How We Used Adwords to Generate Over $1 Million in Annual Revenue for a B2B Company in 12 Months
(A Lead Gen Case Study)

I’ve heard countless times from people that it’s too hard to make money from Adwords.

That all the niches and industry verticals are dominated by big players with deep pockets and armies of PPC specialists and the fanciest, shiniest, most expensive PPC management tools around.

That smaller, newer entrants don’t stand a chance.

Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Listen:

I’m not going to sit here and lie and tell you it’s a piece of cake to make money from Adwords, because it’s not.

However, if you’ve got a great product or service (I’ll get to this later), with a bit of patience and know-how, there’s no reason you can’t do exactly what we did for our client.

Which was to turn a company that was generating almost zero dollars from their online marketing into one doing well over $1 million per year, all in under 12 months!

Today I’m going to share one of my favourite Business to Business (B2B) digital marketing case studies because I believe it’s a compelling way to show how digital marketing in general, and Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns in particular, can boost almost any B2B business with the right approach.

Online-Marketing-Adwords

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Adwords Case Study

Background

Since I’m revealing key company information I’ve got to keep the identity of the company confidential.

However, what this case study will show is the actual process by which we achieved success.

And the process is the key, as the process can be replicated by almost any small to mid-sized B2B company, regardless of industry.

The client in this case study is involved in business consultancy, but they faced the same challenges that I see a ton of smaller B2B companies face:

  • An industry dominated by huge local and international competitors
  • Zero brand recognition or brand awareness
  • Very limited resources, both people and money
  • Pretty average online presence, basically just a website that isn’t generating any leads

So yeah, those are some big challenges. Daunting. And yet, right beside those challenges are a whole bunch of opportunities:

  • Competitors doing their online marketing stuff poorly
  • Hyper-targeted campaigns allowing for a laser-focus on ROI
  • The ability to measure the outcome of every dollar spent
  • Being way more dynamic, cost-efficient and responsive than the big, slow moving monolithic competitors

Like most B2B industries compared to B2C, it’s not about huge volumes of customers – consulting is about building intimate relationships with customers, which helps significantly with repeat business.

So the average lifetime value of each customer is high – we’re talking potentially tens of thousands of dollars over a number of years.

So while the challenges are daunting, the opportunities are intoxicating. Which brings us to…

Existing Situation

Although it was growing slowly, our client was a small company with very limited resources (sound familiar?).

The business owner was highly committed and passionate about his industry, extremely client focused, and prepared and committed to investing his limited budget in digital marketing.

But digital marketing wasn’t an area he was familiar with and the company didn't have any historical digital marketing campaigns to build on, so the strategy was created from scratch.

Naturally, having a limited budget and no previous track record of what had worked and what hadn’t meant we were facing some challenges, but hey, we relish a challenge!

Existing online marketing presence

As with many small businesses, the owners often wear many hats and they’re the kinds of “can-do” people that will usually try to both learn and save money by doing things themselves.

The owner had taken a stab at setting up Google AdWords himself and created a few campaigns, but without a thorough understanding of Adwords it can be a minefield.

The expression “knowing just enough to be dangerous” springs to mind!

So while they were getting some leads, they were also getting a whole bunch of irrelevant enquiries and were struggling to work out what was working and what wasn’t.

Existing-online-marketing-presence

Being able to measure the performance of advertising was raised as an issue over 150 years ago.

Thankfully, we’ve progressed a little bit since then.

There were a few key elements to their DIY Google AdWords campaign that were missing in order to be able to track their performance with a laser-like focus. Without getting too technical, these included:

  • No goal tracking setup;
  • No landing pages specific to campaigns;
  • No values attached to the goals;
  • No way to measure key facts like return on investment (ROI)
  • Google AdWords and Google Analytics weren't synced;
  • No way of tracking keyword data in relation to cost data.

But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. The very first question we asked them, the same question we ask every company before bringing them on board as a client, is what they were trying to achieve.

