What does your B2B marketing strategy look like? Perhaps you’ve done some SEO for your website, or maybe you tried out social media marketing to give yourself more brand visibility. There’s probably a little blogging in there too, and that’s great! These are all great avenues to take your strategy down, but what happens when you google your business? If you aren’t utilizing Google Ads properly, then you may be missing a huge inbound marketing opportunity.
A pay per click (PPC) platform such as Google Ads (formerly AdWords) can become one of the main pillars of your B2B marketing strategy, supporting lead generation and guiding prospects down the sales funnel. It has to be done correctly, though. PPC advertising charges your company every time someone clicks on your ad. This blog will help you make sure each click counts.
Should Your B2B Marketing Strategy Include Google Ads?
In this article, we will walk you through the process of properly setting up and implementing a PPC advertising campaign. Specifically, we’ll be talking about Google Ads. Why? Because while there are other platforms such as Yahoo and Bing that you are more than welcome to market your company on, using Google will by far give you the most traffic.
Google Ads also give you the ability to meet your prospects where they’re at, searching for the types of products or services you’re selling. Social discovery platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter Ads don’t have those kinds of warm leads.
Still, Google Ads won’t fit well into your B2B marketing strategy if nobody is searching for what you’re offering, or rather nobody is searching for the keywords you’re targeting.
How Does Google Ads Work, Exactly?
The Ads: Let’s just start from the beginning. Google Search Ads appear to anyone who searches for a keyword phrase that your ad is targeting. In addition to Google Search, they can also show up on Google Play, Google Shopping and Google Maps. The wider Google Search Network also includes sites outside of Google that have partnered with them.
These ads can also be referred to as “text ads.” They capture prospects at the research and purchasing stages of the sales funnel. They are not the only type of ad campaign you can create on Google Ads, though.
Google Display Ads are another popular method of advertising on the platform. These types of ads work a little differently, utilizing the Google Display Network. These “banner ads” are shown on websites you’ve targeted because you think your audience might visit them.
People are typically less likely to click on banner ads than text ads since they were not searching for anything specific when they came across your ad. However, display ads can put your business in front of someone who wouldn’t have found you on their own. Display ads also have another benefit: retargeting campaigns. They can be an excellent method of re-engaging people who have alredy visited your website in the past to encourage them to return.
The Ad Auction: The Ad Auction doesn’t work like a typical auction – say for antiques or art – where the person with the highest bid wins the item. The ad auction is a process that every ad goes through that determines which ads will appear and in what order on the SERP. When someone searches a query, Google Ads finds all the ads whose keywords relate enough to the query, as well as those with a high enough Ad Rank (a metric quantifying ad quality, a combination of the ad bid and Quality Score). It also factors in the location of the searcher.
Once the system has narrowed down the list of ads, it orders them. It uses a combination of factors including Ad Rank, the context of the person’s search and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats. The process repeats every time a query is searched, yielding different results each time.
Your takeaway from this entire explanation is this: your Ad Rank is extremely important to appearing on a search page as well as being ordered first. Even if you have a lower bid amount than your competitors, you can still win the ad auction by delivering high quality ads and landing pages.
The Bids: That being said, bids still play an important role in the process. Lower bids will affect your Ad Rank, but higher bids can hemorrhage your company money and derail your B2B marketing strategy. Setting your bids can be a complex process. It’s a lot easier to think about it in terms of what you want to achieve from your ad campaign. Depending on your goal, your bidding strategy will vary (which we will address later).
Budgeting for Your Google Ads Campaign
Your budget establishes a charging limit for each day an ad campaign is active. Depending on how you manage your bids, your costs may be lower, but your budget should be the maximum amount you’re willing to spend each day of the month.
How much are you willing to pay per click for your ad? This is your maximum CPC bid. High bids could equal more traffic but eat through your budget quickly. Lower bids can result in fewer clicks, but you can offset that with a better quality ad leading to a better conversion rate. There are lots of people on the internet who have tried to make a science out of budgeting for your ads, but every industry is different. Just start small and see what converts. $10 is a safe place to begin, but do what your B2B marketing strategy can afford without neglecting any other areas. Once you see which keywords, ad groups and campaigns are converting the best, you can adjust your budgets in the future.
Keyword Planner: A good place to start the hunt for perfect keywords is the Google Ads Keyword Planner. This tool allows you to learn a lot about the keywords your industry is targeting including average monthly searches, how competitive each of the keywords is, and the low range and high range bids. As you explore, the Keyword Planner will provide you with ideas and suggestions.
Explore Keyword Ideas: The trick is to uncover those Goldilocks keywords – those that aren’t too competitive or expensive, but still have good monthly search volume. Even if a keyword is the perfect match for your company, you might still be wasting your marketing budget if the words you choose are too competitive or the bids are too high.
Keyword Intent: Keyword intent is also something to pay attention to at this stage. Targeting irrelevant keywords will drain your budget without much success to show for it. Think critically about the types of things your prospective customers would be searching for, and when you’re considering a keyword, think of who might be searching that phrase. For instance, are the people searching “personal training app” personal trainers looking for an app to run their business or are they people searching for an app to manage their own personal training regimen? The difference is wasted money and effort!
