B2B tech marketing tools are only useful if they’re used well. If you can’t aim appropriately and hit the nail on the head, your hammer will probably be more destructive than helpful. Pay-per-click campaigns are the same way. If you have a poor paid strategy, with misguided targeting, subpar content, and poor execution, most likely you’ll just be throwing money out the window.
Make the money count. Shore up your strategy and fine-tune your tactics.
A great paid ad campaign requires several pieces in order to be successful, and each piece needs to be high-quality before you can expect to see results. What follows are the essential pieces to the puzzle that every paid ad campaign for B2B tech needs in order to be successful.
Shoot for the right goals.
There are three general goals that paid ad campaigns may be purposed toward:
- Awareness generation. You need to make your target audience aware of your offering. This is measured in clicks, impressions, or video views.
- Top-of-funnel engagement. You want to bring potential buyers into your universe – but you’re not necessarily looking for a purchase yet. These ads are geared toward things like ebook downloads or page likes.
- Bottom-of-funnel results. You’re running ads to encourage purchases. Success is measured in sales. These ads tend to be higher in costs-per-click, but they have definitive ROI.
To use paid ads effectively in your B2B tech marketing efforts, you have to identify which end they’ll be most helpful toward.
Target the right people.
Who are you targeting? A large part of your strategy should focus on the persona you’re trying to target. Most businesses will (should) already have this mapped out as part of their overall business strategy and management. However, when it comes to your PPC campaign for B2B tech, dive deeper into each persona. What search terms do they use? Are they more likely to use high-level jargon or generic searches? Of course, this will vary greatly based on what level of employee you’re targeting.
The answers to these questions will define your audience parameters. Depending on the ad engine you’re using (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, or something else), you’ll have different demographic targeting options – but the key on every platform is to understand who the campaign should hit. If you do, you’ll have an easier time pressing the right buttons and implementing the right settings to make your campaign effective. Don’t pay for meaningless traffic.
Do comprehensive keyword research.
In addition to the “who”, you have to know what your audience is searching for. Targeting the wrong keywords can cause your campaign to fail before it even starts.
There are several different tools B2B tech can use to find the right keywords. The first is obvious: brainpower. Rack your brain for ideas of what words your clients would use to describe both themselves and your services. For example, as a marketing firm, we may use terms like SERP and negative keywords. But our clients would be more likely to search for “SEO for B2B tech” than “SERP results using negative keywords.”
Inside of Google Ads, you can use the Google Keyword Planner to get data around hypothetical campaigns. You can also utilize Google Search Console. This can help you optimize your keywords for Google specifically and gain a better understanding of where and for what keywords your website is ranking. This free service can help you understand if Google is crawling your site and troubleshooting issues.
There are also many different third-party applications that can help you track rankings, keywords, and competition. Check out SERanker and SECockpit.
Optimize against your competition.
When was the last time you optimized your keyword list? If you can’t remember the last time you updated the keywords, changed strategies, or put negative keywords to good use, then you’re behind. You should be comparing your campaigns against industry benchmarks and competitors and constantly improving. One new competitor for a Google search keyword can cause your budget to skyrocket and results to plummet. On the other hand, new opportunities could be arising that have low competition and CPC that you’re missing out on.
Avoid targeting too narrowly or broadly.
Typically, audiences that are too broad end up being irrelevant, and audiences that are too narrow are too expensive and limited to get results. Aim to balance focus with audience size.
For Google Ads, a long-tail keyword strategy is a great way to find the right balance and still hit your audience. Longtail keywords are often very niche. For example, instead of just “cloud computing,” you’re trying to rank for keywords like “cloud computing for non-profits.” This keyword will have a lower level of competition due to its specificity but will hit your audience. On social media platforms, group interests together to narrow your audience down, but keep it above 10,000 users to ensure there will be enough size to get results.
Make use of experts.
Paid ad campaigns take management time, data expertise, and familiarity with the ad systems – not to mention the knowledge necessary to create complex PPC strategies.
At New North, we’ve been creating PPC strategies for B2B tech firms like you since 2008. A decade later, we’ve gained expertise in both execution and strategy to create amazing pay-per-click campaigns for our clients.