Wouldn’t it be great if you could rely on just putting out great content and letting customers find you without spending a dime on paid ads?
Yes. It totally would. But that’s not the reality we’re living in.
The thing is, no matter how great your content and services may be, there’s simply too much content online. You can’t rely on attracting your customers’ attention when you’re competing with millions of other pieces of content and thousands of other brands at any given moment.
This is where paid advertising comes in.
Let’s take a closer look at how paid ads can benefit your B2B company.
First, what can paid marketing/advertising do for your brand?
Here’s a brief rundown of some of the benefits of paid marketing and advertising for B2B brands:
- Ensure your content reaches the greatest number of targeted people possible.
- Increase conversions.
- Increase engagements.
- Increase awareness.
- Boost sales.
- Boost lead generation.
Why does your B2B brand need paid advertising?
As mentioned above, even if your brand is a household name like Xerox or IBM, it can’t compete with the amount of other industry content based on organic reach alone. It just won’t happen.
Remember, online you’re not only competing with other businesses in your niche—you’re up against businesses in any and every industry. You’re competing for your potential customer’s attention.
In fact, the next time you’re feeling unsure about committing budget dollars to paid advertising, here’s something to consider.
Those household names spend massive amounts on online advertising. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, spent $774 million in 2020. Microsoft spent $160 million in the same year.
That’s a big part of how they stay at the top of their industries and top-of-mind for their customers.
One caveat: Obviously, great B2B paid advertising can’t fix a bad product or service.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at paid advertising’s benefits more closely.
Paid advertising lets you increase your exposure on SERPs
78% of B2B buyers start the purchasing process with a Google search.
This is why those Google search results (or SERPs, search engine results pages) matter so much. Your brand needs to show up near the top, ideally within the first five sites, when your prospects search a relevant keyword.
You can continue to climb through the search rankings with B2B SEO strategies, but investing in a paid advertising strategy ensures that your prospects see your brand even if you haven’t broken through to that first page of results yet. When people search a keyword that you’ve targeted with your ad, that ad will pop up on the sidebar and, hopefully, get you more site traffic, demo sign-ups, newsletter sign-ups, purchases, etc.
Paid ads help you achieve concrete conversion goals
One key principle with paid advertising is to tightly focus each ad (or ad set) on one single conversion action that you want customers to take.
- Downloading an ebook
- Visiting your new product page
- Signing up for a demo
- Following you on social
Ads work best when they lead users exactly where you want them to go. So, if the ad copy reads, “Download our latest report,” the user who clicks on it should be taken directly to a dedicated landing page where they can provide their email address and download the report—not to your full site (although you should include a link to your full site for those who want to explore more).
By choosing specific actions you want people to take, you can create groups of ads that help you reach each of those goals.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say we want people to sign up for a demo of our new product.
The first step would be to create a landing page for the demo sign-up. The landing page is where we’ll direct users when they click on our ad.
Pro tip: Set up an A/B test using two versions of the same landing page. Send users to one or the other with your ad. Then, you can compare the conversion rates for each landing page to see which one performed better, and use the results to inform future design choices.
Once your landing page is designed and live, it’s time to focus on your paid advertising strategy. We’re going to start by laying out the goal and creating three different ads that will help us reach it.
Goal: Get demo signups.
The first thing to do is identify the keywords that you’re going to target. Use a tool like SEMRush or Google Keywords to help with this—you’re looking for keywords that are highly relevant, yet also mid-range in volume.
Because the higher the volume for a keyword (like “B2B SAAS demos”), the more it will cost you per click. Additionally, higher-volume keywords can become so general that they don’t move the needle or so expensive that it doesn’t make sense to spend the budget, considering how intense your competition for those clicks will be.
So, instead of choosing “B2B SAAS demos,” you could choose “best B2B SAAS demo for mid-size companies,” or “affordable B2B SAAS demo,” or some other variation that fits your product and matches what your audience is searching for.
For further instructions on the nuts and bolts of using Google’s ad services, check out our search engine marketing guide.
Ideally, you’ll create a few different ads for one goal, both so that you can see which digital campaign works best and so you can maximize your reach.
Once you have those ads running, whether simultaneously or one at a time, you’ll be able to see which is performing best.
Added benefits of paid ads for B2B
It’s easy to see how important advertising is for B2C, especially since customers can sometimes complete the entire purchasing journey after seeing just a couple ads on social.
That’s not the case for B2B, but ads are still just as critical.
For one thing, they can shorten the sales cycle. Research shows that it takes prospects at least 18 interactions with a brand before they take any action to buy. That number is likely higher, given that so many interactions are now happening on dark social or elsewhere where they can’t be known or tracked.
If three or four of those interactions are through a prospect seeing your ads, you’ve already shortened your sales cycle.
If you’re trying to increase engagement on social, ads can be a great way to funnel more prospects and customers to your social channels. And, of course, ads that are both highly targeted and closely focused on a single action can go a long way toward boosting your qualified lead generation.
Ready to get started? Let our SEM team help.