When it comes to business-to-business (B2B) marketing, many strategy owners feel they need to focus on the right mix of content and advertising, but few marketers can actually define what these two elements should be. There is a plethora of advice out there about the best way for B2B marketers to engage with their audience and drive traffic to their websites; admittedly it’s all very well having great ideas and knowing where to start, but how do you know which options are going to give your company the best return on its investment?
There are several different forms of advertising that B2B businesses can choose from: paid search, social media advertisements such as Facebook or LinkedIn, earned media coverage in trade publications or blogs etc., or search engine marketing such as Google AdWords.
Many business owners still assume that a mix of content and earned media is the way to go, but this sort of strategy fails to address a key question: which types of paid search campaigns are going to make your B2B marketing strategy work harder?
In today’s guest post for Search Engine Watch, James Richardson outlines six crucial factors to consider when improving your B2B marketing strategy for 2015.
- How much budget should I spend on paid search?
There isn’t an exact answer here – it depends on what you’re selling, how many competitors there are in your industry, and the size of the market as a whole. That said, research from Google shows that its users have been known to spend 10 times more on paid search than on organic search.
- What keywords should I be bidding for?
This is where things get trickier, as there are several different metrics you’ll need to keep an eye on. Google provides some very basic information about the volume of searches made for various words and phrases, soybean buyersbut it doesn’t tell you how many people clicked on each ad that appears in the sponsored results section at the top of its search engine results pages (SERPs). This is particularly important because it gives you a better idea of which terms/phrases are likely to prove cost-effective for your business.
It would also be useful if Google broke down the SERP data by location; this would enable B2B marketers to compare the effectiveness of paid search campaigns in different regions, and adjust their activity accordingly.
- How do I find out which keywords my competitors are bidding on?
This is a question that gets asked a lot by marketing managers who don’t have direct access to Google’s AdWords paid search tool. The only way to actually get hold of this information is to sign up with an AdWords reseller such as WordStream , but there are several ways you can work out what keywords your competitors may be targeting:
- Monitor the SERPs for your brand name over time, and note down any variations that appear in the sponsored results section;
- Perform some competitor research using a tool like SEMrush ;
- Work out which terms/phrases have been linked to your website from social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- How much should I bid for each keyword?
This is a very tough question to answer without knowing the full extent of the market for whatever it is you’re selling. If you’re just starting out with paid search marketing , it’s probably best not to spend too much on any one word or phrase – after all, if no-one clicks on your ads then they can’t buy anything from you! You could start by running a single campaign that targets a wide range of relevant keywords at relatively low bids, and gradually adjust the amount you’re willing to pay as time goes on. The main thing here is to use a bidding tool that calculates the most appropriate bid for you on the basis of real-time market data from sources such as ClickTale .
- How do I measure my return on investment?
There are several tools out there that can help you monitor your paid search campaigns, and these include some pretty neat features designed to give you an insight into how much traffic each keyword is bringing in. The problem is that they don’t tell you much about what happens after visitors have clicked through to your site – this makes it difficult to calculate the average cost per lead (CPL) or customer acquisition cost (CAC). Google’s own free Keyword Planner tool enables marketers to filter out keywords with low conversion rates, but it doesn’t tell you how much the rest of your business is spending on paid search.
- Are mobile devices affecting my campaign?
Over the past three years, the number of mobile internet users has increased by more than 200 million – that’s roughly equivalent to adding another Brazil to the world! And it looks like Google intends to keep pushing mobile search as a priority over the next few months: at last month’s Webmaster Central office hours , developers said they were thinking about making major changes to AdWords and Keyword Planner so they would be better suited to tablet and smartphone devices . These tools are already pretty useful if you want to monitor which keywords people are using when searching from their phones, but marketers should also watch out for other signals such as the fact that mobile users aren’t shown desktop ads . Mobile devices may also skew your keyword data, so it’s worth checking if this is having a significant impact on your campaign CTRs.
The B2B marketing team at Inbound Junction have been developing channel strategies for over two decades and even wrote a free guide to SEO [click here] on their blog. Check out our comprehensive list of white papers on Marketing Technology [click here]. And if you’d like to talk to us about improving your website’s organic search performance , give us a call today.