New SAAS product: Adwords or GetApp/FindTheBest type approach for marketing?

I have a new task management app. Born out of frustration that the current models out there are lacking in a bunch of features you would think would be obvious plus I added a new feature which I think gives it an edge on every other company out there. I do have the disadvantage of not having some features which might be important like a mobile app version and things like that but what I have I feel is more than capable of competing with the other software out there so I wanted to get to market and let my customers have an influence on the further development of the product.

I hope to go live within a couple of months, currently in beta testing. So here's my problem. I have a limited budget after the development costs of the product. Credit cards are maxed and I will be paying for marketing out of my own wages.

That means a budget of $1k per month. So I am looking to hit the ground running. I have invested a lot of time into figuring out how adwords works, the problem is until i start a real campaign i wont know the cpc.

According to the search tool its in the region of $8-$12. I will explore that further as I believe the $8+ is based on top spot which isnt worth competing with the likes of Wrike for anyway but I explored another option.

I checked out sites like, and a few others. I am waiting on feeback from the others but charge $4 per click and they estimate 15% is achievable if I'm on the first page. That would get me 250 clicks for my $1k, they also say click through to trial conversions are around 15% and some educated guessing tells me around 7-10% of trials convert for similar companies in my industry. So that works out at around $250-$500 per customer.

I couldn't find any stats on it for my specific industry but I expect from my own experience if a company choose your product given the time and effort and commitment they put in to getting used to it as long as the product is stable and continues to improve then the average customer should last 2-5 years.

An average customer will net me approx $1k per annum so I am happy enough with those costs per customer albeit they are based on a lot of maybes at this point. That said I think the $4 per click is a good starting point because adwords has a lot of variables wheras getapp I can make reasonable assumptions with the data they have given me and the fixed cost per click.

My question for anyone with project management software marketing experience or marketing experience in general is there another alternative worth considering or am I on the right track. Of course ill explore SEO, social media, getting involved with related forums and helping out while subtly getting a pitch in for my product but those will take time so I need something that will get me customers in the door without breaking the bank.

One thing I left out was getApp said if I went with the $1k package I only get on the 2nd page, with $3k package I'm on the first page, they estimate 160 clicks on the first page per month so id imagine the 2nd page is way less so not viable and even 160 is pretty low IMO.

Also my initial aim is to get traction and get more solid numbers on CPA and all those important variables so I can make better projections and determine if its a viable product, at that point I will try and get a loan or investments to increase the marketing and development spend so this is a bootstrap job just to get people in the door.

Marketing Adwords Project Management Saas Startups

asked May 30 '15 at 02:30
Paul Moran
6 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

2 Answers


I am a search engine marketing consultant. Have been using SEO and managing PPC campaigns for 15+ years. One of my current Adwords clients is an app creation client. I know the space quite well. Here is my advice:

1) $1k/mo will get you very little results unfortunately. Your best bet is to front end the first month with more budget, because you need a certain volume of data before you can make INFORMED decisions on whether it makes sense to continue and/or how to improve your Adwords campaign performance.

2) do not ignore bing/yahoo network. Some of your competitors do ; ) Generally your CPC will be lower there.

3) be smart about when you advertise. Performance on weekends and late night generally is diminished.

4) 7-10% conversion rates? Not happening. I would expect max 5% in your niche.


Organic SEO is a better long-term approach, IF you can achieve top 5 rankings. I personally would run adwords for a month or two, determine ROI... and if not feasible, move your budget to proper SEO, content development, and link building.


answered Jun 3 '15 at 12:29
Sean Elkin
11 points


If your budget is limited, PPC ads aren't likely to give you the biggest bang for your buck. I'd suggest a more organic approach to getting customers.

  • Your ROI will be highest with blogging. Research what you customers would be interested in (productivity tips might be relevant in your case), and start writing interesting content around that. Promote your blog and the readership will trickle down as paying customers for your app.
  • Reach out to prospects already using a competitor and pitch them on your app. Provide an extended trial so it's risk-free to take your app for a spin.
answered May 30 '15 at 02:54
Nishank Khanna
4,265 points
  • Thanks, how easy in reality is it to get decent traffic on a blog. I can write an interesting blog but its not going to be something that blows peoples minds to the point that people have to share it and go even semi viral. So i am really relying on SEO to get it listed and since the keywords cost $4+ then getting listed on google in a spot that is likely to get traffic is going to be difficult when i am a newbie in terms of blogging. Am i over-estimating the task? In any case this was always going to be part of my strategy but i thought like SEO it would take months before i see a return? – Paul Moran 7 years ago
  • Almost any channel you pursue will have a curve to get the traction. Getting SEO traffic via a blog should definitely be part of it, even if it takes 3-6 months to gain steam. You should try out a small PPC to test, but my gut feeling is it won't give you a positive ROI on those high value keywords ($4+ per click). Take a look at this talk by Gail Goodman of Constant Contant: Khanna 7 years ago
  • Regarding the blog content, almost no blog goes viral with ALL their posts. All you really need is the right readership coming in and capturing their email address. A good strategy to capture emails is offering something of value at the end of the post. It could be a short eBook or list of tips, etc. I can't stress the important of capturing emails enough. That slow growing list could likely end up brining you the bulk of your initial customers. – Nishank Khanna 7 years ago
  • Create a list of things to do with each post you write... things like posting on relevant sites like HackerNews, GrowthHacks,, etc. Posting it on your social media accounts. Putting out great content is only half the work. The other half is promoting it. – Nishank Khanna 7 years ago
  • Another marketing channel to put into your mix that doesn't require any money is PR. Take a look at this answer on a simple way to go about getting publicity for your startup: I see a lot of founders who quit too early when they launch their SaaS product. Getting the initial momentum is always hard while you test different channels to find ones that will have positive ROI. – Nishank Khanna 7 years ago

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