Goals of the digital marketing campaign

The main goal of the campaign was to get new qualified visitors to the site and get those visitors to become leads.

So our objective was to convert what was a traditional B2B company website (more or less an expensive brochure) into an efficient lead generation machine.

In other words, we wanted to find people who were looking for consulting and get them to call or fill out an online form with their contact details so the sales team could follow up.

What’s great about Google AdWords campaigns is that, when they’re set up properly, they attract leads by drawing in people who are actively using Google to search for specific services, in this case business consulting.

So these leads are generally already pretty highly qualified as they’ve got actual intent towards using your services.

The second goal (which we recommended to the client) was to ensure that all of our marketing activities had a positive return, so that they were generating more money than they were spending.

Which is always a good thing!

Key consideration when generating targeted leads

One thing worth noting is that the company already had a very strong customer focus during the sales cycle.

In this case there was very quick follow-up on website enquiries.

That fast follow-up on leads generated should never be underestimated when you set up a digital marketing campaign, yet it’s an area where many B2B companies fall down and lose business.

A good campaign can drive hundreds, even thousands of leads, but if there isn't a good process for following up the leads quickly, it will amount to nothing.

Leads decay every hour that they aren’t responded to.

Every hour you delay in replying to an online enquiry or quote request, the lead becomes less likely to buy from you.

Social Network

That’s because quite often people fill out multiple forms and request quotes from a number of different companies at the same time.

So if you don’t follow a lead up promptly in a professional and courteous manner the lead is quite likely to choose one of your competitors instead of you.

Plus first impressions count, and most people aren’t going to be impressed with a slow follow up on email requests because they’ll worry that your overall service will also be slow and unreliable.

You’d be amazed at how many business owners fail to grasp this fundamental concept!

***Rant over***

The other key element you need is creating a strong feedback loop between your sales and marketing people so that the sales people who deal with leads communicate constantly with the marketing people who generate those leads, and vice versa.

That communication will help you understand what proportion of leads are quality leads, what makes them high quality and what type of leads you want to focus on in the future.

This information helped us refine and optimise this PPC campaign to continually make it more targeted and more efficient the longer it ran.

Signs of success

In this case it was easy to know what success looked like. The main indicator of success was a steadily growing pool of leads being driven in through the Google AdWords campaigns.

I’ll just repeat that – a steadily growing pool of leads.

As you can imagine, the client was pretty pleased with that as an outcome. Of course we had to make sure those leads created more income for the company than they cost in their digital marketing budget, providing a positive ROI.

The constant feedback between the Digital Rhinos marketing team and the company’s sales team allowed us to determine the value of leads and tweak it quarterly to ensure it matched reality. Then we could work out the return being generated by those leads compared to the marketing spend.

Managing cash flow is crucial for smaller businesses so we were very careful when analysing spend versus return. By constantly tracking and monitoring the campaign and the lead quality, we were able to learn things that helped us improve their ROI. For example, some unexpected consulting services performed much better than others, so we focused our attention there.

Most interestingly, we noticed that even though we were focusing on the whole of Australia, some geographic areas performed very differently from others. So there wasn't a blanket conversion rate, cost per click or ROI. The success rate varied by state and by consulting services offered, and our awareness and monitoring of these factors helped us optimise the campaign to improve the overall success and ROI.

Outcome

The end result of working with this client was 524 leads in the first 12 months.

These converted into more than 50 clients worth well over $1 million in annual revenue – as consulting tends to be a long term relationship the ongoing financial returns will likely end up being much higher.

And based on our calculations of lead values with the client, we had a return on advertising spend of 179% - so for every $1 we spent (including our fees), we got back $1.79 in value!

As you can imagine, with returns like that the client was pumping every spare dollar back into the PPC campaigns we were running!

Outcome

Dealing with failures

Not everything we tried turned out as we’d hoped though.

It’s inevitable that some things will work better than others and not everything will work.

What’s essential is knowing when to stop what isn’t working and optimising what is working.

