Top B2B Search Marketing Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Estimated Reading Time 11 minutes

Having worked on many business to business search strategies in both SEO & PPC, I have encountered a lot of ups and downs when it comes to wasted budgets on accounts.

So here are the top 10 mistakes and what to do to prevent falling into the same trap.

  1. “Free” not used as a negative

    It sounds crazy, but when it comes to B2B or SaaS often there are a range of price points, from free entry level tools up to complex enterprise solutions. If you are providing a free tool no doubt there is an upsell involved, but this tip may not be for you. However if you are targeting the big boys the last thing you want to be matching to is ‘free’ products or services. You will be surprised how much budget can be wasted over just one month. Where relevant add the word ‘free’ as a negative term to your account, but make sure it is set to the right match type.

  2. No sitelinks being used

    Sitelinks or any kind of ad extensions are not only a good way of linking to additional content within your site but also take more inventory on the search engines making the ad bigger and therefore stands out. A good example of how to use sitelinks for B2B is linking to case studies, adding links directly to pricing, or a video demo page etc. these can boost CTR and conversion rate if managed well.

  3. Bids higher than budgets

    Business to business keywords within the competitive markets such as SaaS can have very high cost per clicks. This means for any click on those expensive terms you need to really make sure the landing page does you justice.
    I have seen big bids for keywords but tiny daily budgets to support those campaigns. This simply makes no sense at all. If you are willing to pay £15 for one click on one keyword, where is the sense in capping that campaign budget at £50 or even £100! You will only ever be able to get 3 to 7 clicks per day (and that is just that one keyword). The search engines will deliver your ad impressions based on budget and estimated clicks, so if the bids are too high for the daily budget, every keyword in that campaign will be stifled.

  4. Generic ads throughout

    Just because you are selling to a business rather than consumer doesn’t mean you can be lazy. You need to think clever when it comes to ads. Let’s take an IT support business, the ad for every group of keywords should not just be generic. E.g.
    Adwords bad example
    I may be searching for my specific needs, cloud support, IT infrastructure, IT setup and maintenance, so each ad should be relevant to me. If you are targeting SMEs then the ad should be different to someone targeting enterprise. Be sure to include your usp’s.

    Adwords good example

  5. Jargon jargon jargon

    When you are so close to a business it is sometimes hard to see things from the client’s perspective. I have seen it so many times, a garbled and confusing jargon filled ad or keyword list. Think simple, and think about how the user is searching rather than what you are selling. E.g.
    Adwords bad example jargon
    Ok so what the heck is itechi? Well in this instance I have made it up, but you get the point. If a potential client doesn’t know your product name you need to be specific with what it is or does, or why it benefits them. E.g
    Adwords good example jargon

  6. Plan for the weekend

    Do weekends work? When I say ‘work’ let me clarify. Are people searching for your products or services at the weekend? And if they are, are they converting? By asking these two questions you can make decisions on how to advertise.
    If there is interest but they don’t sign up, perhaps make the process simpler at the weekend. Capture an email to send them more info rather than expect them to commit to a quote or demo. If traffic is not relevant at the weekend or you have no one to take incoming calls at weekends, think about the budget you could save by pausing your weekend advertising.

  7. 80% low search volume

    Don’t make up keywords you think people are searching for, you will always get low search volume notifications in Google and your ads won’t show.
    I have seen many B2B accounts with up to 80% of keywords that are low search volume. This is just bad keyword research. Use keyword planners, do your research, look at trends to understand who, what, why, where and how your audience are searching for you.

  8. Call to action before benefits

    You land on a page from an ad and first thing above the fold is “sign up now” or “click for a quote” or “free demo”

    As a visitor to the site for the first time I won’t convert until I am clear what you do and that your solution the right one for me, over the competition. So the landing page should tell me in an instant:
    – Who you are e.g. the brand
    – Why use you?
    – What you can offer me over the competition?
    This will then allow me to decide to share my contact details or not. Try to nurture these leads via the landing page, not just flash a quote button in their face.

  9. Search network

    Is the search network cost effective for you? Does it perform better than Google search? Do you even know? We find that the search network performs differently for clients, and even different campaigns within accounts. The important point is that you should be looking at the data. Too many times I have seen lots of dead end budget being wasted on the search market as it drives few conversions. In other cases it is a missed opportunity. Make sure you know how your campaigns are performing.

  10. Not using Bing

    Bing offers a new audience which is sometimes forgotten as their market share is much smaller than Google. We have and do see good results for B2B and this opens opportunities to market to a slightly different audience you perhaps won’t reach via Google.

In summary, sometimes we need to take a step back to try to understand our audience and how to reach them. In a B2B scenario we are still targeting people, they are just in a different mindset and have other priorities when searching for B2B products or services. Look at the data, analyse the results and tailor your approach.

To learn more or to review your search marketing, please contact us.

Rachel Mepham
With over 10 years’ experience in Digital Marketing, Rachel heads up the team at Digital Clarity. With a history in Paid Search (PPC) since before Google AdWords existed, Rachel is regarded by both clients and peers as one of the most experienced and prolific women in the digital space in the UK. Her approach and application to digital strategy planning has been used by some of the biggest brands as well the leading advertising and marketing agencies.
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