How to Boost your Inbound Marketing Results with PPC

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Picture of Kim Walowsky Kim Walowsky

Published: 17 Apr 2013

5 minutes read

How to Boost your Inbound Marketing Results with PPC

If you are looking at speeding up results and have a little budget left for PPC, you should really consider it. Whilst purist inbound marketers may ruffle their noses, it has proven to be one of the most effective means of driving traffic and converting leads at the initial stages of implementing your inbound marketing strategy.

We are all aiming at attracting relevant, organic search traffic to our website, but it can take time and that is exactly what we don’t have a lot of...

Long-tail – what’s wrong with having a shorter tail?

Now, everybody is talking about long-tail, which plays a big part in you content strategy. It very much determines everything you do. Why?

It basically reflects what your prospects are looking for before they made up their mind what they want to buy = your opportunity to persuade them that your solution is the best…

Long-tail (also referred as long-tail keywords or long-tail search phrases) are basically phrases people use in search engines like Google that are more than 2 words long.

Right, here is a brief example to get you used to long-tail and demonstrate my point. It is a B2C example to simplify the exercise, but applies to B2B all the same:

Assume your neighbours keep you awake at night. Not only could you be jealous, because they have a life and us poor B2Bers work day & night, but it’s becoming a problem that is really starting to annoy you. Your best friend could be a Sound Engineer, who would be able to point you to the ‘right’ solution, but let’s assume you don’t have any sound engineering friends for now. What do you do?

If you are like 70% of B2Bers you will most likely start your buying journey online using a search engine like Google. So what would you be looking for? Maybe “How do I soundproof a room” or you may be looking for a budget solution and type “Soundproofing room cheap” or “Soundproofing a Room DIY.” The search results will provide you with a mixture of solutions to your noisy neighbours, including;

  • consultants who can assess the problem and recommend the best solution
  • suppliers of different materials used for soundproofin
  • videos running you through a specific soundproofing process; and
  • many more…

What’s my point...? Like with many complex B2B purchase decisions, the decision maker often experiences a problem that can be solved by many different type of solutions. Your best chance of generating a quality lead online is starting to influence their decision this early on. You ask how…? It’s the job your salesman or women would have done years back …simply help them on their journey towards a solution… Like in the past, if you do it well, you have a guaranteed spot on their short-list.

Why long-tail?

If arriving the above argument has not convinced you about taking a long-tail approach to your inbound marketing strategy the following facts might:

  1. 70% of search traffic (that is the kind of key phrases people used in search engines to find their way to a website) is long-tail. People are simply getting more experienced and subsequently more targeted with their searches (particularly in B2B) so this is not really that much of a surprise. 
  2. Long-tail keywords are cheaper than their short-tail counter-parts.
  3. You often also find a lot less competition with long-tail key phrases (one of the reasons why they are generally cheaper…see point 2), which can make them very cost-effective (particularly in B2B)

It reflects people’s search behaviour, it’s cheaper and you have less competition… do you really need any more convincing?

Okay, now that we roughly know what long-tail is and why it is important, let’s move on to thinking about your PPC campaign.

PPC Ingredients – what do I need?

The recipe to a successful PPC campaign starts with the following ingredients

  • a Landing Page – some content you want to promote. Ideally a landing page that you can use to capture some details. Like this one »
  • your Long-tail Key Phrases – think about the issues your prospects are facing and what they would search for when looking for a solution
  • Some Ads – these are the ones you find on the search engine results page or SERP highlighted below



Finding your long-tail keywords

Right … we roughly know what types of key phrases we are aiming for at this point and that pretty much is as good as it gets I’m afraid. Most searches for these long tail keywords are relatively low, which means that your free tools like the Google’s keyword tool don’t report on them. So how do you know you are using the right ones? Here are a few tips that stop you from running completely blind:

  1. Really understand your prospects – you need to understand the language they use when they are searching for solutions. Are they looking for “soundproofing solutions” or “noise minimisation solutions” or “how to deal with noisy neighbours.” It may be a mixture of these. Here are a few ways you can find out what they may be:
    • speak to your existing customers – what would they be looking for or event better… what were they looking before they became your customer
    • have a look around the web – I would be surprised if you were not able to find at least a handful of web communities and LinkedIn Groups that are focussed on your solution category. Scan them to find out what language they use or start a discussion yourself to find out
    • just give it a go – don’t hold off because you don’t have a lot of empirical data to hold your hand. Just set up your ads and monitor how well your key-phrases are performing. Remember … it’s PPC (…short for pay per click). If nobody is using your key phrase, your ads won’t trigger and you don’t pay.
  2. Use predictive search in Google – Google introduced predictive search some time ago and it basically pre-empts what you may be looking for when you start typing your search into the search box. Here is an example where I started searching for “how to sound…” and as you can see; Google suggests what I may be looking for. These ‘predictions’ are based on people’s actual search behaviour so are the closest you get to evidence using free tools.