Choose Your Keywords: Compile a list of the keywords you think are within your budget, have appropriate keyword intent and good search volume. You might create several keywords lists to group your similar keywords together, depending on how many ad groups you want to feature in your ad campaign. These lists can vary in length. Some people suggest as many as 20-30 keywords per ad group, but if your keywords are well-targeted, having just five is also okay. Having too many can cost you, as well, eating up your daily ads budget and making the campaign difficult to manage.
Structuring Your Ad Campaign
Select Your Goal & Determine Campaign Type: Each time you create a new campaign, the first question you’ll be asked is what the goal for the campaign will be. Google Ads provides you with several options: sales, leads, website traffic, product or brand consideration, brand awareness and reach, or app promotion. If you are a B2B technology, you’ll want to focus on leads and conversions. Next, you’ll be able to choose your campaign type. Your chosen goal determines your campaign options.
Determine How to Accomplish Your Goals: Depending on your chosen campaign type, Google Ads will present you with a number of options outlining how you will pursue your goal. The options can include website visits, phone calls, store visits or app downloads. It’s up to you and your company how you want to be found and contacted by leads, but obviously the more options they have, the more more leads you’re likely to generate.
Target Your Ad: Google Ads allows you to get pretty specific when setting the parameters of your ad audience. You can choose location, language preferences and audiences to target. Google Ads collects a lot of data on those who use the platform, allowing you to target groups based on factors such as education, marital status or homeownership. You can also browse the many categories Google Ads has listed.
I’m assuming your B2B marketing strategy includes buyer personas. If not, it should, and this is a perfect instance where it can be incredibly useful. Consider what kind of business would be interested in your product and who the individuals working at that business are. Where are they located? What language(s) can you reach them in? What industries will you find them in? Being able to answer these questions and others will help you immensely at this stage structuring your ad campaign.
Determine Your Bidding Strategy: Google Ads will help you out at this stage by recommending a bidding strategy based on the options you’ve already chosen, but you should still have some idea of what your strategy ought to look like.
- Brand visibility? If the point of using Google Ads is only to expand your brand’s exposure, focus on impressions when setting up your bid. Impressions are counted each time your ad appears on a SERP. With Target Impression Share, Google will automatically set your bids to help achieve your impression share goal. This specific method is applicable to search ads.If you would like to use display ads, opt to pay by the number of times your ad is viewable. This is called cost-per-thousand viewable impressions (vCPM) bidding. Display ads are great if your goal is to put your name and logo in front of as many people as you can.
- Website traffic? If your goal is to generate more traffic to your website, focus on clicks. With CPC bidding, you’ll only pay when someone clicks on your ad and goes to your website. Both search ads and display ads are suitable for generating more website traffic.There are two strategies you can choose from. Maximize Clicks is an automated bidding strategy where all you need to do is set your daily ad budget. The Google Ads system will automatically manage your bids to give you the most clicks possible within your budget, and it’s the simplest strategy, especially for beginners. Manual CPC bidding allows you to manage the maximum CPC bids yourself. With this method, you can set different bids for each ad group, individual keywords or placements. This type of strategy will work best after you’ve spent a little more time watching your ad campaign performance.
- Lead generation & Sales? If your goal is to not just to gain website traffic but to get a conversion of some type – rather that’s a sale, a newsletter sign-up or a demo request – there’s a method for bidding with this in mind, too. Google Ads allows you to set the amount you’re willing to pay for each conversion, which they call an “acquisition,” cost-per-acquisition (CPA) bidding.Using this form of bidding, you’ll pay for each click just like with CPC bidding, but Google Ads will automatically set your bids for you so you get as many conversions as possible at the CPA you specified. CPA bids require you to have conversion tracking on, and it may be too advanced for beginners. As your B2B marketing strategy matures though, this is definitely a strategy you can employ to get the most out of your Google Ads budget.
Choose Your Ad Extensions: Adding ad extensions to your campaign is a great way to improve your Quality Score by increasing your click-through rate (CTR) and in turn, your overall Ad Rank. You have several options at this juncture including call buttons, location information, sitelinks to specific pages on your site and additional text. Since Google will only show the extensions that are relevant to each individual search, don’t be afraid to use as many as possible (as long as they align with your goals). Extensions can only add value to your ad, giving you more visibility and clicks. The only downside is that they do take a bit of time to set up.
Set Up Your Ad Groups: An ad group should contain one or more ads and your related targeted keywords. All the ads in this group will be triggered by the same set of keywords, so try to focus each ad group only on one product or service. Your campaign can have more than one ad group, though.
A note about keyword match types:
- Broad match is the default type of keywords. Unless you specify otherwise, your keywords will be designated broad match. This is not a bad place to begin when you’re creating a new campaign. Google will show your ads with any search phrase Google thinks is relevant to your keyword. This means your ads will get more impressions, but your ads will likely show up with irrelevant queries, so more impressions doesn’t necessarily mean more clicks. Still, leaving this match type in place in the beginning allows you to monitor the performance of the targeted keywords.
