Digital advertising has greatly evolved since the turn of the century. Search engine advertising is still around, but campaigns are more complicated than ever before. Social media, as we know it, didn't begin for a couple more years. Flash forward to 2019. Not only have Google and LinkedIn become behemoths in the B2B digital marketing space, but we also have more targeting options than ever before. In this podcast, you will learn how B2B advertisers can leverage the latest digital advertising tools to build and scale profitable lead generation programs.
Justin Seibert, from Direct Online Marketing, joined us on our podcast to talk about how B2B advertisers can leverage the latest digital advertising tools to build and scale profitable lead generation programs.
Nathan Pieratt: What can marketers do in highly competitive industries to get the most bang for their buck or leverage these tools in the best way?
Justin Seibert: I would just say if you're going to get involved in digital advertising, make sure that you always have that tester's mindset. The very first thing as a subset of testing, I would talk about conversion rate optimization. And that's just a way of saying how can you get more of the people that come to your website to take the action that you want them to take. An example, how can you get more of the people to not just look at the menu, but to actually place an order? Or how can you reach, get more of the people to say, "Yes, I would like to contact you about your offering." Let's just say that from an advertising standpoint with your ordering that maybe you're getting a 3% conversion rate. Well, if you can take that 3% conversion rate, and if you could get it to 4%, or 5%, or even 6%, you're doubling the return that you're getting without spending any more advertising dollars or any more effort. I would say that idea of conversion rate optimization, getting people to do what you want more often is probably the most overlooked factor with really anything of websites or digital marketing and digital advertising today because it has the most significant payoff. People don't think about that. They just look at how can I drive more traffic? Because then, when you look at it, there's really two things that you're trying to do. The first is how you can increase incentives? How can you make it so that the people want to raise their hands more or that they want to put in the credit card information more? How do you make it more attractive? But the flip side is how do you remove friction, right? So if we think about these two things, and let's go back to maybe the B2B side for a second. If you are offering me a Brinks truck full of gold bars, I just give you my information. But in reality, most of us aren't having an offer that's that attractive. So we have to reduce the friction. This is the number one thing I ask everybody to really think about, and to look at their own websites, and what they're asking for—the number of fields that you ask people to provide you. A lot of times, we'll ask people for information that makes our lives easier, but that's not really what we're in the job of doing. It's to make their lives easier, to reduce that friction. So do I really need to ask for somebody's zip code? Do I really need to ask for a person's job title? Whatever these different things are, think about do I really need that information, or is it something that I can get further down the line? So I would just encourage everybody to take that closer look and say what's the minimum amount of information we actually need to ask for?
NP: Let's say I'm a global B2B brand versus a more US-based. Does that strategy different if I'm trying to hit, reach the globe versus just staying in the US, are there other different strategic choices I need to make?
JS: Putting aside culture, because I think culture has such a huge impact on everything that you're trying to do and understanding what those cultural differences are, but putting that aside for a second, let's talk from the search perspective. On the search side of things, it isn't that dramatically different outside of a few countries. If you're talking Google, the good news is Google's number one in all but five countries around the world, China, Russia, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan being the exceptions and even within those, you can still get coverage doing Google advertising in all of those places except China. In China, you're going to be wanting to look at Baidu, their largest search engine. You can also look at 360, or Shenma, or some of the minor ones as well as getting into WeChat and some of those other different options. But with Baidu, as an American company, you can't open up an account on your own with Baidu. So if you're going to go that route, you would want to get a Chinese agency or work with someone in mainland China to be able to open that account for you. But outside of that, the search engine is really going to function in a very similar way to Google, especially in terms of the advertising options, so from a strategy standpoint, it's not going to look all that different.
NP: How can you track or leverage what the competition is doing?
JS: There's two or three tools that we like more than others that I'll share. One of my favorites, when we're talking about display, is Moat. If your competition is advertising any kind of banner ads on the web, they have this amazing database of showing you a wide variety of ads that they're using. I love Moat, and there's a lot of information you can get for free from that particular company. I'm a big fan of SpyFu and SEMrush. Those are both freemium models where you can get a little bit of information for free, more when you sign up for the service, but they have a pretty decent set of competitive data that we use. I would just say that any place that's crawling the web for competitive data, and this would certainly include companies like Compete, they're basing it on their own cookies and their spiders and what they can find. I would say that they're good estimator tools, so I would think of them more from the perspective of using them to compare sites relatively and directionally.
NP: What piece of advice would you give to our graduate students in terms of B2B demand gen?
JS: For me, the biggest thing is just getting in there and testing, and what data can you find. And if you're not doing this already currently, you're trying to build up a resume; I'd highly look at some of Google's tests that it has to offer. Will the information be a little biased towards Google? It will. But, there's really good data in there. And I think it's going to help make you a little bit more marketable when you're going out there. If you're looking for a job or if it's just rising within your own company, you're going to get that knowledge to be able to test some things out.
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