Get Billage is a SaaS that unifies CRM, invoicing, and task management for small companies. They help companies stay on top of their business in an easy, dynamic, and efficient way.
The company aimed to grow their number of users as part of a first scale. They had just been acquired by a large investment group, so they had to prove that they could scale fast and reduce costs at the same time. When I began working for them, the cost per sign-up was still quite high — around €30 to €35.
My role was to create a strategy for them from scratch. I did this by myself and by delegating to my team and I was in charge of the whole project, from the initial strategy to the final execution.
I was brought in specifically because I have a lot of experience in SaaS. There are other freelancers out there that specialize in paid search but not many of them have in-house SaaS experience. Before I worked for Get Billage, I worked for a well-known software company called Typeform, managing a budget of €400,000 per month. When you get a company to trust you with that amount of investment, you need to know what you're doing.
My first step was to check out the company’s conversion settings because their old setup did not measure conversions in the best way.
A SaaS site is not something that you can build in a week — complex programming is involved so that users can perform different actions while interacting with your product. This adds a level of complexity when tracking conversions, so I had to first meet with the company’s chief of technical staff, to set up all our tracking correctly.
Once I’d done this, I needed to identify what events were correlated with sign-ups and sales — such as when somebody created an invoice or logged in a certain number of times.
We then mapped out all the different events we wanted to track and set everything up using Google Tag Manager.
In order to run a highly targeted campaign, we worked on our keyword selection. I started by picking only the most relevant keywords by reviewing the search terms reports.
I also spent some time spying on the competition. I used some tools to look at the keywords our competitors were targeting and where they were investing more. I found some gaps and new opportunities, including niche keywords and long-tail keywords that were being ignored by our rivals.
Our new campaign structure was built using a simple method known as Hagakure, based on two automation features: dynamic search ads (DSA) and automated bidding. At this stage, I grouped the keywords by intent and by landing page, and I reduced the number of ad groups. Instead of having multiple ad groups with little data, we had fewer ad groups with more aggregated data. This was all to help the algorithm learn faster to create more conversions.
For this step, we created new landing pages and new ad copy.
The idea was to match relevant search queries with our ad copy and landing pages, so that if somebody was looking for “smb incoming software” they would find us. Depending on the user query, the headline or the copy on the page would change dynamically.
Our new, more dynamic landing pages matched customer queries but we also created a specific landing page for our competitors. We picked out our three main competitors and explained why our product was better than theirs, in order to redirect their traffic to us.
Step four, the smart bidding phase, was really the key to the success of this project. The company had previously used a manual bid strategy, which is usually fine when you’re just starting out because you don’t have much conversion data at that stage.
The bidding process is a bit like playing the stock market. A keyword such as “invoicing,” might go for €0.50 one day, but tomorrow, if more people are looking for “invoicing” or “invoicing software,” it will become more expensive.
In order for us to stay competitive, we needed to use smart bidding. That way we could ask Google to get the maximum number of conversions possible for around €30 a day and Google’s algorithm would work it out for us.
Once everything was ready, I needed to understand what worked and what didn’t. We made some key changes at this stage — for example, we removed the word “sign-up” and added the phrase “create invoice,” to our landing pages and CTAs to improve our conversion rate. We also did a lot of tweaking to improve the clickthrough rate.
We conducted A/B tests for most of our ads and landing pages. This meant testing headlines, ad copy, creatives, calls-to-action, form fields, and the overall design of the pages. Once we’d found variants that worked significantly better, we set them up.
A big factor in effective optimization is giving the system time to learn; many people will pause something or make some changes within the crucial early learning period, which forces the system to enter learning mode again. To avoid this, I waited for one to two weeks until the learning period had ended, before carrying out more optimizations.
Within five months, I managed to increase the number of sign-ups by 128%. When I started with the company, they only had around 500 monthly sign-ups, but by the time we had finished the project, we had 1,170. In addition, having started with a cost per sign-up of €30, we reduced that down to €21, a decrease of 28%.
Our investment also grew. When I came on board, I introduced progressive use — we started with an investment of €2,000 per month and gradually grew it to €30,000.
At the beginning of this project, I came in and had some meetings with the client in which I asked important questions about their business plan. I wanted to know what their lifetime value was, what their ideal sign-up cost was and why they were looking to go into paid search. These kinds of questions ultimately helped me to create an efficient and effective campaign strategy that was highly successful.