- Phrase match will trigger your ads anytime a phrase, or a close variation of it, mentioned in your keywords is searched in Google. Using this match type can be a good way to eliminate some irrelevant searches but narrows your visibility.
- Exact match will only trigger your ad when the exact phrase is searched in Google. This match type gives you the most control over your ad audience, but it limits your exposure. Google gives a little wiggle room though, allowing close variations of the phrase to trigger your ad, too.
- Negative keywords can be added to help eliminate some irrelevant searches. If your company offers marketing services, for example, but they don’t offer social media marketing, you can make sure your ad won’t be triggered when anything related to “social media marketing” is searched.
Creating Your Ad Campaign
When crafting the actual text of your ad, be sure to keep a couple of goals in mind:
- You want to encourage clicks from qualified leads.
- You want to discourage clicks from irrelevant leads.
- You want to attract better leads, increasing your conversion rates.
Trying to accomplish these three things may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. They all interconnect with each other. They can also all be easily accomplished by creating a good quality ad. Just focus on your sales pitch and what makes you a unique option for your prospect.
Your Sales Pitch: This is important to every part of a B2B marketing strategy, not just your Google Ads campaigns. Figure out what makes your business special and work on communicating that as succinctly as possible. Your current customers can be a great place to start if your drawing a blank. Why did they choose you in the first place? Why haven’t they left?
You can definitely research your competitors to learn how they’re marketing themselves on Google Ads, but don’t copy them. If you look long enough, you’re bound to find a space that no one is occupying. When you do, that’s your in. That’s how you can separate yourself from the crowd.
Make Your Offer: For prospects to click on your ad instead of a competitor’s, the offer you make has to have value. It also can’t be too good to be true; if it does seem too good, make a point to explain why that’s the case.
Give the Next Step: After you’ve effectively communicated what makes your business the best choice and what you’re prepared to offer, tell your prospects what to do next. A good call to action is short, clearly stated and easy to follow through with.
The ad will have a headline, two description lines and a display URL. Each element presents the opportunity to provide your prospects with more information.
Headline 1: This will appear first and is the most important component. Try to use a targeted keyword if possible, to better match what was searched. Unless your company has a well-known name, don’t include it. Instead, say what you are. Are you “World Class Web Developers” or a “Account & Finance Software” provider? You have 30 characters to explain yourself.
Headline 2: Appearing on the first line after headline 1, it’s still very important. There is also an opportunity to use a keyword here if it makes sense. The main goal at this point is delivering your unique offer. Be as clear as possible. Is your service an “All-in-one Business Solution” or will it be helpful to “Grow Your Fitness Business”? Think carefully about the types of people you are attracting and if they will make for good leads. And remember, you have 30 characters.
Description Line 1 (and 2): Each line gives you 90 characters to further reiterate what you’ve mentioned in your headlines. Line 2 won’t always appear, though, so don’t rely on it. Give your CTA, and let your prospects know what their next action should be. With this extra room, try to include a keyword, too.
Display URL: This can also include a keyword or the name of your offer.
Your website’s homepage is not a good advertising landing page – unless your goal was simply to gain more web traffic. Create a dedicated landing page that corresponds with the offer you’re making in the ad. For consistency, the landing page should utilize the same keywords that go along with the ad. This will give your prospects reassurance that they’re still heading in the right direction by clicking on your ad.
The format of the landing page should come as no surprise to you: a headline, body copy and a CTA that takes prospects onto the next step. Make a point to use a keyword in the headline or in a secondary headline. The body copy should reiterate the points made in the ad, giving more context and proving your qualifications. Your CTA should move prospects forward. This can be an opportunity to request contact information in exchange for a free download or pricing information. If you’re feeling bold, you can also try to make a sale.
The Job is Never Over
After your campaign and landing page are active, you may feel an overwhelming sense of relief – but don’t get too comfortable. Managing your Google Ads account is an ongoing process. It’s important to frequently check in and see how your campaigns are performing. This data is incredibly important to optimizing your ads and enhancing your B2B marketing strategy. You’ll be able to see which ads and keywords are being clicked on the most and giving you the best conversion rates. With this knowledge, you can adjust your budgets to be the most cost-effective.
You can also continually create and test new ads, edit text on existing ads, test out different landing pages and adjust bids. Think of it like science class with no adult supervision. Eventually, you’ll discover the right formula and ingredients and – BAM! – a conversion rate that marketers will swoon over.
Google Ads can be a complex and intimidating system to jump into, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. It takes every supposed Google Ads guru some time to determine what’s working and how to best interact with the prospects of their industry using this platform. Have patience, and before you know it, Google Ads will be the crown jewel of your B2B marketing strategy.
Managing a robust B2B marketing strategy that consistently attracts the right leads can be a full time commitment for your business – so let our business do the work for you. Brandcave is a B2B marketing agency working and playing in beautiful Georgetown, TX. Contact us with your needs today!