Good SaaS PPC Ways: Lead Nurturing vs. Direct Signups

Software program-as-a-Service (SaaS) entrepreneurs are among the many world’s most proficient. They have to be. The strain to amass and retain customers is excessive—to place it mildly.

And once you’re a funded startup with investor strain, as many are, this have to develop and maintain velocity may be but extra acute.

In any case, SaaS has a distinctive character. As technical infrastructure will get standardized and integrations change into simpler, an increasing number of instruments are getting into an already crowded market. Advertising your software program has all the time been a problem, however this overcrowding makes it all of the tougher.

Pay-per-click is a transparent and fast path to market and a strong weapon for progress entrepreneurs within the SaaS area. Adverts may be turned on and off in a single day, and attribution may be proven clearly, offered you arrange objectives accurately. PPC additionally provides superior agility when paired with a touchdown web page device like Unbounce. And it really works like a dream for anybody who takes an iterative testing method.

However do you have to construct a lead pipeline by focusing on top-of-funnel prospects to nurture? Or do you have to be in search of direct signups to your product?

What’s the greatest solution to arrange a compelling supply on your SaaS PPC touchdown pages?

There’s actually nuance right here. Both method can work, relying on your small business. (You may even use each.) On this article, I’ll spotlight classes discovered from real-world expertise and present the best way to uncover the very best method on your SaaS enterprise.

Utilizing SaaS PPC for Lead Nurturing

What does top-of-funnel lead nurturing for SaaS embrace, precisely?

Often, it includes the paid promotion of content material: both straight selling gated content material by way of touchdown pages or selling weblog posts with a specified CTA.

Unbounce customers can be acquainted with this technique, little doubt. For instance, we are able to spin up touchdown pages with kinds that present entry to an book, information, or white paper. These can then be supported by weblog content material printed elsewhere, and you’ll construct the gross sales funnel with nurturing in thoughts.

An ebook landing page from Unbounce
An instance of a touchdown web page providing an book obtain in alternate for contact data.

You might additionally supply a extra interactive lead magnet, resembling a web based calculator, quiz, or survey. The trade-off is that individuals should provide their contact particulars to understand the worth.

After our top-of-funnel prospect interacts with—or downloads—this gated content material, we push a double opt-in (for GDPR) and feed the person into an automatic nurturing sequence (an electronic mail advertising journey). Most superior SaaS manufacturers optimize this journey in response to pre-planned triggers and actions.

In the end, we would like this prospect to register for a trial or purchase a subscription. However we acknowledge that touchpoints have to be created and optimized alongside the way in which.

EDITOR’S NOTE. Lead technology calls for actual creativity. Unbounce’s Luke Bailey gathered 10 advertising legends and requested them to share their most stunning lead gen examples. Examine their methods right here.

Utilizing SaaS PPC for Direct Signups

So, what does focusing on direct signups appear to be?

Primarily, this implies utilizing PPC techniques to drive prospects on to a product signup. Often, this is able to additionally happen by way of a touchdown web page, however the CTA is designed to get the prospect via the door and actively utilizing the product.

There are just a few fashions appropriate for this goal: free trial, freemium, and symbolic pricing.

Free Trial

A free trial is commonly for a restricted interval, generally 30 days within the SaaS sphere. Primarily, you grant full entry to the product (barring integration complexities), however folks might want to improve to the subscription in the event that they need to proceed past this time.

Moz pricing page
Like many SaaS corporations, Moz provides a free trial to encourage product signup.


The freemium mannequin opens up a restricted set of functionalities to the person. The prospect turns into an lively person of this fundamental SaaS performance and can improve for extra superior options.

Evernote pricing page
Evernote supplies a free (however restricted) model of their software program to entice folks to improve.

Symbolic Pricing

The symbolic pricing mannequin is unusual, however our buddies over at Ahrefs use it. Their $7/week trial is a powerful instance of qualifying the dedication of their prospects whereas monetizing entry to full performance for a restricted interval. There’s probability that if somebody isn’t keen to half with this small sum, they’re not a sensible prospect within the first place.

Ahrefs pricing page
Asking a small amount of cash discourages individuals who aren’t critically contemplating the product from signing up on your trial.

Nurturing sequences aren’t redundant with any of those approaches, however the techniques differ. In the end, totally free trials and freemium signups, you need to shift them onto a paid plan. For the paid trial, you need to lengthen this to a full, long-term subscription.

Lead Nurture vs. Direct Signup: Which Is the Greatest Method?

I’m a progress marketer who focuses on SaaS. My shoppers sometimes need to develop shortly, utilizing a mixture of paid and natural channels to amass customers. As soon as upon a time, I labored with a shopper on this very query: lead nurture versus direct signup. This drawback nonetheless comes up repeatedly.

