There is a lot of advice out there about the best ways to use pay-per-click advertising effectively. Whether you are using Google, Bing, Facebook, or some other platform, the principles are consistent: you identify your audience, run a set of ads, and bring respondents to a landing page that offers a solution to their problems.
But, while PPC advertising might adhere to a set of general rules, it is best applied to specific situations. In other words, a specific budget or keyword strategy that works for one type of company might not be as effective for another.
That’s particularly true when we start talking about online advertising for B2B products and services. They lend themselves to larger and more complex buying processes, meaning that searchers and marketers both have different sets of needs, and separate criteria for success.
You don’t have to throw everything you know about PPC out the window if you’re marketing to other businesses, of course, but there are some things you should keep in mind if you intend to turn a profit from your ads. Here are a few pieces of pay-per-click advice every B2B marketer should follow…
Because B2B sales and contracts tend to be larger and longer-lasting, competition amongst online advertisers can be more intense. We’ve seen fields where businesses were paying hundreds of dollars for a single click, just hoping it would lead to a new sales opportunity.
Believe it or not, those kinds of high-bidding strategies can make economic sense, but only if a target market is very carefully defined. Regardless of whether you’re spending big dollar amounts for each click or are going through your marketing budget a quarter at a time, you need to zero in on your most likely buyers. Otherwise, some percentage of the money you spend is going to be wasted, and that’s something no B2B advertiser can afford.
One challenge of putting together a B2B pay-per-click campaign is that the sales cycle can be a long one. Lots of people will decide to make instant or impulse purchases with their own money, but will think twice (or a few times more than that) before dipping into the company’s budget to try out a new vendor or product.
That can be a problem if your prospects have short attention spans. You might be paying a lot for click to generate a visit, only to have the visitor leave before they can decide to make a purchase, and nothing as a result. A good answer is to institute secondary conversion goals. Perhaps your visitor won’t make a purchase right away, but can you convince them to sign up for your email newsletter or downloadable PDF guide? If so, you’ll have a way to follow up with them later and win a sale that might have otherwise gotten away.
Never forget that you have a couple of different audiences for your web content, including your pay-per-click ads. You want to appeal to buyers and decision-makers, of course, but you might also have to persuade assistants, department heads, or committee members who are skeptical of working with you.
If you’re already going to put secondary conversion goals in place, it’s a good idea to ensure some of them are informational guides that outline the key issues of what you sell and also highlight your competitive strengths. The magic of this system is that you are asking for very little in terms of up-front commitment, while at the same time are getting a chance to bring uninformed prospects up to speed.
Whether a visit to your website converts immediately or not, it’s a good idea to put campaigns in place that allow you to keep reinforcing your sales message to them again in the future. After all, if you have a very tightly-defined market with a big and complex sales process, identifying a potential buyer is the hard part. After that, you just want to ensure they think of you before your competitors when they’re ready to make a decision.
You can do that in a relatively inexpensive way by running retargeting ads. These only display to people who will already visited your website, and you can decide how many exposures to offer before you give up, and for how long the ad should run. Giving potential buyers a second chance to come back can be valuable for any type of business, but it’s an especially strong tactic in B2B sales environments.
While we tend to be huge fans of inbound sales funnels in our firm, we also know that not every customer is going to follow one PPC ad, blog post, or informational guide to the next. In fact, that kind of conversion chain can actually get in the way of the finished sale if your buyer is ready to make an immediate decision.
In order to see how someone might feel after clicking on your PPC ad, you should always make it easy for buyers to contact you directly and in an offline, personal way. Post your phone number, street address, and office hours in prominent places on your landing pages. You might be surprised to find out how many people will decide to call you up, or just stop by, to get an answer to their question or start a new business relationship. Those are great outcomes because they tie the customer to you in a more personal way, and can greatly improve your closing ratios.
B2B selling is generally more complex and takes longer than it would if you are offering products or services directly to consumers. However, the rewards that come with closing a big deal or landing a major account are a lot more significant, too.
If you’re using pay-per-click advertising for your sales or lead-generation campaigns – and you should be – make sure to keep these tips in mind. Or, for advice that’s tailored to your specific situation, reach out to our pay per click advertising company today to schedule a free meeting and see how we’ve been able to help other companies overcome the same challenges.
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