B2B online advertising and search marketing tips

Advertising for B2B is generally focused on building brand awareness and lead generation at the top of the sales funnel.

marketing and sales funnel for b2bOnline advertising does not carry the same trust or traffic as organic search engine listings.

According to a study by Chitika, the top listing in Google’s organic search results receives 33 percent of the traffic. Paid advertising aligns the top and right side column of the organic results, but despite their lower trust factor, paid search can deliver a predictable level of traffic and does not have the same level of competition as do the top positions of organic search.

Online advertising can also reinforce a B2B organization’s organic search results. A smart digital strategy may focus on multiple channels to attract customers, build trust and brand awareness.

Benefits of online advertising for B2B

  • Targeted placement
  • Improved tracking
  • Efficiency of investment and ability to fix wasteful spends
  • Ability to tie advertising activity of prospects to marketing automation for greater efficiencies and nurturing
  • On-demand traffic to support new product launches, businesses and campaigns
  • Branding opportunities tied to keywords and search intent
  • Context sensitive ad placement

B2B Marketing using advertising and Inbound methodology

Targeting can be a large benefit for PPC advertising, as well as social media advertising. For B2B marketing, Linkedin offers a powerful targeting system for online ads. Marketers have the ability to track and target an array of attributes, such as Job Function (like: Business Development, Consulting, Human Resources, Engineering, Purchasing or Sales) or Seniority (like CXO, Director, Owner, Partner, Senior or VP) and location. These targeting capabilities can drive engagement with highly valuable prospects. Remember however, just because you can target the right group does not mean that your marketing team can just “throw money at the problem.” Creativity, great content and adding value to your buyers’ interests, pain points and needs are still critical factors for making advertising and SEO work.

From an SEO perspective, content is vital. Try to build quality content that is optimized for search. Create content that users want to share. Make sure that you make your META descriptions, copy, ALT tags and page titles SEO friendly. Don’t just think about being #1 for highly competitive search terms. Think about long tail search as well. For this reason, blogging can be an immensely helpful tool for B2B marketing. Results for Inbound marketing, however, do not come quick and easy… Inbound marketing and SEO takes work and dedication. For this reason, advertising is still a useful tool for brand awareness, which is why I suggest coupling both organic SEO and online advertising.

Traditional advertising can still be useful for B2B marketing, although typically we do not use traditional ads as a solo mechanism for brand awareness and engagement. Coupled with organic search (SEO), online advertising (typically PPC), a strong content strategy and other Inbound marketing methods, an organization can develop a strong lead generation process for B2B.

online marketing - emailSocial media should not be excluded from a B2B marketing mix. Consider our article Using Twitter for B2B Marketing as a starting guide. Social media can be a powerful tool to build a closer relationship with your most valuable customers, advocates and prospects. Avoid using social media to merely “pitch” sales-promotions. Be part of the community… Add value to the conversation.

Many businesses and potential customers have adopted social media and Twitter to find answers to questions, grow their careers, learn more about a range of subjects, get help, get updates on future products, share ideas and provide feedback to businesses (See: The top reason users follow SMBs on Twitter). Again, don’t use Twitter for just broadcasting your message. Social media isn’t the right platform for broadcast. Unfortunately many of the world’s biggest brands continue to use Twitter for broadcast instead of engagement, according to a report by Brandwatch in 2013 called Brands on Twitter: 2013.

Twitter has also launched a very useful advertising platform, which supports targeting. Even with paid Twitter ads, I would recommend not full-frontal broadcast. Your brand simply won’t get the results it seeks. Try adding value to your prospects and buyers lives by offering great content and useful Tweets to build a supportive following.

Content is still king (or queen). What has been a white-hat SEO practitioner’s motto for years is still true–for both organic search and online advertising. Quality content is the key to successful online marketing and advertising. For this reason, I recommend building personas of your best customers, which will help the content and editorial process to ensure you are adding value to their lives. Strongly consider the pain-points of your best, prospective customers. What are their needs? Why are they coming to you? Try interviewing your customers or conducting a survey of the market to improve the specificity of your buyer personas.

Remember, try to avoid the bad B2B web marketing practices, like buying follow links, pitching sales copy through social media and sending spam emails. These practices can do damage to your reputation and waste marketing resources.

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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.