That’s why knowing how to monitor and analyse a campaign continuously is vital to success.

In this case, we had problems with some of the specific consulting services.

While they did drive a lot of traffic to the site, the on-page conversion rates were poor, so those ad groups had a negative ROI.

We tweaked the landing page copy and adjusted the bids, and were able to turn them around into positively performing ad groups.

Landing pages and testing

When you’re running a pay per click campaign, one of the “PPC 101” rules is that you should almost never send the traffic to the home page.

It’s not targeted, and you want to have your landing pages hyper-focused on getting people to take the one action you want them to.

That’s why creating and optimising landing pages is so important.

In this case (and it’s a recommendation we make to most of our clients) we designed campaign specific landing pages and tested those landing pages thoroughly.

We used a process called AB testing or split testing where you create two slightly different versions of the same page.

A-B comparison. Split testing

The best practice for split testing is to have an original version of each landing page and a second version which has small but significant changes to the design, call to action or offer.

In this case we improved the landing page copy by changing the headline, the wording and the key features and benefits.

Once you’ve created a test landing page, the two pages can be tested against each other to see which page converts better by sending half the PPC traffic to one landing page and half to the other.

By tracking the number of conversions, in this case people who completed an online enquiry, and allowing enough time and data for the test, we could gauge which page had a better conversion rate.

With split testing, when one page has been proven to convert better, it then becomes the baseline page.

At that point you can make another page to create another test and continue to optimize, improve and get better results.

That’s exactly what we did in this case and that systematic process enabled us to get an excellent (and constantly improving) ROI for our client.

PPC compared to other digital marketing methods

Pay Per Click campaigns offer major benefits and if done correctly can deliver excellent results.

Still, I advise our clients not to put all their money on one horse!

Digital marketing is like having a stock portfolio in that you want to diversify and create balance.

Every digital marketing channel, whether it's PPC, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), organic search, social media or referrals from other websites has its pros and cons.

Nevertheless, I’m a huge fan of PPC because it offers a few key benefits that other digital marketing options don’t.

The main benefits of PPC campaigns are:

  • You can turn PPC on and off fast;
  • You can quickly and easily test new ideas or hypotheses at minimal cost;
  • You can experiment with different keyword combinations to see which keywords convert best and which generate the most enquiries, value and revenue.

You can test variables like advertisement specials, landing page wording and time-based offers to find out what resonates with your customers and gets the most clicks.

How PPC helps optimise other digital marketing campaigns

If you spend time optimising your PPC campaigns and have a good understanding of the keywords and phrases, that makes a huge difference to SEO and content marketing campaigns.

It takes the guesswork out of SEO and content because you already know which keywords succeed with your specific audience.

As an example based on this client, initially there were 10 keywords for one consulting service they wanted to target.

How-ppc-helps.jpgBy running a tight PPC campaign we soon found that, while five of the keywords converted well, the other five brought disappointing results.

With that new knowledge, we could then optimize the most successful keywords to improve organic search and guide us when creating new content.

While we went on to optimise the site for all the keywords, those insights helped us work smarter, and get faster results with SEO because the PPC campaign helped us know which keywords to prioritise for improved organic search engine presence.

Google AdWords is often a safe way to start a digital marketing campaign

The insights you gain from PPC are just one reason I often recommend it as a good starting point for dipping your toes into digital marketing.

In particular, if you have a small or fixed budget, then PPC is a good way to try things out because you can turn the campaign and marketing spend on and off quickly.

Having said that, we’re careful to give our PPC campaign the time needed to ensure the best possible results.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone turn a PPC campaign off too quickly because you want to give your PPC campaigns time to improve as you optimise them.

If you're still getting the same results you got in month one six months after starting a Google AdWords campaign, then you’re doing something wrong!

With that knowledge comes the implicit understanding that when you launch a campaign it won’t be perfect.

You absolutely have to allow a reasonable amount of time to let it run and tailor it to get the best results.

