16 PPC B2B Lead Generation Tactics to Set Your Marketing on Fire
What is a new lead worth to your business? If you're like most B2B companies, the answer could be tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.
The problem, though, is that gaining new leads is a challenging exercise for B2B firms. Apart from the problem of limited budgets and lengthy sales cycles, the B2B buying landscape has changed dramatically in the past three years. Digital is the new trend, and many companies feel they need to be equipped to compete in this landscape.
But the good news is with the right tactics and strategies, it's possible to generate leads effectively through PPC advertising. PPC B2B lead generation offers an affordable and effective way to gain marketing leads with near-immediate business results.
In this article, we'll discuss 16 PPC B2B lead generation tactics to help set your marketing on fire. From remarketing to ad scheduling and negative keywords, we'll cover a range of strategies to help you attract better leads and grow your business.
What is B2B lead generation?
B2B lead generation is how companies that sell to other businesses gain new customers. It includes everything you would do to identify, attract, and nurture potential customers for your business. The ultimate goal of B2B lead generation is to convert leads into buyers.
B2B lead generation can take many forms, including online and offline marketing efforts, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, trade shows, and networking events. Companies can also generate leads in various ways, including by offering helpful content, freebies, and lead magnets and placing search engine or social media ads.
B2B companies need to prioritize lead generation. Gaining new customers isn't just a way to earn more revenue - it's one of the few sustainable ways to grow the business and achieve greater market share.
However, it can be challenging for companies to do this, partly because lead generation isn't a walk in the park. But another reason is the changing nature of B2B sales.
The evolving B2B sales landscape
Traditionally, B2B sales have always occurred through physical mediums. Before 2020, there was a clear playbook - hit industry hot spots, demonstrate your product, build a network of potential buyers and feed them into your slow-burner sales pipeline. In-person product demos at the offices of potential clients and negotiations over lunch were the norm.
But 2020 happened, and that playbook got (mostly) thrown out of the window. Lockdown mandates and an upside-down supply chain meant buyers needed to find new sourcing options quickly. To solve this, most turned to online options for their procurement needs.
With the pandemic (mostly) over, it's natural to expect things would return to how they were, right? Wrong, they didn't. Today's B2B shoppers are more comfortable online than ever before. As McKinsey reports, 70% of B2B decision-makers now prefer to interact with sellers remotely or via digital self-service.
While buyers are now firmly online, the B2B companies that used to court them in person are still trying to pivot their marketing efforts to a digital reality. Consequently, 85% of B2B marketers admit that lead generation is their number one challenge.
Thankfully, tools and strategies are available to find this new breed of buyers where they live online and pull them into your sales pipeline. Let's see how PPC B2B lead generation can help achieve this.
What is PPC B2B lead generation?
PPC advertising is one of the means available for B2B companies to generate more (and better) leads. It is a type of online advertising where businesses pay a fee every time a prospective buyer clicks on their ad.
PPC B2B lead generation is an alternative to organic lead generation. While organic lead generation depends on attracting new buyers through tactics like content marketing, email marketing, or search engine optimization (SEO), PPC offers a faster way to generate the same leads with far less effort.
How it works is you begin by defining the ideal customer you want to see the ads. Then you'll target specific keywords and phrases that are relevant to the product or service you're selling.
When potential buyers search for those phrases, they will see your ads and click on them. Then you can get to work on collecting their information and convincing them to buy your product or service.
Because it delivers speedy results, PPC advertising can be an excellent option if you're still finding your way around organic lead generation. It's also a great way to launch new products, start your new business, or add something different to your marketing strategy.
Benefits of PPC ads for B2B companies
PPC advertising plays a vital role in B2B lead generation. You can use PPC campaigns to target specific demographics, locations, and interests, making it easy to reach the most relevant audience.
They are also highly measurable, cost-effective, and provide quick results that immediately impact your bottom line. Here's a roundup of PPC B2B lead generation's key benefits.
- Target the exact audience you're after: PPC campaigns let you drive leads that impact your bottom line. You can display ads to those who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.
- Secure better quality leads: PPC lead generation also helps secure qualified leads that want to buy right now. You can target prospects with high buyer intent, ensuring that your ROI figures maintain a healthy outlook.
- Supercharge short-term lead gen efforts: Need more time to plan and execute an organic lead generation plan? No problem. With PPC B2B lead generation, you can boost marketing results immediately and set the foundation for a long-term strategy.
- Tailor-made for B2B marketing: PPC ads can boost brand awareness by up to 140%, making them a perfect means to spread the word about your company. It also offers the highest ROI of any digital marketing strategy.
