Nov 15, 2023

How to Create Successful Paid Ads: 7 Steps for B2B Advertising (plus 13 bonus tips) 

B2B paid media plays an essential role in marketing strategies, providing an effective way to reach prospects in a crowded digital space. With an overwhelming amount of content online, paid advertisements effectively cut through the noise by ensuring that your brand message reaches the decision-makers most likely to engage and convert.  

These targeted campaigns increase brand visibility, engage potential customers, and often shorten sales cycles by making the necessary brand interactions more efficient and direct. By focusing on specific actions such as signing up for a demo or downloading a report, B2B advertising enables businesses to guide customers to the desired actions, creating a personalized and responsive experience. 

The measurable aspect of B2B paid media, tracking conversions and return on investment (ROI), ensures that businesses can continuously refine their strategies for maximum impact. It’s not just about immediate results. The data-driven insights from B2B paid advertising enable ongoing optimization and alignment with broader business goals. Even industry giants like Amex and Amazon recognize the value, investing heavily in online advertising to stay at the top of their industries.  

Advertising in B2B isn’t a standalone solution but an integral part of a holistic, multi-channel marketing approach. When you mix B2B paid media with social media, content and other marketing strategies, it’s like adding rocket fuel to your business. It helps you grow, connect with people and stay ahead in a market that’s always changing and moving. 

How to create effective paid advertisements in 7 steps 

Step 1 – Define your target audience 

Defining your target audience is absolutely crucial for the success of B2B paid media, and it’s not an overstatement to say that this step forms the backbone of any successful advertising campaign.  

By identifying your target audience, you can tailor ad messages, offers, and even the visual elements of your ads to appeal to your ideal customer. This customization increases ad relevance, engagement and conversion rates. And it avoids wasting ad spend on uninterested audiences.  

This step involves looking at your current customers, web visitors, social followers and even competitors’ audiences to identify common characteristics, industries, challenges, goals and behaviors. From this foundation, you build detailed personas that represent your ideal customers. Figuring out your target audience isn’t one-and-done. It’s something you’ll keep doing to make sure your ads connect with the right people. By continually understanding who you want to reach, you’ll create ads that truly speak to them, making your campaigns more engaging and effective. This resonance, in turn, helps you get the most value for what you spend on advertising. 

Step 2 – Set SMART goals 

Next, you’ll set goals and define key performance indicators (KPIs) for your advertisement campaigns. Using SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals aligns your advertising efforts with your broader business objectives, providing a clear path forward. This second step involves identifying general goals like lead generation, sales conversion or brand awareness, and the KPIs that will measure your success. Setting clear goals and knowing exactly what you want to measure makes everything easier. It helps you see how well you’re doing, make smart choices and get real results. That way, you know your advertising money is being spent in a way that lines up with what you want to achieve. 

Step 3 – Select the right advertising channels 

The key to selecting the right channels for your B2B paid advertising is understanding where your ideal customers spend their time online and aligning your chosen channels with the objectives you’ve set. By thoughtfully selecting the right mix of channels, you create a more cohesive and effective advertising strategy tailored to your unique business needs.  

For example, if you’re aiming for immediate visibility and targeting professionals in a particular industry, search ads on platforms like Google might be your best bet. Or you could explore social media ads on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook. With these, you can dive into all the information available about users and pinpoint exactly who you want to talk to. It’s like having a conversation with just the people who might be interested in what you have to say. Another option is using display ads to boost brand awareness by strategically placing visuals across the websites your target audience frequents.  

Here’s a list of paid ad channels to consider: 

  • Search ads: Targeted to appear in search engine results for specific keywords. 
  • Social media ads: Utilizing platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to reach specific audience segments. 
  • Display ads: Visual ads that appear on various websites across the web. 
  • Programmatic display: Automated, real-time auction ad buying, targeting users more precisely. 
  • Native advertising: Ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear. 
  • Programmatic audio and video: Automated buying and placement of ads in audio and video content. 
  • Over-the-top (OTT) advertising: Ads delivered via streaming media services. 
  • Out-of-home (OOH) advertising: Physical ads in public spaces like billboards, transit ads, etc. 

Step 4 – Craft compelling paid media copy  

Advertisement copy that attracts the attention, interest and engagement of your audience is pivotal to the success of your ad campaigns. The audience research done in Step 1 should be your guide in tailoring relevant messages to different audience segments. 

Start with a strong value proposition that speaks directly to the unique benefits your product or service offers. Highlight what sets you apart and why your audience should choose you over competitors. Guide prospects to take action – book an appointment, swap contact information for a download – with a persuasive call to action (CTA). 

Step 5 – Create engaging ad visuals 

Your ad visuals must grab attention and convey your message. Begin with high-quality images that appeal to your target audience. Use eye-catching (but not overwhelming) brand colors and layouts that enhance brand recognition and complement your ad’s text. Ensure your CTA is visually prominent and connects seamlessly with the overall design.  

Step 6 – Execute and test 

Now that your ad is ready, it’s time to bring it to life. But don’t just launch and leave it – make sure to implement A/B testing. You’ll create two different versions of the ad to see which one performs better. This involves altering one element at a time, such as the headline, image, CTA or even ad format.  

