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If you are a SaaS startup, then chances are, you have already experimented with different digital advertising strategies. You have probably also realized that not every advertising strategy would be profitable for your SaaS company.
That is because when it comes to SaaS, you need to experiment with different approaches to ad techniques in order to find a strategy that works. While most SaaS marketers are not exactly fond of Facebook advertising, the social media platform has immense potential with its accurate targeting options. Though to make the most out of Facebook ads, you need to know the techniques to follow.
To help you out, we have compiled the ultimate tips to create successful Facebook ads for SaaS startups
1- Understand the difference between SaaS and traditional marketing
SaaS marketing is a craft with its own peculiarities and it is immensely different from traditional marketing.
Firstly, everything is online — both your products and your prospective customers. Hence, your marketing activities should be mainly focused on attracting online customers and or getting your offline customers online.
Secondly, SaaS products or services are unlimited. Unlike physical products, there is no limit to SaaS products you can offer to your customers. This makes it affordable for SaaS startups to offer free trials and demos to users, before the final sale.
2 – Identify buyer personas to create custom audiences
Facebook has powerful target audience selection tools that you can use to show your ads to the right customers. But to take advantage of this feature, you first need to identify your ideal audience and buyer personas.
According to a study, 71% of companies that were able to exceed their set revenues and goals were using documented buyer personas.
To create buyer personas for your SaaS startup, start by conducting internal workshops between the sales and marketing team. You can also interview existing customers or analyse the customers of your competitors.
Apart from the basic demographics, you should also focus on the lifestyle and online behavior of your customers. For a SaaS B2B product, create buyer personas for people who have decision making powers in their company.
Create different custom audiences in Facebook according to the buyer personas and make sure your ads are customized for every audience.
3- Create a Facebook ads funnel
Behind every successful Facebook ad campaign is a solid funnel. Now, a funnel is a set of steps that potential customers go through before they reach the final conversion. The goal of a funnel is to take someone from being a person who doesn’t even know about your brand to a paying customer.
For a SaaS startup, an ideal funnel has four parts:
At this stage, the customer doesn’t know about the brand or the product and he doesn’t have a problem as well (Or he doesn’t know that he has a problem).
Even with the importance of familiarity in the competitive SaaS landscape, building brand awareness is still highly underrated. A user most likely won’t sign up for your product or make a purchase on the very same day that they hear about it.
Familiarity bias is a real thing. People are more likely to do business with brands that they recognize than the brands they have never heard of.
That is why, you need to advertise and retarget users to build awareness about your brand strategically.
Use brand awareness campaigns to make people familiar with your brand over time and build relationships. Your ad creative should be focused on detailing what your software really is, what are its benefits, and how is it better than your competitors. Often, people are loyal to the software they use. So, you will need a long-term strategy to win them over and make them switch.
Goal: Brand awareness. Warm your audience up and let them know about your brand.
Campaign objective: To drive traffic to your company’s website or the main landing page where all the products are listed.
Target audience: Instead of being highly targeted, your audience for awareness ad campaigns should be people who are close to your target audience. The best way to go about it would be to:
- Use lookalike audience from your current customers or leads. You can use the Lookalike audience option to target users with similar demographics and behavior.
- Focus on people who are close to your target audience. You can use the core audience feature in Facebook Ads Manager to create a new audience.
Peak the interest of your buyers by letting them know all the problems your product can help them solve. This is the step where you should engage your customers with useful content and free offers.
Goal: You can retarget the warm audience from the above step by offering them a freebie, ebook, or a checklist.
Campaign objective: Lead generation
Lead generation ads have been newly introduced on Facebook and marketers cannot stop raving about it. While in the past, you would have to send people to a separate landing page and ask for their personal contact information, Facebook lead ads make the entire process incredibly easy by automatically populating the contact information of users that are interested in your ads.
Target audience: You should target the custom audience that has previously visited your website or shown interest in your awareness ads.
Go to Audience → Create New Custom audience.
Select ‘Website Traffic’ among all the options displayed. (Make sure you have installed Facebook Pixel on your website before selecting this option so that Facebook can accurately target your website visitors with ads).
In this stage of the funnel, the buyer is actively looking for a solution to their problem and considering the different available options, This is your chance to lure them in with a high-value offer.
Campaign objective: Lead generation
Goal: To convert your leads into prospects by offering them free consultation, webinar, or case study.
Target audience: People who interacted with the ads in the Interest phase
As you can see, this campaign is pretty similar to the one above, but there are two main differences
- We are offering webinars and case studies, or to put it simply, more researched, detailed, and helpful information than before
- We are creating a new custom audience for the people who visited the thank you page of the previous lead generation offer
The buyer has already made the decision and they need just a little more information before they make the final purchase. It’s now time to get the result you deserve — The final conversion.
Goal: To push the sale, whether through a trial offer or a discount.
Campaign objective: Conversion
Target audience: People who showed interest in your evaluation ads
Since people are already familiar with your brand and they have previously interacted with the ads, all they need is a little nudge to make the final decision. A discount code or a limited period free trial can be a great way to get them to sign up.
4- Find the right product placement
When you are marketing a SaaS product, the ad placement you choose can immensely impact Facebook ad results. There are several ad placement options available on Facebook, including:
Each placement will give you different conversions, costs, and results. For instance, desktop ads can have 534% high cost per click as compared to mobile or audience network. However desktop ads perform better in terms of conversion.
With every different placement that you experiment with, track the cost per acquisition and analyze whether it converts leads into paying users at the same rate.
Also, if your SaaS product is primarily a web application with no mobile application, then its best to create desktop ads only.
5- Remarket to free trial users
While getting people to sign up for your SaaS product’s free trial is progress, you are still only half way through the final conversion. That is why, in the free trial phase, you need to do everything in your power to make your customers excited about using the product for long-term.
You can use Facebook ads to offer discounts limited period discounts to free trial users.
For instance, Headspace, meditation app used a powerful illustration and a 40% discount on its yearly subscription plan to convert free trial users into paid ones.
Bonus Tip – Pay attention to existing customers too
It is important for SaaS startups to keep existing customers interested so that they can continue to generate consistent revenue. In fact, for 59% of the SaaS companies, customer renewals are an important part of the sales strategy.
While you are setting up your Facebook marketing sales funnel, you should find a balance between getting new leads and keeping the current customers happy.
You can start targeting your current customers with offers or discounts as their renewal date approaches. Don’t give up on the customers that didn’t renew their subscription so quickly either. You can target them after a month or two of cancellation with all the new features and discounts that the company started offering after they cancelled their subscription.
Creating a successful Facebook advertising strategy for a SaaS business is no easy task, but with these tips you can break down the complex process into simple steps.