It’s an undeniable fact that consumers are becoming more dependent on online sources to gather information to guide purchase decisions. B2B buyers are no different.
B2B inbound marketing is an essential strategy to building demand for a product or service.
In fact, 71 percent of B2B buyers get their information from the Internet, according to research from Compete and Google. Inbound marketing helps these buyers find the firm and the information they are seeking.
Some marketing professionals refer to paid internet advertising as “old marketing,” even “duplicitous and full of shit,” says web marketing agency, Vital.
But we believe paid search is actually a critical part of inbound marketing success.
First, What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the strategy of engaging prospects and enabling them to trust the brand. Trust in B2B marketing rests on reliable information.
Presenting good information and having it found is done by creating content (blogs, webpages, white papers and search engine optimization) designed to attract qualified prospects.
How important is this today? Inbound marketing continues to grow rapidly as a trending Google search topic. Since 2009 marketers have embraced the strategy, learning new tactics and sharing tips.
Paid search advertising on the other hand is buying placement ads on search engines or web sites. While the two are different in form, they can be used together to improve lead generation.
Paid search is a powerful tactic for supporting inbound marketing efforts. Here’s why:
1. PPC Ensures Search Coverage
Why spend on paid advertising if organic page rank or brand recogition is already high? According to research from Microsoft Bing, total click yield (organic and paid) was 90% higher for brands with the most prominent ad placements, of these clicks only 50% were attributed to paid results. This research was based on 50 million impressions in the competitive financial services vertical.
"There is an opportunity cost to not bidding on your brand terms," says Connie Woo of Microsoft Bing.
Additionally, competition for getting content on the first page of search engine results pages (SERP) is high. Competition is getting tougher as more users search from their mobile devices; SERP sizes are smaller on mobile screens.
Competition for SEO ranking makes pay-per-click (PPC) advertising indispensable. PPC ensures your brand makes an impression even if your site or content doesn't rank high on SERP's.
In addition, we studied marketing touchpoints and show how important paid search is as a first touch point in B2B marketing.
2. Scale Website Traffic for A/B Testing
A/B testing requires enough users in order for results to be reliable. PPC can be used to drive users to your website so you can successfully test whether certain messaging, graphics, or content is working.
Whether conversions or website engagement, PPC campaigns can help provide the analytics data necessary to improve on-site user experience.
3. Generate More Leads From Gated Content
A great strategy for inbound marketing is to use PPC to direct traffic towards gated content. Gated content requires prospects to submit their contact information before gaining access. It helps you generate more leads.
If you have helpful, informative content and think it can be a powerful lead generation asset, then PPC can help get more eyes on it – and more leads as a result.
4. Provides Actionable Keyword Information
PPC advertising delivers important information to companies. It shows how many people are searching using keywords relevant to your market and campaigns. This information can help you more quickly understand conversion and volume for SEO, rather than waiting months to gather information on content performance.
It also provides information on how well certain keywords are converting into leads. This information can be used to create better content, whether it’s using new keywords or phrases.
5. Prevent Brand Hijacking From Competitors
We’ve seen aggressive ad copy such as:
“[Insert your brand] customers switch to [insert competitors brand]”
“More features than [insert your brand].”
PPC ads appear above the organic search results and messaging can make many impressions. PPC is a great way to position your brand alongside your competitors.
Whether it’s head-to-head or category differentiation, PPC allows brands to do more than increase traffic to their website. It allows brands to message to their customers and brand their company or product in relation to the competition.
Inbound marketing is undeniably important in today’s prospect focused marketing strategy. PPC not only helps generate clicks and conversions, it can also support inbound marketing efforts.
PPC can help ensure search coverage, prevent brand hijacking from competitors, supporting reliable A/B testing, generate more leads from gated content, and provide guiding data for content creation.
Afterwards it's time to start thinking about which content is converting into sales. If you’re using Salesforce you you can track and report on content downloads that lead to revenue. Learn how here.