Read This Before Your Start Doing PPC for SaaS

Table of Contents

Launching a new SaaS product is extremely hard, no matter whether you’re a startup or an already established brand. Today, everyone and their brother can put together a bunch of code in Javascript and Node.js. Then, they make it do something rudimentary, and think they are the next Zuc.

And, like lots before them, and lots after, they bite the dust. Customers are very cautious when it comes to choosing SaaS products. This is probably because of all the Zuc wannabes who tried to cash in some quick bucks and failed in the process.

At the end of the day, what you need is more customers at your “doorstep.”

And not only that, you need to keep them for as long as humanely and inhumanely possible.

And what better way to set-up a brand-sparking new Google Ads campaign? Just add some random keywords, and get all that sweet, sweet monthly subscription revenue. Right… Right?

Wrong.

The whole premise of PPC for SaaS is simple – pay for driving traffic to your product and/or service. You see, Google, Facebook, and every other platform that offers PPC has made it look simple to create ads. Setting up one for the sake of using these paid channels because of their implied simplicity is a big no-no.

Remember, they WANT your money, and they want you to spend lots of it.

Setting up a PPC account is easy. What’s extremely hard is making it worth your money.

So, how to do just that?

What Is PPC Anyway?

What these platforms have told you is the following: PPC is paying per user action with your business.

It’s simple, sweet, and it works.

Surely you’ll get conversions just by setting up a basic PPC account, but will they be worth in ROI terms?

Most likely not.

The reality is much different. By setting up a PPC account on Google, Facebook, Pinterest, or any other platform, you’re a helpless fish in a tank filled with hungry sharks.

So, how to outwit said sharks and eventually become a shark yourself?

Choose The Right Time to Invest Into PPC

You can’t be hoping to become the next Zuc by offering a product that makes two button clicks one. It’s not enough. To invest in paid advertising, you need to first have a service/product that fits the target market and it has an “offer that can’t be refused.”

This offer doesn’t need to include a particular horse in a particular bed.

But if you don’t have a message that matches the market, your ads will suffer.

A SaaS server surrounded by a laptop and payment methods.

Have a Simple SaaS Marketing Funnel

The right time to get into PPC is:

  • After you have a defined sales SaaS marketing funnel
  • When you have happy customers and low churn rates, even if they are only 3
  • When you have a proposition that has a proven record of driving sales

Then, you start pouring traffic in the top of the funnel from paid ads.

The concept is very simple, really.

Sadly, most SaaS companies tend to stumble and fail at this particular step. They over-complicate what already works by adding extra steps into a simple funnel. So, they end up with a Frankenfunnel that has never been tested before.

And it doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t, because they try to fix something that’s not broken.

Simple funnels work. Don’t add 100 steps to fill out a form. Don’t be that SaaS company everyone hates.

Define Your SaaS Marketing Budget For PPC

Although there’s a big difference between this and that SaaS company, a general rule of thumb is to use no less than $3k per platform at the start.

If you think $3k is a lot, just a side note: your competition is probably spending $20k + per month.

With $3k, you can go through the initial testing process, find out opportunities, and scale your budget accordingly.

So, there are three phases you need to go through to get your PPC efforts to work. And, this approach works for every PPC platform out there.

It is as follows:

  • Testing
  • Identifying opportunities
  • Budget Scaling

To get the most of PPC, you need to test 24/7.

Phase 1: Testing

As its name suggests, revenue is not important here. What’s important is the data. During this phase, specific targeting is not important, as you can’t possibly know what will work. So, make a structure that encompasses everything, but make sure you know what you’re putting your money on, because that’ll be important later.

Here’s why the $3k is important: In our experience, it’s the least required to buy enough data to identify opportunities for optimization.

Phase 2: Identify Opportunities

Once you’ve done enough A/B tests, you’ll get enough data to see what works (and what doesn’t).

Most important metric here is the RoAS and CPA.

Remember, you must take seasonality, circumstances, and just sheer luck into account. Sometimes, something that worked during the testing phase might not work later on.

Phase 3: Budget Scaling

Once you’ve identified what works best (read: brings lowest CPA), you can start throwing your money on PPC.

Don’t just throw everything you’ve got though. Remember, SaaS PPC is all about testing, optimization, and some more testing.

Keep scaling your budget until you find that sweet-spot where it provides no benefit to increase it further.

This Isn’t The End

As is the reality with all businesses, only 2% of the visitors convert right on the spot.

Sure, you can keep spending money and get the same people return to your site and eventually convert. Or, you can get them to come for less money by using remarketing.

The PPC Secret Sauce: Remarketing

Remarketing is offering your product/service to a person that has already interacted with your business.

This is the “not-so secret sauce” many SaaS companies miss. To be honest, the correct name for remarketing in PPC is retargeting, but that’s something that’s not important here.

What’s important here is the power of these remarketing lists. You can create a list for literally anything a user did on your site (or did not do). Then, you can use these lists to serve highly personalized ads to people who gave up at a certain point of your funnel. Then, with the help of these ads, you put them right back in the part of the funnel they gave up on.

The rule for remarketing is to dedicate 1/3 of your PPC budget on it, since that’s what it costs.

Yes, you heard that right: remarketing clicks cost 1/3 of the cost for a first-time click.

Remember to Experiment

At the end of the day, there’s much more to PPC than just Google Ads and Facebook. If you can afford it, consider dedicating part of your budget to test out other platforms.

Remember, there might be something out there that your competition still haven’t tapped into, and you can take full advantage out of it.

But, if we were to point out some platforms, they should be:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Bing
  • Yandex

Remember, if you don’t have at least $3k for the testing phase, it’s better not to experiment. The time it will take you to collect valuable data will be too long for it to viable.

Different PPC channels represented by their logos and the way they work, like letter for email and a play button for YouTube.

Final Words

If there’s something to take out of this, it’s this:

PPC is a gamble.

You can be wasting money for years and get nothing in return, or you can hit the jackpot.

Or worst yet, you could be stuck in mediocrity limbo and not scale a successful setup because you’re afraid to risk it.

Let me give you an example – would you be satisfied with having two $200 sign-ups with 20,000% ROI ($80k), or have ten thousand $200 sign-ups with 200% ROI ($400k)?

Remember the old saying – no risk, no gain.

So follow the above and end up playing the PPC system, not it playing you.