Digital marketing for manufacturers can be a complex and challenging process–especially for companies that spend all their time building excellent solutions for their clients. The manufacturing sales cycle is characterized by diverse distribution channels and a complex decision-making process involving multiple stakeholders. In order to generate leads and nurture them through that sales cycle, manufacturing companies need to consider incorporating paid search as part of their digital marketing strategy.
What is paid search?
Paid search advertising (such as Google Ads) allows companies to pay search engines to place their ads higher on results pages, with the goal of increasing traffic to their site. Pay-per-click (or PPC) advertising is the most common form of paid search.
Page 1 of Google search rankings capture 97% of all search traffic–so search is a crucial way to maximize your web presence by not only driving potential buyers to your doors, but also taking them off the market from less savvy competitors. While organic search can take 6-12 months to show results, with paid search, manufacturers can move to the top of the search results almost immediately.
How can manufacturing companies use paid search?
If your business is considering leveraging paid search, start by developing a list of keywords that are important to your customers and company. What specific terms would your ideal prospects search for?
The next step is to conduct keyword research to determine how much traffic each of your potential keywords gets, how competitive those keywords are, and what keywords your competitors are bidding on for their paid search campaigns. Once you have done your keyword analysis, you can develop a final list of keywords to target.
Once you have your keywords determined, you can “bid” on each keyword in order for your ads to show up near the top of the paid search results. It is important to develop ads and landing pages that will resonate with your audience. Make sure the keyword, ad, and landing page are all aligned. Google uses what it calls a “Quality Score” to rate how well the keywords, ad, and landing page are aligned to answer the users query. In general, the better the quality score, the better your paid search campaign will perform and the less it will cost to generate quality leads.
It is critical that your paid search landing pages are focused on lead generation. If you are paying money for visitors, you want as many as possible to transform into leads–so include strong call-to-actions (CTAs) on every landing page..
What are the advantages and disadvantages of paid search for manufacturers?
There are many advantages to paid search for manufacturing companies. It’s a tactic that targets prospects with very high intent to purchase (meaning that they are looking for a specific product to fill a specific need, rather than aimlessly browsing the Internet), allowing you to more readily convert customers because they are already towards the bottom of the sales funnel. Paid search campaigns are very flexible, allowing you to set different restrictions on who to target, such as geographic regions down to the zip code. And since with PPC you only pay when a prospect actually clicks onto your landing page, whenever a prospect sees your ads but does not click, that impression is free advertising.
The downsides to paid search are that it is complex to do it right and it is difficult to maximize the return on investment if you do not understand how to optimize every part of the process.
Another downside is that once you stop paying, your ads stop–it’s purely a pay-to-play model. Additionally, paid search results are marked as “ads” on Google, and some customers deliberately avoid clicking on ads and instead scroll down until they find the organic search results.
The bottom line? Paid search can be difficult to set up and execute effectively, but if your business can master paid search best practices (or partner with a B2B digital marketing agency that understands how to do it right), you can generate significant results.
How can manufacturers measure the effectiveness of their paid search campaigns?
One of the greatest strengths of PPC is the ability to access detailed, real-time reports that help you track progress and measure success. Since you’re directing your prospects to dedicated landing pages, you’ll be able to precisely measure how many people came to each landing page, how many leads were generated from that landing page, and how much you spent to get each lead. Once you have the lead it will be important to continue to track them through the sales process so you can determine how much revenue was generated from your paid search campaigns.
How can manufacturing companies get started with paid search?
Many manufacturers are daunted by the prospect of setting up their first paid search campaign. Start by partnering with a marketing agency for manufacturers that can help you identify your keywords, set up your landing pages, establish your campaigns, and track the results in real time.
At ZAG FIRST, we have years of experience managing paid search campaigns for B2B manufacturing companies. Contact us today to get started!