Pillar four of digital marketing: Building an effective B2B paid search strategy for your business

Want to know more about how paid search can help you grow your B2B business? Read on to find out more.

The fourth and final pillar of digital marketing is Paid Search (PPC, pay-per-click). It allows you to generate leads for your business quickly and effectively. You can target customers who are actively searching for your product or service. In other words, they’re ready to buy. 

The B2B customer journey is changing, and it’s more important than ever to keep up.

If you want to know more about how the B2B customer journey is changing, why not read our ebook? 

📖 Digital Marketing and Today’s B2B Buyer: New Rules of Digital Marketing 

Want to know more about the other pillars of digital marketing? Find out more in the rest of our series: 

Pillar one of digital marketing: Getting your B2B SEO strategy on track 

Pillar two of digital marketing: Is a B2B content marketing strategy essential? 

Pillar three of digital marketing: Using a B2B social media strategy to drive results for your business 

PPC is a form of inbound marketing. It’s a more efficient and cost-effective way to reach your potential customers. Rather than standing at a trade show or sending out leaflets and hoping that the people you meet might need your products or services, paid search allows you to directly target the people who are in market and likely to convert. In other words, they’re actively looking for you, they just don’t know you exist yet. 

Over 70% of B2B buyers use a search engine to research their next purchase. Not only will a paid search campaign help you to reach potential buyers, but it will also help you to convert them into leads for your business too. 

In this blog, we’ll have a look at how you can create effective PPC campaigns for B2B. 

What is a B2B PPC strategy, and how does it work? 

Traditionally, B2B companies have spent a significant amount of time and resources on attending trade shows, cold calling and following up on cold leads. However, digital marketing, and paid advertising in particular, allows you to reach the people who are actively searching for your products or services online - they want to work with you; they just don’t know that your brand exists yet. 

PPC allows you to show short ads which look just like organic search results, but you pay to show them at the top of the search results. The ads should motivate users to visit your website and take the action you want them to. 

With Paid Search ads, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, and an auction system will determine whether or not your ad shows. PPC ads can help you to appear in the search results while you work on your SEO strategy.

Why is PPC so valuable for B2B? 

Research from Google shows that the average ROI for PPC ads is 200%. They can also boost B2B brand awareness by 140%. In addition, data from Statista shows that 20% of businesses claim that paid search offers them the highest ROI of any other digital marketing strategy. 

Here are the key reasons why PPC advertising is so valuable for B2B businesses: 

📈 Measure results 

With paid search, you can track the results of your campaigns in real-time. This means you can make changes quickly based on the data, which can help maximise your campaigns' ROI and success. 

🙋Reach a highly targeted audience 

Paid search allows you to pinpoint the keywords, location and demographics of the people you want to target so you can directly target the people who are actively looking for your products and services, which means they’re more likely to convert into leads and sales than the people who are not actively searching for what you do. 

💰Control over budget and spending 

Paid search allows you to set daily and monthly budgets, which allows you to stay within your overall marketing goals, keep to your marketing budget and reach the right audience through search engines such as Google and Bing. 

🔎 Easy to track conversions 

PPC makes it easy to see how many conversions are being driven from each of your campaigns. If you find that a particular keyword or campaign is not converting as well as others, you can adjust your ads and bids until the problem is solved.  

How to build an effective PPC strategy 

Here are our top tips for building an effective PPC strategy that will help to drive results for your business: 

1. Find high-value keywords 

The keyword research you do before setting up your paid search campaigns is key to the success of your campaigns. You can’t build an effective strategy without the right keywords in place. 

Your keywords determine which searches show your ads, which terms prevent them from showing, what you should include in your ad copy and which landing page you need to drive them to. 

You need to know the search terms potential customers use to find your products or services online, their pain points and what they want to know. 

We recommend approaching keywords in the following ways:

  • Use keyword research tools such as SEMrush, Ahrefs 
  • Have a look at the keywords your competitors are targeting 
  • Create a list of keywords in house 
  • Find keywords with Keyword Planner from Google Ads 

When you’re building your lists of keywords, keep the following keyword types in mind: 

  • Generic - this is any keyword that is related to your services or products e.g. SEO agency, digital marketing agency 
  • Branded - these are any keywords that relate to your brand name e.g. Logica Digital, Nike, Tesco 
  • Competitor - these are similar to your brand keywords but include your competitor brand names too 
  • Related - these are any keywords related to your competitor, branded and generic keywords

3. Structure your ad campaigns according to best practice 

We always recommend following best practices when structuring your B2B paid search campaign. There is an account hierarchy to follow and if you don’t follow it or match it, your ads can underperform, which can affect the ROI of your strategy. 


