The B2B SaaS Marketing Blog

    3 Tactics for Overcoming Low Paid Search Volume as a B2B SaaS Company

    Last updated: January 19th, 2024

    In B2B SaaS, it’s not uncommon to have a relatively small number of companies that you sell to.

    For example, we have a client in the restaurant POS space and their ideal customer is chain restaurants in Canada with 10 or more stores.

    Well, there are only about 50 restaurant chains in Canada that meet this criteria.

    That’s a very small pool, which translates to low search volume in Google for their bottom of funnel, high-intent keywords.

    Example of product pages organized by features and use case

    Think: the keywords they target through the pages in their website navigation (e.g. product pages for “online ordering” or “self-service table ordering”).

    A problem we see companies in this position face is that they quickly reach a point where they don’t know what to bid on next with their Google Search Ads. They don’t want to waste money by straying too far away from their high-intent keywords, but they have targets to hit and more money to spend.

    When it comes to scaling lead generation through paid search, they feel like they’ve hit a dead end.

    This situation can happen for a few different reasons.

    Sometimes there’s not enough buyer awareness around the products they sell (like when their product is in a brand new category).

    Other times, like for our client in the POS space, their pool of potential customers is very small to begin with.

    In a previous post, we wrote about how to scale Google Ads when you’ve reached a scaling ceiling. We covered how to maximize your high-intent ads and move up the funnel with Google Display Managed Placements.

    In this post, we explain three other approaches to scaling PPC when you’ve exhausted your bottom-of-funnel search ads. You’ll learn how to:

    1. Move up the funnel in Google Search Ads with MOFU target keywords
    2. Dedicate paid search budget to Microsoft Bing to scale BOFU Search ads
    3. Expand your BOFU Google Search Ads with geoexpansion

    Want to scale your PPC advertising, but not sure where or how to distribute your budget? Get your Free Marketing Plan to find out how we can help you get the most ROI from your efforts.

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    Tactic #1: Move up the funnel in Google Ads

    Even when you’ve tackled your bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) keywords through Search, don’t move away from Google just yet. There is still opportunity to create Search campaigns for keywords that are higher in your funnel, and leverage Youtube for increasing your branded search volume.

    To scale your Search ads, focus on middle (MOFU) keywords that indicate searchers have a pain point that your product solves, but are not yet aware of your product as a solution.

    Examples of these types of keywords include:

    • Gartner {MDM} Report
    • Forrester {insert industry} Reports
    • Template
    • Guide
    • How To

    Here’s an example of how this works in practice.

    Related: How to Navigate Cookieless Tracking in B2B SaaS Marketing

    In B2B, when a customer is in the consideration phase —  usually that comes right before they make a decision about which product to buy — they’ll often search for buying guides or industry reports from companies like Gartner or Forrester.

    These are objective overviews of the industry and can help prospects to create a business case for buying a product later.

    Our client Reltio had been recognized in one of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant reports for their market. So, to ensure that their product was front of mind, we placed ads on terms related to the report so that buyers would find our client’s landing page when searching.

    Example ad for client Reltio

    We provided a MOFU guide on how to interpret the results. And this allows us to influence the conversation that a buyer or buying committee has when weighing product options.

    Then, we guided MOFU prospects down their funnel through remarketing.

    For example, after a MOFU prospect had clicked the ad we showed above, we sent them to this landing page where they’d be able to download a copy of the report:

    Example landing page for Reltio

    Visitors to that page were added to a remarketing list through ad network pixels. This means that after they left the page or downloaded the report, we were able to serve them relevant ads across ad channels. Like this one, for example:

    Example of ad to use for remarketing

    The impact of this is that MOFU prospects are shown ads related to their concerns (i.e. which product should I buy?) that directly address the pain points we know customers have when considering a solution like our clients (can you trust your MDM for real time insights?)

    Tactic #2: Dedicate paid search budget to Microsoft Bing Ads

    Many B2B SaaS companies avoid Microsoft Ads. They think too few people use Bing as their search engine, so they write it off as a paid search channel.

    But Microsoft products are a dominant player in enterprise business. So if you sell enterprise SaaS, Bing is often the default search engine of your target audience.

    For example, our client Snap Projections sells financial planning software to Canadian financial advisors. Most people in their target audience work for large financial services firms in Canada like ManuLife and iA Private Wealth.

    If you’re a Canadian financial advisor and you work under the umbrella of a large firm, there’s a strong chance you use Windows devices and software. Therefore you’re likely using Microsoft Edge where Bing is your default search engine.

    While search volume will still be a fraction of what you see on Google, the quality of traffic and leads can be high. And since your competitors are unlikely to be using Bing, competition is also a lot lower.

    The other advantage of Bing is it’s connectivity with LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn is a part of the Microsoft portfolio, Bing enables you to layer Microsoft search ads with company, industry, and job-related data straight from LinkedIn.