- Stay on track and budget: PPC campaigns are easy to track and measure, so you can see which tactics are working and adjust accordingly. It also helps you keep a firm eye on your budget and improve your return on investment.
In summary, PPC can be the spark you need to jumpstart your lead-generation efforts. Next, we'll discuss how to apply PPC to your B2B marketing effectively.
16 strategies for effective PPC B2B lead generation
While PPC is a brilliant way to get more B2B leads, it can be easy to get wrong. Done well, PPC B2B advertising can help you attract top-quality leads. But it can also have the opposite effect when implemented improperly, costing you money and time and producing little results.
If you find yourself in a position where your B2B PPC advertising needs to be fixed, the following tactics can help. Let's dive into these 16 PPC strategies you can implement to improve the quantity and quality of your B2B leads.
1. Start with the end goal
It sounds obvious, but it bears stating that you should only begin PPC lead generation with the end goal. You'd be surprised how many B2B firms dive head first into buying search ads, then ask questions later. Instead, ask questions first and create a plan of action.
You should start by asking: What do we intend to achieve? What is the end goal? Of course, the ultimate goal might differ depending on your unique business objectives and plans. For instance, these are some common goals B2B companies look to achieve with their PPC lead gen.
- Create awareness about a specific product or service
- Improve the number and quality of leads visiting the company's web pages
- Generate a healthy sales pipeline across the business
- Market a new service or product offering to a specific target market
- Overhaul your sales pipeline to cater to a newly digital customer base
Whatever your reasons for deciding on PPC advertising, your first step should be to define those goals clearly.
When you've done this, your next task is to determine what needs to happen for the goal to happen. Ask yourself:
- How many leads do I need to reach a good level of awareness for my business?
- What would a digitally-native sales pipeline look like?
- What kind of conversion rates should my business target with higher-quality leads?
With the end goal in mind and an outline of what you need to get there, you're better equipped to make the most of your lead-gen efforts.
2. Do some groundwork
After determining your ultimate lead generation goal, you should ask next: what type of leads do I want to attract?
As marketing guru Neil Patel notes, one of the main causes of poor PPC B2B lead generation results is improper targeting. Not being clear on your target audience, what they do, and why they need your product can frustrate your lead generation efforts.
Therefore, it's vital to be crystal clear on who your ideal customer is. Hubspot advises that creating a Buyer Persona is a great way to find out your prime customer. Here's what it looks like:
You should consider the interests of your ideal customer in creating the Buyer Persona. For instance, what publications do they like? What companies or individuals influence them? What internet communities do they spend time in? It's also a good approach to consider where they work, their industry, and potential company size.
With the Buyer Persona, you can gather better information to refine your ad campaign so that the right prospects see your ads. The information can also help improve the copy on your ads and landing pages, giving you the right tools to attract quality leads.
3. Conduct keyword research
Keyword research involves identifying and analyzing specific terms or phrases that potential customers use when searching for products like yours. For example, suppose you sell beanie bags. Keyword research could show that sellers are currently interested in "leather beanie bags."
This way, you get a unique opportunity to peep into your audience's minds, understand their search behavior, and create campaigns that effectively reach them. There are many tools you can use to conduct keyword research, both free and paid. Ahrefs, Semrush, Ubersuggest, and Google Trends are great options.
Google Keyword Planner is an especially useful option because Google created it to support their search ads offering. Facebook Ads also has a helpful keyword tool that you can employ for your research.
A great way to make the most of keyword research is to target search terms that are ultra-specific to your product or service. For instance, you can target long-tail keywords - search terms with three or more words - to drill down into your audience. "Used beanie bag price in Sydney" is an example of a long-tail keyword.
Apart from ensuring you're reaching the right audience, long-tail keywords also help manage your PPC expense. They'll help you avoid clicks from low-intent prospects.
4. Design the marketing campaign
Once you've determined the keywords you'd like to rank for, you're ready to design your marketing campaign. A marketing campaign is a detailed plan showing the platforms, methods, and activities involved in reaching your lead generation end goal.
It identifies what platforms you want to run the PPC ads on, what types of ads you're interested in employing, and how long you expect the campaign to run.
Speaking about types of PPC ads, there are several to pick from.
- Search ads
- Display ads
- Remarketing ads
- Video ads
- Shopping ads
- Social media ads
Think carefully about the platforms where you place the ads, as this will depend on the spaces where your target audience spends their time online. For instance, if they do a lot of searches for keywords related to your products, placing search ads, like Google Ads, could be a great idea.
But if they also use social media often, you'll need to figure out which social media platforms they spend the most time on. From Facebook Ads to LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter, most major social media platforms offer some form of PPC advertising.
