Ishtiaque Hossain, Marketing Analytics & Audience Insights Specialist, ADA
Generating B2B leads can be challenging for any industry, but it can be especially confounding in a highly technical industry where you are selling an innovative/disruptive product no one is familiar with.
Late last year (2019), a new player in the enterprise software business came to ADA with a challenge: they needed quality B2B leads, and they needed them yesterday!
Our objective was pretty straightforward: To generate leads for a enterprise class data product created from proprietary consumer data and generate B2B enterprise class leads from the retail industry.
So far, they had tried the traditional routes, going to tech seminars and expos across South East Asia, which proved to be resource intensive. They wanted a more budget friendly way of generating interest, and they wanted it to be effective at the same time. Which narrowed down our option to a paid search campaign. You may or may not know this, but 80% of B2B business clients start their product hunt with a simple search query. Aside from LinkedIn, which can be prohibitively expensive, a search campaign can be your best bet in any B2B situation.
From our own analysis of B2B search campaigns we’ve run for similar solutions, we knew that search is the way to go for more affluent countries like Singapore and Malaysia, while social proves to be more effective for less digitally mature countries, like Bangladesh and Indonesia. We decided to launch the lead generation campaign via Google Paid Search Ads, and ran them across our clients’ target regions; namely the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
The Philippines is somewhere in-between, so we really didn’t know what was going to happen until we ran the campaign. Especially for a relatively new product, the market has never seen before.
The results were surprising, to say the least.
Turns out, the Philippines is a far more search friendly country than its neighbours. Here’s a breakdown of total traffic from each country via Google Paid Search campaign.
But the chart above might simply be the result of a higher population. So, let’s delve a bit deeper.
Proportionally speaking, the Philippines traffic from the search campaign outperformed traffic from all other sources. Let’s compare this with the performance of other countries.
In Malaysia, organic and direct traffic sources still outperform Google paid search. The same goes for Singapore and Thailand respectively:
While Thailand does get a decent amount of traffic from paid search, it is still not disproportionately as large as the Philippines.
But traffic alone, doesn’t signify anything. Let’s look at the results. How many leads did we generate from our search campaign in December?
We see the Thailand campaign is the cheapest, but also one of the poorest performing. Same goes for Singapore, which is more expensive and the poorest performing. The Philippines and Malaysia generated 6 and 7 leads respectively, with similar costs incurred. While the Malaysia campaign resulted in one extra lead, the Philippines campaign actually generated more sales qualified leads (leads, which in the client’s definition were viable and ready to purchase).
So, there you go, the proof is in the pudding!
Now that we know that the Philippines is a lucrative country to for B2B lead generation via search campaigns, how do we take this forward? Here’s what you need to run a powerful data-driven search campaign that is effective and has justifiable return on your investment. By justifiable return, we mean actual sales qualified leads, not vanity metrics like empty clicks and impressions.
Analyse your Google Analytics data and find out what kind of organic searches are leading people to your website. This should give you a general idea of where you stand. Also, look at the keyword planner in Google Ads module to find out which keywords are relevant for your website. Organic search is a good indication of how well suited your website currently is for a paid search campaign. For example, if you are selling designer footwear, but your website doesn’t show up for any relevant searches on designer footwear, you are doing something wrong. You might not have enough content, or you might have the wrong sort of content. For example, a tech company that published a very verbose and well-sourced article on design thinking, may turn up for searches on design thinking, but unless they have any content that actually talks about their solutions, it would do poorly on a paid search campaign. Your landing page needs to have quality content that is relevant to what you are selling.
You don’t want to go into a search campaign with a landing page that has a high bounce rate. A high bounce rate is an indicator that something is not right. In many cases, the page loading speed is so slow that people give up before it loads. In other instances, the content might not be relevant, poorly written, or simply does not hold people’s interests.
Copywriting for search ads is different from traditional copywriting, where play on words and double meanings are rewarded. When it comes to search, copywriting must: be straight to the point; contain hard numbers and metrics, like “Experience 20% increase in foot traffic”, or “280 million consumer data points for persona building”; will always do better than lines such as “Leading Digital Marketing Agency with Many Years of Experience”. Show your numbers, tell them why you think you are the market leader.
It’s important to make sure that the words used in your search ad copy are also present in your landing page. You don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention, because that makes your overall ad score plummet and eventually, your ads stop delivering.
After deploying the campaign you must run analytics to see if you are attracting the right (or wrong) sort of traffic. Look at indicators like average time on page, pages per session, and bounce rate. Look at the actual search queries (not just the keywords you have set) and figure out if the searches are relevant.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say a keyword that you are bidding on is “ad agency”. But your ad is being triggered for the search query “ad agency jobs”. If you are trying to attract customers, not employees, then you’d better add “job” as a negative keyword.
There are many more intricacies and nuances to digital marketing via Google paid search, and results might vary in different industries for the same four countries. But the four steps we mentioned above cover the basics. If you want to go more in-depth, with the aid of seasoned professionals, don’t hesitate to contact us!