PPC Guide for B2B Professionals
Quick: What do ground-penetrating radar, hydraulic tie-rod cylinders, and PPC platforms have in common? Not much – but all three are examples of B2B (business to business) products that B2B companies can sell through PPC advertising.
PPC is a system that provides B2B companies with the ability to attract potential customers quickly and efficiently. Your target market basically raises their hand and says they are interested in your product or service, and they do so by typing your search keywords into Google or Bing. Your beauty, they’re looking for you – instead of spending ten hours in a trade fair booth asking people about their biggest business challenges and hoping their needs align with what you have to offer. This is what makes PPC a form of inbound marketing. If you ask me, PPC is so much more attractive than a trade show that treating people who are circling bags full of grass and smelling like a projector last night is long gone. It could also be more profitable .
In this guide, we’ll look at the characteristics of the B2B marketplace and how they relate to PPC, and then review some real-world PPC tips to help you crush it in your B2B paid search campaigns. I’ll point to my own experience with ground-penetrating radar, hydraulic cylinders, and software along the way to add some context.
Characteristics of B2B Marketplace to Remember for PPC
B2B professionals already know that their audience is smaller than the B2C audience. This is because they target other, non-resident companies. As a result, you will see that keyword search volumes are smaller in the B2B space than in the B2C space .
For example, there are more “shoes” searches per day (a snapshot, perhaps within an hour) than there are more “ground-penetrating radar” searches per year. This means that in B2B, you are targeting a unique subset of the total population – market segmentation within market segmentation, many times over.
Your B2B buyer can be one of many people from different departments of the company. It could be the end user, the CEO, someone in the IT department, or a company accountant – and you should design your pay-per-click campaigns (keywords, ad copy, landing pages, etc.) with that in mind.
B2B buyers tend to make a lot of comparative purchases too, especially if we’re talking about expensive purchases, long-term contracts, and potential ongoing relationships. Therefore, you need to provide a lot of buyer-oriented information like case studies and white papers in PPC campaigns rather than “hot deals” that create instant transactions in the B2C world.
Finally, the sales cycle is usually longer in B2B – in fact, it’s usually three to six months or more. So your PPC ROI is usually after several months. Just tell your boss that pay-per-click is an investment in the future – because it is!
PPC Tips for B2B Businesses
In essence, a B2B PPC campaign is similar to a B2C campaign. You have campaigns, ad groups, keywords, etc., just like B2C – but you need to take market characteristics into account.
The examples above – ground penetrating radar and hydraulic tie-rod cylinders – are real clients I’ve worked with. My reaction to receiving the bills might have been the same as yours: What?
For these types of clients, and anyone in a B2B PPC situation, you will have to dig deep and do some serious research to run a top-tier B2B campaign. why is that? Because even if you understand your market, implementing it on a PPC channel is different and full of pitfalls.
An example of this is my client in the field of hydraulic cylinders. During my research, I learned that there are connecting rod cylinders and welded chassis cylinders . My client only sells tie-rod cylinders, but when I looked at the account he set up (it’s been on the market for a few months now, spending thousands of dollars), I noticed he was also getting films for welded cylinders.
Had I not bothered to do some research, I would have assumed “a hydraulic cylinder is a hydraulic cylinder” and didn’t understand this unnecessary expense. As a result, I made sure to add the word “soldier” as a negative keyword and invoke “rope cylinders” in the ad copy to prevent buyers from searching for welded chassis cylinders and pre-qualified moves and save some money for the customer along the way.
The bottom line is that even if you understand your market, beware that Google and Bing don’t recognize it and will try to match you with as many keywords as possible. So stay tuned for your search query report.
Research takes time, so if you’re looking for a way to articulate your strategy, check out an article I wrote last year for more advice on finding a new client.
Now that you understand the market and who your buyers are (right?), you can tackle the keywords themselves.
Keyword research strategies and match types are basically the same between B2B and B2C. However, one caveat is the predominance of shorthand searches in B2B . The acronym “GPR,” for example, gets four times the search volume for “ground penetrating radar.” Whatever your industry, find out what words customers use.
In this sense, B2B tends to have part numbers and forms that are sold frequently and get a lot of research. Going back to the link example, business seekers will use a model number such as “Drum TX-2500”, which is useful when bidding based on exact search terms and ad wording.