There are best practices for setting up a PPC campaign which we follow with all our clients, but once the campaign has been set up it needs to be closely monitored and constantly improved.

Safe-Way-To-Start

You're unlikely to get the best possible results by running a PPC campaign for one month.

Sure, you'll learn a few things, but if you optimise the campaign based on what you learn you can expect to see your results continually improve over the coming months.

Our client took this on board and gave the campaign enough time to be optimised in order to achieve phenomenal long-term results.

So if you start a new PPC campaign and the first month is disappointing, I advise you not to just abandon it.

If the PPC campaign isn’t getting the results you hoped for, then it’s most likely because specific keywords, landing pages or ads aren’t working.

That doesn't mean there's no combination that won't work.

It just means that what you're doing now isn't working efficiently but if you want to give PPC a chance, you need to persevere with it.

Measuring ROI in a non-transactional website

Many of the businesses we work with, and not just small businesses, struggle with lead generation.

They don’t know how to put a value on goal completion from their websites.

If you remember in this case, goal completion was a prospective customer, a lead coming from the PPC campaign, completing the quote request form.

Despite how it may seem, measuring ROI for lead generation websites isn’t an exact science so we take things on a case by case basis when working out a goal value for our clients.

With this client, we worked backwards to get the goal value.

To give you an idea of how that works let's say, hypothetically, that each new sale was worth an average of $5,000.

We also knew that 10% of all quote forms submitted translated into a sale.

Therefore we could comfortably say that each lead was worth an average of $500, which is 10% of $5,000.

ROI

Some leads convert into high value clients and some don’t lead to any new business, but we were significantly better informed with a $500 value for every lead.

Remember that the value will be different for every company and should be based on your own internal company data.

Furthermore, lead value can change over time.

We reviewed it quarterly with this client and I recommend that or at least every six months.

This is where the sales process of the business plays such a crucial part in determining whether your PPC campaigns will be successful or not.

If this business could only earn $1,000 out of each client, and only converted 5% of leads into sales, the value of each lead would be $50.

And let’s just say the cost of each lead was $200. At a value of $500, that’s a huge profit margin.

At a value of $50, that’s a huge loss. Having a great sales process matters!

Of course, you have to be comfortable with the lead value you calculate and this method of assigning a lead value may not work for annuity businesses, or small businesses that generate recurring revenues but still have cash flow issues.

For example, if the $5,000 sale mentioned before is not realised for five years, then this method won’t work.

In that case you're generating profitable leads through your PPC campaign, but could still end up short if you're not realising all the revenue immediately or in the first year.

To work out a lead value where the revenue will trickle in slowly you may want to cap the lead value at one or two years.

Let’s say in the first year, you normally generate $1,000 of value from customers and 10% of leads turn into customers.

Each lead would then be worth $100. Obviously, as the campaign builds momentum and cash flow becomes less of an issue, you can start to ramp that up.

So the basics of determining lead values are to work out the value of a sale, and go backwards from there.

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PPC campaign stages

Throughout this campaign we worked very closely with the business owner. We always like to work hand in hand with the owner, manager, or whoever's running the business to get a clear idea of their goals before we start a campaign. What you’ll notice in the 8 stages listed below is that the actual Adwords setup is the 7th! But if you want to be successful in your Adwords lead generation campaigns, there are a number of stages you’ll need to tick off first.

Stage 1: Goal setting

First we want to be very clear on our clients’ expectations and advise them on the best way to drive value based on their needs. If our goals and the company goals are misaligned or not linked, then the campaign will unravel. Our job is to link business goals and online goals together to get the maximum return on digital marketing investment.

Many of our customers come to us because previous PPC or digital marketing campaigns have failed, which is usually because they didn’t focus on concrete business goals.

All too often, a campaign just concentrates on driving what I call ‘vanity metrics’ which could be things like traffic, click through rate or ad position. But those things don't necessarily tie in with or promote the business goals. For example, even if you get more traffic on your site through PPC, if those extra visitors don’t lead to new business or improve your bottom line, then who cares about the extra traffic? Traffic only has real value if it’s converting!

