The Role of Google Adwords in Your B2B Strategy

Google and Google Adwords are complex and continue to change rapidly. For B2B businesses, Adwords can be very challenging, but it can also be the catalyst to success in your overall campaign. 

You’ve used Google before, right? Given that Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, it’s probably safe to assume you have. You {likely} use Google to search for things like clothes, housewares, and more… As a consumer. But what about as a business professional? Do you ever search for work-related things? Search for an answer to a problem? I imagine if you’re using it for that purpose, your customers are as well, which is why it’s important that you consider it in your strategy. 

In this post, we’ll cover how Google Adwords can play a role in your B2B strategy, including:

  • What role Google Adwords plays in B2B specifically
  • How B2B and B2C Adword strategies differ
  • How to successfully target your B2B buyer with Google Adwords
  • Goal and budget setting for your PPC campaign

10 Google Search Statistics You Need to Know [April 2020]

Image Source: Oberlo.com

Google Adwords and Your B2B Strategy

To better understand the B2B Adwords strategy, one must first understand the role it plays in the overall B2B marketing strategy. Just like any other tool in your toolbox, Google Adwords plays its own critical role. Put simply, its main role is to find the right people who are directly or indirectly searching for your products or services and provide them with the answers they’re seeking. 

Your target personas have many questions and pain points and will almost always turn to Google for those answers. To put this into perspective, Pardot surveyed over 400 B2B buyers and found that 78% of B2B buyers turn to Google search after consulting with a colleague. Google Adwords allows your business to be there as soon as your personas hit that search bar. What’s more, if you’re not using Google Adwords, your competitors likely are. They will be there to answer those questions even if you aren’t. 

B2B vs. B2C Adwords Strategy

So, how do you adjust your strategy to tailor it to B2B buyers? B2B and B2C marketing in general differ mainly in their target audiences and the strategies used to reach them. Adwords is no different. This means there will be significant differences in your overall account structure, how you target your personas, what types of keywords you use, how you write ad copy and how you remarket. It all starts with knowing your B2B buyer persona. 

The B2B Buyer Persona

Your persona and how you target your persona can arguably be the most important part of your campaign. The B2B and B2C persona actually have a lot in common. They both have a goal, a problem to solve, change drivers, and a sales cycle associated with them. That said, the B2B buyer is much more complex. Unlike the B2C buyer, their main goal isn’t focused on personal things like entertainment and other luxuries. Their goals are focused more on ROI, increased efficiencies, solving a problem, and their organization’s needs as a whole. An important question to ask yourself is not only what your persona is looking for, but what their organization is looking for. Once you answer those questions, you’ll be better able to target that persona more effectively. 

B2B vs B2C marketing

Image Source: Wordstream.com

Targeting the B2B Persona

Just like any other campaign, ask yourself what the key demographics of your persona are:

  • Where are they hanging out digitally?
  • What age group are they in?
  • What is their job title and role?
  • Do they have the power within their organization to make decisions?
  • Do they have to consult with many others before taking action?

All of these questions are a great place to start and can help you narrow down your audience. A great way to target these factors of your audience is by utilizing audience lists imported from analytics, custom intent audiences, and custom affinity audiences. 

These features in Adwords help you target users based on things like what they’re interested in, what sites they frequently visit, what they search for most often, and what “market” they’re in. Learn more about these strategies here

Keep in mind not to get too narrow with your targeting. Each time you apply an audience, interest, or category, you are decreasing your reach. Try to test a few aspects at a time and different combinations of them. For example, you might have one campaign that targets people in the market for sports and nutrition items, and another campaign that targets people who frequently visit websites about sports teams and healthy recipes. Test combinations of audiences and tailor your ad copy to be helpful and relevant.

b2b buyers journey

Selecting the Right Keywords

As mentioned above, search intent is essential to a B2B Adwords strategy. You won’t always know what keywords are most likely to convert right off the bat. B2B buyers often ask much more complex questions when they search on Google than B2C buyers. They typically use long-tail keywords and phrases when they search instead of directly searching for a specific product or solution. 

When setting your campaign keywords, don’t get too granular. Start by casting a wide net using:

  • Broad match
  • Broad match modified
  • Phrase match keywords

This allows your campaign to pull in search term data. Next, give your campaign a good amount of time so you can gain insight into how your customers are searching and what they’re looking for. As the data comes in, analyze the search terms report to find potential keywords to add to your campaign and to add as negative keywords. 

