B2B AdWords can be wickedly expensive. However, they can also be incredibly affordable. The difference doesn’t come down to small tweaks but instead, undertaking radical surgery to your existing approach. Today, I want to show you how to make your AdWords both affordable and very profitable.

Does AdWords work for B2B?

It’s not unusual to spend $10 for a click. If you’re getting a 2% conversion rate once they get to your landing page, then it’s going to cost you about $500 for a lead. Sounds okay so far, but half of those will be rubbish, so it really costs you $1,000 for a good lead. From here, you might only get to meet a half of those – whether it be face-to-face or virtually – so it actually costs you $2,000 for a meeting.

If you’re turning one-in-four (i.e., 25%) of those first conversations into an opportunity to present a proposal and you’re winning one-in-every-four of those proposals, your total cost of acquisition is $32,000. That’s simply unaffordable.

Small tweaks are not enough

On the face of it, the key is pretty simple: get that conversion rate way up. But the typical changes you’re going to make to a conversion page – such as fixing your calls to action through testing, colour, layout, font, copy, and so on – are at best going to get you from 2% to 4%. Maybe. You need more.

1st Big Tweak: Start with the cost of keywords

Managing your keyword spend so that you’re still above the line, maybe in position two or three, is only going to save you a few cents. We still need significantly more than the typical optimisation techniques. Start with your keyword choice, not the conversion.

‘Long tail’ phrases are your friend. The term ‘long tail’ has often been used synonymously with a long phrase; that is, usually four or five words in a phrase. But, that isn’t long tail. Long tail refers to the fact that if you collate all of the phrases that people use to find your website via organic search, the first 10 might represent half or even more of the traffic. After that you’ve still got tens, hundreds, sometimes even thousands of phrases that continue on, with fewer and fewer clicks.

So, the long tail is a reference to the fact that there is gold in these obscure phrases. In our own case, 97% of our traffic comes from the long tail and only 3% from our top 10 phrases. The point is that these long tail phrases – the lower volume phrases – you can often get for as low as $1 or even better.

Long tail phrases are not longer phrases – they are more obscure

Let me give you a quick example. Let’s say you’re an SAP partner and you’re implementing SAP software somewhere in the world – let’s go with Melbourne. A phrase like “SAP partner” is going to be highly competitive, but even if you choose “SAP partner Melbourne” that’s still going to be highly competitive and the price will reflect that.

However, maybe the software that you’re most focused on is Hybris from SAP and so, “Hybris implementation Melbourne” is going to be considerably cheaper than “SAP partner Melbourne.” But, we need to go further – how about “Hybris implementation real estate” or “Hybris for real estate.” We can drop the “Melbourne” but constrain the location of your ads to Melbourne. Now you have a shorter phrase, but you only show the ad in Melbourne, so you don’t need the “Melbourne” wording. You might only pay $1 for this ad.

Similarly, you might need to add “Hybris for retail” or “Hybris for…” and any other relevant industries. The problem with a long tail phrase is that they have a very low volume, but the value is that they’re quite cheap. You’ll need hundreds or maybe even thousands of phrases that collectively add up to that same volume as a more competitive phrase, but you’re spending $1.00 and not $10.00. Using this technique alone, we can decrease the cost of acquisition, using my example before, from $32,000 to $3,200. That’s a radical change.

Remember to be exact

Before I get to the second big tweak, let me remind you that you need to use phrase or exact matches in AdWords, not broad. You need to put the keywords in quotation marks – signifying you want theseexact words – plus anything before or after it. You can also put them in square brackets – indicating you want [only this phrase]. If you leave it as broad – this means just entering in the words and nothing else – then Google has permission to interpret that quite broadly and again, you’re going to be getting a lot of rubbish traffic.

Image Source: Search Engine Land – Keyword Match Type Table

2nd Big Tweak: Build super specific landing pages

As mentioned earlier, the average conversion rate might be around 2% so for those really specific keywords you can create really specific landing pages. Using my example before – “Hybris for real estate” versus “Hybris for retail” – my landing page can reflect what a real estate person or a retail person would be interested in. Using that specificity means that I can considerably increase my conversion rate as well.

For instance, I might get it up to 4%. I’m still going to do the minor tweaks – the colour, the fonts, the call to action buttons, the form layout, and so – but a big tweak is making the landing page really specific to each of my new set of really specific phrases.

Plan the whole journey

Don’t forget; you need to plan the whole journey. Sure, it might have begun with a search, they see the ad, they click on it, they go to a landing page, but what next? What else is going on? And by the way, if they go to your landing page and don’t convert, what happens then? What you need to do is map out the entire flow of your tactics, not just one or two of them.

That’s the job of Funnel Plan. By using Funnel Plan you can get your team together, agree on a strategy, the problem you’re solving for the market, the velocity you need, and all of the tactics, from finding names to closing deals, which you need in a complex B2B world.

If you don’t have a Funnel Plan then get your team together and go to Funnelplan.com to get one now. If you already have one, you know what I’m talking about. I hope you got a lot of value out of today. I had fun putting it together for you. I’ve got loads more lined up for next week and until then, may your funnel be full and always flowing.



Our thanks, this week to:

  • Jane Tyquin  for blog production
  • John Ang  for video production
  • Hugh Macfarlane  for scripting and presenting this week’s show