Most B2B marketing organizations are spending up to 10 percent of their marketing budgets on paid search initiatives, but few have taken the time to define clear objectives. On top of that, once paid search initiatives are in place, even fewer are revisiting them regularly to optimize their performance.
Most B2B marketing organizations are spending up to 10 percent of their marketing budgets on paid search initiatives, but few have taken the time to define clear objectives. On top of that, once paid search initiatives are in place, even fewer are revisiting them regularly to optimize their performance. If this rings true for your organization, make sure your marketing New Year’s resolutions for 2013 include an update of your paid search programs.
Here are five tips to improve the effectiveness of your paid search initiatives:
- Set clear objectives. Not all paid search campaigns have the same purpose. Determine whether you are using paid search to seed demand by driving more traffic to your site, for demand creation to drive conversions from inquiry to marketing qualified leads, or both. Set clear objectives for each and separate brand keywords from campaign-related keywords for more precise tracking, measuring and reporting.
- Choose the right keywords. Paid search is a lot like fishing; just as you wouldn’t use the same bait to catch every type of fish, you won’t attract every potential buyer with the same keyword. Think of keywords and phrases as lures in your tackle box designed to capture the interest of a certain type of buyer. To select the right keywords, conduct interviews with customers, salespeople, product marketers and subject matter experts who have deep knowledge of buyer behaviors and business issues; consider using social media monitoring tools to better understand the vernacular used by your buyers. Once in place, remember to revisit your keywords regularly as future events will shift how people are searching for information on your products and services.
- Align keywords to your buyers’ needs. Once gathered, documented and analyzed, research on buyers can be used to identify keywords and phrases that align with buyer roles in specific stages. For example, SiriusDecisions may learn that a primary early-stage driver that often leads organizations to eventually consider our advisory services is a desire among marketing and sales leaders to improve sales and marketing alignment. We can then bid on a variety of keywords and phrases, such as “sales and marketing alignment” or “marketing best practices” to attract and engage those buyers. Finally, align paid search efforts with the campaigns they support; gather keywords and phrases in a spreadsheet that links them to themes, defined audience segments, buyer roles and buying cycle stages. The ad copy that will display for each paid search term should also be crafted to align with these elements.
- Link paid search and Web content optimization initiatives. Leading organizations define which pages each keyword and phrase will link to and what the primary offer and call to action will be on each page. If the primary goal is to drive targeted traffic to a Web property where unknown visitors will be converted to known contacts, be sure you have a conversion-optimized site. A conversion-optimized site is one designed to attracted, engage, educate and qualify your buyers. Organizations with conversion-optimized sites can define rules based on the visit source instead of building unique landing pages and offers separately for paid search.
- Measure and improve. It’s easy for marketers to become complacent with paid search efforts from time to time – and it is important that you revisit and test things often. Beyond testing, you need to be committed to measuring and improving upon what you have tested. Monitor what keywords drive the most visitors to your site, measure how many convert by completing a form or providing additional information. Measure how well they align with target roles and verticals, how many become qualified sales opportunities, and eventually result in closed business. Finally, with B2B marketers shifting their efforts to more inbound marketing efforts like paid search, focus on developing metrics around the efficiencies that paid search creates. Determine if paid search generates enough targeted inbound traffic to reduce the need for outbound efforts, and whether the contacts identified are better quality than those reached through other methods.