Over time, you’ll start to notice trends in the search terms report that point toward a specific customer action. Keep your eye out for search terms that may express an opportunity for a new keyword group.

Pro Tip: Put the higher-performing keywords in their own ad group so you can treat them individually. You may add bid adjustments, ad copy changes, or add highly relevant extensions.

Carefully Approach Your Ad Copy

The biggest thing to keep in mind when writing Google Adwords copy for a B2B buyer is that you aren’t going to be the only company on their radar. You need to make sure the ad copy is relevant and will get their attention. This applies to almost every Google Ads strategy but much more in a B2B Adwords strategy because the B2B buyer tends to do a lot more comparison shopping and research than a B2C buyer. 

So, when you think about creating your ad copy, ask yourself how you would stand out to the user. Look at your ad and put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Ask yourself: 

  • What would make you click on it? 
  • What elements or phrasing tend to catch your eye? 
  • What would make it more appealing than the others? 

Try to highlight your organization’s strengths and showcase the value you add as much as possible. Most people aren’t looking for a list of features, they’re looking for a solution to a problem. Focus on how you can solve that problem and what you can do for them. 

Pro Tip: Once you have ad copy you like that’s tailored to your buyer, give it time to see how it performs. With a little data under your belt, we suggest doing A/B testing to see which ads perform better than others. Adjust accordingly. 

Setting Your Goals and Budget for Google Adwords

Last, but certainly not least, when building your campaign, ask yourself “what is my main goal?” and “what is my budget?” Your campaign goal and budget will help you dictate what the overall account structure will look like and how you approach its various components. Start by defining success and what KPIs are most important. 

Goals

A goal or measure of success could look like a lead: 

  • Contacting you via phone
  • Filling out a form
  • Downloading a resource
  • Spending a certain amount of time on a page
  • Registering for an event or blog subscription

If the main objective or goal is to have leads contact you via phone, followed closely by filling out a form, then you may consider having a campaign for each of those things. Segment out your campaigns by these goals. This way you can tailor certain settings and targeting to each. 

Pro Tip: No matter what your goals are, make sure they’re SMART. Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Relevant – Timely.

Budget

You should have a sense of what your budget is as you’re creating campaigns and have hard and fast numbers ready for launch. It’s ideal to have different campaigns with different campaign types, strategies, and then run tests within those campaigns. However, your campaign and what you’re able to do is restricted by your overall budget. 

It wouldn’t make sense to bid on top of funnel keywords with a small budget. So, if your budget is small, focus on what will be most profitable for you, and dedicate a few keywords at a time for things like testing and data mining. 

This is just the tip of the Google Adwords iceberg and the role it can play in your B2B strategy. But once you understand the role it plays, how to target your persona, identify keywords, and set up a campaign for success, the next thing to do is to try it out for yourself. 

Still not convinced or looking for some guidance on how to successfully set up, launch and manage your Google Adwords strategy for B2B? One of our strategists can help. Let’s chat Adwords!

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5 Ways Lake One Uses Vidyard for B2B Video Marketing

The cameras are rolling around here at Lake One. While we don’t have our own personal glam teams (yet), we do have everything else we need to create solid content for our B2B video marketing efforts. How do we do it, you ask? Well, with the help of our trusty partners, Vidyard. If you haven’t heard of them, (which isn’t likely) Vidyard is an online video platform for businesses. From video creation, hosting, integrations, sharing, optimization, and analytics, they make it pretty impossible to have an excuse not to be doing video. 

Which, if you aren’t, you should include video as part of your sales and marketing strategy. B2B video marketing is a must and not just because we say so. The numbers speak for themselves. Content Marketing Institute found that 71% of B2B marketers use video marketing and 66% of B2C marketers use it. Not to mention the ROI. Optinmonster noted that video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year and 93% of marketers say they landed new customers by using video on social media. 

B2B Video Marketing

Here are five ways that Lake One uses Vidyard for our b2b video marketing efforts:

Lead Generation/Prospecting

Ever feel like your lead generation efforts are the same old, same old? Looking to spice things up and even have a little fun? If only there was something that could help with that. 

Video is a great and often overlooked tool when it comes to lead generation and prospecting. A few ways to use video for lead gen: 

  • Add video to your landing pages 
  • Add video to other pages on your website, such as solutions pages, client testimonials and more
  • Add video to your thank you pages or send a personalized video to high-value leads who download resources off of your website 
  • Include videos in your prospecting emails 

Pro Tip: Be sure to include a CTA (call-to-action) at the end of your videos. Let viewers know what action you want them to take after watching your content.

