Just like any marketing campaign, a lot of care and research needs to go into making a PPC ad campaign successful, doubly so when it comes to B2B marketing. The types of clients you’re hoping to attract have different needs and a more discerning eye when it comes to picking out potential investments. It takes a lot of work to generate and cultivate those high-quality leads.
However, a lot of people mismanage their PPC ads. They set their keywords and their bids, and then leave it at that, wasting ad money that could have been better spent on more important efforts.
If you aren’t happy with the numbers you’re getting on your B2B ad campaign but aren’t sure what to do to generate leads, the tips and tricks outlined below will help you better understand how your campaign should be run and how to utilize the unique features that come with PPC marketing.
1. Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs)
First off, you need to make sure that the keywords of your PPC ad campaign are well-optimized.
You may think your keywords are foolproof, but one day you may find out that your ad is showing up as a result for search terms that don’t even remotely resemble the service you’re offering.
You might discover that there’s a huge discrepancy between the keywords you use and the search terms people use to find you.
This is what Johnathan Dane of Klientboost calls “The Iceberg Effect.”
Naturally, an ad that doesn’t match what someone’s searching for has a very, very low chance of conversion.
This is where SKAGs come in.
SKAGs are ad groups designed to keep your target keyword and your ad as close to each other as possible. The goal is to stop showing up on unrelated keywords that could be costing you time and money.
You have a lot more control and flexibility over who gets to see your ads thanks to this structure, and since you’re filtering through unwanted traffic to draw in visitors who have a higher chance of conversion, you start saving money on your ad campaign, too.
2. Use Exact Match Keywords
Exact match keywords only trigger if someone searches the exact phrase or keyword you're bidding on, as well as some very close variants. They don't get you the highest amount of traffic, but you're likely to see leads come in from a high click-through rate, since your ad becomes much more relevant if it matches what your potential leads are searching for.
Exact match keywords are something that shouldn't be used without a healthy dose of research, however, as you risk having failed ad runs if you pick the wrong keywords to bid on.
Make sure to mind your customers’ search intent, and link them to your marketing goals. If you're marketing to businesses, then what keywords most likely used in order to find services like yours?
If you're using SKAGs, then you're already using exact match keywords, as that kind of keyword matching is integral to that ad group's structure.
3. Only Target Buying Intent Search Terms
This next tip is really simple.
Develop a list of keywords that could indicate that a potential lead is interested in making a purchase. Words like “purchase,” “free shipping,” or the tried-and-true “buy now.”
Then, combine them with the keywords relevant to your site and target only these keywords.
It may seem a little counterintuitive at first --after all, brand awareness still matters.
However, if you apply brand awareness to your PPC campaign, you may find yourself spending a lot of money on useless traffic.
You might not be sure if someone searching for “best restaurant chairs” is looking to buy, but it’s a lot clearer if they search for “buy restaurant chairs in bulk.”
Again, you aren’t looking to increase the quantity of your leads but their quality. Buying intent keywords may not have the highest search rate, but they do have a really high chance of conversion.
4. Develop Custom Landing Pages for Each Keyword
Earlier we talked about SKAGs, the Iceberg Effect, and matching your keywords to search intent.
These are great ways of optimizing your PPC ad campaigns, but it’s all under-the-hood stuff. None of your visitors are going to see your keyword list on AdWords.
What they are going to see, however, are your landing pages.
If a potential lead searches “online school” and the first thing they see on your landing page is huge bold text that says “web academy,” it isn’t impossible for the synonym to throw them off and cause them to bounce.
First impressions are important, and you want to snag a potential lead right from the start. You want to leave them with the impression that your search result is relevant --not only to Google, but to them as well.
Your landing pages should reflect the keywords that lead to clicks. Feature them in your page title and headers, and always aim for a high relevance score on Google Ads’ interface.
5. RLSA Campaigns
Remarketing lists for search ads (or RLSA, for short) is a feature of Google AdWords that lets you create ad campaigns that specifically target people who have visited or otherwise made contact with you in the past.
Using RLSA, you can opt to boost or lower your bids for keywords if the customer that triggered them has visited your site in the past, or otherwise is aware of your brand.
If you weren't aware of this feature of AdWords before this article, then use it now, because it's a very powerful tool for lead generation.
RLSA campaigns are useful for attracting quality leads. Since the customer you’re targeting is already aware you exist, then a well-timed ad placement could mean a higher chance at their conversion.
RLSA is especially important in the B2B sphere since a lot more consideration goes into corporate expenses than purchases made by individual consumers. This means that B2B marketers can expect longer sales cycles that are rarely resolved after one or two visits to their websites.
