5 SEM Tips for B2B Businesses

In our ever-developing world, it can be challenging to keep up – for B2B marketers, especially. Every week there is a new marketing strategy to not just learn for validity and endurance but to analyze, implement and take advantage of.

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In our ever-developing world, it can be challenging to keep up – for B2B marketers, especially. Every week there is a new marketing strategy to not just learn for validity and endurance but to analyze, implement and take advantage of. Notably, online, there are endless marketing channels, tools, and software each promising to fulfill your corporate objectives of generating leads, converting clients and ultimately, increasing your company’s return on marketing investment (ROMI). So where should you concentrate your efforts? As professional B2B marketers who live and breathe the stuff, we have done the legwork and are here to tell you exactly where you should begin.


80 percent of Internet users now have a smartphone.  What does it mean for your business? It says that whatever method you are using to try and reach your target audience – SEM, SEO or email marketing,  – the ultimate destination will likely be your company’s mobile site. So, this generates the question: what will your mobile users find when they arrive?

Ideally, the user will find a site that is optimized for mobile, convincing them to buy what you are selling.

Instead of building multiple websites, many companies choose to create one site that can be appropriately formatted for mobile. Responsive design addresses several aspects, including proportions, loading speed and sitemaps. An effective mobile site should reflect your desktop site but adjust for smaller screens. Users should be able to click buttons and links and without constantly pinching to zoom in and out.

Another adjustment to account for is loading speed. Mobile users expect websites to load within seconds. In fact, 61 percent of users are unlikely to revisit a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% will visit a competitors’ website instead.

Lastly, your sitemap should be logical and easy to navigate on desktop and mobile. Otherwise, you will find a high bounce rate from your homepage – and likely to a competitor’s! If you still are not sold, note that 57 percent of users say they would not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website.  To sum it up: it is a mobile world, and we are just living in it.


In the B2B society, it is easy to say, “Branding? That is for B2C companies.” Al contrario, my friend. B2B branding is a highly essential strategy for making your leads feel happy with your service or product.




















Take a second and think about all of the features of your business that include small (or large) branding elements: websites, business cards, email signatures, brochures,  trade show displays and recruitment materials – the list goes on. From small handouts to event-based deliverables, branding plays a huge role in driving the credibility of your B2B business.

An essential step to creating cohesive marketing materials is developing a brand strategy guide. It’s important to define your company’s vision statements and mission and apply them to all aspects of your B2B brand and operation. Establishing a strong brand foundation, focused on your target audience, is the core to success in B2B marketing, especially for niche industries.

After doing all of the hard behind-the-scenes strategies, it is necessary to carefully orchestrate the launch of your brand (or rebrand). Form a strategic media blitz, and public relations plan to distribute the news to influencers and decision makers in your market. Consider integrating your PR plan with email marketing, site updates, and social media to drive credibility.


SEM is another way to reach your clients online. It is an excellent tool for those who face severe competition for an organic position on search engines. Google Adwords places your company’s advertisement amongst the top four slots on Google, based on keywords. Although this comes with an “advertisement” distinguisher, which may turn some people away, the increased clicks and impressions will still present an increase in traffic to your website.




















Another question you may have is: why Adwords when SEM is available on other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo? Although Google is a pricier option, the company currently owns 71 percent of the search market share. In addition, Google display campaigns reach 80 percent of global Internet users. From a probability standpoint, Google is your best bet.

I have to admit that I have a love-hate relationship with Google AdWords. As a B2B marketer, I love that I can experiment with very specific search terms like “GMP fill finish facilities,” “planned shutdown,” “pharmaceutical packaging software,” and specifically determine my target area by county. But I do not love the fact that Google is primarily a B2C tool, and therefore, most of my search phrases fall into the 15-100 results range, if I am lucky, that is.

With some B2B campaign successes on Google AdWords under my belt, here are some tips I can offer that should improve your B2B results.

Here are the five B2B marketing tips that are worth your time and investment:

1. Terminology Counts

While companies like to refer to their services and products by the category names or brand they use to sell them, those terms aren’t necessarily the same phrases or words their clients use to describe them. Clients often use terms that are shortcuts for the actual name or ones used within an industry.