Lead Nurturing

Since the goal of lead nurturing is to move someone through the buyer’s journey from the awareness stage to the decision stage, video is a great way to help achieve that. Especially for things like email nurture sequences (drip campaigns), it’s a nice way to break-up the content that’s in the emails and get your lead’s attention. Here are just a few types of videos you can use when nurturing leads: 

Related Reading: Turn Your Website Into a Lead Machine with HubSpot Lead Flows

  • Demo or explainer videos
  • Interviews with thought leaders
  • Promoting upcoming webinars or events your company is hosting or sponsoring 
  • Testimonials from clients that showcase the value they received from your product or service 
  • Educational videos that are relevant and provide value to your viewer 
Video Marketing stat
Source: Neil Patel

Client Management 

When it comes to managing client relationships, it can be easy to get caught up in an endless cycle of emails calls back and forth. While sometimes picking up the phone can solve for that, it doesn’t always accomplish everything you need it to. That’s where videos come in to play. 

Meetings 

It used to be commonplace to meet with clients in their offices for kick-off, monthly or quarterly meetings. That all changed virtually overnight, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While Zoom and other video conferencing tools are great, sometimes what needs to be accomplished can be done in a video. Whether it’s a training, showing a client where to locate something, or a simple introduction video, Vidyard is a great tool to be able to manage clients. 

Training

At Lake One, especially since we’re a virtual team, we love using Vidyard for training purposes, whether for ourselves or for clients. One team member, I won’t name names, even refers to their internal training videos as “Trainings with Tiffany.” We didn’t say you couldn’t have fun with the tool, in fact, we encourage it. 

With Vidyard you can record yourself on camera, record the screen or a combination of both, so people can see exactly what you’re doing when training. We’ve built up a library of sorts for training for both ourselves and clients. It’s a great way to go back and rewatch something or provide videos to team members who might have missed a live training session. 

Vidyard will also transcribe your videos too, whether you’re creating videos directly on the platform or uploading them from elsewhere. This is a nice feature for accessibility reasons, but also if you want to repurpose the video content, you already have the transcription ready to go. 

Outreach

Which would you rather receive in your inbox? A generic email with a bunch of buzzwords, going on and on about guest posts and how much someone loves your “most recent piece” all in an effort to partner for link building purposes. Or, would you rather get an email that features an engaging video that’s short and to the point, briefly touching on the topics and value this person could add to your site? I don’t know about you, but I choose door number two.

We use video to either replace or support the messages we send surrounding our outreach efforts. It’s a great way to humanize ourselves and get our message across quickly. It’s also sometimes easier to explain an idea out loud, versus trying to capture it in writing. Plus, with any luck, you’ll stand out from the other pitches that your prospects are receiving. 

Content 

We know that video is a must when it comes to B2B video marketing and creating the type of content that buyers want to consume. Considering that 85% of all internet users in the U.S. watched online video content monthly on any of their devices, it’s no longer an option whether you incorporate video into your content plan or not. Here are a few places to use and types of videos you can create:

  • Blog posts
  • Social posts
  • Sales emails 
  • Demo or explainer videos 
  • Website, in place of other graphics 
  • Email marketing campaigns 
  • Long-form videos/webinars 
  • Customer testimonials
  • And more! 

Related Reading: How Engaging is Your Content Marketing? 5 KPIs to Measure Content Engagement

Thanks to Vidyards reporting capabilities, you’re able to see who’s watching your videos, from where, for how long, and get insight into how your videos are actually performing. Like any content, video for the sake of video isn’t a strategy and won’t drive the results you’re looking to achieve. Be methodical in the videos you’re creating and putting out there. These are just a few ways that Lake One uses Vidyard. If you have any fun ways you use it, drop a note in the comments.

Interested to learn how Lake One can help you with video? One of our strategists would love to chat.

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B2B CRM Strategy: 6 Ways It Can Drive Sales & Marketing Alignment

The B2B buying environment is complex and often multifaceted. With heavy workloads and high goals, one thing remains consistent across the board: strong business relationships help close deals and drive company growth. But how do you keep track of contact history and provide visibility company-wide all while keeping your sales and marketing teams aligned? Queue Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and B2B CRM strategy.

