B2B Search Tips: More On Writing Killer Ads

It seems so obvious, yet many B2B marketers don’t focus on the most fundamental element of any successful search ad campaign—the copy. I’ve found that writing great ads comes down to five simple principles: Uniqueness Relevancy Focus Action Intrigue My last column addressed ad copy that is unique and relevant. Today I’ll discuss ads that […]

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It seems so obvious, yet many B2B marketers don’t focus on the most fundamental element of any successful search ad campaign—the copy. I’ve found that writing great ads comes down to five simple principles:

  1. Uniqueness
  2. Relevancy
  3. Focus
  4. Action
  5. Intrigue

My last column addressed ad copy that is unique and relevant. Today I’ll discuss ads that are focused, actionable, and intriguing.

Stay focused. Focus can be a tricky thing for B2B marketers in smaller, niche markets. It’s so easy to be tempted by those popular, high-volume keywords! My advice: Don’t overshoot. Focus on click quality not quantity. Stay true to your target audience, and the way they search. Stick to your unique points of differentiation. Select keywords that are specific, and embrace marketing in the tail.

For example, enterprise software is a popular search term, but it is fairly nondescript. If you sell Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, this term is probably too generic. Furthermore, searchers entering enterprise software are not nearly as qualified as those entering a more specific query, such as web-based ERP software.

Marketing focus is also dependent upon the way you set up your campaigns. Don’t lump all your products and services into one campaign, or, worse yet, one ad group. Remember, ad distribution, targeting, and budgets are all set at the campaign level. Granularly allocating funds and effectively managing ad programs will most likely require several separate campaigns.

I suggest that B2B marketers run individual campaigns for each product group or target audience. For example, one large software vendor I work with manages one campaign for their mid-market solutions and another campaign for their enterprise solutions. Why? These audiences have very different needs and pain points, and the company wants to allocate marketing funds differently to these two audiences.

Give them a reason to click. In my experience, the best ad copy includes a very specific call-to-action. Instead of generic statements like: learn more or download now, test more specific statements such as take our 60 second tour or qualify in 3 simple steps.

Take a look at what your competitors are saying and make sure your call-to-action is different, and, if possible, more specific. Download whitepaper is a very common (and fairly generic) ad statement. I find that response rate increases dramatically if you tell prospects something about the paper. For example, View Manifesto for Manufacturing Efficiency, or Free Paper: Just in Time Sequencing.

Intrigue me. It’s a cold, hard fact, but most prospects just don’t find statements about your company all that compelling. Statements like: in business since 1980, or largest systems integrator in the region aren’t as intriguing as statements that address the searcher’s needs, such as reduce system integration costs by 40%.

Questions can be a great way to get prospects engaged and hungry for more information. Successful questions I’ve incorporated into ad copy include:

  • Do you manage projects by the calendar or the clock?
  • What’s the true cost of your ERP software?
  • Is IT outsourcing right for you?

People are naturally compelled to discover the answer to these questions. Try to ask questions that address some of the biggest concerns or issues in your industry. Ask the right question, and I predict you’ll see click-through-rate increase substantially!

Five principles of effective ads. To summarize, the five principles of effective ads are:

  • Differentiate yourself from the competition
  • Write copy that is relevant to your prospect’s needs, problems, and issues
  • Stay focused on your niche market
  • Give people a compelling reason to click
  • Use statements or questions to get prospects engaged and intrigued

B2B marketers: don’t overlook the obvious. Spend some time reviewing your ad copy. Test a few new copy points based on these tried and true principles. Remember, ad text is a huge determinant of click-through-rate (CTR) and Quality Score.

Take a fresh look at your ads through the eyes of your customers. You may find that some testing is in order.


Contributing authors are invited to create content for Search Engine Land and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the search community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.


About the author

Patricia Hursh
Contributor
Patricia Hursh is president and founder of SmartSearch Marketing, a Boulder, Colorado-based digital marketing agency specializing in full-funnel lead generation solutions for B2B companies.

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