As a Google Partner agency, we get asked if it’s worth running a Google AdWords campaign for B2B companies. My answer is always yes, but do so with caution.
A B2B search advertising campaign is different than a B2C campaign. One major reason is the length of the sales cycle. B2B sales cycles tend to be much longer, which makes attaining leads and conversions a little more difficult. B2B companies are at a higher risk of losing money with a Google AdWords campaign if it is not set up properly or doesn’t use the best strategy.
With the right strategy and structure, however, AdWords can be a B2B workhorse and generate sales and leads.
Reasons to run a campaign
B2B companies run search advertising campaigns for many reasons. Many choose to run an AdWords campaign alongside a search engine optimization campaign in order to maximize results.
It may take some time for businesses to show up at the top of the Google search results page after implementing a new SEO strategy or campaign. With search advertising, though, a company can immediately show up at the top of page one.
Businesses that sell popular brands or products to other business often see great results from an AdWords campaign. With this type of campaign, prospects who are searching for these specific products typically already know what they want and are closer to making a decision. This results in more leads and higher conversion rates for the advertiser.
Some companies use search advertising to accelerate their content marketing efforts and target prospects who are still in the research phase of the sales cycle.
If a business is investing a lot of time and effort into creating content — white papers, e-books or educational videos — it may pay off to promote the content in search results. These ads lead to a landing page where the user can download the content in exchange for a name and email, thus generating a lead.
B2B companies often expect numerous and immediate leads from their Google AdWords campaigns, but this is not typically the case. Even if the campaign is structured perfectly, it takes time to optimize the campaign with the best keywords, negative keywords, ad copy and landing pages.
This is why testing is critical. Once the campaign is well optimized, take another look at the budget to see if it can be cut back or if it needs to be increased.
Find the right strategy
Every business is unique and requires a different strategy. Remarketing ads, for example, work really well for some companies with long sales cycles. Only people who have visited a specific website will see these ads, and it keeps the advertiser top-of-mind.
To answer the titular question, yes! Search engine advertising works for B2B companies, as long as they employ the right strategy. Look for a certified partner in Google AdWords, one with experience running B2B AdWords campaigns.
Kelly Borth is the CEO and chief strategy officer of GREENCREST, a 25-year-old brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders™. Kelly is one of 35 certified brand strategists in North America and works with companies to establish brands and build brand value for their businesses.