Fish for B2B Success by Using AdWords to “Land the Big One”

Fish for B2B Success by Using AdWords to “Land the Big One”

B2B Fishing

Fishing requires quite a bit of time and patience. AdWords campaigns require much of the same.

Catching the Big One

Fishing is a sport and hobby I love. Over the course of many years, I have taken part in scores of solid fights and caught a great many massive catches. And then there were those days I spent looking at the line for hours with no nibbles or rewards to be had.

Days like that make it easy to give up and take the attitude “There’s no fish out there!” That is an accusation that fails when the guy 50 yards downstream is catching one after the other.

I really don’t like to admit it, but the problem is rarely the fish. It’s me. I am probably fishing the wrong way.

My personal experience with AdWords campaigns (and AdWords pain points) has many similarities. B2B companies I have worked with will insist “There is no money to be made in AdWords.” I understand why they have such feelings. I recently worked with a B2B company that spent $150,000 on AdWords and was not able to make a single, solitary sale.

I do have to put forth an important question: Is the problem with AdWords or the client’s incorrect use or lack of understanding about AdWords time frames?

It might surprise those whose experiences were lame to hear the bulk of my B2B clients have gotten the majority of their leads through AdWords sales. Yes, there is quite a bit of money in AdWords…. provided you know how to reel the money in.

Give It Up with The Power Bait

“Yeah, AdWords is like fishing - you catch small fry. In B2B, I am interested in the big one!”

Yes, is some truth to those words. B2B businesses are niche oriented and not like B2C companies. Not a great many people are interested in the niche so there won’t be a lot of searches done for the keywords.

Yet - don’t assume this automatically means AdWords is a bad fit for a business.

Being a niche means keywords can be very specific. The search volume may end up being fairly low, but something really beneficial exists here. Any person using the keywords is likely very interested in what you are selling.

Avoid using power bait for the Great White Shark. Use the right keywords and ads to reach the perfect audience and do so within the right AdWords time frame.

Imagine you are selling shoes online and you bid on the keyword “shoe”. A lot of clicks are going to be gained this way. The keyword is not the same value-wise as “buy new shoes”, but you believe the overwhelming majoring of clicks will come from those who have an interest in buying a new pair of shoes at some point. The keyword may be broad, but it will get you in front of a proper audience. Or will it?

Then again, what if you are manufacturing shoes and you want to draw in new distributors? Is the keyword “Shoe” appropriate here?

Absolutely! Upon bidding on it, you may get the same amount of traffic as a shoe retailer. How many of these people, however, are clicking on the keyword because they want a shoe distributor?

Think about the story of the company that threw away $150,000 on a paid search. That was their story.

In an attempt to increase sales leads for a B2B translation service, they bid on the massively broad match keyword “translate”, a word that gets 150,000,000 searches every month.

Awful Search Terms

The very broad keyword did drive a massive amount of traffic, but the bulk of the people typing the search term “translate” are not looking for a B2B service. The keyword cost a massive $60,000 and never translated into a single sale. Regardless of the AdWords time frames sought, the right search terms must be used 100% of the time.

Procuring massive traffic isn’t of any value. Getting the right traffic is what delivers benefits.

Seek Out the Hungry Fish

Here is a fact that might be dubbed shocking: B2B customers don’t always look for products, they look for solutions to problems.

People are always searching for ways to resolve a business’ trouble spots - things they cannot fix on their own. The only time a business is in trouble does the venture go off searching for another company’s help

Your primary objective here is to show the world you have the right solution.

Here is the Solution

There’s a better approach to developing ad campaigns than focusing on lists of product features and identifiers. Instead, put an emphasis on Adwords pain points and customize the ads and landing pages to address such things directly.

Selecting the Right Lure

“But Jacob,” you say, “What can I do if I am not sure about my market’s AdWords pain points and am not familiar with what search terms there will use when seeking out a solution?”

Follow three phases of the R&D process’s

1. Experimental phase

Start the process by trying out search terms you think will yield results. (Your current campaign may very well be this approach) Be a bit generous in your keyword selection as you’ll find yourself weeding out a host of failures.

2. The purge

The market is going to need a decent amount of time to react to the campaign. Once things adjust, go on AdWords and check out a keyword report for the experimental period. Filter the results to examine the keywords with greater than a 2% conversion rate. 2% is just an example here. Use whatever figure you deem proper.

Conversion Rate Filtering

Doing so may result in a significant downsizing of the campaign. Do not fret over such things. Downsizing in this situation is okay.

Upon auditing over 2000 accounts, it was revealed that in the bulk of the cases 100% of the conversions are attributable to roughly 6% of the account's keywords. Eliminating all wasted advertisement spending is going to make a massive difference to a business's bottom line.

3. Refining phase

The second you've cut out the unsuccessful terms, eight the winners to identify different keywords worth adding to an account. The higher the conversion rate is, the more likely that you found the proper pain point for your customer base.

You also have the option of using that word to see what other search term a person was employing when they found your site. If the search terms make sense add them to the process.

Last, the minute you know who you customers are and how they are able to find you, start customizing the ads and landing pages into clicks and clicks into conversions and conversions into potential sales.

Case Study

Does this seem like a lot to take in? Let me put everything together into a real life example.

In the previous year, we commenced running an AdWords campaign for B2B company in the insurance industry. We have every expectation the company would be profitable if advertising ended up costing less than $150 per lead. This was their first time with AdWords. We understood they would need a little extra time to invest in the initial experimentation phase. We felt comfortable with the investment, since we knew the company had a long-term profit margin of $1,000 to $10,000.

To take advantage of the unique situation, we started a two-week campaign intended to blast all the keywords. Based on a market study, the keywords all ones that seem like likely winners. The campaign resulted in tons of clicks, but the conversion rates were only moderate. The cost-per-lead (CPL) was only $250.

In the short term, this deliver no profits from the company. However, we procured other needed to identify more profitable keywords. Three using the best keywords and eliminating the rest, the number of total clicks dropped and conversions remain about the same. Our CPL was cut in half - a good thing.

Experimental Phase

As is clear, we continued to track and refine AdWords account over time and initiated a stunning landing page strategy. Clicks and conversions all go together. Examining the two allows us to figure out whether or not we are accessing the right pain points and getting the bulk of the traffic to the correct site.

In a very short period of time, the profits from the AdWords campaign completely changed success for the whole company. The end result is the company received millions in VC funding.


The story is far from unique to one company - Yours could experience similar results.

AdWords remains one of the very best tools to expand a B2B business. Just as an experienced angler discovers the supremely best spots to cast a line and which times of the day to do so, an entrepreneur can tailor an AdWords campaign for the biggest catches. Doing so may turn a minor investment into an extremely profitable one.

Category Content Marketing