covers both paid ads and organic website traffic too. By blocking click fraud in real-time, SaaS marketers can be assured that their ads are targeting only their target audience and avoiding clicks from bots or competitors across the paid search, display campaigns, and social media ads too.
In addition to this, Bot Zapping from ClickCease stops bot traffic on WordPress sites. No more spam bots, account takeovers or hacks, or fake payment information.
As part of any SaaS marketing campaign, sign up for a free trial of ClickCease to run a traffic audit on your ads.
Get your 7-day free trial today.