Let’s explain these components in more detail: 

  • Campaigns - you will only tend to have a few campaigns in your account that focus on a few broad themes. Your campaigns contain ad groups which house the keywords that fuel your ads and landing pages. 
  • Ad groups - within your campaigns, you’ll have a number of ad groups which are more specific. There is no recommended number, but it’s more manageable to have fewer of them, and means your budget’s not stretched too far. You add keywords into your ad groups to trigger your text ads and direct users to a relevant landing page. 
  • Keywords - your keywords are housed under your ad groups and are important for controlling the way your ads are triggered when someone types their query into the search engine. 

3. Create compelling ad copy and creatives 

If you want your target audience to click on your ads and take action, you’ll need to create compelling ad copy that speaks to their pain points and helps them to find an answer to their problems. 

If your ad copy’s not interesting or compelling enough, your target audience is likely to scroll past your ads and choose the ad after yours which means that your campaigns will be ineffective and you won’t get the best return on ad spend. 

Here are a few of our top tips for creating the most effective ads: 

  • Emphasise the benefits of products and services for your target audience and not the features 
  • Highlight any of the sales, discounts or promotions you have available 
  • Include a call to action, detailing what you’d like users to do next 
  • Personalise your copy to a specific audience’s needs or pain points 
  • Add social proof such as testimonials or reviews to build trust 

Make sure your ad copy matches your landing page too. If you advertise an offer or discount in your ad copy, make sure it’s reflected on your landing page, too - it’s what users will expect to find. Visitors who don’t find what they’re looking for when they get to your site aren’t likely to stick around and will bounce back off your website. 

4. Create and optimise landing pages 

Alongside your ad copy, you also need to optimise your landing pages. A landing page is the page users visit when they click on your PPC ad. For successful campaigns, just directing visitors to a product or category page on your website isn’t enough. 

Your landing pages should match the intent and offer of your ad and be fully optimised for conversions. This means leading them to the action you want them to take, keeping it simple, so you don’t distract them and providing a clear call to action. 

Having a landing page designed specifically for your ad can have a massive impact on your conversion rates. 

5. Structure your campaigns and ad groups in line with the purchase funnel 

The B2B buying cycle is extremely research heavy. So, we recommend dividing your keywords into campaigns and ad groups that match the stages of the purchase funnel your customers follow before they purchase from you - and match your landing pages to this too! 

Customers at the top of the funnel are researching their potential options. They often know they have a problem, but they don’t know what the answer or solution is, so they search online to find out more. In the middle of the funnel, they’re considering a few options, so you need to show them how you compare to competitors and what you can offer that they can’t. Then, at the bottom of the funnel, they’re ready to make a purchase, so they’ll be directly searching for your product or service. Or even your brand if you’ve built up enough awareness! 

6. Use remarketing

Remarketing is a useful tool for keeping top of your customer’s minds until they’re ready to purchase from you. This is especially helpful for the B2B buying cycle, which is typically longer than B2C, so staying at the forefront of your customers' minds and regularly reminding them who you are, what you do and how you can solve their problems will help increase your conversion rates. 

Remarketing tracks the people who have already been on your website and allows you to follow them on various channels with a particular ad. These people have already shown an interest in your business, so you know that they might want to buy from you at some point. Remember that only a small proportion of your market is in-market at any given time, so remarketing is an important strategy. 

You might have seen these ads on social media after browsing products on a website - these are remarketing ads and are being shown to you because you’ve visited their site and browsed a particular product. 

7. Measure the results of your campaign 

Are you bored of us telling you this yet? 

With B2B marketing and the longer sales cycle, tracking your site visitors with Google Analytics or other tools is essential if you want to understand how successful your campaigns are.

Over a three to six month period, your prospective customers will come back to your website a number of times through various channels, so understanding the touchpoints they’re making can help you better understand the journey they’re following and use this information to further improve your campaigns. 

Key takeaways 

Paid search is another essential part of any B2B digital marketing strategy. It allows you to target customers at every stage of the funnel when they’re actively searching online for terms related to your products or services or the solutions you can offer. 

However, setting up your campaigns properly and following best practices will help you to get the most from your budget and provide the best results for your business. It’s very easy to set up paid search campaigns, leave them running and hope for the best. But, they require continual optimisation and initial research if you want to get the most from them.

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Blog written by

Amy Ward