There are many factors that make business-to-business (B2B) marketing a lot tougher than traditional advertising. The B2B market is much smaller, not only in the target audience but in the target search terms and ad placements as well. And many B2B sales leads have a high potential conversion value, so the existing competition is likely to be bidding much higher than for B2C ads. All of these factors add up to make B2B advertising a challenge for many businesses, especially startups and small businesses.
But where there are difficulties, so are there opportunities! From our experience as a performance-based advertising agency, we’ve identified a few key areas to keep in mind when managing a B2B targeted marketing campaign.
Understand your audience
It’s easiest to start with the basics. Who is your audience? What are they looking for? Where do they go to find the solution that your business offers them?
Once you have a basic understanding of your core audience, you can start to formulate a strategy to market your business to them. If your product or service is in demand, search ads or shopping ads might be a good starting point. If you offer something that is new or novel, or something that your target audience may not be aware of, consider platforms like social media or display ads, which allow you to target by audience rather than intent.
Once you have your advertising platforms selected, try to whittle down your targeting to exclude general consumers. For search ads, this might entail targeting keywords that only industry insiders would use, and adding negative keywords that general consumers might use. For display or video ads, this might mean targeting niche publications that only your target audience would be interested in. For social media platforms, are there any profiles that only your target audience would follow?
Once you have an understanding of your target audience, the search terms they use, the websites they visit, or the social media accounts that they read, you’ll have a much better chance at launching a well-targeted marketing campaign.
Use advanced audience targeting to avoid general consumers
Even when you have the basic audience defined, it is important to keep your targeting as narrow as possible. The B2B market is fairly small compared to B2C, so make sure to use these tips to avoid spending your ad budget on general consumers.
For search ads campaigns, regularly check your Search Terms reports to see exactly what queries you are paying for. If you have a broad match keyword that generates a ton of impressions but has a very low conversion rate or very high cost per conversion, it may be time to retire that keyword. At the very least, consider using the Search Terms report to identify negative keywords that you can use to narrow your targeting.
For display, video and social media advertising, consider your remarketing audiences. Ads that target only a remarketing audience eliminate the possibility of your ads reaching general consumers. If you have a limited ad budget, this option should be your first and primary targeting strategy. One of the drawbacks to this approach is that your ads will only reach users that have found you by other means, so if you don’t have a robust SEO strategy or an established email list, it is unlikely that you will have a remarketing list large enough to use.
Also, in addition to using remarketing audiences for display, video or social media placements, consider adding them to your search ads campaigns as well, with a positive bidding adjustment to incentivize the ads to favor those audiences.
Just as powerful as remarketing audiences are exclusion audiences. If you have proper goal conversion tracking in place, consider creating audience lists for your current customers and add them as an exclusion audience so that you don’t continue to target them with your ads. In addition, check to see if there are targeting options that would allow you to exclude general consumers. For example, LinkedIn Ads allows you to target users based on the company size that they work at. So if your business targets large Fortune 500 companies, you can add companies smaller than 50 employees as an exclusion audience.
Separate your conversions by lead quality
Goal conversion tracking is the key to identifying the ROI of your marketing campaigns. However, not all conversions will result in the same quality of sales lead. Email newsletter signups or gated content may be good for generating initial interest from potential leads, but a contact form submission or a call to the office are likely going to generate much more valuable leads for your business.
Once you have a list of the goal conversions that you want to track, assign a value for each one. Google has an excellent resource for calculating conversion values. We tend to use these values as a way of quantitatively prioritizing each goal conversion that you want to track.
From there, your advertising platform can do the rest. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and other major advertising platforms allow users to set conversion values and then optimize the campaign bidding settings to favor high value conversions over others. Using these settings, you can be sure that your ad spend is being allocated towards the highest value leads.
Lead Generation Ads
Over the past few years, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, and Google Ads platforms have been experimenting with Lead Generation Ads. These are special elements within the ads themselves that allow for pop-up contact forms. That way, users scrolling through their newsfeeds or watching videos on YouTube can submit a lead without interrupting their browsing experience and no need to visit your website. Overall, it allows for a much lower barrier to entry than traditional digital advertising.
In addition to social media lead form ads and YouTube TrueView for Action Ads, Snapchat and Quora are beta testing lead generation ads. If your business relies on contact forms as its highest value goal conversion, lead generation ads are an easy recommendation.
Research the competition
Most B2B shoppers take some time to make a decision and convert to a sale. They typically have longer conversion windows and potential buyers have a higher average window of time for comparison shopping. What does your product or service offer that the competition does not?
Looking through the search results or your social media feed, does your competition have specific price points or service benefits that they highlight? Keep in mind that your potential customers are likely to see those sales pitches as well as yours.
Do you want to know more about our customer acquisition services at 565 Media? Have questions about general B2B advertising and strategy? Don’t hesitate to contact us or call (323) 902-7439. Our experts will come up with optimized ad campaigns tailored for your business.
If you’re looking to effectively and efficiently boost ROI with your marketing budget, 565 Media is your top choice. Simply connect with our on-demand team of full stack developers and start with a list of what problems you need solved. Our team specializes in developing customized, scaled marketing campaigns geared towards generating profitable leads and growing your business.