For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency applies to industrial pressure relief devices as PRDs. Companies who sell those devices apply to them as pressure relief valves or PRVs. And clients often apply to them as safety valves because they help make the plant safe by emissions and controlling releases. Hence, “safety valves” is the better Google AdWords term.

An excellent way to approach this is to interview a cross-section of both internal sales leaders and clients regarding their use of language. You can start with what you consider to be the industry-accepted dialect and ask your interviewees to respond to that term. The added benefit of this strategy is that you’re likely to uncover additional topics of interest and search terms. From here, you can examine these keywords using the Google AdWords keyword planner. With this tool, you can see potential bid prices and average monthly searches.

2. Start With Multiple Keywords


Even if you are a Google AdWords beginner, you will want to begin with multiple keywords. The reason for this is so you can test a variety of categories and various search terms, even for advertising program or one company.

In my experience, it does not matter how many keywords are created for each advertisement group. What is more important is the relevance of those keywords to a particular advertisement group. Furthermore, it is the advertisement group that defines which advertisements are served up, regardless of the keyword searched.

It is essential to have a couple of advertisements per advertisement group category so that you can test how these advertisements perform, based on the keyword and advertisement group combination. Call to action and the words in the advertisement itself can be the same or similar, so you do not have to waste your time creating new advertisements that may not be relevant. Do your best, and go with it, and then adjust based on your results.

3. Landing Pages Make All The Difference

Initially, we started several advertisement groups with advertisements that clicked to pages on our customer’s existing website. While the webpage was somewhat relevant to the service or product keyword, it was an old page that did not have much to do with the advertisement group itself. Once we created a custom landing webpage, which we aptly named the campaign landing page, our results improved dramatically. We had all of the related content – client stories, videos, data sheets, and more – on one landing page. This also allowed us to add relevant SEM terms to the page. An additional benefit we identified was that our customer’s sales team could refer clients and prospects to that webpage, where all of the appropriate resources could be easily found.

B2B marketers should design CLPs anytime the link to the existing content isn’t completely relevant or aligned. You will know if this is working by creating a tracking code through Google AdWords, creating a Google Analytics code through the platform’s URL-building tool and paying attention to traffic on that particular landing page.

4. Do not Rely Solely On Analytics

I am not saying that Google is lying, but I’m saying that many times the analytics can point you in the wrong direction. For example, adding budget to a particular campaign may enhance results, even if Google shows that no one is searching that term. Play around with the budget on a daily basis, and you will see what I mean.

Another misunderstanding is that clicks matter most. While they do matter when testing offers against one another or testing a call to action, clicks may be irrelevant if the advertisement is informational – as is usually the case in B2B marketing. Calls may be a better way for some companies. Furthermore, impressions may be the most valuable when aiming to improve awareness. If you are using a cost-per-click bidding strategy, impressions are almost a free advantage of Google AdWords.

5. Keep Trying

It is easy to become frustrated with the terminology issues and lackluster clicks, but do not be discouraged. From my experience, the advice of Google’s pop-ups may make matters worse, so do not rely on the tips for success with your B2B campaigns. Instead, try new campaigns based on your knowledge of the market. Stay in touch with the end users – those performing the keyword searches and responding to your advertisements. And see if your results change by adding a campaign landing page.




















While time-consuming and not for the faint of heart, Google AdWords is a useful way to hold together all the pieces of your next B2B campaign. By integrating landing pages, email marketing, and relevant content and learning how to leverage the capabilities of Google AdWords properly, our results have significantly improved over a fairly short period.


The digital world, although tough to fully get and grasp ahead of the curve, can be full of creative opportunities and resources for a B2B business. Doing the old school meetings, calls and papers approach won’t cut it, but doing the above B2B digital marketing strategies can take your business to new heights.

Don’t be afraid to try out innovative strategies that explore new possibilities in the age of digital marketing. Make use of modern digital platforms like video sharing, social media, and remember that client service is at the heart of all of these strategies. Follow up and learn from your business customers, those two things paired together will set you up for success!

What SEM tips would you like to use? Write in comments below and share your experience.