Writing your Ads

Now that you have your long-tail keywords, we are ready to write some ads for them. Here are a few tips:

  • Have a quick look around the web to check out the competition. Just use your chosen key phrases and have a look at what ads and organic listings appear (organic are the ones that are not paid for (see the screenshot that highlights the paid for ads and by process of elimination you will see which ones the organic ads are)
  • Keep thinking about your prospect - give your prospects a good reason to click on your ad. You will find that the competition is quite fierce, but don’t get too worried – you can re-write your ads if you don’t get many click-throughs and conversions or just add a few more to test which one is working best. Remember it’s PPC...
  • Follow the magic formula – if you are writing ads for Google Search and Google’s Search Network (the most popular search engine in the UK), you need to consider the structure of your ads – the number of words you can use is not limitless. To keep things simple, we are going to look at simple text ads for now.



Setting up your campaign

If you have made it this far, you have tackled the hard bit, the rest process … Simply set up a Google Adwords Account and let the Google walk you through the set up. They provide a lot of helpful tutorials, videos, help documents and even have an active Adwords Community .
When setting up your campaign, you also need to consider your landing page. Our blog 10 Tips for using B2B landing pages to generate leads gives you a lot more detail on (as the title suggests) creating effective landing pages for lead generation. For our PPC campaign, I am focussing on the more technical side of the set-up that will allow you to measure your results more effectively (see next section).

If your landing pages have been set up solely for your PPC campaign you can simply use the full web address, ie.: However, if this landing page attracts visitors from other sources (eg., can be accessed via your website or has been promoted in emails) you need to either set up another landing page or a separate web address (URL) This is so you can measure the effectiveness of your PPC better by isolating it from all other approaches. If you access to your website’s content management system (CMS) website you should be able to do this yourself. If not, speak to whoever built your website.

PS: It would be time to move your website to a CMS based website – you will find it increasingly difficult to compete if you can’t create new pages and tweak your content on the fly... get in touch – we may be able to help you!

Measuring results

Okay, we are up and running, but how are we getting on…? This step may appear as the last one in this blog, but I am afraid to say that creating an effective campaign requires a cyclical approach not linear one … There are two reasons you are ‘measuring results’: You want to:

  1. find out how your campaign is performing – ideally against some goals you have set in your marketing strategy
  2. improve the campaign and get better at what you are doing

Let’s start with number 1. Your Google Adword Account will show you the number of clicks each ad has attracted and how many times it appeared in searches (impressions), but that is only part of the story… You ideally want to know how much the PPC campaign is contributing to your bottom line. This is quite difficult, particularly for B2B products & services with long sales cycles and assuming that you possibly use some other approaches to promote your offer. Approach attribution and reporting transparency is one of the main challenges B2B marketer face globally so don’t feel so alone...

You are not getting away that easily though – budgets are tight and you need to make sure you get a decent chunk of it next time around...

It is possible to apply some relative attribution to approaches, based on how they deliver towards the bottom line. But you need quite a sophisticated system architecture … this is getting a bit technical, but if you’re interested: the system architecture would need to allow you to gain transparency on the entirety of prospect interactions before the sale is made and ideally their live time value. It could consist of a Marketing Automation Tool like Hubspot, a CRM and possibly a financial/accounting package.

I assume that if you are still reading, you, like many other B2B marketers don’t have this type of ideal system in place. So let’s continue with some tips on how we can move beyond reporting on clicks without such system:

  • Make sure your website & landing pages have Google Analytics installed. This is a simple piece of code that you can get by signing up here » You may need to contact the people who have built your website to get the code installed
  • Connect your Google Analytics Account to your AdWords Account (the one you set up earlier) – you can find some help on how to do thishere »

If you have never used Google Analytics - Mashable posted a really good article about how to get started with Google Analytics here »

You will have to familiarise yourself with the tool a little, but once you get going you will find it quite straight-forward. Google Analytics reports on a wide range of variables, including:

  • Visitors - the traffic to your landing page 
  • Exit Pages - where did visitors go after they arrived on my PPC landing page?
  • Bounce Rates - visitors who exited your website after they viewed your landing page.

All this data give you a good basis for making tweaks to the campaign. Once you get familiar with extracting that data, you can get more sophisticated and use click-path analysis, conversion tracking and search funnel reporting.

I hope this article is useful. Good luck with your campaign & feel free to get in touch if you are looking at PPC as part of a broader marketing strategy. We may be able to put the pieces together for you…

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