Most B2B marketers intuitively understand that PPC should be a part of their marketing mix. However, certain nuances need to be considered when it comes to running B2B paid search campaigns as opposed to running B2C paid search campaigns. This is true, whether you are running PPC via your in-house team or with a Surrey PPC agency.
In this article, we will explore the role that PPC plays in the context of B2B lead generation, some of the advantages that it offers as part of a marketing mix as opposed to other channels, and some best practices when it comes to running PPC campaigns for B2B lead generation.
The Difference Between B2B and B2C PPC Strategies
While basic marketing principles will apply equally to both B2C and B2B PPC campaigns, there are some specific differences to consider. The main difference is in the length of the sales cycle. Because B2B purchases involve making decisions about large sums of money as well as potentially purchasing complicated products or solutions, they tend to take a much longer time as opposed to B2C purchases.
B2B buyers may also be restricted by budgetary or buying cycles, or by their procurement departments. Therefore the process of gathering information, comparing solutions, negotiating with vendors and then finally making a purchase takes much longer than a straight B2C purchase.
All of these intermediate steps need to be considered when you are crafting your PPC lead generation campaigns. You need to have a very clear idea of what stage of the purchasing process your buyer is in and how exactly you're going to serve them with your hyper-targeted ads and calls to action that match that stage.
PPC Best Practices for B2B Campaigns
Here are some fundamentals and best practices that will immediately improve the effectiveness of your B2B PPC campaigns.
Set Up Proper Tracking
Firstly, you need to ensure that you have your tracking set up correctly. Whether it is ensuring that your main analytics platform, for example, Google Analytics, is set up correctly and tracking the correct goals, excluding the appropriate traffic, etc. Or having the correct tracking infrastructure setup between your Google Ads account, Google Search Console, and your website- you need to ensure that you're tracking the correct things and tracking them correctly.
Target the Right Audiences and Segment Them
One of the great advantages of using pay-per-click campaigns, as opposed to trying to reach customers via organic search, is that you can control your audience targeting a lot more.
On platforms such as Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, or even Facebook ads, you're able to specify elements of your audience to targets such as certain age, location, income, or behavioural demographics. This allows you to be a lot more specific with your ad targeting and allows you to segment audiences according to certain characteristics, ultimately leading to more efficiency in using your budget and better targeting, leading to better conversion rates.
Develop Unique Landing Pages for Each Ad Group
You want to ensure that when a prospect lands on your landing page, having clicked through from a paid search ad, they find exactly what they were expecting. A great way of doing this is by ensuring that you match the keywords that were used in your paid search ads to the copy on your landing page.
Another great way of doing this is by ensuring that the different segments that you've created from your customers, based on your chosen characteristics or behaviours, each have their own specific, unique landing pages. It is a great way of making the content hyper-specific to the users that are arriving on your website and ultimately reassuring them that they are in the right place and that their needs are understood by your business.
Consider Using Native Forms
Many PPC platforms, including LinkedIn and Facebook, offer the ability to create native lead generation or information capture forms within the platform themselves. You should consider using these because users prefer not to have to move from one website to another. And there's usually a drop off in completion rate when you redirect users from say an ad on LinkedIn to fill out a form on your website.
If your ultimate goal is to generate high-quality leads, it probably won't matter too much to you whether you generate those leads via a third party platform or on your own website.
Have a Clear CTA
One of the most important yet overlooked aspects of conversion rate optimisation is having a very clear and easy-to-spot call to action. One of the best ways of doing this is by making your call to action look very different in contrast with the rest of your landing page.
A lot of times, this is possible by simply using a colour (e.g. orange) that stands out. You also need to have a very clear next step for the users to take and this needs to be the logical next step based on the information they have already received on your landing page.
PPC offers much greater targeting capabilities and control to B2B businesses as opposed to organic marketing channels.
However, to make the most of PPC’s targeting capabilities, B2B businesses need to invest time and effort into truly understanding their audiences, segmenting them and then giving them the best possible user experience by serving them hyper-specific ads and then living up to the promise of the ads with equally specific landing pages.