High cost per click.
Low search volume.
B2B marketers face endless challenges when trying to generate results from paid search.
Learn how to make paid search work to better attract B2B customers.
Pre-qualify users with ad copy
One difficulty with many B2B search campaigns is that keywords alone do not fully determine user intent.
For example, a managed IT services provider may want to target organizations strictly at the enterprise level, but not every qualified potential customer will include the word “enterprise” in their search queries.
You can target more general keywords like “managed IT services” to expand your network while encouraging the right people to click.
However, the ad copy may specify “enterprise managed IT services”.
If you only serve companies with more than a certain number of employees, you can mention them directly in the ads or include them in your callout extensions.
For example, “For businesses with more than 100 employees.”
Additionally, including pricing in your copy can be an effective way to discourage clicks from people who can’t afford your services.
For example, “starting at $500 per month” will help deter searchers who are unwilling or unable to spend at least $500 per month.
Layer on the masses
Even when keyword intent is ambiguous, audience targeting can help you focus on the people you want to reach with your ads.
It’s usually best to use a combination of first-party and third-party audiences in campaigns.
First Party Audiences require your personal data.
You can upload lists of leads using Customer Match to target individuals who may have expressed initial interest in your business after signing up for a newsletter, downloading a white paper, or attending a webinar.
An additional benefit of these audiences can be the creation of lookalike audiences that you can also place in campaigns to reach people with intersectional characteristics.
Additionally, create remarketing audiences from website visitors, and don’t forget to put these audiences into campaigns, even if it’s just for monitoring.
With manual bidding, you can bid on those people when they’re set to watch just to be more competitive on search queries than people who might have shown interest in your business.
With automatic bidding, placing these audiences indicates Google’s intent. It shows that you consider these people important to get your bid signals.
Third-party audiences include many options on the Google and Microsoft end, with audiences in the marketplace geared toward B2B allowing for the most granularity.
The audience in the market has shown through search and browsing behavior that they are directly shopping for a particular product or service.
IT companies can target the network services, systems and enterprise software segments.
B2B accounting firms can target the business financial services sector.
Catering supply stores can target commercial and industrial > food service equipment.
There are countless other options for targeting audiences that are directly connected to various B2B niches.
You can also overlay LinkedIn Audiences for additional B2B layers specifically for Microsoft Advertising.
In particular, use industry targeting to reach people in the specific industries you’re trying to pursue.
Find keywords related to actual problems
B2B marketers can be notorious for wanting to target very specific technical keywords related to their product.
However, people who encounter problems that the product solves may not even know that the product exists.
For example, one of the clients I worked with is the board meeting software.
Only a small subset of people directly search for keywords like “board meeting software”.
However, many people search for keywords like “how to improve board meetings” or “how to share board meeting minutes” – all questions that the software in question can solve.
Additionally, monitor your search terms reports to determine which keywords you can pull into ad groups with more personalized ad copy.
Don’t forget about the landing page
Landing pages are crucial to any venue and any campaign, but there are several considerations you need to keep in mind for B2B campaigns in particular.
Ideally, you’d use ad copy to prevent the wrong people from clicking, but you should continue this theme with your landing page copy.
Use your copy to hint at suitable business sizes, job roles, and potential budgets for your ideal clients.
Additionally, form preparation can be critical to strike a balance between qualifying the right people and not unnecessarily preventing contacts from submitting the form.
Include enough form fields to ensure that people are serious enough to give you their contact information while also allowing you to scan company details without asking for unnecessary information.
For example, the job title and company name are probably a reasonable question, but do you really need to specify the city and state to download a white paper?
Asking for a phone number for a top funnel offer can also be a turn-off, as many people don’t like receiving a phone call out of the blue when they are simply in an early research phase.
In addition, include signs of trust with slogans and quotes from other companies that have used yours.
B2B buyers want to see that similar companies trust your services.
Improve the correct conversion procedures
As advertising platforms push advertisers towards using automatic bidding in campaigns, it becomes more important than ever to have accurate conversion data on the platforms.
Additionally, keep in mind that you are optimizing about conversion actions that correlate better with getting qualified leads.
For higher conversion funnels campaigns, you may choose conversion actions such as asset downloads or webinar sign-ups to optimize for higher volume orders.
However, for low funnel campaigns, you may be more focused on trial orders, trial signups, and sales inquiries, and you should define them as campaign conversion actions.
In addition, sending offline conversion data through a Salesforce integration or importing offline conversion can provide additional signals to improve your qualified leads.
Finally, attaching values to specific conversions (even if they’re only approximate value indicators based on your data) and optimizing conversion value can help Google differentiate between a low-yielding, higher-yielding conversion versus a low-yielding, high-yielding conversion.
Put your B2B PPC to the test!
If you’re skeptical about paid search for B2B, or if you’ve been struggling with making campaigns work for your company, maybe it’s time for another attempt at optimization to succeed.
Think about actual customer problems to consider keywords and ad text crafting, include audience layers to focus on the right prospects, keep your landing page focused on the right persona, and ensure the right conversion tracking is set up.
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Featured image: Golden Sikorka / Shutterstock