Much time and energy has been devoted to improving PPC campaigns and SEO programs for B2B websites. The basic premise of advertising and optimization is to improve visibility and response, i.e., get that click! But, I’ve noticed recently that many marketers are focusing their initial marketing efforts not on getting more clicks, but rather on improving what happens after the click. Now, to be fair, improving landing pages to maximize conversion is nothing new.

But, what I find interesting is that many marketers are now investing in conversion improvement before they are willing to spend any money at all on PPC or SEO. In other words, they want to improve website effectiveness before they start to increase visitor volume. Seems kind of logical, doesn’t it—fix the leaky bucket before you turn on the faucet!

The volume game

Make no mistake, I still work with plenty of B2B marketers who are fixated on increasing their search advertising budgets, and see this as the only way to generate significantly more leads and customers. They are squarely focused on playing the volume game.

This approach might work well for companies with unlimited funds, but these days most of us need to wring more and more efficiency out of a stagnant or shrinking marketing budget. If you’re faced with this challenge, “conversion improvement” is your new best friend.

Diminishing returns

Take managing a PPC campaign, for example. At the beginning of the optimization process, significant improvements can be made, and made quickly, by rigorously testing keywords, match types, ad distribution, targeting, bids, budgets, and ad copy.

Many marketers utilize campaign management tools to help them automate and accelerate this process. But typically, after many months of rigorous testing, the rate of improvement inevitably slows and marketers reach a point of diminishing returns.

Limitless improvements

Improving website conversion, on the other hand, is a nearly limitless endeavor. I’ve worked on projects where we have engaged in ongoing landing page optimization for months and even years, actively testing headlines, images, graphics, fonts, calls-to-action, core messages, downloadable assets, names, descriptions, and all aspects of registration forms.

Also, search marketers can become more and more precise in their marketing efforts over time, as they create sites and pages specifically tailored to individual products and specific target audiences.

Marketers are always amazed at the impact of doubling conversion rate: twice the leads at half the price… and with the exact same marketing budget. Not bad.

Work your program from both sides

I encourage B2B marketers to work their search marketing programs from both sides: pre-click and post-click. Only by improving the entire customer experience—from the first search to the click to the website experience and ultimately the desired action—can you maximize your search marketing ROI.

B2B marketers must consider the best way to prioritize their initial efforts. In my opinion, the shift from volume to efficacy makes a lot of sense.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: B2B Search Marketing Column | Channel: Search Marketing

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About The Author: is president and founder of SmartSearch Marketing, a Boulder, Colorado-based search engine marketing agency. You can reach Patricia at patricia@smartsearchmarketing.com. The Strictly Business column appears Wednesdays at Search Engine Land.

Connect with the author via: Email | LinkedIn



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