Keep an eye on your results, paying attention to what really clicks with your audience, and tweak your campaign accordingly. This approach makes sure your advertisements are talking to the right people in the most meaningful way. Think of it like a learning curve, where every campaign is a chance to get better and make the next one even more successful. 

Step 7– Analyze your performance and ROI 

Once you’ve set your ad in motion, ongoing monitoring is essential to success. The KPIs or benchmarks analyzed will vary depending on your specific goals and channels, so it’s important to understand what you need to track. For example, if you’re aiming for increased leads, you might focus on click-through rate (CTR). If you’re trying to increase brand awareness with a social video, you might measure reach and views. If you’re using programmatic advertising, you’ll compare ad performance against industry benchmarks until you have enough information to set your own.  

Additionally, analyzing ROI will provide insights into the financial effectiveness of your campaigns, showing you what you’re getting back in relation to what you’re spending. 

Use tools like Google Analytics (GA) to track these metrics, and don’t be afraid to dig into the data. Analyzing performance is about more than collecting and reporting the numbers. It’s about understanding what those numbers mean for your campaign. Use the data to inform real-time adjustments, optimizing your ads to ensure you’re meeting your SMART goals. GA’s AI-powered optimization offers a hefty assist. It can identify opportunities to advance your goals, make suggestions to optimize spend and even do it for you with Google Ads or Google Display campaigns. No matter what tools you’re using, paid advertising is a process of continuous improvement. The more responsive and adaptable you are, the more successful your campaigns will be.  

Best practices for paid advertising 

In addition to the above process, these tips and best practices can improve the effectiveness of your paid advertising efforts: 

  1. Combine paid advertising with other strategies: Think of B2B paid advertising as a key part of your marketing engine. It only works if you combine it with the other moving parts of your sales and marketing. By integrating paid media with organic social media, website SEO, thought leadership and other outreach efforts, you’re developing a holistic process that drives business results.  
  1. Get granular with in-depth persona targeting: Instead of just targeting industries, go deeper. For example, if you’re selling accounting software, don’t just target accountants. Target accountants in mid-sized firms who deal with specific industries, like manufacturing or retail. LinkedIn ads can be particularly effective for this approach. 
  1. Maintain a cohesive brand experience: Foster trust and reinforce your brand’s position in the market by ensuring a consistent experience across all channels. Whether it’s through messaging or visuals, maintaining this uniformity no matter where your audience interacts with you can strengthen your brand’s credibility and appeal. 
  1. Remarket with content: Shorten a long and complex sales cycle by using retargeting ads to remarket valuable content, such as whitepapers or case studies related to the offering a web visitor just viewed. 
  1. Consider dayparting adjustments: Running B2B advertisements during traditional business hours or specifically towards the end of fiscal quarters might be more effective. 
  1. Use sequential ads: Display ads in a particular order to tell a story or elaborate on a pain point. This narrative approach can spark interest and draw B2B customers down the funnel more effectively. 
  1. Leverage cross-channel insights: Use insights from one channel to optimize another. For example, keywords that perform exceptionally well in SEO might be used to enhance your PPC campaigns. 
  1. Use account-based marketing (ABM) tools: ABM tools, like Demandbase or Terminus, allow you to specifically target individual companies or decision-makers within those companies. This hyper-targeted tactic can be very effective for high-value prospects. 
  1. Layering audiences: In platforms like Google Ads, you can layer different targeting methods. For instance, combining keyword targeting with specific audience lists ensures you’re hitting a specific subset of users with a higher likelihood of converting. 
  1. Optimize for mobile but convert on desktop: While a significant portion of B2B research is done on mobile devices, many conversions (like form fills or software downloads) occur on desktop. Ensure your mobile experience is seamless, but also optimize for cross-device conversions. 
  1. Include your phone number: Research shows that 52% of prospects who click on PPC ads also call the advertiser. When you consider that PPC phone ads are 3X more likely to convert and that inbound calls are 5-10X more likely to convert, adding your phone number is a no-brainer.   
  1. Engage with reviews and third-party platforms: Platforms like G2 Crowd or Capterra are essential in the B2B world. While they might not be traditional ad platforms, advertising or enhancing your presence on these platforms can significantly influence purchase decisions. 
  1. Relevant post-click experience: Ensure users are taken to a relevant and streamlined landing page. The relevance and quality of your landing page impact whether a prospect will continue to interact with your brand. Moreover, it impacts how often an advertisement platform will show your ad.  

Partner with paid advertising experts 

A successful B2B paid media strategy drives your audience in your direction, increasing your conversions and sales revenue. But it can be an involved and time-consuming process that demands knowledge of channel options and tactics, as well as an understanding of your industry, business and audience. Often the success of your paid advertising efforts really depends on the expertise of a paid media expert.  

At Elevation Marketing we have over two decades of experience working with B2B companies like yours developing results-oriented advertisements. Contact us today to discover how our B2B paid media services can turn your advertising spend into a profitable investment. 

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