Behind every successful web presence is a strategic keyword strategy. Pay per click (PPC) can be a great tool to complement your organic search optimization efforts, whilst also helping you maximize reach. In fact, a PPC campaign is one of the faster & more efficient ways for B2B companies to capture the right leads and generate brand awareness, as your audience is looking for you, as opposed to the other way around.
Manufacturing marketers are in a great position to profit from B2B PPC advertising for two main reasons:
- Lifetime value vs cost of customer acquisition – An annual PPC spend of £10,000 could bring you a customer with a lifetime value of hundreds of thousands.
- Results are immediate – When created correctly, your ads will show on the first page of Google search within an hour of setup
B2B PPC marketing is a great way to expose your company and products to interested customers. Here are 10 PPC tips for manufacturing companies:
1. Don’t obsess over sales conversions
Normally, conversions are considered to be a fundamental KPI in a PPC campaign because they report back on sales and purchases which originate from clicks. However, for B2C campaigns this is certainly not the case, as B2B buying cycles can be lengthy and it’s highly unlikely that someone will make a purchase directly from clicking an ad.
Instead, lead conversions are a better indicator of PPC effectiveness. A lead conversion could be measured against how many people filled out a form, downloaded gated content, or registered for an event. However, because these actions are quite far from an actual purchase, we can’t rely on lead conversions as the only guiding force. Some keywords might create in a lot of new leads, but you need to evaluate whether those campaigns and keywords are generating actual sales for your company. Alternatively, marketers should look at other important indicators like demographic scores, leads scores, marketing qualified leads, and pipeline leads that each campaign generates.
2. Base conversion rate on historical data
Historical data is a great way to create benchmark figures. By delving into your previous PPC campaigns, you can map the conversion rate from leads to sales opportunities. This will help you determine how many leads you need to generate a certain number of sales opportunities. Since there are drop-offs at each stage, this number will help you better estimate how many leads you need to generate from each PPC campaign.
Let’s say you generate 1,000 conversions with a 25% drop off from leads to targets, leaving you with 750 leads. If 50% of these are marketing qualified leads (MQLs), that leaves you with 375, and if only 20% of MQLs have the potential to become opportunities, you have 75 leads to work with.
By calculating the conversion rate, you can estimate that your PPC campaigns need to generate at least 1,333 conversions every month to create approximately 100 sales opportunities. This helps you forecast your goals and budget for the upcoming quarter.
3. Don’t allocate budget based on Cost Per Acquisitions (CPA)
Although it may seem tempting to pause or reduce the number of more expensive keywords in favour of cheaper ones, think twice. If these keywords are performing well; generating leads and sales, then you should continue to invest in them.
Don’t let the front-end conversions like lead conversions and CPA guide your decisions. Instead, look at how much you can afford to spend on the keywords that are driving closed deals and base your CPA thresholds on those numbers. Start thinking in terms of cost per opportunity or closed deals. This will give you the true ROI of your B2B PPC campaigns so you can understand how to best allocate your budget moving forward to drive opportunities and sales, not just conversions.
4. Be patient with your B2B audience
The B2B buying cycle is much longer than a B2C one. B2B buyers do a lot of comparison shopping before they make a purchase, and will typically look at 3 or 4 other companies.
B2B purchases can be substantial, from warehouse automation solutions, to packaging supplies for millions of units. It therefore comes as no surprise that buyers will research and shop around for the best solution and company. You’ll find that most leads will not be ready to buy- even if they wanted to, as there are lengthy approval processes and other related circumstances to consider.
With that in mind, it is critical to generate the right kind of awareness with your ads and landing pages, as well as including relevant information about your company. Since your target market isn’t looking to buy right away, the most important part in the beginning is to generate awareness, so you can acquire the right leads.
5. Create relevant ad copy and precise ad groups
Creating relevant ad copy is crucial if you want people to click through to your site for a healthy Click-ThroughRate (CTR).
As previously mentioned, the B2B buying cycle is much longer than a traditional one, and customers need a lot of information when weighing up a purchase. By including a CTA within your ad copy you can link it to marketing materials such as white papers, which should pique users interest and encourage them to enter the sales funnel. With that in mind, it’s wise to identify who your typical buyer is and write ad copy that is directly targeted towards these groups.
