Finding the right B2B advertising strategies for your company can be challenging, but tailoring your approach from the beginning can help improve ROI.
Although there is no exact template for B2B advertising success, you can maximize your chances by experimenting and taking a focused approach. For instance, companies in a niche market looking to reach specific players may find it useful to focus on strategies that help build relationships with quality leads. For larger companies with brand recognition, promoting a new product or a rebrand refresh may take precedence over lead generation.
Drawing from experience, we’ve compiled a general guide to help you tailor your company’s B2B ad strategy to your specific needs and goals.
Steps to Making B2B Digital Advertising Work for Your Company:
1. Set clear business objectives for your campaign.
Before deciding what channels and platforms to invest in, determine the goals for your ad campaign. This may seem obvious, but successful B2B campaigns begin with clear, focused objectives. The strategies and channels you invest in could vary widely depending on your goals: are you generating leads to support your sales strategy, attempting to build relationships in a new industry, or planning to launch a new product?
For instance, targeted outreach on LinkedIn may be ideal for building relationships and pursuing leads, but might not be as effective if you’re looking to generate brand awareness. Retargeting existing customers makes sense if you’ve undergone a brand refresh, but you’ll want to cast a much wider net if you are seeking to reach a broader audience or expand into a new market.
2. Figure out your budget constraints.
As much as we hate to admit it, budget is king. Your ad budget may vary based on the size of your organization, your budget from last year, your company’s outlook for the coming year, and how much your leadership prioritizes marketing initiatives. Your budget will likely dictate how much you can accomplish, but most ad budgets – when used wisely – can generate great results. The key is to ensure that you’re applying your budget in a way that creates maximum return on investment and that aligns closely with your core priorities.
3. Determine your audience.
Identifying and segmenting your audience will help give your strategy focus. You can choose to segment your audience based on demographics, the level of interest they have expressed in your brand or company, or the interest they have expressed in similar products.
We segment audiences because most companies are looking to appeal to more than one “buyer persona,” and different personas act differently online. A broad-strokes ad strategy may appeal to one buyer persona, but with the digital advertising technology available to us, there’s no need to leave other personas out.
Once you’ve segmented your audience, you can decide how best to allocate your ad spend, and across which channels. For example, LinkedIn’s InMail is a great tool for reaching veteran industry professionals at large organizations, but if your audience is millennial business owners, you may want to branch out into Instagram advertising. The mix of channels – and how much you spend on each channel – will depend on your business goals and the audiences you’re focusing on at any given time.
4. Research your industry and close competitors.
Your competitors are one of the best resources you have when determining what works — and doesn’t work —in your industry, so do some research. When you visit a competitor’s site, do you start to see display ads on other websites you visit? Has your competition purchased ads on key search terms in your industry?
This exercise serves you in more than one way; you can find opportunities for your own business based on what your competitors aren’t doing. If a competitor hasn’t bought ads for a key search term, that’s an opening for you.
5. Thoroughly vet digital advertising platforms and tools based on your audience, budget, and objectives:
The good news for B2B advertisers is that you have more channels for digital ads available to you than ever before. The bad news is – that freedom of choice can be overwhelming. Before diving into the world of digital ads, look closely at your options and determine what makes the most sense based on your audience, budget, and creative capabilities.
Below, we’ve outlined a few of the most popular digital advertising channels:
Display ads: These are the ads you see as you browse your favorite websites on the internet. You can buy them through Google or directly from your favorite publishers, and ad units come in a variety of sizes. You can use static images, GIFs, or even coded HTML ads to achieve varying levels of sophistication and impact – and to meet your budget needs.
Video ads: Video ads are similar to display, but on video platforms like YouTube. Video is a great choice for brand awareness or product-specific ads. Although video ads are significantly more expensive than image or text ads, you only need to make a few, and each ad will be significantly more effective.
Paid search: These are the ads you see when you search for something on Google, Bing, or another search engine. Like display ads, most competitive search offerings are pay-per-click (PPC), making them a great gateway for companies that are new to digital advertising.
Social media platforms: While social media engagement is unlikely to be your primary channel for B2B sales, it can play an important role in generating leads and building relationships: 75% of B2B buyers report using social media in their decision-making process. When considering which platforms are right for you, consider the style constraints, audience, and purpose of each. You may not end up using all of them.
- Twitter: Paid media targeting available by location, hashtag and more; audience skews younger but can reach important industry influencers.
- Facebook: Enormous audience with highly specific targeting capabilities; great for reaching older audiences.
- LinkedIn: Allows you to target advertising by business name, title, industry, and more, as well as reach a wider range of ages.
- Instagram: Audience skews younger than other social media platforms; an excellent channel for reaching millennial audiences; leverages Facebook’s exceptional targeting capabilities.
- Other social media platforms (Reddit, TikTok, etc.): Less popular, but could be right for you depending on your audience and your goals.
Improving ROI for B2B advertising takes time, and you might need to experiment and A/B test to find the right combination of channels and strategies that deliver results. If you would like to learn more about B2B digital ads, we welcome you to contact us.