The SaaS Marketing Blog

    The “Boomerang Method” Remarketing Strategy for SaaS

    Last updated: May 6, 2020

    While most SaaS companies think they are doing remarketing properly — for example, by having a “demo request” CTA follow site visitors around the web — they are not. 

    The core mistake they are making is that they use a one-size-fits-all approach that completely disregards the fact that their audiences are made up of people who have engaged with them in different ways, and thus need to see different messages in order to convert.

    For example, how many times have you visited a SaaS company’s site with no buying intent whatsoever (e.g. you read a single blog post) and been followed around the internet with an ad like this: 

    Headline: “Schedule a Demo Today” — CTA: “Sign Up!”

    It’s not reasonable to expect the same ad messaging to convert people who visited a single blog post as people who visited the homepage, feature pages, read a case study and visited the pricing page. Yet company after company does this. 

    Related: Why we use the four I method of reporting on marketing

    As a result, their remarketing ads and landing pages fail to turn into sales at the level they’d hope for or expect.

    And the wild thing is that this problem extends beyond prospects to actual customers. For example, paying customers will often continue to see these same campaigns targeted at customer acquisition.

    This is why we advocate for using what we call The Boomerang Method which is meant to bring folks who have visited your website back into your orbit time and again, no matter what channel or stage of the customer journey they’re in.

    In this article, we break down the method by looking at:

    • The ways you can improve the effectiveness of SaaS remarketing campaigns by tailoring your messaging and content to prospects based on their behavior.
    • How you can leverage remarketing for customer stages beyond demo and trial signups to reduce churn and increase tier upgrades (which the majority of SaaS businesses we speak to aren’t doing).

    Before we dive into the marketing tactics you can use to segment your target audience and deliver them better messaging, we want to start with a high-level discussion of how remarketing relates to the different stages of the customer experience.

    We help B2B SaaS companies grow their MRR through digital marketing services such as paid media and search engine optimization (SEO). If you’d like to learn more, schedule a free SaaS scale session to speak with someone on our team.

    Remarketing Opportunities Exist Throughout the SaaS Customer Journey

    If you consider the SaaS customer journey, it can be broken down into the following:

    The SaaS Customer Experience: Good remarketing strategy for SaaS should utilize the entire SaaS customer experience.
    • When they first click on your ad to when they sign up for a trial.
    • When they begin their trial to when they input their credit card and become a new customer.
    • When they begin paying you to when your SaaS product is integrated into their workflow and being used consistently.
    • When their usage is consistent to when they upgrade to another tier.
    • When they go from a customer to a customer that has churned.

    Like we said above, we see very few SaaS marketers that do any remarketing beyond the first stage. They focus all of their remarketing on getting warm prospects to sign up, and this is part of why they suffer from “one size fits all” messaging.

    In the strategy we share below, we’re going to start with discussing how to approach remarketing in the first stage. Then we’re going to talk about remarketing in the stages after a trial or demo that can promote greater usage of your product, lead to tier upgrades, and increase customer lifetime value.

    How to Set Up SaaS Remarketing Campaigns That Speak to Your Audience and Convert Higher

    Stage 1 of the SaaS customer experience: First Click to Trial

    Remarketing When Your Goal Is Trial or Demo Signups

    The first step to expanding on “one size fits all” messaging is to segment your audience in Google Analytics based on the specific actions they’ve taken when they’ve visited your website. This is what allows you to increase conversion rates by using messages and content that match the previous behavior of website visitors.

    We call this “bucketing your users.”

    Step 1: Bucketing Users Into Segments and Delivering Tailored Remarketing Content That Matches Audience Intent

    There are two parts to this:

    1. Creating remarketing audience segments
    2. Deciding what type of content you should present to each one.

    Let’s start with the first part. In our article on SaaS website best practices, we layed out what we call our Authority Architecture Framework. In it, we map out all of the different pages that make up an effective SaaS website:

    • Home page
    • Product feature and use case pages
    • Who it’s for pages (based on key SaaS buyer personas)
    • Pricing page
    • Blog and resource pages
    • About pages.

    Your remarketing audience segments can be set up to include visitors who have visited either  single pages or a specific combination of pages. Some examples of typical remarketing audience segments we might set up include:

    • Engaged with a blog post (vs users who bounced and never read the post)
    • Read two blog posts (yes we can segment based on scroll depth or time on page)
    • Visited a case study
    • Visited a pricing page
    • Visited a blog post and then a use case page.

    You can see where we’re going here. The objective is to separate visitors into these groups so you can present them content that helps them get to the next logical step in your funnel.

    For example, consider the difference in mindset between a visitor who has viewed a blog post and a visitor who has viewed a pricing page. When a person visits a pricing page, you can be pretty confident they’re in or approaching the buying phase. Alternatively, the majority of blog post visitors are there because they find the topic interesting.

    In this situation, most companies serve the same bottom of the funnel remarketing ad to both sets of visitors. While this might convert some of the pricing page visitors, it’s unlikely to convert the blog post visitors, and so they waste marketing budget on people who weren’t ready to buy (and even risk turning them off). However, when you segment these two audiences, you can serve them different content.

    In this case, we might show the people who visited a blog post (indicating they’re more top or middle of funnel) an ad to view a product tour page and learn more about your solution. And then for the people who visited the pricing page (showing intent to understand how much your product costs), we might show them an ad with a video testimonial or a case study that demonstrates ROI.

