Does paid search, often referred to as SEM (search engine marketing) and PPC (pay-per-click) work for selling to other businesses? Should a B2B company invest in PPC and if so, what are the critical elements for PPC that are needed to generate an acceptable ROI?
PPC Is Effective In Generating Leads and Sales
In a recent large group study of both B2B and B2C companies, PPC was found to be a very effective lead generator. Additionally, the study reported that B2B firms are heavily invested in PPC marketing. The study found that, on average, B2B companies were investing up to one quarter of their total marketing budget on PPC. Also, the study showed that even when a firm had the top position in search results, users still clicked and converted on paid listings nearly 40% of the time.
While PPC Is Effective, Organic Is Still Very Important
Organic Search did drive higher performance for branded terms than PPC, however, the opposite was found for non-branded terms (i.e. general keyword phrases used to describe the product without including the name of the product or company). PPC achieved a 78% click share versus the 22% for organic on non-branded terms.
But Do People Really Click on the Ads?
Search Lab, a prominent search engine research firm, conducted a study and found that 28% of searchers clicked on a PPC listing. Also, they found that only 41% of people tested in the study actually realized they were clicking on an ad when they clicked on the PPC listing.
Another study showed that the click-through rate on PPC listings increased by 60% in 2012 when compared to the previous year. In 2011, the top 10 PPC listings used in the study received 17% of clicks in 2011. A year later, the same top 10 received 28% of clicks.
What Do I Need To Do to Make Paid Search Work for My B2B Business?
Many SEOs do believe that PPC works better for B2C than for B2B. However, if you’re a business seeking a solution to an issue within your company, you might be curious if the ad has compelling text that seems to answer your question. To make PPC effective for your business follow the quick bullet points below:
- Focus on long-tail keyword phrases to avoid irrelevant clicks
- Use “exact match” and “negative keywords” to avoid attracting the wrong kind of customer to your business
- Make your paid search ad text appealing and credible (i.e. no “Buy NOW!!!” stuff)
- Make sure your ad directly answers your typical customer’s problem or question
- Make sure that the landing page on the other end of the ad is well designed and relates to the text in your ad
- Make sure the landing page answers your prospective customer’s questions and offers a Call-To-Action that will generate sales leads.
Using paid ad space for B2B can be a bit more challenging than B2C. There is no one right way to go about it. Test, experiment with different combinations of text, landing pages, keywords to find what works best for you and what helps you bring in the most customers. Also, make sure to link your AdWords account with your Google Analytics so that you can have quantifiable data on what’s working and what isn’t. Do this, and you’ll find that paid search can help become a great lead generator for your business.