If you struggle to find more reliable and effective ways to promote your SaaS product online this article is here to help you. We will discuss what we found to be the most reliable places for SaaS advertising as well as some other useful and tested strategies that will help you increase your sales.
This great article about 6 ways to promote CRM software underlines the importance of A/B testing all paid advertising websites to check which streams provide the best conversion rate. Once you have the conversion data you can then select the top performers and make them complement each other. You can also advertise on social, search, and content distribution websites as well as on review sites. Moz.com, along with Seer Interactive, have also compared some of the top paid networks to help you evaluate each channel.
Here’s what you should always keep in mind:
- Do a comparison of the percent of sessions, number of conversions, conversion rate, and cost per engagement of each paid channel to gauge their efficiency.
- Determine what the ad should achieve across channels, which can include goals such as: watching a webinar; subscribing to a free trial; web page visit; or downloading an asset.
- You can measure results after three to five days instead of waiting for a whole month and spending the entire monthly budget.
To obtain a high number of clicks or conversions, you can select a channel with a wide reach (volume) or a one with a high conversion rate (targeted). The Moz article reveals that Moz.com spent less money on Twitter but still obtained a high conversion rate (10.53%), while it spending more on Taboola, a content syndicate, which actually had a low conversion rate (0.68%) for them.
Top 5 Channels to Advertise Your SaaS Product
1. B2B Software Review Platforms
Software review websites are crudial for B2B marketers as very often your potential clients use them for initial research on both your product and your competitors. User reviews on such sites can influence your prospects and it’s quite likely they will already have an opinion about your product by the time your sales reps contact them. Author Vinay Bhagat, writing for Content Marketing Institute, said that user reviews are positioned to replace case studies in the minds of customers because they are less interested in product pitches, and more in the pros and cons of the software. User reviews reveal to prospects what the actual experience with a SaaS vendor looks like.
If you are not present on such sites we strongly recommend that you add your product to all of 10 most popular B2B review sites. B2B software review websites offer three content types for their readers: reviews by experts, user reviews, and premium content. The first two types are mostly beyond your control, but if you get a premium plan for your product it can have a huge impact on your sales.
For example, FinancesOnline.com, one of the most popular B2B review sites out there, offers a premium marketing plan inlcudes: PPC lead generation campaigns that will allow you to acquire more clients; premium positioning of your product to distinguish it from competitors; various awards and quality certificates that will further boost your conversion rates. If you want to find more about the ways to improve your position on their site you can easily request more info about a premium plan for your product.
2. Use an Ad Network Company
An ad network company works like a conventional ad agency. It identifies ad placements and sells these digital locations to advertisers. There are two main types of these: either your ad shows in search results or it shows in content on a website. For both types you can set a target based on keywords, location, IP address, and demographics. Your target is then matched with search results or a website’s content. You can select text ads, rich media, or a mixture of both.
There are two popular ad models: pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-mile (CPM). Ad networks also use a bid process, where advertisers set a price per click (CPC) or per thousand views (CPM). The ad which bids higher is selected first for display.
When targeting your ad, you should have a clear picture of your audience. This article can offer you some hints on how to identify your ideal customer, so you can personalize your marketing messages to cater to this specific type of audience. Utilize keywords that these prospects use while searching for content or a product.
Do not limit yourself to a niche when ad targeting. For example, an accounting software product can also be promoted in other business aspects such as online business, small business, project management, marketing, etc.
Looking for a good ad network? Ask the following questions:
- What is the network’s reach? (number of publishers in the inventory or search usage)
- Is the audience a general or niche set?
- What are the available reports and tools to measure results?
- What are the pricing options?
- What are the ad formats?
- Is there ad optimization support or is it self-service?
- Are there add-on platforms like email, social, and affiliate?
The top ad networks for B2B and SaaS are likely to be preferred by publishers and they can leverage your reach and content scope. A 2014 survey by MonetizePros, a company which helps publishers to monetize their websites, gives a list of the best display ad networks for publishers which includes: Google AdSense, Clicksor, Adblade, Conversant, BuySellAds, and Media.net. You can also explore other ad networks and compare the main factors outlined above.
