What is the best way to sell software online? Which is the most effective strategy to market a SaaS product? People search for answers to these questions on Google and Quora, striving to learn the best practices for productive SaaS sales… Is PPC (pay-per-click) the right approach or at least among the most preferable SaaS growth strategies?
Without approximate guesses and hesitations, let’s make it clear – how B2B online advertising varies from B2C best practices and bring to light all the practical advantages of launching PPC SaaS ads. We will spice up our article with 9 PPC tools that will optimize your PPC journey from keyword research to conducting tests.
Here we go!
SaaS PPC Campaigns ≠ Other PPC Campaigns: What Do You Need to Know?
Since you have entered the SaaS world and have faced both its thorns and roses, we will get along with each other even more easily. Below are the main characteristics that make the B2B SaaS different from other industries.
1. A sales cycle is longer – Buying a skincare product takes less time than subscribing to software because in the first case you buy for yourself, you are the decision-maker and the sale size is probably small.
But in the B2B buying process, 2 and more members are usually included in the decision-making process (marketing manager, CMO, CEO), the research process is deeper and once you subscribe to a pricing plan, you should pay regularly not to lose your software access. Longer relations, stronger commitment and consequently, harder decision.
2. B2B consumer market is narrower – Users who search for and need smartphones are far more than those who need customer engagement or customer loyalty tools. That’s why your ad should be directed to the right groups and be designed in an optimal way so you don’t lose lead generation and sales opportunities.
3. You put more emphasis on lead generation rather than closing the sale immediately – On B2C ads, you’re more likely to encounter a CTA like Order now, Buy today, but as a B2B service provider, you’d probably insert a CTA like Download an eBook, Contact us for more or Start your free trial. You first try to get that potential buyer’s personal info, attract him to your landing page and eventually close a lucrative sale.
Benefits of PPC Advertising: Don’t Miss Even One of Them!
Regardless of which industry you operate in, the pluses of PPC marketing remain pretty much the same. Let’s discover the pluses right now…
#1 PPC ads appear to a specific group of users, based on interests – Though people sometimes contrast PPC advertising with inbound marketing, the first one complements more than replacing the second one.
Your SaaS ads will be visible only to users who actually search for a specific keyword and look for relevant information, product or service. That being said, you don’t “surprise” people with an unexpected and unrelated popup but try to facilitate their decision-making process.
#2 You outrank on SERP faster than you’d do with your SEO efforts – No one says that producing excellent pieces of content regularly is wrong or outdated. Absolutely not. The truth just is – ranking organically on Google will take you months or even a year, plus will require consistency in your content marketing endeavors.
If your business is at a starting point and you are on your way to content optimization, leveraging PPC becomes even more rewarding. Your ad will outrank even organic Google search results as long as you keep running your PPC campaign.
#3 Targeting the “profitable” and the right audience is in your hands – Google gives you a variety of audience targeting options if you choose to be visible via Google display ads. Let’s count: location, age, gender, even device type, entered keywords.
You control the whole process from defining your target demographics to managing with which keywords your ad goes well. You should rather think about how to organize your PPC campaign right than considering between yes and no.
#4 You decide what’s the maximum amount you are ready to invest per 1 click – Managing your budget is a powerful advantage. Once you know the average CPC (Cost-Per-Click) for a certain keyword, you will sort out what price to offer allocating the most optimal budget accordingly.
You can also increase your bids based on factors like whether the ad is shown on working days and hours or not or from which country the keyword search comes from.
#5 You track and analyze your PPC campaigns, applying constructive changes – Once your campaign kicked off with fixed parameters, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to them, disregarding campaign improvement options. You can lower or raise your bids, change keywords, demographics in a matter of minutes.
Or use the tools mentioned below that will do the whole job for you automatically.
#6 Google PPC campaigns help you find well-performing keywords and build a strong SEO strategy – Whether you are a growing or large company, monitoring the performance of keywords relevant to your business never loses its significance. If you are a relatively small business and start your content creation activities from scratch, an already conducted PPC campaign can provide valuable insights around what keywords your blog posts should be written.
#7 With PPC remarketing, you can call back qualified users to your website – Retargeting is popular not because authors speak about its efficiency quite often but because this strategy is based on the user’s previous experience and connection with your brand. People may look for dozens of websites before they make the final decision or their presence on your website may be interrupted because of various external reasons.
Reminding them once more about your website and software is a powerful way to stand out from market alternatives your potential customer has been considering before.
Since you are already acquainted with the benefits of PPC, let’s zero in on the 4 main stages of running a SaaS PPC campaign and discuss the digital advertising tools you can use for each stage.
#1 Keyword Research Stage
Remember we were talking about the importance of selecting the right keywords? This is where your PPC journey begins. Typing the best possible keyword options in a keyword research tool, then analyzing competitor keywords.
In the first case, you rely on your imagination on what keywords the users might be searching or get other keyword options that your research tool suggests. If you and your tool miss some great keyword ideas, you can correct the mistake with your competitor’s help, revealing which keywords work well for him.
Here are some tools you can utilize for this stage.