You can also link to the specific application of a B2B product or service when doing a search. Link to your target market such as the construction industry or agriculture to find valuable long-term terms such as “GPR construction” or “hydraulic bonded farming”.
When it comes to bidding and CPCs, they can be comprehensive, just as with B2C. Undoubtedly, however, there is more room for “loose” bidding when you’re talking about high-value goods and services. In other words, B2B generally has higher profit margins , so increasing the CPC in dollars over the past month isn’t a big deal.
Since we are talking about B2B, also think from the point of view of the company you are looking for. Its internal label includes words like “supplier” and “supplier”, so be sure to explore these words along with “companies”, “providers” and “tools” in your keyword combinations, for example “software suppliers” “ .pay-per-click” or “GPR service providers”.
As with B2C, negative B2B keywords often include words like “reviews,” “jobs,” and “free.”
3. Campaigns and ad groups
Due to the search-intensive nature of B2B, it’s a good idea to place your keywords in campaigns and ad groups that address the different stages of the purchase funnel – and follow the same strategy with landing pages. At the top of the conversion funnel, you have the research, followed by consideration, and then the decision to commit (buy) at the bottom of the conversion funnel.
Think from research to engagement and build your campaigns and ad groups around it. So, you can have a search campaign/ad groups, a search campaign/ad groups, and a conversion campaign/ad groups.
The benefits of this are invaluable: you’ll know that your campaign and/or ad groups containing the “seller” are the people who are in the research phase of the buying process. Knowing this, it may be best in your ad copy to promote your recent awards or a white paper. Over time, you will be able to measure your ROI at different stages of the purchasing path and plan your budgets accordingly.
4. Ad text
Ad copy makes a huge difference in the B2B marketplace when compared to B2C, although best practices still need to be followed. With so many different stakeholders and different buying stages, when crafting your ad text, be aware of appropriate calls-to-action phrases and offers.
For example, in the PPC B2B world, “ buy now” or “order today” call-to-actions are more likely to say “get more information,” “contact us today,” or “download a document.” Free technical The reason behind this is that you are dealing with buyers who need a lot of time (remember the long sales cycle), they only do research and can’t “buy now” even if they want to because of the processes and price.The potentially exorbitant price of your product or service.Plus However, they often want to talk to someone in your company, rather than just clicking the “add to cart” button like in the B2C world.
Are there exceptions to this? You bet it – it just depends on the product or service.
If you don’t know who the typical buyer is (CEO, accountant, or marketer?), write ads that target these groups and measure their performance. Use phrases like “economical,” “easy to use,” “easy to integrate,” “best in class,” etc. to see what resonates with the potential buyer.
Additional tips about ad text:
- Quality is key – for example, you don’t just sell hydraulic cylinders, you sell hydraulic tie rod cylinders.
- Use your ad text to pre-qualify customers . List price points to avoid people looking for cheap gadgets. For example, “starting at $500 per month…” will quickly get rid of people who can’t afford your product or service.
- Buyers are looking for suppliers for potential long-term relationships. You need to make sure that your copy talks about the buyer’s weaknesses clearly and convincingly. You feel their pain, you have the solution, and you can guide them every step of the way.
- Uses Social Directory – Displays additional Google extensions in sitelinks. If you don’t have this setting, start with it.
- Use credible examples when you have – phrases such as “highest rated,” “award-winning,” and “voted best in class.”
- Show prospects how easy it is to deal with your company . Do this in your ad by assigning a GSA (state) fee if you offer it, accepting purchase orders (POs) if you do, or offering financing terms if applicable.
- Become a trusted source of information – Use website links to share technical documents, e-books, case studies, downloadable forms, financial calculators, and anything else someone might need in their research phase.
With a longer sales cycle, it is imperative that you monitor your site visitors using Google Analytics or any other analytics software package.
During the three to six month sales cycle, your potential customers may come back several times for more information – so hopefully you’ll add more information to your site regularly. Or you can try remarketing to make sure you’re stalking regularly and by mistake I mean you’re always in front of potential customers.
What this really means is that today’s click costs may not be conversions for 180 days or more – so wait a long time.
Now you realize that the world of B2B PPC requires a long-term view, especially when compared to the wham-bam world of B2C PPC. However, it is a very effective way to take your B2B organization to new heights – and without taking the duty out of the gallery.