In Recent Years I have had the privilege of working with some Israeli companies who market worldwide to B2B companies in different verticals including medical devices, professional hardware, and IT.
Although the advertising and marketing tools and platforms are similar, there are several principles that are different for companies that market to other companies. In this article, I would like to focus on the rules that, from my experience, can lead to the success of B2B advertising campaigns.
This article will refer to B2B High touch marketing – characterized by long sales processes that require many points of contact with the customer, and support throughout the process, in order to establish a relationship of trust with the customer. This type of marketing is required for a company that wants to make sales to customers who are large companies in the world, and that often require specific product adjustments.
So… without wasting your time – let us get to the main points:
1. Do not start your campaign without good strategy
We Israelis have a tendency to “just do it”. Jump into the water, then see how to improve. Although this tendency has advantages in certain areas, in competitive areas in the global arena, it simply can not work. The advertising costs involved, the variety of platforms & advertising channels, and the multitude of competitors interested in exactly the same audience as you, require a clear definition of goals, target audiences, and the ways in which we reach them.
The high update frequency for the tools and platforms we use leaves much room for spontaneity while on the move, but it must be based on fixed definitions. On strategy.
2. Think about touch points, rather than sales
Purchase managers or business decision makers usually do not wake up and decide they need a new solution for their business. There are some who do, but they are not the majority. Most decision-makers are busy working, and when they encounter a new field, difficulty or challenge, they seek answers or information on the subject, and that is where you have to get their attention – during their ongoing work.
Even after you have caught their attention and brought them to send you their details, they will not be ready to become a hot lead, someone who wants to move on to the deal. To bring them to this place – you have to work. Wrap them in your brand and messages by all available means, all with the aim of creating a situation in which they want to work with you. Where they are waiting for a moment when they can meet you at a professional conference, or even better – in which they ask to receive a demo of the product.
(You can also advertise the product directly, but it’s worth doing only after the customer knows your brand and products, and knows what their benefits are.)
3. Advertising without leaks
The fact that B2B advertising clicks are very expensive, makes the length of the process the user takes super-important. Since the goal of high-touch B2B advertising is to create the contact points with the customer and put them in a communication process with you, we want to shorten and optimize the route between the exposure and click – to the actual “lead” – the situation where the customer left you details and started communicating with you.
Shortening and optimizing the way between click and lead can be most effective with the lead-generation ads available on Facebook and LinkedIn. On Google – because there is no such leads-gen media, it is important to make sure all your advertisements lead to landing pages whose goal is to produce the leads with minimum leakage. So – even if your company is a market leader with a site full of great content you want to show the customer – you must maintain focus and offer the customer pages with no navigation, but only a lead/details form and an explanation of the content that the customer will receive in exchange for his details.
4. Never say “Never”
Many times I have heard sentences like “IT managers do not hang around on Facebook” / “Doctors have no time for Facebook”. My answer to these assertions is that everyone is on Facebook and Instagram, and especially decision-makers aged 30-40-50. They’re not always on Facebook / Instagram to do business, but it doesn’t really matter if they want to see pictures of their kids in college or post photos from their latest ski vacation in Aspen. They’re there.
5. Secure a large enough budget for your advertising activity
Online advertising is a growing field in motion, and so – in order to achieve success in B2B advertising and advertising in general, there is a need for trial and error. If you want to maintain such a process, budgets must be allocated monthly to new channels of advertising that we have not yet tried. Some of the new channels will produce nothing and we will have to abandon them, but if we maintain a good learning process, occasionally we will reach a “gold vein” that will provide us with plenty of leads and inquiries at good prices.
Moreover, the higher the average cost per transaction, the greater the advertising budget required to reach customers.
Thus, there is a critical mass of advertising budgets that must be allocated over time to sustain a successful advertising move. The critical mass varies from client to client depending on the rate at which the client wants to grow, but the starting point is a few thousand dollars of advertising budget a month.
6. Key media – advantages, and disadvantages (the part you’ve been waiting for!)
The three most powerful advertising platforms for B2B businesses are Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. In this section, I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, in relation to B2B advertising.
The problem with Facebook is that the targeting options for professional audiences are deficient, especially when compared to LinkedIn’s targeting options, so Facebook’s most popular use of B2B advertising is for retargeting and account-based marketing (ABM) with lists of specific people’s emails that the advertiser wants to reach.
The advantage of Facebook versus LinkedIn and Google is that the clicks are relatively cheap, which makes it possible to maintain a good presence with a relatively low budget.
The biggest advantage of LinkedIn for businesses, of course, is its excellent targeting capability for professional audiences. In addition to the geographic targeting (which is available on all platforms), LinkedIn can target audiences by job title, education, seniority in the profession, membership in a particular group and more, or the combination of them.
The drawback of LinkedIn advertising is that the clicks are very expensive. Well, the clicks on LinkedIn do cost a lot, but since LinkedIn’s lead-generation ads letting customers leave details within LinkedIn, CPC has become irrelevant, and LinkedIn’s media has become a gold mine for B2B advertisers.
The Google search network clicks on strong keywords in B2B are very expensive, so the best practice for Google is to go for long tail terms that handle the client’s “pain” and then show the user a landing page requesting information in return for information.
Of course, in order to do this, it is necessary to have a good strategy that is supported by an abundance of good content that is targeted precisely to the relevant target audiences.
growth hacking with the help of Google Media
If a customer has a good B2B content strategy, the assets that can be published are already existing, and you only need to know which keywords are relevant and which ads to use.
One way that I found very useful in finding the relevant long tail terms in the case of a customer with a good strategy and structured content is to create a dynamic search campaign that targets all the pages of the site, and from the dynamic campaign to extract the words that produced converting searchers.
The advantage of a dynamic search campaign is that it provides very broad exposure and relatively cheap clicks, its disadvantage is that it is necessary to watch the campaign constantly and add irrelevant search terms as negative keywords. After a few weeks of running a dynamic campaign – all opportunities will float, and you can open long tail campaigns only for converting searches that have suitable properties on your site. Since the new long-tail campaign will have more relevant ads, your quality score and performance will improve after moving the keywords to a new dedicated campaign.
At this stage, you will probably want to know how much to allocate to each media out of the total budget, but here too the answer is complex and varies along the way and according to performance.
A customer can start at 100% Google – because he thinks that only there are the hot leads, and find himself very fast at 50% LinkedIn, 40% Google and 10% Facebook.
The same is true for all platforms and media, and the situation will continue to be so long as the platforms continue to change and update, which is forever.
And these are my friends, my 2 cents on B2B advertising in the global arena.
Michal Moreno is CEO for Moreno’s – an online advertising agency based in Israel. Michal has more than 17 years’ online marketing experience and is the manager of a thriving PPC proffessionals group on Facebook in Hebrew.