Remarketing gives you the opportunity to nudge your leads towards a sale. In return for relatively lower traffic, you get more focused and more targeted ad activity.
6. Display Retargeting
Display retargeting works under the same principle as the earlier-mentioned RLSA. Both kinds of ad campaigns allow you to specifically target potential leads that have visited your site in the past but haven’t converted yet.
The main difference? RLSA only applies to search ads, while display retargeting, as the name implies, applies to display ads.
Display retargeting casts a wider net when pulling people back to your site. Dynamic ads that are tailored for customers who are already aware can be powerful tools in the right hands.
Unlike RLSA ads, where you grab someone at the opportune moment while they’re actively searching for something, display ads can simply be used as a passive reminder that your brand exists, or a prominent call-to-action that targets people who further down your funnel.
That said, don’t overdo it. Being too aggressive with a display retargeting campaign could lead to a negative impression among your potential leads. Avoid badgering them as they complete their journey to conversion.
7. Use SEMRush for Keyword Research
SEMRush is an indispensable resource when you need keyword inspiration for your PPC ad campaign.
Using its Keyword Magic tool not only gives you tons of suggested keywords based on your “seed” but, but it also provides additional information like your keyword’s CPC, the number of results it returns, and its search volume, things that, I think you’ll agree, are pretty important to know.
What’s more, you can also research keywords by match type; either by broad match, phrase match, or exact match, a useful feature if your ad campaign uses SKAGs.
Use SEMRush to see if increasing a bid on your RLSA campaign is worth it, or to identify keywords that correlate with buying intent for your specific service or product. Finally, use SEMRush to discover which keywords have low ranking difficulty and high conversion rates, then shift your priority there.
As you probably can already tell, keywords are the lifeblood of any PPC ad campaign, and it pays to have a powerful research tool when you need it.
8. Optimize for Quality Score
Quality Score is a rating given by Google on the quality and the relevance of your keywords and ad campaigns. Google is clear that a higher score could lead to better ranking and less cost per bid, though they don’t tell you by how much.
Wordstream says that at the very worst quality score, your CPC could three times more expensive, and at the highest quality score, you could be seeing your CPC cut in half.
So, clearly, to cut costs, you want to keep your quality score as high as possible.
But what does this have to do with better PPC lead generation?
Quality score is a way for Google to force businesses to make more relevant ads because your potential customers aren’t only yours, they’re Google’s traffic, too, and they want to maximize their users’ experiences.
In reality, it just so happens that the things you can do to increase your quality score also help with generating leads. If you’ve been using SKAGs and dynamic landing pages, then you’re already well on your way.
Other things you can do include adding negative keywords to your ad campaigns to decrease the chances of your ads showing up in irrelevant searches and making sure that your ad text is honed to a razor point to attract clicks to your site.
While a high CTR is an important part of your score, it should come naturally from having relevant PPC ads.
Use your quality score as a yardstick for how well you’re optimizing. The perks that come with a higher QS are just a very nice bonus.
9. Keep Testing
If you aren’t already split-testing the ads on your PPC campaign, you should.
Sure, you can do everything in the world to optimize your ad campaign by anticipating what you think your potential customers are going to do, but nothing beats cold, hard data.
If you haven’t been testing and you aren’t sure where to start, try testing different ad copy, calls-to-action, and even changing the text of your URLs.
More importantly, make sure to test your landing pages, too.
Get creative with split-testing on your landing pages. Try seeing which calls-to-action work better, experiment with form length, and even play around with background colors and textures.
Much of the work that comes with PPC is finding out which formulas get you better conversion rates for particular audiences.
10. Use B2B Ad Copy instead of B2C
You’ve done all the research, all the testing, and all the optimization to make sure that your keywords target the leads that you want to attract. Now the question remains: is your ad copy targeted to those customers?
Businesses often have very different needs when it comes to services and products compared to your ordinary consumers.
Consider the fact that businesses may have specific budgets they need to work with, that your sales cycle is probably a lot longer for them, and that there might be more than one person evaluating the decision to buy.
So if a business sees your ad, they will be more wary to check it out if they see that it’s being marketed to someone who isn’t them.
So make sure your ad copy is selling your product to your target businesses.
You can’t just use generic ad copy techniques for B2C marketing campaigns.
Try to find out what your customers need. What do they search for? Who in their organization is doing the searching? What problems are they looking to address? Are they looking for an urgent fix or a long-term investment?
The more you know about your potential customers, the more you can hone your ad copy for them, and your ad campaign will be all the better for it.
With these PPC lead generation tips, we hope you’ve learned a thing or two on how to take control and effectively run your ad campaign.
Well? What are you waiting for? Go out there and get those clicks!