That’s why the very first thing we do is speak with the owner or manager to work out the company’s goals. And just as importantly, as mentioned above, we also want to calculate the value of those goals. Only then can we create digital marketing goals that are clearly linked to the business goals.

Goal setting is essential, especially for costly PPC campaigns, because if the ideal business outcomes aren’t closely tied to the campaign goals, problems will arise.

Stage 2: Getting clear on what the business offers

Secondly, it’s important for us to understand the products and services our clients sell. Even if you're setting up a campaign yourself, you need to make time to understand exactly what you're selling, its value and the completion goal for the digital marketing campaign.

The key is to understand this not through your own eyes, but your customer’s eyes. How do they think of your products? What value do they see in them? How do they search for your products or services? Which brings us to one of the key elements of any successful PPC campaign, keyword research.

Stage 3: Keyword research

The next step is performing in-depth keyword research. We wanted to understand exactly who their customers were and what keywords or phrases potential customers search for.

With this client, and it’s quite often the case on B2B websites, we discovered that they used specific pieces of industry jargon and language to describe their services that weren’t consistent with what their customers were searching for online. Bridging that gulf is a key step but it’s usually difficult for the client to do it themselves because they’re too close to their business and industry.

For good keyword research you need to get into the head of the ideal customer and think about what search words and phrases they use. Quite often they’re different from those used by industry professionals.

After that, we consider additional, qualifying words which potential customers may use in the search engines in combination with a typical keyword phrase. For example, words like ‘review’ or ‘where to buy’ or ‘pricing’ can be very powerful if used properly as they indicate buying intent.

You also want to make sure you’re adding negative keywords into your campaign. These are keywords you specifically don’t want your ads to appear for (words like ‘cheap’ or ‘free’ or the names of well-known competitors spring to mind).

Stage 4: Ad group relevance

The next thing we consider is what I call the holy trinity of relevance. That's the relevance between three separate, but interconnected parts of an AdWords campaign setup, within the ad group: keywords, ads, and landing pages.

Let’s consider how keywords, ads, and landing pages are connected. If someone types a keyword into a search engine, then search results and ads are displayed. We want to make sure that our ad and the keywords are very closely aligned. It’s important that the keyword is used in the ad and that the ad fully relates to the keyword or keywords used. For example, with this client, if the key phrase a potential lead entered in Google was ‘business consulting Sydney’, then the ad headline should read something like: Business Consulting in Sydney The ad would also include an offer and incentive that gets the potential client to click through to the landing page.

Similarly, we made sure the landing page and the ad were closely aligned. So if the ad reads "Free 25 Point Business Audit" and someone clicks through to the landing page, then the landing page also needs to mention the free business audit, preferably in the headline. Otherwise there’s a misalignment which can confuse people and mean that you lose their business.

Stage 5: Landing pages

We followed best practice with this client, which meant setting up specific landing pages for each ad group. Each landing page was designed and written with the relevant keywords or phrases in mind, and with a contact form or a link to a form where we could close the client by getting them to submit an enquiry or quote request, hence fulfilling the goal of this campaign.

If your goal is to get people to fill in a form, then you’ll want to develop a thank you page too. We used the thank you pages to create additional engagement by offering the option to download a relevant piece of content, such as a specially developed consulting checklist. We also added links to the client’s social media profiles. Those are easy ways to get a hot lead further engaged with the company after they’ve filled out and submitted a form, and while they wait for follow up from the company.

Stage 6: Analytics

The next step is to make sure Google Analytics and/or other analytics are set up correctly. Google Analytics is ideal because it can be set up to sync with your Google AdWords account.

You need to set up goal tracking correctly so that you can easily measure conversions. In this case, we used the goal values previously settled on for leads submitting a form.

The key with analytics is setting up specific reporting broken down by relevant segments in order to get actionable insights out of the data.