CRM software revenues are now the largest of all software markets with revenues expected to reach over $80 billion by 2025. 

B2B CRM Software Revenue Chart

Image Source: SuperOffice

What is a B2B CRM

According to Salesforce, a B2B CRM stands for Business to Business Customer Relationship Management and refers to systems, technologies, strategies, and processes that help B2B companies manage their relationships with existing and potential customers. It helps companies better understand contacts, their needs, and where they are in the buyer’s journey as it relates to your business. 

Why Invest in a B2B CRM

B2B CRMs should really be thought of as a strategic way of understanding, managing, and delivering on business customers’ needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey. They really are what you make of it, but here are three main reasons why you should take the plunge and invest in a CRM and drive alignment for your internal teams. 

Better Visibility

B2B CRMs provide visibility system-wide and are single-handedly the best solution for keeping a real-time pulse on your contact database and sales cycle ecosystem. Even smarketing meetings (sales and marketing alignment team meetings) can’t provide you with the same kind of real-time feedback across teams. 

Have a question on a contact? Or are you wondering overall how leads that come from paid media are performing? Your answers lie in the CRM.

Working Smarter

We’re big fans of working smarter and not getting bogged down with busy work or meetings for meetings sake. You might be thinking that CRMs create more work because of all the necessary input which is only partially true. It does take time to adjust your daily processes to a CRM, but once you do, your teams will likely find that they are more efficient with contact follow up and reporting, and actually are able to spend more time selling and focusing on target accounts. And as an added bonus, marketing has better insight into marketing qualified lead performance as well, resulting in the ability to hone in lead quality vs quantity. 

Data-Driven Decision Making 

Whether you’re looking for a bird’s eye view or you like getting down and dirty with the details, CRMs undoubtedly provide insight into the data. You can view account activity, pipeline, close rates, and more. You’ll also be able to turn your hunches into a data-driven decision. For example, let’s say you think that the majority of your prospects in a certain industry sign when you can get them to a demo. A CRM would allow you to confirm that in the data and then you could spend your time focusing on how to get more prospects in the said industry to demo faster.

Getting Started with Your B2B CRM Strategy

B2B CRMs should really be thought of as a strategic way of understanding, managing, and delivering on business customers’ needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey. The CRM technology itself is what enables the strategy and makes it possible.  

So where to start? Here are our 6 proven B2B CRM strategies that fuel sales and marketing alignment and business growth. 

Related Reading: Is a HubSpot CRM Right for You? 7 Questions to Consider

Get Teams Speaking the Same Language

CRMs are great, but they’re only as good as in the information you put it in and it’s really difficult to increase usage if everyone has different definitions of some of the basics. Everybody needs to be speaking the same language and have a common understanding of what is critical for your CRM. And trust us, it’s better to iron out the basics sooner in the process rather than later.

Lifecycle Stages & Lead Statuses 

Lifecycle stages and lead statuses may differ slightly in naming depending on your platform, but the purpose behind them likely doesn’t. Lifecycle stages signify what stage your contact is in the buyer’s journey and lead status provides an extra layer of detail as to where they are at exactly. Here are the most common definitions we use across our partnerships.

Lifecycle Stages

  • Subscriber: Contacts who know of your business and have opted in to hear more from your team. This is likely visitors that have signed up for your blog or newsletter.
  • Lead: Contacts who have shown sales-readiness beyond being a subscriber. An example of a lead is a contact who signs up for a content offer from your business.
  • Marketing Qualified Lead: Contacts who have engaged with the team’s marketing efforts, but are still not ready to receive a sales call. An example of an MQL is a contact who responds to a specific form in a marketing campaign.
  • Sales Qualified Lead: A contact that your sales team has qualified as a potential customer.
  • Opportunity: A contact who is a real sales opportunity.
  • Customer: A contact with a closed deal(s).

Lead Statuses

  • Prospect: No marketing automation. Contacts with this lead status are being hunted by sales.
  • New: All new leads will be assigned this status by default.
  • Open: A lead that is currently being worked by sales.
  • In Progress: A connection has been and the lead is in progress.
  • Open Deal: There is an open deal with the contact.
  • Attempted to Contact: Sales is attempting to contact or follow up with a lead.
  • Connected: Sales has connected with the contact.
  • Unqualified: Lead is not qualified to do business.

Pro Tip: Identify your lifecycle stages and statues as part of your Service Level Agreement. Learn more about Lake One’s SLAs here.

