Almost everyone in the UK uses search engines to find the things they want to buy – and most business are no different.
Businesses often use Google to discover and buy the goods and services they need – and Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) makes it easy to ensure your company appears in the search results they see.
However, getting the very best from your pay-per-click (PPC) budget can be a challenge – particularly when selling business-to-business (B2B).
As B2B experts, we’ve taken a look at some of the top tips we’ve learned when successfully managing PPC campaigns for companies targeting other businesses:
1. Set clear goals and objectives
It’s important to have an aim for your PPC campaign to help guide your Google Ads strategy.
Are you looking to increase website traffic, generate leads, boost sales or raise brand awareness?
Many businesses state it is to drive traffic to their website and create engagement or leads – such as online purchases, calls or completed enquiry forms.
However, when it comes to B2B – particularly if you have high-value products or provide complex services – using PPC to create brand awareness could be more effective.
Google Ads can ensure your business is ever-visible when anyone searches your products or sector. It may not result in immediate sales or clicks, but being seen can build trust which is critical when your potential customers are ready to buy.
2. Conduct thorough keyword research
Before launching your Google Ads campaign, it’s important to conduct thorough keyword research to identify the most relevant search terms used by your customers.
It’s tempting to simply think ‘What would I Google?’. Common sense and personal experience are very important. However, what you actively think when searching can be quite different to the search terms businesses naturally turn to.
Thorough research – using tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush or Ahrefs – can help you identify the keywords that match your target audience’s search intent.
Including negative keywords (which prevent your ads from appearing) can help filter out irrelevant search queries and avoid terms which are prohibitively expensive.
3. Create compelling ads
Google is a competitive environment where users take just a fraction of a second to scan information and click on the most relevant link.
Compelling ads highlight the unique value proposition of your products or services. Don’t be afraid to use short phrases to quickly communicate as much info as possible. Be specific and use an active voice to tell the user what they might ‘get’ or ‘discover’.
By creating various versions – each with a single difference – you can A/B test and determine which ads perform best.
Ad extensions (extra information which accompanies your search ads) are also very effective at providing additional information and encouraging clicks.
4.Optimise your landing pages
This is a critical area which many businesses overlook.
No matter how good your Google Ads campaign, keyword targeting or compelling ads – if the page you direct clicks to is poor, your campaign could end up discouraging customers rather than encouraging them to engage.
As a general rule, your homepage is typically too broad to be a suitable landing page. Instead, create or specify pages which relate more closely to the keywords and ad content being used. Remember that the person landing has limited attention span and needs to be quickly and clearly led to the content they require.
If you’re chasing calls, purchases or other engagement, you also need to ensure that the landing pages are optimised for conversions. It should provide a seamless and relevant user experience, load quickly and have clear calls-to-action (CTAs).
5. Maximise your quality score
Google Ads utilises a quality score system to assess the effectiveness and relevance of your ads and landing pages.
The better your quality score, the lower the costs-per-click (CPC) and the better the ad placement – meaning you need to bid less to appear for competitive terms.
A higher quality score also means users are more likely to click on your ads, discover the information or products they need and make a purchase or other positive action.
6. Set the right ad scheduling
In a 24/7 world, businesses can be online at all times of the day.
However, particularly in B2B marketing, there are times – typically Monday to Friday, within normal office hours – when they may be more likely to be searching for the products and services they need.
Concentrating your budget with an ad schedule can increase your chances of clicks from businesses who are ready to buy. Over time, you can analyse your campaign data to identify the times and days when your ads perform best.
7. Use conversion tracking
Google’s move from Universal Analytics to GA4 has further highlighted the importance of conversion tracking.
With Google Ads, you can establish conversion tracking to measure the actions that matter most to your business, such as contact form submissions, product purchases or phone calls.
This can allow you to better evaluate the performance of individual search terms and adverts, as well as the overall return-on-investment (ROI) of your campaign.
In addition, your bidding strategy can be set to target conversions rather than clicks or impressions. However, this may not be suitable if you are using Google Ads to help generate brand awareness.
8. Keep an eye on competitors
It can be valuable to analyse your competitors’ Google Ads campaigns and strategies and to help adapt or improve your own.
Though some insight can be gained simply by Googling key words and analysing the ads which appear, this is significantly influenced by a number of factors. Instead, tools such as SEMrush can give you more reliable data.
However, don’t assume your competitors get everything right! Many established businesses have poorly targeted campaigns which inefficiently spend their budget!
9. Set up remarketing ads
Remarketing adds can be particularly effective for B2B marketing.
They display further digital ads on third party websites to those who have recently visited your website, convincing them to return.
They can be customised to appear for differing pages and behaviours and help re-engage potential customers and improve conversion rates.
10. Regularly monitoring and amend your campaign
A common mistake is to spend considerable time, effort and money building a Google Ads PPC campaign – only to leave it to its own devices for the next 6 months or even longer.
Regularly review your campaigns performance in Google Ads by identifying trends, spotting underperforming elements and making data-driven adjustments. Experiment with ad variations, bid adjustments and targeting options to discover what works best for your audience.
Staying up to date with the latest Google Ads features and changes is important to get the very best from your PPC budget.
Getting the best from your Google Ads campaign
Getting the best results from Google Ads requires ongoing effort, testing and optimisation.
It’s arguably most suited to business-to-consumer products and services – but can also be a very rich vein of sales, leads and brand awareness for business-to-business organisations. It’s essential to be patient and make data-driven decisions.
As East Anglia’s leading B2B marketing agency, we establish and manage successful Google Ads campaigns for clients in many sectors.
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