There’s a huge difference between just reporting data compared to analysing and using data.

Key dimensions that I recommend segmenting by include:

  • Geo-location (country, state or city)
  • Keywords and search terms
  • Ad copy
  • Ad groups
  • Device (desktop, tablet and mobile)

From a metrics perspective, it’s crucial to include:

  • Cost
  • Goal completions
  • Goal conversion rate
  • Revenue/value generated
  • Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS)

I’d recommend you create a report using the same metrics and dimensions as below:

Report-content

And then clone that report with whatever additional dimensions you wish to segment by – you’ll get some really useful insights as to what’s working in your campaign and what’s not. Feel free to contact me directly for some help setting up a similar report.

Stage 7: AdWords campaign setup

Now you’re ready to actually set up the AdWords campaign by creating ad groups. In this case, we made sure the ad groups were very closely related, highly targeted to our clients and narrowly defined. This ties in with what we covered in ad group relevance. So you want to ensure each ad group has only a handful of keywords and that all of them are very closely aligned.

Within each ad group we also created two different ads so we could split test them just as we did the landing pages. That way we could test which ad performed best, and kill the worse performing ad. No mercy!

Part of the set up process includes looking at ad extensions which is a way to increase the size, efficiency and quality of the ad. In this case that involved adding information like phone numbers and office locations to the ad, such as in this example:

Need-more-B2B-Leads

We also experimented with adding extra details to draw people’s attention to features and benefits on our clients’ services and extra site links to drive people to different areas of the website. For example, we found that adding links from the ad to web pages such as ‘how it works’ or ‘pricing and packages’ performed well because many potential clients didn’t have a good understanding of these aspects. That tactic definitely helped get people’s attention and improved both click through and conversion rates.

Stage 8: Ongoing optimization

The final step is ongoing optimization.  We’ve covered that previously but it’s worth remembering that new PPC campaigns should be constantly monitored and improved. Ad copy, bids, keywords, negative keywords, landing pages. The cheesy salesperson’s mantra might be “Always Be Closing”, but the digital marketer’s mantra is “Always Be Testing”.

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Additional PPC Considerations

Time frame for PPC campaigns

Time-frame

Another thing the client appreciated was that we were able to set everything up, including landing page development, in under three weeks.

I usually tell clients set up will take two to four weeks, depending on how many landing pages we need to create. Then after set up is complete and the PPC ad campaign launches, optimisation continues throughout the life of the campaign.

 

Creating an efficient system for optimising campaigns

We worked on a weekly routine with this client keeping a close eye on a few key elements. Warning, this next bit is about to get a little bit technical:

Negative keywords - Monitoring negative keywords reduces ad spend and increases the value of the campaign by eliminating unwanted clicks. As mentioned previously, negative keywords are keywords you do not want your ad to appear for. I’ll use a software company as another example here, where people might look for free, hacked or cracked versions of the software. In that case you’d make ‘free’, ‘hacked’ and ‘cracked’ negative keywords because people who are using those words probably aren’t going to become paying customers so the ad spend would be wasted on them. Negative keywords – use them!

ProTipBookWhen you’re doing your keyword research, after creating one list of all the keywords you want to target, use keyword planner to then go through and create a list of all the keywords to add into your negative keyword list.

Keyword match type - We set up phrase match, broad match and modified broad match (see image below for an explanation of the match types) for the keywords so we could analyse them and see which exact keyword search queries our ads appeared for, and how many people clicked on them. That allowed us to understand which search phrases or specific keywords weren’t efficient and weren’t giving a good ROI. Then we could add them as negative keywords so the ads didn’t appear for them in the future. Again, this made the campaign leaner and more efficient as time went on.

Keyword-match-type

Adjusting bids - We started the campaign with blanket bids to give us a broad overview of the options. Then we adjusted bids to include keywords which were only profitable below a certain threshold. As a hypothetical example you might find that a key phrase like “small business consulting” is not profitable at $5 but, if you're only bidding $2, it becomes profitable. So you can adjust the bid in line with your profit threshold.