Contact Field Basics & Defaults

You’ll also want to work with key stakeholders to define your default required fields. For any field that has a dropdown, you’ll want to make sure those are well-defined among internal teams as well. The basics range from specific contact information needed down to current solution provider, market or buying role. Most CRMs will allow you to customize fields to your business needs.

Pro Tip: Think wisely about the field ‘type’ you select when creating properties as it’s nearly impossible to use a single line text field in list segmentation or workflows. This is due to the room for error in data input. For workflow usable data, dropdown selects are one of my favorites! We reserved single line text for fields like phone numbers, addresses, notes, etc. 

Segment Contacts for Personalized Communication

Personalization in a B2B email can improve click-through rate by as much as 14% and conversion rates by 10%. Personalization starts with list segmentation. Of course it can come in to play via the actual insertion of personalization tokens (names, role, etc.), but deciding who you are communicating with is the first step. 

B2B CRMs allow you to segment contacts by where they are at in the buyer’s journey (lead, customer, MQL), their product interest, industry, etc. without needing to think about each contact and manually emailing a custom communication. This is also critical for sales and marketing alignment and allows both teams to tailor communications. Get more tips on writing B2B sales emails here.

Close the Feedback Loop in Real-Time

A key component of sales and marketing alignment is closing the feedback loop between sales and marketing. It’s absolutely essential that sales provides feedback on lead quality and lead status in real-time. 

Closing the feedback loop entails:

  • Sales communicating a lead is rejected
  • Sales communicating why a lead is rejected (poor timing, bad contact information, no budget, etc.)
  • Communication on when lead nurturing is taking place
  • Communication on if and when to resume lead nurturing once it’s been paused 

All of the above is made possible by a B2B CRM in a relatively quick and painless way. 

Leverage Lead Scoring That’s Based on Engagement

Lead scoring is a systematic and scientific way of ranking leads based on their readiness to purchase a product or service from your company. Scores are assigned to certain criteria such as a lead’s fit for your product or service, expressed interest through different activities like filling out a form or watching a webinar, and position in the buying cycle.

Lead Scoring provides a reliable, predictable, recurring means for deciding which leads are sales-ready, and ordering them by importance takes the guesswork out for both teams.

Lead scoring can be done by either using explicit data/demographics and/or implicit data/actions or behavior. A B2B CRM allows you to track and gather implicit data more easily such as: email opens, click-through-rates, key page views, and form fills. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to track and leverage the data across teams. 

Related Reading: Lead Scoring Basics 

Universal Deal Stages & Pipelines That Reflect Sales Cycles

Pipelines and deal stages help to break down complex B2B buying cycles into a measurable process that’s easily digestible. Whether you have an established sales process or you’re starting from scratch, B2B CRMs like HubSpot make it easy to create your ideal process.

HubSpot B2B CRM Strategy

Image Source: HubSpot

Most processes of course start with a meeting and end either in closed won or closed lost. The pipeline gives you visibility into what’s in process, when things will hit, and most importantly, what’s stuck in the process. 

Use Forecasting & Reporting to Better Manage Teams

B2B CRMs like HubSpot really shine when it comes to taking your data inputs and turning it into dashboards and usable reporting. Maybe you could create manually? But the time savings and accuracy that come with CRMs are too good to pass up. Here are a few ways to leverage CRM data for forecasting and better managing your teams.

Related Reading: 6 KPIs for Sales & Marketing Alignment

Sales Team Activity: View activities by sales rep on a rolling basis. Activity includes number of calls, meetings, emails, new contacts, deals closed, etc. It’s easy to see top performers and those who might be phoning it in.

HubSpot B2B CRM Strategy

Image Source: HubSpot

Forecasting Deal Revenue: Get a clear view of what’s coming down the pipe associated with the deal stage and its likelihood to close. The benefit of these reports are two-fold. It keeps your sales reps accountable knowing that their estimates will be used in reporting and it also allows you to better forecast. 

HubSpot B2B CRM Strategy

Image Source: HubSpot

About Sales & Marketing Alignment Services at Lake One

At Lake One, technology is at the core of all our sales and marketing thinking. We call these services basecamp.

  • We work with our partners to make sure their basecamp is “right sized” for their organization.
  • That the goals and strategy are leading the technology choices and not the other way around.
  • But most of all – that the technology is embraced and providing value to the organization.

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