5. Create ad groups
If your company has multiple target audiences, and you intend to target more than one of them, using ad groups can help. Ad groups can also allow you to focus on specific products, services, or audience segments.
An ad group is a collection of related ads with the same keywords, targeting, and budget. You'll use them to tailor your messaging, create and test various ad variations, and even use geotargeting - a way to serve PPC ads to only prospects in a specific region.
Think about creating ad groups around the following:
- Product/service: You can bid for keywords around your product catalog.
- Target industry: Where your products or services apply across various industry verticals, you can optimize for, say, your five biggest industry customer groups.
- Brand/competitors: Take a swipe at the competition by using their name or keyword in your ad copy so your company shows up in a search for their name.
- Geographic location: For B2B companies with stores in multiple locations, it's a good idea to serve ads for the store's location. That's because local searches have an insane conversion rate - 80% of local searches done on mobile result in a sale.
6. Write compelling ad copy
After you've done all the work to research great keywords and create a great marketing campaign, it would be a shame to spoil it with poor ad copy. It's critical to spend time developing and refining your ad copy so it's fit for purpose.
But that begs the question: what makes great ad copy? There are a few key factors to watch out for:
- Relevance: Great ad copy is relevant to the target audience and their needs. It directly addresses the problem that your product or service solves.
- Focus on benefits: It introduces and describes your products in terms of their benefits, not just their features. It tells prospects how you solve their problem.
- Unique value proposition: It communicates what sets your company apart and why your service/product is better than others.
- Call to action: It has a clear and compelling call to action that encourages the prospect to take the next step.
- Branding: It reflects your brand personality, reinforces your brand identity, and gives prospects a glimpse into what it's like to work with you.
In addition, your ad copy should be concise and memorable. But resist the urge to dumb it down. Remember you're trying to attract leads who are genuinely interested in your product, not just anyone that thinks what you do looks cool. So, keep your copy at a level anyone operating in that industry would easily understand.
7. Optimize your landing pages
Landing pages are a crucial part of a successful PPC ad campaign. They are designed to maximize every ad click you receive and convert traffic into valuable leads. If you aren't employing landing pages to complement your PPC strategy, that has to change pronto.
Although building dedicated landing pages can be tasking, it's guaranteed to achieve results. And if you include a lead magnet on the landing page, you can boost conversion by up to 20%!
If you already have a landing page designed for your ad campaign, great work. You should review it thoroughly next to ensure that it is:
- Relevant: The landing page should be relevant to the clicked ad. That means leaving out all extraneous information and serving the user precisely what they need right off the bat.
- Focused: It should guide the prospect towards taking only one action and no more. Including too many calls to action will distract and confuse the visitor.
- Effective: Lastly, it should do the job well. It's a great idea to create and test at least two different versions of the landing page using A/B testing. Doing this can improve conversion rate by 300%.
The landing page should also be optimized to collect the exact information you need from the web visitor. Forms are an excellent way to do this. With a form, you can get the visitor's full details, from their name to their contact information and where they work.
You can also tweak them to increase lead quantity, for instance, by reducing form fields, or boost lead quality by increasing form fields or adding multiple steps.
You can adapt many tools for this, but with tools like Marquiz, you can create forms of all types with analytics and branching logic that supports your lead generation efforts.
8. Target acronyms
One feature of the B2B space you've likely come across is the use of acronyms. B2B buyers routinely conduct product searches or research using acronyms. For instance, "OEM" is an all-time favorite that's not going away anytime soon.
Since you know your buyers will be searching for acronyms, it's a great idea to include them in your ad campaign's target keywords. This way, you'll get even more specific on your target buyer, expand your ad reach, and demonstrate your B2B firm's expertise.
A word of caution, though: don't go overboard in using acronyms. Be sure to include sufficient context around the acronyms so your target market can immediately see that you're a fit for them. It also helps prevent a bunch of clicks from people who have no interest in your product or service.
9. Exploit call ads and extensions
You can add a unique spin to your ad campaign by deploying call ads and extensions. For instance, Google Ads provides a call ads option that gives prospects a way to call your business straight from the search ad.
Considering that 70% of paid search impressions and 52% of all PPC clicks come from mobile devices, optimizing for call ads is a no-brainer. This makes it easier for customers to contact you and brings the added advantage of immediately qualifying the lead over the phone.
10. Understand the value of negative keywords
Negative keywords offer a way to proactively exclude clicks from traffic that doesn't help your business. They help refine your search strategy, so your ads are served only to visitors within your target audience and help you save money on clicks that don't convert.