If solely there have been only one reply to this query, however an important a part of SaaS progress advertising is to check completely different methodologies. This scientific method is central to optimizing how, the place, and when advertising budgets are spent. Intestine intuition has its place, however knowledge is king when the strain to develop is excessive.

One latest instance reveals this in motion. On this explicit state of affairs, the insights have been very telling and allowed us to double-down on essentially the most environment friendly setup. We set out two campaigns with two distinct touchdown pages. One prompted the customer to obtain an book, and the opposite inspired a direct signup to the platform’s free trial.

Whereas each PPC campaigns had excessive conversion charges because of related content-audience match, the lead-to-signup fee for the book downloaders stood at about 10%. Including this additional step into the funnel resulted in a 90% drop-off. Because of this, this value per acquisition (CPA) was 15 occasions greater in comparison with the direct signup mannequin:

Comparing conversion rates between two approaches

With a easy product and the low barrier to entry, my shopper’s prospects have been prepared to enroll to expertise the product with out the necessity for additional nurturing.

The lesson right here is that with out testing, you gained’t know which is the very best method.

However there’s a rule-of-thumb that we are able to pull from this instance:

  • In case your product is easy with tremendous simple setup and low vitality dedication, goal for direct acquisition and use supporting content material for activation and retention.
  • In case your product is advanced and calls for extra from the person to entry an account, then there’s benefit to utilizing acquisition techniques additional down the funnel.

Is there an argument for utilizing each lead nurturing and direct signups concurrently? Nicely, in case you have distinct goal personas on your product, or supply completely different hooks for every software program function, perhaps a mixed method needs to be in your radar.

Fast Ideas for SaaS PPC entrepreneurs

With the above in thoughts, you need to apply the absolute best techniques for every method throughout your testing part and past. With a half-baked or misguided try at both (or each), the outcomes gained’t be strong, and also you gained’t be capable to decide to decide on lead nurture or direct signup.

So, listed below are six actionable items of recommendation for higher SaaS PPC that come from my expertise working with SaaS PPC.

Tip 1: Goal competitor model phrases

Entrepreneurs typically miss this low-hanging fruit. You’ll be able to construct a comparability touchdown web page, or focus on why your product is a greater different. You may additionally need to be provocative right here, however be ready for the ensuing battle!

Targeting competitor keywords
It’s common to see rivals pop up in advertisements for branded queries.

Tip 2: Regulate campaigns to match the funnel stage

Completely different key phrases denote completely different shopping for intent. Bear this in thoughts when designing marketing campaign construction and funds allocations. For instance, a comparability search (“device X vs. device Y”) comes earlier within the purchaser journey than a pricing search (“device X pricing”).

Tip three: Construct audiences based mostly on current customers

Ideally, you’d section customers based mostly on their utilization, and create separate lookalike audiences based mostly on every section. Nonetheless, that is solely actually relevant if you have already got a big person base.

Tip four: Align with the product staff

Work intently to know the advantages of the product and the ache factors that it addresses. You need your SaaS PPC campaigns to replicate the product’s capabilities. Don’t write cheques that your product can’t money, and all the time deal with the most important ache factors for every persona. You should use this data on touchdown pages and in advert artistic.

Tip 5: Regulate campaigns to replicate the general aim

In case your aim is profitability, work in the direction of a CPA that’s decrease than the shopper’s lifetime worth. In case your aim is most progress, you may purchase customers at a loss for an extended time (assuming you may afford this).

Tip 6: Measure marketing campaign effectiveness down the funnel

Don’t simply concentrate on signups. You don’t need to be buying prospects who aren’t partaking along with your product. Activation and retention metrics per marketing campaign present whether or not your campaigns are producing the specified outcome.

As Brian Clark at Copyblogger outlines, you’ve got 5 various kinds of prospects to focus on along with your PPC campaigns: essentially the most conscious, the product-aware, the solution-aware, the problem-aware, and the fully unaware. You’ll be able to zone in on these 5, within the context of your viewers and product.

After all, for any profitable PPC marketing campaign, you will have to promote the advantages of your software program in a single web page. Take a look at, optimize, and enhance (iteratively) your touchdown web page design, construction, visuals, and replica as you collect extra knowledge.

EDITOR’S NOTE. Making a PPC touchdown web page to help your lead gen or signup efforts calls for sensible design, particularly on cell. Take a look at these app touchdown web page examples for a lil’ contemporary inspiration.

In Conclusion…

Naturally, once we discuss SaaS progress, there’s loads to contemplate. And, from onboarding journeys to in-product messaging and extra, there’s loads that must be optimized.

With reference to PPC for SaaS, crucial lesson is to check, check, check.

A few of my shoppers revenue from lead nurturing, and a few obtain nice issues with direct signups. Your positioning, product, and viewers will decide which is most fitted for your small business. Nonetheless you outline your method, concentrate on the long-term person engagement and attribution metrics to your particular campaigns.

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