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It seems harder to get things right in Google Ads if you’re doing B2B rather than B2C. With increasing competition and costs per click typically higher for anything B2B related, it can also be expensive. That’s a strong incentive to really focus on best practice if you’re trying out Google Ads for your B2B brand.
Conducting research into what your competitors are doing is a vital first step. You particularly want to watch out for any weaknesses they’re showing. Is their meta content weak, are they failing to optimise for any particular keywords for your industry or are they failing to capitalise on their paid search once users get to their sites?
Your landing pages need to be at least as strong as theirs, and ideally stronger. You need to consider the entire user experience from search to the journey through their funnel.
You also need to take a long hard look at how you yourself perform for specific keywords. Although you might want to be a leader in the field for particular keywords, the reality is that some of your competitors may have great authority – at least in Google’s eyes. It’s probably not going to be cost-effective to bid on those keywords before you improve the performance of your domain and web pages for that area of authority.
Use Baidu Index instead of Google Trends when you’re planning keywords for China-based campaigns. If you’re trying to run a parallel campaign on Baidu (China’s equivalent to Google), long-tail keywords are even more important.
That’s because of the ‘cluttered’ way Baidu organises its search results page, which can push out the top results for popular keywords. Focusing on more obscure keywords can, counterintuitively, have better results.
Making the best use of your budget
When you’re starting a Google Ads campaign make sure you cap your budget off. It’s an easy amateur mistake to forget to set a budget limit or campaign expiry date, which can have scary implications for your spend. Some people argue that it’s unwise to limit your spend in this way as it curtails the opportunities available to you.
Not every marketing manager is in a budget position where they can afford to be this cavalier, but it’s true that you can maintain an element of control by limiting what you spend on keywords.
If your industry is seasonal, it may be worth spreading your Google Ads budget across the year to take advantage of the best times to be advertising. Even if you don’t think your business is seasonal in nature, the natural business cycle often means that customers will be more active at certain times of the year.
In Western Europe, this often correlates to low activity in August when people tend to holiday and higher activity at the start of the new business year once budgets are signed off. If you’re unsure of the time trends, both Google and SEMRush have tools that should help you understand the seasonal patterns behind your keywords.
It’s definitely worth analysing your keywords by location. Even if you’re a major international business, trends vary by location and that’s also true within the same language territories. Industries will often have their own insider jargon which may not be the same jargon you use in your own business.
It’s important to consider the kind of language they use when you’re planning content and keyword strategy. If you’re a local business, your customers are local too, so you’ll get far greater efficiency from your ad spend if you target by location.
B2B keyword analysis is a very different proposition to B2C. In particular, buyer intent tends to be signalled using different language than you might see in B2C. You’ll see words used to refine search terms, such as ‘business catering’ rather than just ‘catering’ and other power words such as ‘bulk’ or ‘trade’.
B2B notoriously has a much longer and more complex customer journey compared to many B2C products. It’s a very good idea to connect your keyword strategy to what you know of your customer’s buying cycle. This also helps you map your on-site content strategy to the right point in the customer’s decision process by tying it in with your keywords.
Optimising your Google Ads campaigns isn’t a one-off task; instead, you need to commit to constantly refining your campaigns and improving the experience for your users. That includes committing to ongoing refinement of the on-site user experience. If you’re running new ad campaigns, you’ll probably need to adjust landing page copy to ensure a seamless user journey from ad to page.
Last but not least, sell the benefits, not the features. Brands are often very proud of the features they pack into their products but customers are more interested in the problems they solve rather than technical specifics.
It’s important to understand how your product advantages the customer and explicitly state this in your content and harness those keywords. You need to articulate not only the benefits your product or service affords the customer but also how you do this uniquely, in order to distinguish yourself from your competitors.