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It’s not a bad time to be a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company. As of 2018, the barriers to entry into the technology industry continue to fall, making it cheaper than ever to develop a software and bring it to market. Plus, with the Internet now accessible for more than half the world’s population, the prospect pool is ever-expanding.
The flip-side of low barriers to entry, of course, is greater competition. This is outstanding for consumers and the U.S. economy as a whole. But, it makes SaaS marketers’ jobs that much more difficult. So, we’re here to provide you our best online advertising tips for software companies.
(And you should feel pretty confident that we know what we’re talking about. We are a SaaS company, after all.)
Offering a free tool to prospects is a great way to demonstrate the value of your software. Let’s say your company sells a software that helps businesses optimize their social media presences. Put together a simple tool that can evaluate a social profile and report to the prospect all the aspects that need improvement. Ideally, the prospect will see your insights and realize how badly her social media accounts need your software.
Now, you may be wondering: “That sounds effective, but how do I get prospects to know the free tool exists?”
Content marketing, of course! The vast majority of business-to-business (B2B) companies use content marketing, and it’s been shown that B2B marketers who use blog content drive more leads than those who don’t. By publishing personable, high-quality content that provides legitimate value to prospects, you create a huge channel for driving leads to your marketing funnel. Think of it this way: a blog post full of Facebook marketing tips appeals to businesses that need help with Facebook marketing. While reading, they see that offer a free social media auditing tool. And down the funnel they go!
You, being an inquisitive SaaS marketer, have another good question: “How can I be sure that prospects are going to see my content?”
Three words, comrade: search engine optimization. SEO refers to the process of optimizing your web pages in order to make them rank as highly as possible in the organic (non-paid) search results. On-page SEO is all the stuff you can do directly on your website—optimizing blog posts for particular keywords, building internal links, repairing broken images, and so on. Off-page SEO is all about getting links to your content from other websites—with each link effectively signaling to Google that your content is good and, therefore, should be moved towards the top of the search results.
Let’s synthesize what we’ve gone over so far. Strong SEO makes your blog content more visible and drives more leads to your site. Your free tool, advertised on the side of your blog posts, demonstrates the value of your software to potential customers. Pretty cool, right?
Your SaaS company is going to need a strong paid search strategy, too. When putting together ad groups and formulating keyword bids, it’s crucial to keep in mind that different keywords signify different intent. For example, “software” could be an informational keyword—one that gets searched purely for the sake of learning more about a topic. These keywords do not have commercial intent, making it wasteful for your company to bid on them. Alternatively, long-tail keywords like “social media management software” are transactional, meaning they come from searchers looking to purchase. Bidding on these keywords is certain to drive more clicks and more conversions while minimizing wasted ad spend.
For more online advertising tips and tricks, read the WordStream blog.