Published: Dec 27, 2022

Search ad spending in the US has grown by almost 20% in 2022. So if you're not running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns as part of your marketing mix, you could be missing out on a big opportunity.

However, when building a B2B SaaS business, you might not have the time or expertise to run your own PPC campaigns. And that's where a PPC agency comes in.

But with so many agencies out there, how do you choose the right one?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss:

Sidenote: If you're unfamiliar with PPC, or want a quick refresher, we recommend you first read our blog post about the different types of PPC ads.

Specific Challenges When It Comes to B2B SaaS PPC

Before we dive deeper into the factors you should consider when choosing a PPC agency, it's important to understand the specific challenges that come with running PPC ads for a B2B SaaS: the sales cycle is usually longer than in B2C.

Let’s look at an example. If you're selling a B2C e-commerce product, someone might see your ad, click it, and buy your product within a few minutes or hours. But if you're selling a complex enterprise software solution, it might take weeks, months, or even years for someone to go from seeing your ad to becoming a paying customer.

This means that your B2B SaaS PPC campaigns need to be designed differently than the traditional PPC campaigns. You need to focus on generating leads and building awareness, rather than just driving immediate sales. Think of additional goals such as driving traffic to your blog, but also getting people to sign up for your email list, attend your webinar or download a white paper.

 

When Should I Start With PPC for My B2B SaaS company?

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Early-Stage SaaS Company

You've just launched your SaaS company, and you're wondering if now is the right time to start running PPC campaigns.

The answer is: probably not. I'm going to be honest with you: if you're not clear on your offer and target audience yet, and if you have a very limited marketing budget, it might be better to focus your resources first on establishing product/market fit rather than on paid advertising.

The only exception is if you want to use PPC to test the waters.

In that case, it can help you to:

  • Test different marketing messages
  • Target super-specific audiences to see what resonates
  • Get quick feedback on your product and marketing strategy

But, unless you have clear goals and a plan for how to measure success, it's easy to waste money on PPC campaigns. In that case, we suggest focusing on other methods first, such as content marketing.

Growth and Late-Stage SaaS Companies

On the other hand, when your SaaS company is in growth or late-stage, PPC can be an excellent way to generate leads and accelerate sales.

At this stage, you should have a pretty good understanding of your target market and what messaging resonates with them. In that case, you can double down on that and use PPC to target them more specifically and get in front of them at the right time in their buyer's journey.

And if you're already investing in other marketing efforts, then PPC can be a great way to support those. For example, if you're already doing content marketing, you can use PPC to drive more traffic to your blog posts and increase the number of leads you generate.

Lastly, you can also use PPC retargeting campaigns to stay top-of-mind with your target audience and remind them to come back to your website and sign up for your free trial or demo.

 

Choosing The Right PPC Agency for Your B2B SaaS Business: A Checklist

Now that you know when to start with PPC for your SaaS company, it's time to choose the right PPC agency for your business. To that end, we've created a checklist of things to look for when choosing a PPC agency.

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#1 An Agency That Specializes in B2B (SaaS) Marketing:

You should work with an agency that understands the unique challenges of marketing a B2B SaaS product. They should have experience working with companies in your industry and be up-to-date on the latest trends.

A good way to gauge this is by looking at their blog and case studies. Do they have examples of working with SaaS companies? Do they write about topics that are relevant to B2B SaaS businesses? Are they sharing helpful tips and advice?

When you're interviewing SaaS PPC agencies, ask:

  • How much experience do you have working with SaaS companies?
  • Can you share a few examples of your work in this area?
  • What do you think are the biggest challenges when it comes to marketing my SaaS product?

#2 Their Motto Should Be: Data Is Knowledge

A good PPC agency will make decisions based on data, not guesses.

They should be constantly monitoring your campaigns and looking at the results to see what's working and what's not. They should also be A/B testing different elements of their campaigns to see how they can improve your results.

When you're interviewing B2B SaaS PPC agencies, ask:

  • How do you approach PPC campaigns?
  • What metrics do you track and why?
  • What tools do you use?
  • How did you get to the recommendations you're presenting me in this proposal?

#3 They Focus on the Relevant PPC Ad Networks:

There are a lot of different PPC ad networks out there (Google Ads, Bing Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.), but not all of them will be relevant for your business.

When choosing your PPC agency, make sure that they're also focusing on networks that are most relevant to you. Some agencies might only focus on search, while others might have more experience with certain social media platforms.

Before you start choosing your PPC agency, try to get a clear idea of which platforms and ad networks you want to use for your campaigns. Not sure? You can also ask an agency you're considering which networks they would recommend for your business and why. That will give you a good idea of their understanding of your industry and your business.

When you're interviewing B2B SaaS PPC agencies, ask:

  • What PPC networks do you focus on?
  • How much experience do you have with the networks I'm interested in using?
  • What networks do you recommend for my business, and why do you think these are the best networks for my business?

#4 They Offer the Services You’re Looking For:

Some agencies only offer consulting services, while others will also help you with the execution of your campaigns.

