B2B marketers often preach about how B2B marketing is unique, and that advertising to businesses is very different from consumer focused advertising. And while there is truth in that argument, B2B marketers should be wary that leaning on their “uniqueness” too heavily can adversely impact their PPC campaigns.
Granted, there are a number of ways in which B2B marketing differs from B2C – that’s a given. However, the “uniqueness issue” becomes a problem when it limits a campaign. In short, it can cause a PPC initiative to lack creativity, have diluted messaging, and hinder reach. Ultimately, it can lead to poor performance.
Time and again, I see this happen when B2B marketers assume that since the products they are promoting are boring, the purchasers must also be boring. As a result, their PPC efforts often match this mindset. Rather than exploring a multitude of creative messaging or colorful channels such as rich ads, many B2B marketers simply stop at the basics.
For example, a B2B marketer with the above mindset might develop the following basic PPC ad when tasked with selling dry-erase markers (a relatively boring product easily bought in bulk and available in primary colors and various scents):
Buy them in cases at MarksMarkers.com today!
Or, the marketer could not only apply a little more creativity, but also go beyond the basics with an ad such as:
Bored with Boarding?
Brainstorm in Chocolate, Lime, and nine other scents.
This ad could be accompanied with a plus-box video demonstrating workers pleasantly brainstorming while using a rainbow of colors and delectable scents.
But this isn’t the only misstep B2B marketers are making because of their “uniqueness.” To avoid stifling the success of a B2B campaign, marketers should work to steer clear of these PPC mistakes:
Using too many acronyms. Unless a search engine marketer advertises for the FBI, they should assume their audience will not understand the acronyms they use. So the H3II product won an award at the WRA conference? Congratulations, but spell it out. Highlight the top level importance of this award, or the number of nominees. Check the engines’ search query reports to see how the searchers are actually searching.
Not bidding on branded terms. A brand may be completely new to potential customers. Given that, it is imperative that branded terms be covered in PPC, no matter how small the budget. With more and more companies turning to PPC as an effective advertising channel, competition continues to grow. Even if affiliates are trusted and regulated, secure the “official” website’s distinction for users.
Using wordy brochure copy in ads. Google allows 95 characters for the total ad. If a phrase like “dynamic information modeling” is a vital description for a product, remember that 28 characters have already been used in the ad. With limited real estate to communicate the call to action, keep the remaining text concise. Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of coordinating offline messaging into online channels. Reserve corporate jargon and 20-letter spelling bee words for mission statements, and focus on the goal of the ad in the PPC copy.
Assuming Google is king. Google may have the lion’s share of the overall search landscape, but automatically assuming that it will drive the most purchases of your offering is a mistake. Instead, test the other engines, especially if the product or service is in a niche industry. For instance, a recent test of a popular software product in five different engines revealed that nearly 70% of trial downloads were driven from Marchex (a second-tier engine formerly known as Industry Brains). Another product saw a significant number of trial downloads driven from Bing traffic.
Not testing. Many B2B marketers assume that if a product only changes slightly from year to year, then the messaging can remain the same. However, remember that tastes change, economies change, and competitors change. For instance, while ad copy focusing on quality and superior service might have increased click through rate and drove more purchases at one point, the down economy might have changed all that. Now, ad copy focused on discounts and pricing might resonate more with customers. It is important to keep your copy fresh, and testing can help you do exactly that.
Keeping things boring and basic. B2B marketers have numerous opportunities to employ some creativity in their efforts, but few do. For example, they should be leveraging rich search ads, local search, maps, and Google’s content network. After all, what procurement specialist truly enjoys shopping for copiers? However, smart marketers might add some color to the process by exploring PPC programs like Yahoo Rich Ads in Search and multiple engines’ favicon options. Allow users to easily visualize the business location by leveraging Google Local Business Extensions. This option links adwords with Local Business Center, and adds a map to ads triggered by geographical queries. Test video ads on the content networks. These can be a compelling way to grab the attention of the potential purchasers.
Overall, B2B marketers should be mindful that a hyper-focus on their “uniqueness” can actually have a negatively impact their PPC campaigns. By avoiding these PPC mistakes, marketers can set up their initiatives for success.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.