Here's how it works. You specify a keyword or set of keywords you don't want to attract traffic from. For instance, in the example below, gaining traffic from people looking for running shoes probably doesn't help your cause if your company sells tennis shoes. You can set "running shoes" as the negative keywords for your ad.
However, to get the best out of negative keywords, include various iterations of the keywords you don't want. In the example above, "running shoes" and its variations were successfully excluded, but your ad may still appear on searches for "running shoe."
11. Use lead magnets
Your work isn't done even after you get prospects to click on your ads. You must still get them to give you their details so you can get to work nurturing and converting them. Lead magnets can help you achieve this with minimal effort and great results.
As Hubspot explains, "lead magnets are tools that provide value for your visitors in exchange for their contact information." They're a quick and easy way to convince people that click on your ad to give you their information. Here's a lead magnet example from OptinMonster:
You can offer different types of lead magnets, from whitepapers and free case studies to ebooks, free resources, or even a free trial.
In determining what type of lead magnet to offer web visitors, think about what they find valuable. However, ensure you're not offering too many free resources or trials that end up hurting your bottom line without increasing revenue.
12. Explore Lookalike Audiences
Lookalike Audiences is a powerful segmentation tool that helps you find parallel audiences to market to. It's an extremely helpful tool if you want to expand your target PPC audience, increase your lead quantity, or discover new markets for your product or service.
As Facebook explains, Lookalike Audiences are likely to be interested in your ad because they share similar characteristics with your target market. The tool leverages your existing buyer persona to identify new prospects and attract and convert them.
But the tool isn't restricted to Facebook alone. Google Ads also has a Similar Audiences feature that lets you pursue horizontal markets and potentially expand the range of your PPC B2B lead generation efforts.
13. Use retargeting
Retargeting, also called remarketing, is a highly effective PPC strategy that lets you remarket to prospects that failed to convert in the past.
As all B2B marketers know, not all prospects that find their way to your website will convert. Some leave without providing their contact information, while others may drop out of your sales pipeline at various stages.
Retargeting helps ensure you can still coax a sale out of those old leads. It allows you to make a new pitch to your old or cold leads and, importantly, brings them back right to the point where they dropped out of your sales pipeline, making a sale or conversion happen faster. Here's an example of how it works:
Done well, retargeting procures higher quality and more qualified leads for your business. Since they've interacted with your offer in the past, the odds are excellent that a sale will occur if they come back into your pipeline.
14. Test, measure, tweak, repeat
You probably already know this, but it bears repeating: the only way to maximize your PPC B2B lead generation efforts is to keep improving. PPC advertising will help your business generate a ton of leads as quickly as you need. But to get the best out of it, you must often test, measure, and optimize.
There are many ways to test your PPC ads. In this great guide, WebFX explains some methods available to test ad copy, landing pages, and ad extensions.  By subjecting essential ad elements to testing, you'll be able to observe where they're great and what needs improving.
Even after the ad goes live, you should constantly monitor its performance. Remember that you're paying for every click your ad attracts. Without constant monitoring and tweaking where necessary, you may end up paying for tons of clicks that add nothing to your business.
15. Be creative
While the tips and strategies shared here will help get your PPC B2B lead generation running, the ball is ultimately in your court. PPC advertising is fundamentally about getting results, and there's no single way to do that. So feel free to try something new or think about interesting ways to apply these tips.
You'll find plenty of avenues to test-run new lead generation features, adopt new strategies, or consider new ways of thinking. Although it's natural for B2B firms to pursue predictability at the expense of adventure, don't shy away from trying out new things.
But also keep in mind that it's not every shiny new feature/tool/strategy that is good for your business. Here are a few rules to help keep you grounded:
- Always proceed from a benefits standpoint. Ask: "how will this improve my lead gen?"
- Do your research and learn about the new tool or strategy before implementing
- Never scale to your ad campaigns without rigorous testing
- Keep a close eye on performance so you can tell exactly what worked and what didn't
16. Get expert help
And if you're beginning to feel overwhelmed by the whole process, know that it's perfectly fine to feel that way. B2B lead generation isn't the easiest of tasks, and it only gets harder if you're new to the process.
One way to maintain sanity in all this is to get expert help for your lead generation needs. Apart from providing professional support that eases your marketing burden, you're also likely to get even better results with a PPC B2B lead generation expert.
Plus, you get to spend all that time you save on stalking through Ad Auctions talking to clients, closing deals, and running your business.
PPC advertising can provide explosive B2B lead generation growth when done well. With these tips, you'll be better equipped to plan, create, and execute ad campaigns that drive results and set your marketing on fire.