What are you looking for? A done-with-you, or a done-for-you service? Do you also want them to help you with design or ad copy?

Be clear about what you're looking for before you start your search, so you can easily compare agencies and find the right one for your needs.

When you're interviewing B2B SaaS PPC agencies, ask:

  • What services do you offer?
  • Do you also help with execution, or is that something I would need to do myself?
  • What other services do you offer that might be relevant for my business?

#5 An Agency That’s a Good Cultural Fit:

The relationship between you and your PPC agency should be a partnership. You should feel like they're an extension of your team.

Do their values align with yours? Do they have a similar way of working? Do you get along with their team? Do you feel like you can trust them?

Take the time to get to know them before you make a decision. Schedule a call, or meet them in person. You'll be working with them closely, so it's important that you have a good relationship.

When you're interviewing SaaS PPC agencies, ask:

  • Can you tell me a bit about your team and how you work?
  • What are your values?
  • How do you keep clients up-to-date on the progress of their campaigns?
  • Do you have any case studies or testimonials from other clients in my industry?

#6 They Know How to Pick the Right Keywords:

One of the most important aspects of a successful PPC campaign is choosing the right keywords.

A good PPC agency will take the time to understand your business and your products before they start researching keywords. They should also be constantly monitoring your campaigns and making adjustments to ensure that you're always targeting the most relevant and profitable keywords.

When you're interviewing B2B SaaS PPC agencies, ask:

  • How do you approach keyword research?
  • Can you give me an example of a successful campaign you've run for a business in my industry?
  • What tools do you use to track keywords and trends?
  • How do you monitor and adjust keywords?
  • What are your thoughts on negative keywords?

#7 They’re Operating Mobile-First:

No, we don't mean their team should all be working on their phones (although that would be pretty impressive). ;-)

Mobile-first means that the agency is focused on creating campaigns that are optimized for mobile devices. This is important because more and more people are using their phones to search for products and services.

Make sure the agency you're considering is aware of this trend and is creating mobile-friendly campaigns.

When you're interviewing B2B SaaS PPC agencies, ask:

  • How do you optimize campaigns for mobile devices?
  • What's your process for designing and optimizing ads for mobile devices?
  • Can you give me an example of a successful mobile campaign you've run?

#8 An Agency That Understands That PPC Doesn’t Work in a Vacuum:

A successful PPC campaign is not just about the ads. It's also about the landing pages, the website, and the overall customer journey. And did you know that SEO can also have an impact on your PPC campaigns?

A good PPC agency will take all of these factors into account when creating and optimizing your campaigns. They'll also be able to provide insights and recommendations on how to improve your website and landing pages to get better results from your PPC campaigns.

When you're interviewing B2B SaaS PPC agencies, ask:

  • What other factors do you think are important for a successful PPC campaign?
  • How does SEO impact PPC?
  • Can you give me an example of how you've integrated PPC with other marketing channels?
  • Do you have any recommendations on how we can improve our website/landing pages?

#9 They’re Transparent With Their Pricing:

A good PPC agency will be upfront and transparent about its pricing. You should know exactly what you're paying for and what's included in your contract.

Be wary of agencies that don't want to give you a clear answer on pricing. It could be a sign that they're not confident in their abilities or that they're trying to hide something.

Different forms of SaaS PPC agency pricing are:

  • Flat rate: You pay a set monthly fee for the agency's services.
  • Hourly rate: You're charged an hourly rate for the time the agency spends working on your campaigns.
  • Percentage of ad spend: You pay the agency a percentage of your total ad spend. This is usually in the range of 10-20% of the total ad spend.
  • Performance-based: You only pay when someone clicks on your ad (CPC) or takes an action on your website (CPA).
  • Milestone-Based: You pay the agency based on milestones, such as increased click-through-rate or lower cost-per-acquisition.

When you're interviewing B2B SaaS PPC agencies, ask:

  • How do you charge for your services?
  • What's included in your contract?
  • Can you give me a breakdown of your pricing?
  • What's your minimum contract length?
  • Are there any other fees I should be aware of?

Final Thoughts

Choosing a B2B SaaS PPC agency can be a daunting task. But if you keep this checklist on hand, you'll be well on your way to finding an agency that's a good fit for your business. So don't wait any longer, start your search today!

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About the Author

Scott Baradell
Scott Baradell
Trust expert Scott Baradell is CEO and founder of Idea Grove. Idea Grove helps its clients secure trust at scale through its unique Grow With TRUST approach. Scott is an established authority on trust and editor of the online publication Trust Signals, as well as author of the upcoming book Trust Signals: Brand Building in a Post-Truth World. Idea Grove celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2020, earning honors including the 2020 Pegasus Award for Small Agency of the Year, being named a Top 200 B2B service provider by Clutch, and ranking in the top 25 tech agencies in the U.S. by O'Dwyer's. Scott has an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America and speaks on PR and marketing topics at industry events nationwide.

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