Search Engine Marketing Strategies for B2B

3.5 billion Google searches are conducted each day.

-Smart Insights

There is a huge pool of people out in the world who want to find your company. Without knowing your name already, this can be hard to do. You can hope to reach the right people with an advertising campaign. With billboards, TV commercials, and social media you send out messages to a wide group and hope they take action. But unfortunately, many of these media are difficult to track. You may or may not get the right audience into your net. And even then, it’s a winding and an elusive path to actually become a customer. 

Digital marketing gives B2B marketers the power to target their audiences.

And with search engine marketing, teams can meet prospects who already know they need a partner. By investing in search engine marketing strategies, marketers can share helpful content, information, and offers right at the point of need. Oftentimes catching people during the momentum of an online search is the fastest, most reliable way to generate a customer.

Depending on the needs for your marketing program, here are search engine marketing strategies for B2B companies to achieve many important goals.

Using HubSpot for SEO analysis and keyword strategy

Capture leads who are ready to buy

One of the most enticing focuses for sales teams is capturing leads who are ready to buy. No sales leader would turn down a qualified lead who wants to jump the gun. Sure, it’s great to find new leads through top-of-funnel advertising. But if the intent is there, you want to be the first to show up.

Bidding for relevant keywords is the single fastest driver of action here. For companies who are relatively new in their space, or who compete with big players, keyword marketing with pay-per-click (PPC) will be difficult, slow and often disappointing. But for companies where there is already education and interest, running paid ads can be a winning ticket.

Overall, you should write ads with a strong value proposition. Make your differentiators known and clear. You need to be on-topic with the keyword, but also compelling enough to click. Not sure where to start? As you conduct research into keywords, adopt a lean approach. Begin with a wide variety of key terms and ad messaging. This way, you will gain insights about what earns traction. Otherwise, you’re putting your whole budget into one tactic. Pay attention to which ads gain the most sales leads, and invest more money in those bids while pausing low-performing ads.

Furthermore, in order to “capture” the leads who see your ads, always use a compelling landing page as your destination URL. There must always be a form there and some reason to convert into a sales lead — whether it is a downloadable content piece, a free demo or consultation, a case study, or a company overview document.

Expand your audience with display and video advertising

It’s great to have a handle on strategies to reach people with existing search intent. But sometimes you need to expand your lead pool, too. Using SEM tools in the Google AdWords suite will help you do just that. The first domino in this strategy is finding key terms to use. These keywords should be top-of-funnel–that is to say they are meaningful for people just beginning to explore your industry or the challenge you solve. 

So instead of “IT Service Management Partner” you might choose to target “What is IT Service Management?” You will reach someone earlier in their buying journey, before they’ve even started assessing competitors, and this is a huge advantage.

Since the keyword focus here implies that the searcher has only an early-stage understanding on the topic, your content and ad messaging should be educational. In the inbound marketing world we call this “awareness stage” content. This can often take the form of blog posts, helpful videos such as webinars, or downloadable guides and short “eBooks.”

Earn more website traffic without advertising spend

Search engine marketing is not limited to paid campaigns. In fact one of the most reliable and widespread SEM strategies is search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is the act of updating and optimizing your website for a variety of factors, in order to let it rank “organically.” Organic rankings show up in Google results after the paid ads, but are often the most highly clicked. It’s easy to see why many companies are scrambling for SEO strategies and experts to take them to the top.

SEO includes a few different tactics:

  • Writing and publishing content regularly, like a blog and website pages
  • Creating a keyword strategy and injecting keywords across your site
  • Make sure your website is fast and in peak performance, meeting technical SEO factors
  • Build links to your website, both within your pages to other pages, and from outside sources

SEO requires an ongoing investment. But you will start to see traction on your keywords and content marketing when you do it right. Then, by using landing pages and analytics tools such as HubSpot or Google Analytics conversion goals, you can ensure that you’re generating leads (and quality leads at that!) from your SEO efforts. Remember that SEO doesn’t exist in a vacuum and the KPIs should include qualified leads and conversion rate. That way you will keep the sales team on board as you expand the top of the funnel and will not receive pushback. 

See also: How to Create a High-Ranking Technology Marketing Strategy

Remarketing to an existing lead pool

Closing an existing lead often costs less than generating a new lead. Since the B2B lifecycle is long, you probably have contact lists of people who have gone quiet or have not quite become sales qualified. But not all is lost. Remarketing campaigns through SEM tools can bring awareness back to your company or service. This can help drive these leads back into the buying process and through the sales funnel. And this strategy is also helpful if you want something valid to do with a purchased lead list.

You will need to meet some standard criteria like making sure your list size of emails is large enough. You can also in some platforms use a “remarketing pixel” in your website’s code to identify and then group people who’ve already visited your website pages, but have not converted yet. Then, you can use the Remarketing tools with Google AdWords to create ads that these people can exclusively find. 

The strategy behind a remarketing campaign can vary. You can try promoting a new service or feature. You can also engage in direct comparisons with your competitors. Offering deals, discounts or special offers is helpful but sometimes less relevant for B2B companies. And finally, if you had a group of people “bounce” from a certain action, you can continue promoting this specific action with text, display or video ads on YouTube.

Conclusion

This variety of search engine marketing strategies helps you meet goals that unite marketing and sales teams. Overall, no matter which strategy you use, the important thing is to present a strong value proposition to your audience. And by testing gradually in a lean way, you will get insights over time about which messaging, platform, and conversion offer are the best fit.

Sources:

Smart Insights, Search Engine Statistics 2018, Jan 2018