Many SaaS businesses treat content marketing and PPC as two separate departments. Even our own agency splits these disciplines into entirely separate service divisions that may fail to share relevant data.
This is a missed opportunity. Combining content and paid search allows you to leverage each team’s strengths to scale your business and nurture more leads.
The Basics: Paid Search and Content
In a nutshell, paid search allows you to display ads on the result pages of search engines. It works on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning that you only pay if someone clicks on your ad.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is often used as a long-term strategy to organically boost search engine rankings. Content and SEO are a long game strategy, take time to get traction, and the costs associated with them are different.
Yet, these two approaches need not be siloed. Combining content marketing and PPC can strengthen brand awareness, build authority, and keep your business present.
Use Paid Search and Content Together to Support the Buyer’s Journey
PPC is generally focused on the bottom of the marketing funnel – aiming to provide that little nudge people at the DO stage of the buyer’s journey need to make a purchasing decision.
Editorial content, on the other hand, has traditionally been tasked with delivering organic traffic, brand awareness, and nurturing the users. It is also rarely promoted through paid advertising – paid campaigns and budgets are reserved for bottom-of-the-funnel goals.
If you consider the full user journey, however, you might notice that many users first interact with your business via editorial content and convert through PPC ads at a later stage. This can suggest that some PPC budget can be invested into the early-stage content touchpoints in that journey.
While these users may not convert right after the click, building an advertising funnel around that journey can help you increase brand affinity and ensure that you’re priming the top of the funnel. After all, content is the go-to marketing tool for attracting people who are researching ways to solve a pain point but not looking for a specific solution yet.
This would also give marketers some reassurance that they are not just relying on the in-market searchers, but are reaching higher up the funnel to build new audiences they can target.
Paid Campaigns and Content: Where to Start
When planning campaigns with content assets, keep your eyes on who you’re targeting. One of the most useful frameworks for SaaS marketers is the buyer awareness matrix.
In short, it divides audiences based on their user journey in 4 categories:
- Problem-unaware: The audience that isn’t yet aware they even have the problem your product solves.
- Problem-aware: This audience recognizes the pain point but is not yet aware of the possible solutions.
- Solution-aware: An engaged audience that is comparing solutions and making decisions on the best fit.
- Product-aware: A highly engaged audience that is aware of your product as a solution and may be interested in evaluating it.
If you use this framework, you can address different audiences with targeted content that would better satisfy their information needs and their intent.
The next step of your content advertising plan is to create high-quality content. If you have a content marketing strategy in place already, take a look at what has worked well and promote your best-performing content pieces using PPC ads.
Target, Create, Advertise
SaaS businesses have many marketing tools at their disposal. When done properly, combining content marketing and PPC can help you attract customers and grow your business exponentially.
That being said, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. At the end of the day, how you reach customers will depend on your niche and user journeys. Testing different tactics of content creation and paid search is often an excellent way to find what works best for you.
Check out our blog to learn how to create engaging content that will draw searchers to your site.