We also saw that some key phrases were still profitable even at bids of $10 or more and ramped those up because, even though the cost per click was higher, they still drove traffic that converts at a profitable rate.

Keywords - As the campaign ran, we cut some keywords and added others to expand the range of keywords and reach a wider audience. This proved to be pivotal by helping the company spot new opportunities and create new services which increased their profits significantly.

Ad groups - When we used phrase match we noticed some keywords that hadn't originally been considered were getting a lot of traffic. So we created new ad groups because those keywords had enough traffic and search volume to justify their own ad copy and corresponding landing pages.

Split or AB testing - I mentioned before we constantly tested two ad group variations against each other to see which one was most successful. Then, when a winning variation had been reached, we could simply pause the lower performing ad group and add a new ad to test against that new baseline.

Just be aware that a PPC campaign isn’t a one off action, it’s definitely not a set-and-forget activity. You need to split test both ad variations and landing pages thoroughly and watch everything outlined above on a regular basis to keep optimising the campaign.

Google Analytics and other tools

Google Analytics was our main tool because it integrates seamlessly with any Google Ad campaign. It’s also robust, offers good functionality and is free.

We also used a few other analytics tools in the campaign. Inspectlet is a user session recording tool which allowed us to track and monitor, amongst other things, the activities of people coming to the site. Inspectlet creates a screen recording, so you can see exactly where visitors click on a site.

Crazy Egg, another heat mapping and click tracking tool, and Optimizely, which is useful for split testing landing pages, were also useful. Optimizely helped us edit and change landing pages quickly and easily so we could split test them again against our baseline fast.

Working as a team

I mentioned that we worked closely with the company owner but we also helped make sure the marketing and sales processes were connected and that those teams were speaking with each other constantly.

If there’s a disconnect the campaign can quickly fall to pieces, and creating strong connections between the different areas makes everything run more smoothly. We worked hard to make sure marketing and sales were in agreement with each other on every aspect of the campaign, in particular what a good quality lead looks like.

Opening your mind to digital marketing opportunities

I was lucky because this business owner spotted an opportunity in the digital space and he was willing to fully commit. Instead of running scared because we were competing against big, established players in a competitive field, we found a way to compete with them on an equal footing through online marketing.

That’s how a small, new company with no contacts or networks stole a lucrative share of its industry market.

Opening-Your-MindThrough a combination of good teamwork, communication and perseverance we uncovered a client base that chose our client because they wanted responsive service, sound advice and reasonable pricing.

The online space is perfectly aligned for smaller or newer B2B businesses because established companies often focus on offline marketing (such as trade shows and events) and often aren’t able to be as flexible or responsive in their digital marketing.

I love helping smaller, nimble businesses build a strong online focus to compete against industry giants and win. The digital marketing space is a great equaliser and opportunities still abound for business owners who can embrace it.

I’ve worked with B2B businesses in a range of industries and am always amazed by the opportunities that exist once you start looking into them. Digital marketing is especially powerful for B2B because B2B businesses have been slower to embrace digital than B2C which means there’s still a ton of untapped potential.

If you have a good offer and smooth sales process, you can pick up a lot of business quite quickly, as this case study has shown.

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The final word: 7 key tips for PPC campaigns

Get informed

Digital marketing and PPC campaigns can feel daunting to many business owners. It's a whole new technical world so that’s a barrier to entry for many people. So my first recommendation is to educate yourself.

The good news is, whether you plan to set up your online campaigns yourself, hire someone to do the job in house, or bring in an agency or consultant, you don't have to become an expert. The important thing to know is what best practice looks like. Fortunately there are endless resources out there to help you get clued up so you know if your PPC expert is doing a good job or not.

Unfortunately, I've seen way too many poor Google AdWords set ups that cost people a lot of money and failed to get ROI. Those experiences make people think PPC doesn't work for their business, industry or clients. It’s true that PPC may not always be the dream solution, but I've yet to come across a B2B industry where I don't think there's opportunity for it to work.