3. Use the Advertising Reach of Sponsored Social Media
Social media is a valuable ad platform for SaaS businesses. In an annual survey by The Social Media Examiner, 92% of business owners claimed that social media are important, a 6% increase from 2013. Although ROI is difficult to measure for social media campaigns, it is an ideal branding platform for its sheer reach mileage. Just make sure you select a social media network based on its reach, niche, and SEO.
For reach, Facebook and Twitter are tops with 900 million and 310 million unique visitors per month, (according to eBizMBA Rank). To efficiently highlight your Facebook sponsored post, you can try these tricks:
- Videos that auto play
- Big photos that span the newsfeed’s width
- Including quality news and current events
Pinterest is a good option too, as image-centric social networks are witnessing a high retention rate and were one of the top marketing trends in 2014 according to a Forbes analysis. Pinterest offers its “Promoted Pins” concept to advertisers, where your sponsored pin is placed on users’ homepage for better visibility. To leverage Pinterest effectively, you can use eye-catching visuals like infographics about your SaaS category.
You can also try a specific niche for your social media campaign. LinkedIn is used by most professionals and on this channel your software ad can ring a bell. The 2014 B2B Content Marketing Trend-North America study shows that 91% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to advertise their product, the highest for social media. LinkedIn stands out from other social channels because you can target ads by professional titles, positions, and company. This helps you niche your target down to the core users of your product. Plus, LinkedIn users are more open to B2B relationships as a means to further their career. As a SaaS vendor, you can be seen as an important expert in your software category there.
YouTube is another popular platform which is also highly favored by Google in search rankings. A search keyword can easily throw up relevant YouTube video content on Google’ first page. By using a YouTube ad, you can leverage the video’s popularity, even if your AdWord ad didn’t get an impression. A YouTube ad thus gives you an additional visibility layer to your search advertising. In the video below you can watch Gideon Shalwick, a popular online video marketer, explain why paid YouTube ad offers are good opportunities for marketers:
4. Use Paid Content Distribution Networks
These networks promote content instead of ads, and therefore they are ideal for marketing articles, case studies and webinar topics. They focus on engaging prospects with topics of interest rather than with product pitches. In fact, the “ads” look like they are part of the publisher’s content, usually as a bottom filler with subheadings like, “You Might Also Like” or “Stories Across the Web”. Paid content can complement your ad network placements as these content networks create a top-of-funnel traffic that can provide conversion at a much later date.
Taboola, Outbrain, and nRelate are three popular paid content distribution networks utilized by high-ranking publishers such as USA Today, ESPN, CNN, The Huffington Post, and Time. These networks use different algorithms to match your content ads with the publishers’ content to engage readers’ interest.
5. Use Press Release Sites
For press releases, there is a host of free and paid PR distribution services. The drawback of free press release sites is they often do not allow you to post videos or images, which can reduce the effect of your announcement. On the other hand, paid PR sites distribute your content or tweets to a press group, but for a price. You can try the free PR sites first though to learn the art of writing a good press release.
Press releases can be used for SEO, either to gain a backlink to your website or to get a search boost from the press release site’s PageRank. Another advantage is while your competitors focus on content marketing and social media, you can leverage the PR site space exclusively. Many B2B review sites offer free press releases as part of their marketing package. For instance, FinancesOnline.com will offer youa great press release about your achievements that will be published on top sites such as Yahoo! Finance or Google News.
How to Select a Press Release Site:
- Credibility – Check the PageRank and inbound links. Are reputed brands posting on the site?
- SEO – Does the website allow tagging, outbound links, anchor text links and other SEO strategies to get good search mileage?
Top Free Press Release Sites:
Top Paid Press Release Sites:
Using paid channels can provide a big boost to your organic marketing campaign, especially when readers today are getting bombarded with repurposed content produced by companies. Cover a wide ground with your SaaS ad campaign by including the five basic but important paid streams detailed in this article and your sales are bound to increase. You may also want to check out this SaaS advertising article for some extra tips from experts.