If you’re not familiar with search engine marketing (SEM), it refers to the use of paid advertising to market your business in search engine results pages, also known as SERPs.
Search engine marketing is a valuable way for companies to advertise within search results, increase website traffic, drive leads, and generate new sales. Sounds straightforward, but as digital marketing continues its ever-evolving journey, it’s important to review your current strategies to ensure relevant searches lead to your company’s content. Today, we’re looking at the best SEM strategies for B2B lead generation.
Know Your Target Audience
It might seem obvious, but countless companies develop ads for products and services without having a clear idea of who exactly they’re supposed to marketing to. Knowing and fully understanding your target audience are essential to developing accurate personas that serve as reference points for all your messaging. Creating effective buyer personas can be broken down into five steps:
- Understand your sales cycle and all the people involved in the decision-making process
- Distill your focus to 2-5 stakeholders who are typically involved in your buyer’s journey
- Determine buckets for your stakeholders: Finance, Technology, Executive, Project Management, etc.
- Find an existing customer in each bucket who would be willing to talk with you
- Research each bucket using LinkedIn or job sites to understand their key roles and responsibilities
With well-developed personas to represent your target audience, you can create more accurately targeted and effective ads. As your products and services evolve, so should your personas’ various details, so be sure to revisit them often to consider any adjustments.
Use Best Practices for Your Ad Structure
While it’s both tempting and easy to get wildly creative and flashy in digital marketing, you have to keep your target market in mind. In B2B, you’re likely advertising to mid-level to C-suite decision-makers, buyers, managers, and business owners who respond best to a relatively conservative and professional presentation. Best practices that ensure digital B2B ads are consistent and properly focused include:
- Relying on your personas to guide your language and messaging
- Setting up compelling landing pages to encourage readers to take the next step (more on this later)
- Carefully analyzing your keyword options and be selective with your choices
- Communicating with your sales team to help inform the discovery process
- Ensuring your keywords make sense for your buyers, both at the start and end of your funnel
Try Out A/B Testing
A/B testing is a great way to fine-tune your ads based on real feedback from your audience. Simply put, A/B testing means showing two or more versions of an ad to your viewers and gathering and analyzing data to help you make your campaign more impactful. To get started, dissect the elements of your ads and identify those that could be easily changed, such as a CTA, special offer, or imagery. Make adjustments one element at a time, analyze the results, and take that knowledge into the next iteration of your ad campaign to drive more leads.
Create Compelling Content
Compelling content tells a story and engages readers from beginning to end. Most importantly, it drives your audience to engage with you, fill out contact forms, download and share your content, and become customers. Like your ads themselves, creating high-quality content depends entirely on having well-developed personas to reference. Who are you talking to, their pain points, and how do you solve their problems? The more accurately you can express a genuine understanding of their issues, the more likely your content will resonate with your audience and drive engagement.
Types of content and CTAs that will move prospects along their buyer’s journey, include:
- Software Demos
- Limited Time Offers
- Free Consultations
Optimize Your Landing Pages
When a reader clicks on one of your ads, they’re taken to a landing page, separate from your website’s navigation. In this case, we’re mostly talking about gated content landing pages and pay-per-click (PPC) landing pages. Some of the most effective ways to optimize your landing pages are:
- Adjust your CTAs based on previous research and A/B testing
- Refine your copy to better address the needs of your personas
- Keep the most important information front and center
- Strategize the right imagery to send the right messages to your audience
- Analyze user heat maps to optimize your user experience
Develop a Clear Plan for Your Ads
Optimizing your SEM strategy is a key step in developing a complete B2B digital marketing campaign, and a great place to get started. Now it’s time to put these concepts into action. As you develop your Google ads, keep this handy infographic: Your Guide to Google Ad Banner Sizes, as a reference for the most common banner sizes in digital marketing. It covers common and not-so-common dimensions so you can consider all your options before choosing the right sizes for your ads.
Looking for further guidance and faster results? Talk with us about your current digital marketing strategy today. We’ll help you define and refine your target audience and develop dynamic and impactful ads and content that drive clicks and generate leads.