SEO

Seven Wonders of the PPC B2B World

As I have been researching ways to optimize my B2B clients’ performance, I have found many helpful articles. Below is a summary of the articles that I have bookmarked over time. For those of you who are doing some B2B soul searching, hopefully this list will help you achieve successful PPC campaigns with many more conversions to come.

1. Not All Landing Pages are created equally
In the PPC world, not all landing pages are created equally. I found this cool blog by Erik Jan Bulthuis. In this post, he writes about a great whitepaper on B2B Website Research published by Identy, a Dutch SEO company. I think this research is very thorough and relevant. Although it talks about the SEO aspects, it has some good tips on what a PPC B2B landing page should look like. They started with an executive summary that highlights the difference between B2B and B2C.

The B2B target market is smaller and has a longer buying cycle than B2C (which I’ll also touch on in a later post.) Identy then continued on talking about determining what makes for a strong B2B website. They discussed elements that impact first impressions (such as sitemaps, product overviews, use of images, simple navigation, etc.). They went on to discuss elements impacting website suitability (such as testimonials, online demos, and certificates of references of the company, etc.) I can’t wait to suggest new ideas I learned from this study for my client’s PPC landing page and you should too..

2. Vertical Horizon
Have you ever considered advertising your B2B product through a vertical search engine? If you have the extra budget, go for it! How do B2B buyers perform their search anyway? Search Engine Watch had an article back in 2007 on How Do B2B Buyers Search?

Although the titans (GYM) have taken over the world when it comes to search, many buyers lean toward vertical engines as they get closer to reaching a decision. These search engines might have lower traffic, but have higher possibility to convert due to more specialized leads.

If you think that this is feasible for you or your client, Search Engine Land has this helpful article, The Big List of Major B2B Search Engines.

This brings me to my next target, Business.com. It has been mentioned pretty frequently, as one of the leading general B2B search engines with significant numbers of syndicated business sites (e.g.: Business Week, Forbes, etc). They do have some drawbacks, such as their interface being based on categories. Additionally, they don’t have any conversion tracking which is a bummer, but in-house staff or internet marketing agencies can set up their own tracking.

3. To include or not to include
One of the highly debated topics in the PPC world is bidding on branded terms or not. I personally think it’s important to increase brand awareness and usually the CPCs are more affordable. You also want to protect your brand. If you don’t bid on your brand your competitor’s may. NetworkSolutions summarizes the reasons in this article, Should Your PPC Advertising Include Branded Keywords?

4. Don’t forget to cycle
Buying cycle, that is. The underlying difference is that users take more time to decide to purchase software and the buying cycle usually takes 2 – 3 months. Someone could sign up for the free product tour today, but he/she won’t finally be ready to purchases the product until after 2 months. Therefore, measuring ROI is not an easy task. To effectively measure and evaluate campaign performance, one needs to stay on top of lead tracking (online and offline), which will be another blog post. Stay tuned!

5. Write killer B2B ad copy
This point is related to the one above. Over the years, many articles have come up with many suggestions and tips to write compelling ad copy. I, personally, always revise and improve my ad copy every month. As a start, (again) B2B and B2C audiences are different. We need to “speak” our customers’ language. Is it a solution for businesses or individuals? Afterwards, we need to choose the appropriate call to action. The article Writing Pay-Per-Click Ad Copy for B2C & B2B Audiences has some great advice for writing B2B ads. The main take away is to write more direct calls to action, for B2B clients. It could be: “register for literature”,” watch webinars”, or “sign up for a product tour”.

6. Learn from your mistakes
Common PPC mistakes, we may have all made at one time include avoiding geo targeting, fighting for #1 spot, ignoring the seasonal copy, etc. This article lists the 17 Most Common PPC Mistakes Web Marketers Make. I have bookmarked this list and plan to look at it every time I’m building new campaigns as a good reminder of PPC best practices.

7. Be Negative!
This is my last point and just as important as the first one. Be generous with your negative keywords. I have setup a reminder to check my Google Search query report regularly. By doing this, we can eliminate inefficient spend. Komarketing associates compiled this 200+ Negative Keywords to Consider for B2B PPC.