3 Steps To Understanding When, Where & How In B2B SEM
In our B2B marketing campaigns, we have the dual challenges of having limited resources and more sophisticated buyers of our services and products. While this is a reality, the good news is that it challenges us to be more creative and effective in our pursuits. This enables us to produce more with less and infuses our efforts with an innate sense of problem solving and solution oriented thinking.
In your search campaign, it can be challenging to keep up on all of the latest tactics and strategies. Additionally, depending on the particular area of B2B you focus on, the suggestions might be different.
With this in mind, here are three steps to taking a step back and evaluating the current engagement approaches in your B2B search campaign.
Identifying The Quick Wins
We all have an appreciation of quick wins in our programs, especially as we consider making impactful changes in the near term. While there are many possibilities of where there could be low hanging fruit for your effort specifically, there are some categories that are available to nearly every search program which require a minimal amount of time but can produce a tremendous amount of return.
In order to identify the quick wins in your B2B search program, it’s helpful to think of the when, the where and the how in your current search program.
Step 1: Understand When They Are Looking
Navigating the construct of ‘when’ is a helpful exercise that crosses a few dimensions of consideration; the first of these being the category of when your ads are showing in a given 24 hour period. As you look at your campaigns, think about the time of day and the type of search that is taking place during those times.
If we categorize search as informational, directional and transactional, as outlined in this very useful article on user intent, one approach to consider is assuring that your content and creative messaging is targeted not only at well-defined keyword categories, but also taking into account time of day activities.
As an example, the chart below illustrates device traffic on how information is consumed by time of day. This helps us think about ways to test informational creative messaging in our search program based on time of day.
Another dimension beyond the time of day is to consider the seasonality of your buyer ecosystem. If there is a heavy fourth quarter conversion cycle in your buyer marketplace then your focus on search can be targeted to capture this demand.
In B2B, we all know how the buyer journey is often anchored to budget cycles and as such your search can be refined to capture or nurture accordingly. From an SEO perspective, aligning your content schedule to accommodate these aspects can help to not only capture prospective buyers when they are in the buying cycle, but will improve the paid efforts through improved brand presence and quality score gains.
Step 2: Develop Approaches For Where They Are Looking
Once you have your campaign focused on improving the dimensions of time in search, you can turn your attention to an increasingly important attribute, namely where are they looking?
According to a recent Forrester study (Forrester Tech Marketing Navigator, Q1 2012) 38% of US enterprise C-suite executives already access vendor websites through a smartphone, while 30% use a tablet.
As we become increasingly mobile, the context of where we are searching becomes a critical component of how we engage potential customers and nurture them through the B2B buying cycle.
With the emergence of tablets, and the improved experience this provides, there is key opportunity to consider the experience that a B2B buyer could have on their mobile devices with your brand.
Once again, looking at the device targeting and testing messaging and overall engagement will provide not only gains in your current effort, but set the foundation for future campaigns.
Step 3: Learn How Your Customers Engage
Now that we have evaluated search as an activity taking place across different dimensions of time, and that different people search on different devices in different places, we can now apply this to our advantage in B2B search. This will translate into immediate quick wins through cost efficiency.
Targeting ads on different devices is a way to maximize impact while being more efficient on media spend. In this recent Marin study posted by Marketing Land, not only are click through rates higher for smartphones and tablets, but the costs associated with targeting devices is far more efficient.
Equally as important in my experience is the knowledge you will acquire in your customers taste and preference on device and daypart. This is a fantastic ground for testing, and would be a good example of a top category to focus on as outlined in my post dedicated to testing.
One thing is certain in our lives as B2B search marketers. As mobile traffic continues to increase, and as you develop your learnings on what your B2B customers prefer in format and time, your ability to target and engage prospects and will improve and your ability to meet your customers’ needs will set up the future success of your search marketing campaigns.
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