In B2B marketing, lead generation is the most crucial step in the sales and marketing pipeline. Marketers know there are many tactics that build a strong lead generation strategy, including search engine advertising.
If you don’t have anyone to sell or market to, sales plummet. In fact, a survey by Drift found that 53% of marketing leaders report generating a pipeline is their top marketing priority. If you want to generate a pipeline, you need leads.
This is probably why there are thousands of tips, strategies, webinars, and guides telling you how to generate more leads for your B2B business. Most of the focus is on strategies like lead magnets that rely on traffic already coming to your site.
If you haven’t considered using Google Ads for lead generation, you’re missing out on one of the most effective, scalable B2B lead generation magnets.
Does Google Ads Work for B2B?
Why would you spend money to gather leads when you could get them for free? Because you’ll get better quality leads when you pay to reach them. According to WebFX, the average conversion rate for Google Ads is 75%. How does that compare to your popup or ebook conversion rate?
Google Ads works beautifully to gather quality leads with high buyer intent—if you leverage the tools Google provides and target high-intent keywords.
When it comes to generating leads, most B2B marketers go for the tried and true methods—like offering content upgrades or hosting a webinar. While those strategies can work, they often target leads higher in the funnel, which can be less valuable.
The key to successfully using Google Ads for B2B lead generation is picking the right keywords and using the features Google Ads has to offer.
Keep in mind, Google Ads allows you to access both Google Search and Display ads. For lead generation, we recommend focusing on search ads, which show up in the SERPs, not on partner websites.
How to Target a B2B Audience on Google Ads
So how do you find Goldilocks leads that are not too early in the funnel and not too niche to convert? Here’s the process I use to help B2B clients drive leads using Google Ads.
1. Find The Right (High Intent) Keywords
Targeting the right keywords can be a journey. First, many B2B marketers start with targeting their core keywords, like their brand name, and leave it at that. Or they target broad, high intent keywords like “buy <main keyword.>” Instead of targeting the main keywords for your business, look for longer-tail keywords that indicate high buyer intent.
For example, instead of targeting something like “best CRM,” which indicates the lead is still comparing options, target a phrase such as “best CRM for subscription services” or “[brand name] GDPR compliant”. These terms indicate the user is further down the funnel and close to conversion.
Don’t set and forget your keyword research. After a few weeks, check out the data, make sure your conversion tracking is working, and ensure you are getting the results you want. If not, you might need to tweak your keywords in order to find the high-intent keywords that fit your business.
2. Choose a Campaign Objective
Once you have your keywords ready, head over to Google Ads. If you already have an account, sign in. If not, create your account—they’ll walk you through setting it up, connecting it to your website, and adding a payment source.
Next, set up your campaign. The first question Google will ask is “What is your main advertising goal?” Note, Google looks at your business to determine which campaigns make sense, so your options may vary. The most common campaign goals are:
- Brand awareness
- Booking a demo
- Visits to a physical location
- Reach YouTube viewers
You can read more about the campaign goal options here.
Choose the option that makes sense for your lead generation campaign. For example, if this campaign is about getting demos, choose that option. If you’re hoping to drive traffic to a lead magnet or webinar, choose the traffic option. If you aren’t sure, choose one and test it. You can always run another campaign to see what drives the most conversions.
3. Choose the Right Ad Type
Now it’s time for the complicated part—choosing the ad type. There are multiple ad types, which can get a little overwhelming if you’re newer to Google Ads.
Here are the ones that tend to be most effective for B2B lead gen:
- Responsive search ads: These ads adjust ad copy based on users’ search, so they tend to be more relevant. They also offer more headline and ad copy options and A/B testing. Make sure all the different variations work together or you’ll end up with weird ads!
- Dynamic search ads: Dynamic ads automatically populate by pulling data from your website, so make sure you have a well-optimized site so Google can find what it needs. It’s not ideal for sites that update regularly, however.
- Text ads: These are the most common ads. They tend to be cheaper and lack eye-catching images. However, they do allow you to reach higher intent searchers that are ready to buy now.
4. Leverage Google Ad Extensions
Google Ad extensions expand search ad functionality by allowing you to add buttons, collect leads, direct users to call you, and more. Extensions also expand your physical ad space on search results – making your ad larger and more noticeable!
Here’s the thing—Google chooses which extensions to show you based on your business goal, so you might not have access to all of them.
To access ad extensions, head to your Google Ads dashboard, click “Ad & Extensions” and then “Extensions.” You’ll see all the extensions available to you, which may include:
- Sitelink extensions: Send users to a specific page of your site, such as a product page, sale page, or store hours. Including these can increase CTR by up to 50%, according to Google.
- Callout extensions: Focus on specific benefits or features, such as hours, free shipping, or 24/7 customer service.
- Structured snippets extension: Structured snippets highlight specific aspects of your site and help increase user engagement. They can be customized when they are eligible to show as well. For example, a commercial plumber might have a structured snippet for their emergency services that shows from 5 pm to 8 am.
- Lead form extensions: These aren’t used often, but they allow you to turn your Google Ad into a lead gen form. Ask up to 10 questions and gather leads directly in the search results. Keep in mind, Google doesn’t guarantee extensions will show for every ad.
Google lists all possible ad extensions here, but you’ll see the ones available to you in your Google Ads dashboard. Location, business, and other factors can impact which extensions are available.
Tip: For B2B lead generation, we feel that the most effective extensions are sitelinks, callouts, and structured snippets.
5. Optimize Ad and Landing Page Copy
You’ve created your lead generation ad and used all the fancy features Google Ads offers. Now what? This is the fun part—it’s time to see what works and what doesn’t. (Or maybe it’s just me.)
Some ad features allow you to use A/B testing (like responsive search ads) right in the Ad dashboard. Alternatively, you can run two campaigns simultaneously and manually turn off the one that doesn’t drive results. Or, you can link Google Ads up to Optimize and run A/B tests for your landing pages that way.
Optimize is Google’s integrated testing tool that allows you to run A/B, multi-variant, and redirect tests. It can also help you implement marketing personalization if that’s on your radar. Bonus, you can use it to test variations of your landing page and your paid ads to see what copy, features, and images are most effective.
6. Track Your Results!
Tracking results in B2B PPC can be challenging because conversions aren’t always cut and dry. For a manufacturing company, a transaction occurs when a product is sold. For B2B lead generation, especially in SaaS, it’s a little more complicated. Demo sign-ups, free trials, or scheduling a sales call may be considered a conversion.
As you track the effectiveness of your ads, pay attention to more than just the number of leads generated. Close rate, average order value, and customer lifetime value help show the quality of leads. You don’t just want more leads; you want better leads.
Note: If you haven’t switched to Google Analytics 4, now is the time. The newer version of GA can provide deeper insights into your customers and your ad performance over time.
Final Thoughts: Google Ads Drives Higher Quality Leads
If you’re tired of sifting through mountains of low-quality leads just to generate a few conversions, it’s time to give Google Ads a try. The steps above will help you find higher-quality leads already interested in your offerings. Consider retargeting site visitors for even better results! Reach out to us on Twitter if you want to let us know your favorite B2B Google Ads tips!
Need help building an effective B2B lead generation campaign? The KoMarketing team is your PPC ad partner for high-quality leads.