Set goals

Secondly, to emphasise something I’ve previously mentioned, always work out your goals before you start a PPC campaign. You absolutely have to know what you're trying to achieve and know the value of leads for your business.

You need to make sure your objectives and goals are measurable too. It’s not enough to have a vague goal like wanting to “grow the business”, because if you sign one new customer, then technically you've achieved your goal. It’s much more powerful to set concrete goals you can track such as "generate 200 new leads through PPC next year" or "grow the business to $1 million in online revenue in the next 12 months".

Do your research

The next step is doing careful research so you know:

  • What your customers and prospects are looking for;
  • What they're typing into Google search;
  • Who your customers and prospects are, for example by creating buyer personas;
  • What your competitors are doing.

Sizing up your competitors is always a good way to outline your own digital campaign. You'll either notice things they're doing very well or see things they're doing poorly. There's an immediate opportunity for you to cherry pick the smartest tactics and avoid or improve on the things they do poorly.

One easy thing to check is if competitor’s keywords, ad copy and landing pages are aligned. If not there’s probably a good opportunity to improve on what they’re doing right there. You’ll always learn a lot through research so spend as much time as possible on it.

Start small

I also recommend B2B businesses start small. You don't need to start with a huge campaign including hundreds of keywords, ad groups and landing pages. Start with a handful of keywords that you can easily manage, track and tweak. Start with a couple of ads and just one landing page but be sure to test each individual part of the campaign. Taking things one step at a time and starting small will make PPC easier to begin with.

Stay relevant

Always remember the holy trinity of relevance in the keywords, ad copy and landing page. Reread stage 4: ad group relevance if you’re not clear on this and make sure those three elements are very closely aligned. Never compromise on that.

Track and measure

Track and measure everything! It's important to collect the data, even if you're not using it or can’t understand it to begin with. If you haven’t got the data then you can’t analyse it which means you can’t optimise your campaign.

Learn how to read and understand the data because it will tell you exactly when to increase or decrease bids so you save money, increase your ROI and create a successful campaign.

Keep making improvements

Never let your campaign stagnate or run on without checking the data, creating new tests and improving on the results. Keep testing different adwords, keywords, ad texts, landing pages and offers.

If you're not getting better results six months down the line than you did in the first month, you're doing something wrong. No PPC campaign is ever perfect on launch. You need to set it up, optimise it, improve it, improve on it again, and keep improving it.

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The future of PPC

No one knows what the future holds but I’ve been in the digital marketing industry for over 10 years and I’m constantly following the latest news and developments. Things do change but the essential elements of a good PPC campaign have stayed the same.

These are the key steps we used for this client and they’re the same for most of our B2B clients. It’s not rocket science, but it is a proven way to create and run a PPC campaign with an excellent ROI.

Everything I’ve outlined above shows you exactly how we took this business from no online income to an annual income of over $1 million dollars a year through their online channels.

Yes, the company does other online marketing like search engine optimisation and building incoming links as everyone should, but 90% of their sales in their first year came directly through PPC advertising with Google AdWords.

Sounds good? If it worked for this B2B business, even in a very niche and conservative industry, there’s a strong chance a PPC campaign could give your business a major boost.

Future-Of-PPC
Internet marketing is still growing and there are endless opportunities for small and medium-sized B2B companies to follow best practice and drive profitable leads through PPC. This case study didn’t happen through good luck and it’s definitely not our only big success story.

There’s no doubt that if you want to be an industry leader and exploit a proven way of creating online income you’ll love PPC as much as this client does.

About Digital Rhinos

Digital Rhinos is a digital marketing agency specialising in helping medium-sized (20-500 employees) B2B companies.

To find out more about how digital marketing and PPC campaigns like Google AdWords will improve your business get in touch now. Or phone us today on 1800 26 21 24 because the sooner you start your PPC campaign, the sooner you’ll see the benefits.

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