After a break last week, PPC Town Hall returned on May 27 with a revamped format. With the ‘doom and gloom’ phase of the pandemic behind us, PPC marketers are increasingly focused on solutions.
Going forward, PPC Town Halls will be more topical and focus on key areas of concern, with actionable advice to help PPC marketers and their teams overcome ongoing challenges. You’ll also be able to ask questions of panelists before and during each episode, and watch and listen to previous PPC Town Halls anytime you like.
Find everything you need right here.
Joining us for episode 9 to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by PPC marketers in the B2B space were:
Here are 6 key insights from our panelists on how PPC professionals can help B2B brands position themselves for post-COVID success.
1. Start building your pipeline now.
B2B as a space is notorious for having lengthy sales cycles, ranging from the challenging (30-60 days) to the laborious (12-18 months). Depending on the size of a lead’s company, conversions may not happen for multiple quarters or fiscal years.
AJ believes that now is a good time to get ahead of that curve, and he thinks LinkedIn is the place to do it.
“Because of the uncertainty right now, people are afraid to sign big deals and contracts. So these leads who were in the pipeline are not closing,” he shared. “I get that B2B marketers are scared, but now is the time to be advertising — ad costs are the lowest they will ever be across all networks, it’s the cheapest way to get in with an audience, and people are spending more time on LinkedIn. More people, more attention, and lower costs — take advantage of that to build your pipeline and have conversations to build those relationships on the longer sales cycles.
2. Be ready for the coming rise in demand.
At the start of the pandemic, it was difficult to extrapolate any meaningful stories from relevant data. Now that we’re a few months in, there’s something to work with.
“Around mid-March when the pandemic was taking hold, there was a huge spike in e-commerce traffic, conversion rates and revenue,” he said.
“This good write-up on this COVID-19 e-commerce bubble by Mike Ryan, product management lead for Smarter Ecommerce in Austria, shows what they observed in Europe. The bubble was mostly likely a result of panic-buying of essentials like food, and business items like headsets and cameras for work-from-home remote meetings. After that spike, it settled into a pattern and we’re now in a trough.”
He also provided some advice for businesses whose products and services are in high demand, which might drastically shorten a once-drawn out sales cycle.
“If you’re a company that sells something directly related to reopening safely, your biggest issue is when things open back up, purchasing managers are going to want to buy your product and they’re going to want it fast. So in terms of messaging, be clear about what you can deliver quickly — and don’t discount.”
3. Keep your ads dynamic.
From messaging to responsiveness to inventory, nothing during this pandemic has been static or predictable. Businesses need to stay flexible in order to occupy a positive space in the minds of those who will buy their products and services.
Frank believes that one good way to do that is by structuring your ad content to follow a prospect’s progress through your funnel.
“At Digitopia, we have a concept called ‘follow the funnel’. That means as your prospect engages with your brand digitally and moves through that experience, the ads on all networks should recognize where they’re at and change to offer the next thing in the relationship,” he told our audience.
“So if they visit a cornerstone piece of content but didn’t take advantage of your lead magnet, then the ad should change to (drive them to) the lead magnet.”
For more insights, check out Frank’s book “Building Your Digital Utopia”.
4. LinkedIn is an expensive but high-quality filter.
One question that came up during this week’s conversation focused on filtering out unwanted clicks from tire-kickers and businesses that can’t afford your product or service.
AJ’s advice is to leverage LinkedIn’s built-in filtering capabilities — without breaking the bank.
“LinkedIn is very good at getting the best quality of prospects to your offers and sites. What it requires is that you have a great content offer, because their CPCs are too high to treat it as a true top-of-funnel channel; you’re paying bottom-of-funnel prices for a top-of-funnel visitor,” he said.
“Get people to an offer that is gated — some kind of lead magnet — where it’s valuable enough that people will drop down past the top of the funnel into the middle.”
5. Evaluate. Communicate. Re-evaluate.
At the start of this crisis, many agencies shifted priorities from performance to strategy. While the needle is slowly moving back, Matt feels that it’s more vital than ever to truly understand what clients are going through.
“What’s really important now is staying on top of relationships with clients, and we’re talking to them about what they’re seeing — is the phone ringing, are RFQ numbers going up, is lead gen going up?”
He even provided an example of when communication can overcome a roadblock that might have otherwise been overlooked.
“In B2B, summertime tends to get a bit quieter. Things might be reopening but we still see a flat revenue line, and it may be due to that seasonal trend. So constant communication and re-evaluation is important.”
6. Consistency leads to revenue
Few things are more harmful to B2B marketing than irregularity — except perhaps consistently making communication sound like a pitch. Combine the two, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Frank reminded our audience that messaging is everything, and how you structure that messaging can make or break your success in the current environment.
“When a company is trying to engage their audience but hasn’t been consistent with it, there’s a ramp up period of 12-24 months before you see it become a consistent process,” he cautioned.
“Now add in what’s going on, and we see a lot of companies immediately jump ship. They say ‘We’re not going to do anything because now’s a bad time to be marketing’. Well, if your approach to marketing was product pitch-focused to begin with, you were doing B2B marketing wrong all along.”
It became apparent to us a couple of weeks ago that the PPC community was done feeling sorry for ourselves. As always, our resilience and analytical minds meant that we now needed to focus on fixing what we have the power to fix.
Now that we’ve moved to a topical format with discussions revolving around solutions, we hope the time you spend engaging with us on PPC Town Hall yields even greater returns. So be sure to bookmark this page to stay on top of everything.
In the meantime, we’re still here to provide all the support we can with new content, product features and more!