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6 documented ways to use paid search

6 documented ways to use paid search

SaaS marketing often falls into niche categories where relevant keywords can be restricted and differentiating B2B from B2C intent can be a challenge.

However, there are several different ways to use PPC to reach potential customers and re-engage those who may be in a consideration phase.

In this article, you will learn six PPC tactics that SaaS companies use to target the right people and keep their products top-of-mind.

1. Keyword bidding

Sometimes non-branded keywords can be difficult to nail on niche SaaS products.

Bidding on competitor names can be an effective tactic to target people who are in the market for your product, especially when they first go into the search.

You can familiarize yourself with the familiarity of a larger competitor that may have more search volume than your own brand.

While you should not mention your competitor directly by name in an ad (for both trademark and ethical reasons), feel free to highlight differentiators for your brand. Examine your competitors to keep an eye on areas where they may be weak and you are strong.


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For example, if a competitor has recently increased their pricing, current users and those in research mode may be more open to other options. You can take advantage of your more effective pricing if that is your brand’s selling point.

You may also find that a competitor often receives complaints about their customer service. If your brand is known for positive customer service, you need to highlight that aspect of your business in ads to stand out from your competition.

LinkedIn Lead Gen forms

LinkedIn targeting often provides the most niche opportunities to directly reach the audience of a B2B SaaS product. However, LinkedIn advertising also tends to be expensive.

Leadgen forms can help reduce the cost per lead. Acquisition.

Leadgen forms allow the user to submit a form to an offer directly in the LinkedIn feed without leaving to go to a website.

The form also automatically fills in all information associated with the user’s account (such as name, email, job title, etc.). Leads can be synchronized directly to several major CRMs and automation platforms.


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Lead forms reduce friction and often tend to convert at a higher rate and lower cost per second. Acquisition than using a dedicated landing page.

According to LinkedIn, the average conversion rate on a leadgen form is 13% (compared to an estimated average of 2.35% for landing pages).

In general, lead forms tend to work best to promote a gated asset toward a higher funnel or mid-funnel audience. You can then continue to follow up on the people submitting the form using a marketing automation platform.

3. Retargeting across channels

Many SaaS companies are concerned with trying to reach a narrow audience that may have only a few relevant targeting options on each platform. To maximize the reach of the right people, you need to target potential customers across channels.

For example, you might use LinkedIn to target people who have specific titles, are members of certain groups, or work for companies on an account list.

While LinkedIn may be the only place you can directly target via this criterion, you can then add them to an audience if you can get people to your site for a higher funnel question such as reading a piece of content or signing up for a webinar. for retargeting.

Be sure to use the right UTM parameters to define the specific audience you want to target.

You can then use a channel like Google or Facebook to create a targeting audience of people who visited URLs that contain these parameters.

For example, a LinkedIn ads URL for people who visited a webinar sign-up page from a campaign using account-based targeting may have the following parameters:

utm_source = linkedinutm_medium = paidsocialutm_campaign = Webinar_AccountList4.

You can then create a targeting audience that “contains” this string from URL: utm_source = linkedin & utm_medium = paidsocial & utm_campaign = Webinar_AccountList

4. Targeting the prospectus list

You may have a list of leads that are being worked on by sales, or people who have expressed initial interest in your brand by signing up for a webinar.


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As long as these individuals have chosen to receive marketing communications, you can upload these lists to target them across ad platforms or synchronize lists to update automatically, depending on your automation platform setup.

Most major ad platforms support some form of targeting so you can reach people across Google, Microsoft Advertising, LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora and others.

Here are a few suggestions for using prospect lists in ad campaigns:

Engage potential customers with a different kind of content. For example, if someone originally signed up for a webinar, they might be interested in reading a buyer’s guide. Identify potential customers who originally signed up but have dropped the radar from communicating with sales. You can put an extra discount in front of them or maybe a longer trial period than you usually offer to sweeten the deal. If you offer a free trial period, you can sync a list of people who are in a trial period to show ads that promote the benefits of a paid subscription. Upload a customer list to exclude targeting so you don’t waste your budget on current customers. Use a customer list to create a similar audience to target people with similar characteristics as current customers.

5. Account List Targeting

In addition to targeting specific individuals, you can also use ABM (Account-Based Marketing) to reach selected companies you want to target.

The advantage here is that you do not need explicit options to upload a list. A sales team may have a list composed of “dream” target accounts, or you may have access to a list of major companies in a particular industry.

Out of the major self-service ad platforms, LinkedIn is the primary route for uploading account lists.


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In addition, you can also work with reps to sync account lists in native advertising platforms like Taboola or Outbrain, and for larger purchases you can look at dedicated ABM platforms.

You can also overlay additional targeting on the ledgers to ensure you reach the right decision makers in the organization.

For example, you could overlay an IT job function and a job responsibility for the director and up to place your ads in front of people who are likely to make IT purchasing decisions.

6. Direction of video display

Sometimes SaaS products offer complex solutions that cannot be easily explained in a short social post.

An explanatory video can present the problem and how the product solves it, as well as establish initial fire recognition for the product.

Even if a video doesn’t work for instant conversion, you can run a video ad on Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube targeting a top-of-funnel audience and create an audience based on video viewers.


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You can then target engaged viewers with a download of an asset or another CTA.


Reaching the right buyers in the market for a SaaS product can be a challenge. But tracking the right strategy by testing different platforms and ad formats can ultimately often be rewarding.

Having the right tracking infrastructure in place to properly measure trial / demo registrations, upgrades, and recurring subscriptions is crucial to also informing long-term strategy as you review what tactics are most likely to provide long-term customers.

So make sure you are able to correctly attribute what results you get from each platform and campaign, and start testing some new tactics!

More resources:

Image credits

All screenshots taken by the author, July 2021

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