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Creating AdWords campaigns for niche B2B clients

by Robert Larsson, Consultant at Nortal, June 13, 2018

Building a successful SEM ad campaign always takes skill and finesse, but doing so for a niche B2B business without a direct online store to buy from also demands an outside-the-box approach.

Google AdWords is an incredibly useful tool for creating SEM (search engine marketing) ad campaigns. But while Google itself offers a comprehensive knowledge-base regarding everything about AdWords, nearly all help sites and certification tests use examples from the wider B2C world. What if the business is selling to a niche group of B2B clientele?

Let’s look at the difference in marketing needs. With B2C, the goal is to make your offering stand out in an enormous, busy online marketplace. You have to separate yourself from the herd by creating a product or service that appeals to a specialized section of the population.

For industries already operating in a niche, the goal is to accomplish the exact opposite. Search volumes are low, so it’s vital to push the offering to the front lines and generate as many leads as possible.

How to build a successful #SEM ad campaign for niche B2B business? Lesson one: you need outside-the-box approach.

As with all AdWords campaigns, choosing the right keywords and managing them correctly is absolutely critical. The tricky part of this task for niche B2B clients is choosing keywords that are generic enough to maximize visibility, but fine-tuned enough to stay relevant to the specific offering. That means it’s all the more important to listen to the niche customer-base and know how they are searching.

The keyword balancing act

Keyword collection is the first step. Start by getting a list of keyword suggestions from the business as well as from the people who create their content. Comb through existing content yourself for ideas. Try to get into the customers’ heads and think the way they do. How would they search for the topic? What terms would they use? Enter some industry words in Google to see the search suggestions. This will give you a better understanding of what people have searched for in the past.

Once you have your first batch of potential keywords, it’s time to analyze them. Take them for a Google test drive. Are there any ads showing for the keyword, and are they showing up within the first page? Are competitors eating up the ad space? If so, you can find out what search terms they’re using and imitate where appropriate. Try modifying the keywords slightly, since phrasing can have a big impact.

In the case of niche B2B, negative search terms are a powerful tool in making sure the results are relevant. For example: A company selling eyeglasses will want to have words like “wine” or “drinking,” etc. in their negative keyword list to avoid irrelevant search results for customers who are not looking for their product. Filter as much as you can, but don’t filter out anything that could block real leads.

AdWords itself can be a big help. If you already have campaigns running, look at the search terms report to see what searches led users to your ads. You can gain a better understanding of how customers find your business and, possibly, find suitable keywords for your new campaign.You can also use the Keyword Planner tool to check the average monthly searches for particular keywords, see the estimated bid price for those keywords and scope out the overall competition in the search results space. Beware though that the statistics aren’t fully accurate and suggestions might not be relevant to your niche.

Taking it forward

Now it’s time to use all this information and build content around it. In some cases, already published content (e-book, whitepaper etc.) is required to be pushed later via AdWords. The keyword analysis results can then be used to optimize the landing page copy to work better with your analysis results. After this, it’s finally time to bring the final keywords into AdWords and build the campaigns!

Google has its best practices for setting up campaigns, and I believe they work well here also. Optimize the campaign so that it best suits your business needs (location targeting, keyword CPC etc.) and don’t over-reach in the beginning. See what works, and use the campaign data over time for making the necessary changes in the future. Remember, conversions are the goal, so remember to track your landing page conversions with AdWords.

After launch, be patient. AdWords campaigns take a month or two to generate results, and keyword analysis is far from a perfect science. Monitor the campaign constantly to see what’s working. If needed, make keyword modifications and bid adjustments. The “Drafts & Experiments” option in AdWords will let you test campaign changes before implementation. Don’t force things. If you aren’t getting results, it’s best to pause the campaign and rethink your approach. With time and effort, you’ll find your way through.

Robert Larsson

Robert Larsson, Consultant at Nortal, is an IT and online advertising specialist with a knack for turning Google searches into marketing gold. A tech troubleshooter at heart, he enjoys delving into sticky problems and coming up with novel solutions. To learn his favorite keyword tricks, send him an email.