    Note: Learn more about the types of content we use for audiences in different stages of the funnel in our article on B2B SaaS content marketing strategy.

    Once you’ve created and set up your audience segments with different types of content, you’ve solved the “one size fits all” messaging problem. Next, you want to make sure your ads show up in front of your audience(s) in the places they’re spending time online.

    Step 2: Amplifying Your Ads Through Omnichannel Remarketing

    Regardless of the channel through which people initially landed on your website, when visitors leave your site, they continue reading blog articles, scrolling through social media on Facebook and Instagram, looking at content on LinkedIn, and watching videos on YouTube.

    And while it’s common to focus on the two or three most cost-effective channels for your marketing campaigns targeted at cold traffic (places you know potential customers spend time online), with remarketing, you can afford to amplify your ads through as many channels as possible because you know they’ll be served to people who have already engaged with you.

    This is one of the most important aspects of our entire SaaS marketing strategy — and we do omnichannel remarketing with all of our clients. Now let’s look at how remarketing works in the stages beyond signing up for a demo or trial.

    It’s also worthwhile exploring how you could use the Google Display Network when you’re considering Google Ads for SaaS.

    Remarketing Beyond the Trial and Demo Phase

    This is the huge missed opportunity we see most SaaS companies neglecting. Their remarketing is typically focused entirely on getting new leads, and they don’t think about it as a tool for converting trial users or fostering more product usage and tier upgrades.

    The basic approach to remarketing in these stages remains the same: You segment your audiences based on their behavior, and present them with content that fits the stage they’re in.

    Let’s refer back to the stages after signing up and look at some examples:

    • When they begin their trial to when they input their credit card and become a new customer.
    • When they begin paying you to when your SaaS product is integrated into their workflow and being used consistently.
    • When their usage is consistent to when they upgrade to another tier.
    • When they go from a customer to a customer that has churned.

    From Trial to Paying Customer

    Stage 2 of the SaaS customer experience: Trial to Credit Card

    Consider the experience of the average trial user in B2B SaaS. Trials are often set up as a blank instance, where new users come in and have to set everything up from scratch to begin actually using it. This puts a certain amount of friction into the process of experiencing the benefits of the software, and works against your goal of getting people to enter their credit card information and become a customer.

    This is why companies like Basecamp include sample projects — so that users can see how their platform works and will naturally begin to use it themselves. Remarketing ads with user education content can be used to achieve the same thing.

    For example, if you have video tutorials on how to get set up, you could use those as content for remarketing to users who are in their trial phase. Or, if you use a knowledge base like Help Scout, you might choose to share relevant and helpful pages from there.

    From Paying Customer to Product Usage

    Stage 3 of the SaaS customer experience: Credit card to usage

    Remarketing can also be used to encourage paying customers to increase their product usage. You can continue to use educational content to show new users how they can get the most out of your SaaS.

    For example, you could host and share webinars about how users are benefiting from a particular feature, or share in-depth written tutorials with screenshots that walk users through solving specific pain points with your product.

    From Product Usage to Tier Upgrade

    Stage 4 of the SaaS customer experience: Usage to Expansion

    For people who are using your product and indicating they may be a good fit for a tier upgrade, you can showcase videos or case studies highlighting how specific features of the upgraded version of your product could be useful to them.

    As a simple example, let’s say your lower or introductory tier limits the number of team members that can collaborate using your tool. If you wanted to entice teams to upgrade so they could expand the number of users, you could provide a case study with data about how collaboration makes the tool two to five times as useful for B2B teams.

    From Customer to Churned Customer

    Stage 5 of the SaaS customer experience: Expansion to Churn

    While customer success teams sometimes monitor for customers who might churn, they aren’t always able to get to them in time. Remarketing can be used as a tool to help save drifting subscribers. This is one of the most underutilized of these strategies.

    What you can do is begin to track product usage to identify users who are becoming less engaged. And then use remarketing to try to get them excited about using your product again.

    For example, let’s say you’re HubSpot and you just launched a new video product. If there are users who subscribe to HubSpot Sales Pro but haven’t logged in in a while, haven’t updated any documents, and their renewal is coming up in 6 months — what you could do is start sending them video ads in YouTube to show them all the cool things about your new video product.

    By using remarketing in this way, you can get back on their radar and keep some of your disengaged customers from churning.

    Is It Time to Level Up Your Remarketing?

    The vast majority of B2B remarketing strategy uses “one-size-fits-all” messaging. But as we’ve seen, there are more efficient remarketing strategies for SaaS.

    The best remarketing strategies for SaaS, segment audiences based on the specific actions they take on site, and then present them with content that matches their intent.

    From there, by expanding your retargeting strategy beyond just the trial or demo signup phase, you can encourage more product usage and tier upgrades while reducing customer churn — all of which will result in increased recurring revenue that makes your efforts worth it.

    If you’d like to learn more about our remarketing services for SaaS, schedule a free SaaS scale session to speak with someone on our team.

    What you should do now

    Whenever you’re ready…here are 4 ways we can help you grow your B2B software or technology business:

    1. Claim your Free SaaS Scale Session. If you’d like to work with us to turn your website into your best demo and trial acquisition platform, claim your FREE SaaS Scale Session. One of our growth experts will understand your current demand generation situation, and then suggest practical digital marketing strategies to double your demo and trial traffic and conversion fast.
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