    We leveraged this when we set up Microsoft Search Ads for Snap Projections. We identified job functions such as accounting or finance and industries such as banking, financial services and investment management were the most relevant.

    Spreadsheet for Industry information
    Spreadsheet for Job Function information

    Then we tested bids for each of these industries and job functions through Bing Ads to see which would be highest performing in reality.

    This is one distinct advantage over Google. At the moment, Google only offers advertisers company size as a signal they can target.

    By targeting industry and job function, your targeting becomes significantly tighter, increasing the likelihood of finding right-fit customers.

    How to leverage Microsoft Ads for your B2B SaaS company

    Getting started with Microsoft Ads is simple. They’ve made it easy to import campaigns straight from Google. Keywords, ads, and all other settings will pour over to Bing without any friction.

    The one caveat is you still have to set up tracking and attribution. Microsoft has its own tracking pixel like Google Analytics. So just like LinkedIn Ads or Twitter Ads, you have to:

    • Set up UTM parameters
    • Add their pixel across your entire site
    • Create new audiences
    • Create new goals
    • Configure your Bing campaigns according to those audiences and goals

    Once you’ve done that, you can run and track your campaigns the same way you would with Google.

    Tactic #3: Expand your reach with geoexpansion

    Have you maxed out on both Bing and Google Ads in your current target region?

    If the answer is yes, then it might be time to widen your global reach by leveraging Google Ads geoexpansion.

    Most companies get geoexpansion wrong because they’re not methodical about it. They’ll target too broadly and promote the same creative they use in their existing region. These ads fall flat because they don’t consider cultural differences.

    The keywords you target can vary because of language. Even other English-speaking countries have different ways of talking about similar subjects.

    Search volume will also vary by region. Therefore bidding strategies should be adjusted accordingly. Many companies overlook this and assume the same bidding strategies will apply. Instead they should pay different amounts for certain keywords and continue to make optimizations for efficiency.

    You can expand your search campaigns with geoexpansion by following the four steps below:

    1. Analyze

    Don’t just spin a globe and start spending a significant ad budget in a place your finger lands on. Base your decision on actual data.

    Find out which other regions are working for you organically. To do this you can:

    • Review Customer Data and Analytics data for key regions for expansion
    • Ask your sales team which countries they see the most leads from
    • Look at customer data to see which countries are most common among your user base
    • Do keyword research to see which countries have the highest search volume for your target keywords

    Then you can choose countries for your tier two campaigns based on this data.

    If you don’t have data, run a small test in a few regions you’re considering. That should give you the insights for which ones to choose.

    2. Test

    Take the messaging and keywords you’re already using in your primary region, and copy it into a new campaign. Use this duplicate campaign to run your first test.

    To prevent overspending, reset your ad settings to their defaults. So if you know that keywords cost 20% less in the UK compared to the United States, don’t keep the same bids. Reduce them by 20% to account for that.

    3. Optimize

    Your ads go through their learning phases at this stage.

    During this learning phase we let the keywords and ads run in a new region to gather data before the optimization phase. During this phase, we’re looking at things like:

    • Which headlines resonate?
    • Which value propositions attract clicks?
    • Which keywords are useful in this region and which are not?

    This is the stage where you should start making changes to the keywords you target to match the language used in the new region.

    To figure these differences out, look at search query reports. You can also create filters in Google Search Console and see what people are looking for based on country.

    For example, here’s our own search console data showing a small handful of the things that people in the US search for before visiting our site:

    Powered by Search console of keywords from the US

    Note which keywords receive searches and which don’t. Optimize your campaigns to focus on the searches that get clicks.

    The other changes you make will vary. For example, you might need to account for time differences so that your ads display only during working hours of your target region.

    4. Evaluate

    Evaluate your campaigns based on the following key performance indicators:

    • Click-through rate
    • Cost per acquisition

    Your goal should be to increase click-through rate while decreasing CPA.

    Spreadsheet showing CTR and CPA

    If you find that you can’t make that happen in the region you’re targeting, you have more changes to make.

    When that’s the case, rinse and repeat starting at step 3.

    In closing

    You can layer all the PPC tactics we discussed on top of SEO strategy. It takes time to get traction with SEO, but there’s no need to wait until it does to start expanding with PPC.

    Only move away from BOFU campaigns on Google when you’ve already exhausted topics you could target through search. There’s no need to do so until you’ve maxed out on that piece of your marketing strategy.

    But when search volume appears limited, don’t worry too much.

    As long as you’re targeting pain-point related topics, you’re in good shape.

    Only turn to the tactics we shared in this post if lead generation has slowed down.

    Thinking about implementing the approaches we discussed, but don’t have the internal resources to execute? Get your Free Marketing Plan to discover how we can help.

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