Keywords for Google ads suggested by a Google tool! What could be more precise than this? If you need exact ideas on keyword competition and which is the lowest (highest) bid range, Google Keyword Planner will answer your questions with one search.
The higher the keyword competition, the harder your job will be. You should concentrate on phrases that have low or medium competition and high search volume.
When using Mondovo’s Keyword Research Tool, you enter your preferred phrase and choose the country (results may vary greatly from location to location).
On the list, you can find information on relevance, search volume, and CPC (Cost-Per-Click) of the keyword. The higher the CPC, the more valuable the keyword is. The relevance section also can provide some valuable insights on which keyword to choose and which one not to.
Don’t forget that the exact match approach will save you from low-quality clicks and traffic. In this case, when you target the [project management software] keyword, the ad will not appear if someone searches just for “project management”.
#2 Analysis Stage
How do you know how many users clicked on your ad, how much did you spend on a single click or which keywords bring the most traffic? Yes, you need to make use of tools such as Google Analytics and FullStory to discover some critical data about your ad campaigns.
Let’s look at the functionalities of each tool separately.
Run ads on Google ads and monitor the progress via Google Analytics. You can do the latter via Google ads too and track metrics like Clicks, Impressions, CTR, Avg. CPC. But with Google Analytics, you can monitor bounce rate, sessions and other data too.
You should primarily care about Cost per Click and how your website conversion rate is correlated with the amount of money you invested in your ad campaigns. You can analyze the performance of your campaign with Google Ads predefined reports as well (including ad group, search term, search keyword…).
Another analytics platform which you can use for recording and tracking your visitor’s actions on your website. And you get that valuable data in the form of heat maps that help you monitor what steps your visitor took on your website and what pages he visited.
In their free plan, you can track up to 1.000 sessions per month.
Google Ads Performance Grader
We had already mentioned about WordStream. Their latest tool – Google Ads Performance Grader – in 1 minute tells you how your ads are performing, what statistics you have, and what best practices you can leverage to reach better results.
You enter your Google Ads account email address and get info regarding Quality Scores, CTRs, Long-Tail Keywords, Impression Shares, Account Activity for free.
#3 Bid Adjustment Stage
The financial aspect is maybe the most delicate part of any marketing activity, especially PPC campaigns because your ad is visible on SERP as long as you pay for it (if you don’t rank organically).
And if spending dollars on visibility doesn’t bring you qualified leads and sales, that will certainly make you feel blue, if not resentful.
To control your PPC campaign budget more carefully and to save you from manual processes, the SaaS world has developed various AI tools that will automatically optimize your bids.
Let’s get acquainted with some of those platforms.
Imagine how much work you’d be supposed to do if your position requires to monitor the performance of your PPC campaign and alter the bids according to analytical data. Acquisio is designed for optimizing your bids and budget distribution, relying on user behavior and your preferences.
For example, a keyword search from X country may be considered more valuable than from Y country and Acquisio increases the bid automatically.
This PPC automation tool is free if you invest less than 1K in your monthly ads. It can automatically adjust your bids on a daily basis. Keywords that perform better will cost more.
If a user conducts a search from your preferred country, the click again may cost higher than from other non-top locations.
With Wordstream Advisor you can change the bids both manually or ask the tool to do it for you. You can define your PPC budget & goal and WordStream Advisor will change the bids based on machine learning algorithms & historical data.
Giving recommendations regarding your PPC campaign structure and keywords is another benefit you should leverage.
#4 Testing & Optimization Stage
Your website content and design play significant roles in the conversion process. When we say “website content and design”, we first mean the landing page as here’s where your visitors fill in their personal information and kick off their relationship with your company.
If you run an ad campaign, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t direct your “clickers” to your homepage. But rather, your visitor will appear on a landing page where you should convert him with a relevant offer.
Let’s see which tools will give you a helping hand throughout your landing page optimization efforts.
A landing page platform that allows you to get access to a landing page, popup, and sticky bar templates. You not only can use ready-made templates but customize them according to your needs. A/B testing option is also available with this platform designed for testing your website performance.
With this experimentation platform, you can again conduct A/B testing, multi-page experimentation and optimize customer experience on your website. Like in the previous tool, you can understand which version of your landing page performs better and reveal which elements make your visitors act the way you want.
Conclusion Without Giant PPC tools? No Way…
Wordstream – We already talked about Wordstream Advisor and Google Ads Performance Grader but that’s only two of the tools of this all-in-one platform.
They provide free tools like AdWords Landing Page Grader (helps improve visitor’s experience on your landing page), Free keyword tool (suggests keyword ideas along with search volume), Smart Ads Creator (helps design your ads without hiring a designer) too that will make your ads even more optimized and rewarding.
AdEspresso – Another all-in-one tool that will be by your side throughout your whole PPC campaign, from creating to managing your ads. All AdEspresso plans include integration with Google Analytics, templates, A/B testing of ads, personalized suggestions, and other features any PPC advertiser would like to have access to.
It’s up to you to decide – whether to use separate tools and track the results from different accounts or trust your PPC data to one platform.
How is your PPC campaign going? What tools have you been using to reach a higher ROI from PPC?
We hope our article will enrich your PPC experience with some advanced tools and open new doors towards lower CPC and higher CR.