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Five SEM Mistakes That May Be Limiting Your B2B Lead Gen Campaigns

Paid search for B2B brands can be expensive and challenging, but highly profitable if done right. Given that there is high competition in the B2B space, your goal should be to differentiate your brand from the competition and highlight your unique features and brand personality.

Often lead gen campaigns are not generating as many leads as they could because advertisers are making one of these five common mistakes that limit performance and lead volume:

1) Not refreshing content regularly

Creating content and landing pages for paid search is not always a quick and easy process for B2B companies. As a result, you may see them running the same landing page for months. Sometimes those landing pages continue to generate leads, making advertisers think there is no need to refresh their content. However, lead volume alone can be misleading – more than likely, these stale pages are causing conversion rate to decrease and cost per lead (CPL) to increase.

Tip: Refresh your landing pages once a quarter. Test different content, from best practices and checklists to industry guides and trends.

2) Using repetitive ad copy without a clear call-to-action

Nowadays, search engines allow you to add more headlines and descriptions to ads to say more to your audience, and still, I see ads with the same general message repeated across headlines and descriptions. Moreover, many ads lack a clear call-to-action. The beauty of SEM is that you can test, tweak, optimize, and learn quickly. You should test ad copy often and showcase differentiation from competitors to achieve a higher CTR.

Tip: Take advantage of responsive search ads (RSA) and test unique headlines and descriptions. A clear call-to-action is a must – tell users exactly what you want them to do when they arrive on your landing page.

3) Focusing on the product instead of the customer

Many B2B companies want to generate leads with their SEM campaigns and have aggressive goals to hit. Because of that, B2B advertisers may forget about the value they can provide to users, thinking only about what they want to get from users and the leads they want to generate. Their landing pages, ad copy, and overall messaging reflect this, missing an opportunity for users to listen to and connect with you – causing them to miss leads.

Tip: Highlight how your company helps customers solve business problems and reach their goals. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and don’t make your ads about you. You want users to like your brand, so they decide to share their information with you to ultimately do business with you.

4) Focusing on the wrong metric

As I said before, paid search for B2B can get expensive because of the competition, and B2B companies always want to keep CPC low to decrease their CPL. The reality is that CPC is not the only metric affecting your CPL.

If your CPC is too low, you won’t get impressions and you will ultimately miss leads. You must bid high enough to get quality clicks, but not so high that you inflate your costs. However, I have seen instances of CPC increasing while CPL decreases, which means CPC won’t always be the cause of high CPL.

Tip: Don’t look at CPC in a silo; look at your conversion volume and CPL as well. Also consider automated bidding to increase campaign efficiency.

5) Thinking one offer fits all

SEM practitioners know that we should look at keyword intent and show the appropriate call-to-action to see high engagement and generate leads. However, some B2B companies tend to forget about this and try to get as many leads as possible with just one offer for all users (e.g., a free trial).

The B2B market has evolved – there are more people involved in the purchase decision process and B2B users consume more content to inform their purchase decision. This means that SEM campaigns should be structured in a way that nurtures users and help them move down the marketing funnel.

Tip: Map your content to keywords based on the stage of the funnel. Be helpful to users and offer content that provides the information they are looking for (not all users are ready for a free trial). This is your opportunity to connect with users and start a business relationship.

In conclusion, you may be missing leads with your SEM campaigns if you do not refresh your content regularly, don’t have unique ad copy, focus on the wrong metrics, and use the same asset to engage all users.  Start refreshing your content for paid search and see how your lead volume starts to increase!