Digital marketing is, understandably, a key part of any B2B marketing strategy – after all, it can help businesses effectively target prospects at any stage of the buying cycle, from brand awareness, to nurturing a prospect, to helping close a sale.
When digital marketing is brought up in conversation, one of the biggest names mentioned is Google Ads. Google’s PPC platform is powerful and provides a lot of benefits; WebFX claim that 63,000 searches go through Google every second, so there’s a lot of opportunity to get in front of potential buyers.
The trouble is, with B2B advertising, your target audience is usually quite niche, so reaching hordes of people isn’t the most efficient or effective strategy… Here’s 5 reasons to stop focusing on Google Ads as part of your B2B marketing strategies (and when you should use it!):
Showcasing Your Expertise
The B2B buying cycle is often lengthy, sometimes lasting 12 months+, and you might not be able to target your audience’s “wants” as easily as you can with B2C consumers (most people want products such as new trainers, the latest phone, their next holiday etc). Your best opportunity is to showcase your expertise, prove you’re someone who can help and showcase that you can fix an issue that you know they’re having.
The question is, how do you do that?
If you have a well-planned content strategy, built around various outlets such as blogs, videos, guides etc, you can prove you’re experts and attract leads in the process. This will take time and won’t happen overnight, however, but your effort could be better placed here, rather than in Google Ads.
No tools or paid ads required, so almost every business can utilise content marketing. Some free tools are available to make your life easier, and, we’ve created a list of them for you, here.
Can be very time-consuming to create the plan, write the copy and publish on a consistent basis. It may also take time to see the results, while your pages rank and draw more attention.
Word Of Mouth
Networking, reviews and referrals are some of the all-powerful lead generators in the B2B world. Ensure that you’re attending relevant & local events to your business, connecting with your audience on social media (follow our LinkedIn page for content ideas!), generating reviews on platforms like Google My Business, Bing Places etc.
Again, it might take time to pay off, but when it pays off, it can be very lucrative – without spending a penny!
Networking and review generation is free, although events usually have costs attributed. Google My Business & Bing Places are both very easy to set up and manage.
Can be time-consuming to regularly complete these tasks.
Targeting The Right Accounts
The key difference with ABM, is that businesses are able to target one, a few, or many target accounts (targeted businesses) across a host of, often reputable, affiliate sites. It’s important to note that these affiliate sites will vary depending on the platform that you use, but some allow you to advertise on sites such as The New York Times & Wall Street Journal.
Allows you to target employees of certain businesses, which you can specify.
Can be more expensive/ require a higher investment than other advertising methods.
Focusing On The Right People
Audiences on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn & Facebook, are much more diverse and effective to target than those in Google Ads. The targeting options range from level of seniority to job functions, in addition to company size & industry (which Google also offers in some capacity). You even have the option of changing the end goal of your ads – whether you want a user to visit your site, download a whitepaper/ eBook, follow your page or complete a lead form directly from the ad.
The cost of advertising on social media is generally a lot lower than Google Ads (Martech go into further detail in this article), so it provides an excellent alternative way of getting in front of your audience, sometimes without needing to invest thousands into the platform.
Much more targeted audience options, in addition to being cheaper on average than Google Ads. The variety of end goals can greatly help your digital marketing strategy too.
No option to target keywords, as social channels aren’t used by members as search engines. Lots of platforms to choose from, so your budget would need to be split accordingly. Depending on the platform & campaign setup, you may see less qualified clicks.
Google An Alternative
Although Google dominate the search engine market (with a 92.5% market share according to Statista), they’re not the only platform that you can use.
Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads) has it’s own benefits. They have a connection with LinkedIn’s ad platform, so you can target users across affiliate sites using the targeting options available in LinkedIn (see the ‘Targeting The Right People’ section).
Microsoft’s affiliate sites include popular search engines like Bing and Yahoo (which are often the default search engines for businesses), so you have even more opportunity to get in front of your target audience.
Opportunity to advertise on other search engines, which you competitors may not be taking advantage of. Depending on your industry and campaign set up, CPCs may be lower when compared to Google Ads.
An additional platform to monitor and manage, although Microsoft lets you import your Google Ads campaigns, to alleviate some of the resource required. Likely a smaller pool of potential users to advertise to.
1.86 Billion Reasons To Use Google
Although we’ve given you 5 other areas to focus on with your B2B advertising efforts, we’re not saying Google Ads doesn’t have it’s place in your marketing strategy…
At the very least, you should consider Google Ads for 3 things:
Brand protection/ management:
A former colleague of mine says “you wouldn’t let your competitors advertise on your shop window”, so why would you let them show ads on your brand name unchallenged? His point is entirely true – you’ve spent a lot of time, effort and budget nurturing your prospects, but when they’re finally ready to speak to you, your competitors are there instead, and take the lead you’ve worked hard to earn. If competitors are bidding on your brand terms, ensure that you’re protecting your brand. Your CPCs should be relatively low and may even push your competitors costs up.
All of the additional traffic that you’re driving to your site from content marketing, Paid Social, networking and everything else in this list will be collected in Google Analytics. Ensure that these users are added into detailed & segmented audiences, so that you can then remarket to these users in Google Ads & their affiliates!
Google’s video platform has 1.86 billion users worldwide, making it the 2nd most popular site globally, after Google itself, and is frequently used like a search engine itself (how many times have you searched YouTube for certain “how to” videos?). Video content has shown to be much more engaging with users, with Social Media Week reporting that 95% of a message is retained when it’s seen in a video, so it’s crucial to make the most of video content, if you have the budget!
Google owns some of the most visited sites in the world, so it’s an incredible opportunity to get in front of your target audience. Remarketing is very powerful and will be crucial to nurture your prospects through the funnel.
Can be more expensive than other paid channels out there. Google’s audiences are more B2C-focused, whereas some social platforms have excellent B2B focused audiences.
Digital marketing should always be used as part of a holistic approach to marketing, utilising multiple channels (if the budget is available), in order to successfully nurture prospects. The 1+1=3 theory is just one excellent example of why a holistic approach is required for both B2B marketing & marketing as a whole.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to utilise all channels available, however, you should weigh up the opportunities presented to you by each channel and determine which best fits your business needs & targets.
If you’re unsure of where the opportunities lie or where to focus your efforts, Seeblue offers a Rapid Review service, which entails auditing your current marketing status, identifying what’s working well, where the opportunities are and providing actionable insights based on the review. If you feel you could benefit from this, please contact us today!