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A majority of the SEM, PPC, and digital marketing content in the blogosphere and large publications is dominated by B2C strategy, insights, and case studies. If you work for a client or company that sells products or services to a broad swath of consumers, you have a sea of good content on strategy. For those of us on the other side, working in the B2B world, the sea of strategy-related content can sometimes seem more like a puddle.
In many cases it involves a small niche target audience and little patience for wasteful, untargeted spending. That is why good B2B marketers know how to take the many strategies applied in B2C and adapt them to their specific situation.
Get Over Your Hesitation
For a long time, Facebook was untouchable for B2B marketers. It was common to hear things like “isn’t Facebook for teenagers and college students?” or “business professionals aren’t using Facebook.” These eventually proved to be obvious miscalculations, but it took a few years for Facebook to develop the technology that allowed marketers, specifically B2B marketers, to truly realize its potential.
A few years ago, Facebook wasn’t considered a serious option for direct response or lead generation, the “bread and butter” tactics of B2B companies. However, the platform has evolved quickly, and today, Facebook offers a fertile landscape from which to cultivate loyal customers, drum up brand awareness, and even generate qualified leads.
Performance differences of the two main ad formats – News Feed and the smaller, less interruptive sidebar ads – are like night and day. It’s helpful, however, to think of them as partners, working together to keep your brand in front of your potential customers.
With News Feed ads, your message appears front and center in the user’s feed, which makes it more likely for a user to take notice. Sidebar ads work better as vehicles for awareness due to their relatively cheap CPCs and high impression volume, but they shouldn’t be disregarded as an assist vehicle for direct response or lead generation.
Learn Effective B2B Ad Formats
A good B2B strategy on Facebook should involve a multi-funnel approach, using Custom Audiences from each successive funnel to retarget users and encourage them to complete a new action. Think of it as a trail of breadcrumbs leading the prospect from brand discovery to a final purchase.
Use the Multi-Funnel Approach
To start your prospecting efforts, offer the user something that requires little commitment, is easily accessible, and solves a problem – such as a white paper or industry guide. Create a promoted link post and target a broad, but still relevant audience with Facebook’s specific interest targeting.
Capture users’ information once on your site by gating the asset behind a lead form, but be sure to only use a few fields of required information. It’s important that you make it relatively easy for the user to get to your content so that you can collect as many registrations as possible. Now you’ve got an ongoing list of people who have expressed interest in a topic directly related to the product or service you offer.
In the example above, you might use the list of emails your users provided in the registration form they filled out to create an audience, then create a campaign and link post offering these specific users a free trial, a discounted price on your product or service, or another piece of content. At the same time, you could create a third campaign targeting your list of emails and serve standard sidebar ads to your new leads with a similar offer, or with a more general brand-awareness message.
These ads will appear more often than your News Feed ads but will be less disruptive. They can also help keep your brand at the top of your potential customers’ minds and improve response and engagement on your News Feed ads. You may even want to go a step further and create a new funnel targeting people in trial and inviting them to attend a webinar.
This multi-funnel retargeting approach can be adapted to include as many additional funnels as you see fit in order to help ease your customers down the path and transition them from a passive user who was unaware of your brand to a qualified lead, ready to make a purchase.
The most compelling part about Facebook’s ad platform is the ease with which you can target a niche and highly relevant audience for, oftentimes, no more than $10 -$20 a day. This can mean high ROI for B2B marketers on the platform.
Understanding that B2B customers are different and having enough patience to help guide them through to the final sale is more likely to pay off than expecting prospects unfamiliar with your brand to commit to a trial, purchase, or demo right off the bat.
One more important note that should not be disregarded is that Facebook PPC ads are not like commercials that flash in front of a user’s eyes and then disappear. The user has the ability to interact with your ads and to like, share, and post comments, making your ads living, breathing representatives of your brand and public perception. It’s essential that you monitor these interactions and answer questions, respond to negative comments, or thank users for endorsements or positive comments. Your social media strategy doesn’t end with organic posts, so make sure your response to activity on your Facebook PPC ads are an extension of your company’s greater social media strategy and identity.