Here are some ways you can optimise your ad copy:
- Sitelinks & ad extensions: By adding additional valuable information, your ads will be more prominent, ultimately giving you more clicks and interactions. Add some credibility to your company by adding ‘award-winning’ or ‘#1 provider’ type keywords. In addition, you can also add direct links for specific landing pages and contact information to increase the likelihood of a click-through.
- Include your USP: If your company has a unique selling point don’t be afraid to include this in your ad copy; anything that gives you a competitive advantage should be used in your descriptive text.
- Provide answers to customer pain points: Your ads should contain a clear message and answer how you can provide a solution to your customer’s needs.
TIP: Continually test your ads and try out different ad rotations to see which combination can generate the higher number of conversions- don’t let them go stale!
Group your PPC campaigns in Ad Groups with closely knit keywords. Choose a narrow theme and only include keywords that relate to that theme. It’s good practice to also try and include at least one of your keywords in the ad headline. Google states this is because “When someone searches for a term that matches your keyword, and they see one ad that mentions the keyword and another ad that doesn’t mention the keyword, they are more likely to think that the first ad is more relevant to what they’re searching for”.
By creating distinct campaigns and ad groups you can control your costs more easily and only invest in keywords that are bringing in opportunities and sales.
TIP: Avoid broad campaigns- they hide expensive keywords in other cheaper ones, which makes it difficult to pinpoint effectiveness and it pushes up costs.
6. Use a call-to-action and form
So you’ve created a solid AdWords campaign that’s driving traffic to your website- now what? Don’t squander all that valuable traffic by not capturing leads!
Incorporate a clear CTA on your landing page and prompt visitors to take action. Offer them something valuable; perhaps a white paper or case study they won’t be able to resist. While your CTA doesn’t need to include a sales pitch, you must ask or direct your audience to take the next step if you want them to convert. As long as you include an action or direction in your strategy, you’ll be increasingly successful with your AdWords campaigns.
7. Use negative keywords
One of the most effective ways of improving your AdWords ROI is by using negative keywords. They allow you to improve the targeting of your campaign by telling Google exactly what queries you don’t want your ad to appear for. By acting as filter for irrelevant search terms you can vastly reduce wasteful PPC spending.
In Google AdWords, negative keywords can be used at the both the campaign and ad group level. At the campaign level, you can set negative terms that are irrelevant in any situation. At the ad group level, you can set negative terms that are specific to that particular product group, or landing page, but that might not apply across the entire campaign.
8. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
Regardless of industry or sector, always start your B2B PPC campaign by considering your customer’s point of view. Think about the questions or issues your potential prospects are searching for. Who are these people? Whether it be an Operations Manager or a Managing Director, be sure to align your offering, ad copy and landing pages with your target audience. By creating a faultless campaign structure, you will receive a high quality score and ad position without needing to increase bids.
TIP: Talk to your current customers and find out what it is they particularly like about your product- this may give you a competitive edge.
9. Research is paramount
The initial research for a B2B PPC campaign can be time consuming due to the complexity and specific nature of B2B products. Understanding the market is critical for a successful campaign, so be sure to set aside plenty of time for the research phase.
A common issue is missing opportunities for related keywords, i.e. synonyms. Take for example, a manufacturing company that specialises in warehouse automation; the term ‘vision picking’ can also be known as ‘augmented reality’ or ‘smart glasses’. If you didn’t research related keywords, you would have missed an opportunity set up a dedicated ad group for ‘augmented reality’ and ‘smart glasses’ keywords.
The same can also apply to two keywords that are seemingly the same and show up in your research, however one keyword may have nothing to do with your business. If this happens, adding negative keywords will ensure you’re not wasting money on irrelevant queries.
TIP: Always check Google Analytics to see what queries are bringing users to your website, and be sure to adjust your AdWords keyword strategy accordingly.
10. Analyse your results
Once your campaign has been running for a number of weeks, you need to start analysing the results. Determine which ad groups, keywords and content produces the highest conversions and interactions. How many users clicked on a certain ad? How many downloaded your content offer? B2B PPC campaigns should always be analysed and tweaked to deliver the best possible ROI.
As one of the faster and more efficient ways for companies to capture leads and generate brand awareness, PPC advertising is an effective tool for B2B business owners to utilise. However, simply setting up, or even just having a PPC account is not enough. If done wrong, the business could face losing a lot of money with no return. Equally, if done well, B2B PPC can prove to be an extremely profitable exercise.