There is an art and science to running a SEM and paid advertising campaign for manufacturers and industrial companies. With all online advertising platforms increasingly dependent on artificial intelligence and machine learning, gone are the days of total manual adjustments and management. Talented paid marketers now deftly manage the AI, and algorithm powered ad platforms. As a digital marketing agency, we have adapted to the changes happening in the industry but the fundamentals of creating content that will resonate with our clients’ target audience remains the same.
Depending on budgets, SEM or paid advertising services include a combination of the following:
- Google and Bing paid advertising including PPC and Display
- Paid social advertising
- Retargeting advertising
- Video advertising
- Trade media advertising
They operate in an ecosystem that looks something like:
Here are some best practices which we follow to run high performing, top converting paid media campaigns for all our manufacturing and industrial clients:
Start with a Smart Plan
Beginnings matter. How you start will determine where you’ll finish. Before you begin, immerse yourself and develop a meticulous plan:
- Define Buyer Personas: Create personas and profiles for both tactical and strategic buyers, specifiers, influencers and purchasing teams.
- Interview Rainmakers: They know the needs, motivations, behaviors and hot buttons of tactical and strategic buyers, specifiers, influencers and purchasing teams.
- Complete Keyword Research: Use a combination of data-driven third party tools, past campaigns and intuition to craft the keywords that you need to claim and own. Use negative keywords to eliminate waste.
- Shape Keyword Match & Bidding Strategy: Advertising platforms offer numerous types of keyword match types and bidding strategies. Leverage agency experience to begin with a sensible initial strategy.
- Decide on Location Targeting: Fish where the fish are.
- Develop A/B Strategy: Devise A/B tests for copy, ad creative and locations. Get ready to feed the champs and starve the chumps.
- Develop a CRM Integration Plan: Make lead form integration, inquiry form testing, testing gated content pathways, e-commerce order placement an integral part of your planning process.
- Devise an Analytics Integration Plan: Ensure that your Analytics package is integrated, and custom campaign dashboards are created and tested.
- Define Lead Nurturing and Lead Follow-up Plans: You don’t want to waste your precious advertising budgets without outlining the lead-nurturing and follow-up plans for inquires, request for quotes, and e-commerce orders.
Create High-Impact Destination/Landing Pages
Make each destination/landing page unique. Aim to amplify brand distinctions and showcase the most salient features of products and services we are marketing. Here are the key elements that create high-impact landing pages for our clients:
- Clear and Concise Argument Construction: We construct arguments with persuasion architecture using the science of influence which advocates use of reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, consensus, likability and social proof.
- More Proofs & Customer Successes: Nothing persuades skeptical prospective buyers better than stories of, testimonials from and product reviews by satisfied customers.
- Third-Party Credibility Enhancers: Overcome the skepticism of risk-averse buyers by prominently featuring objective third-party endorsements.
- Strong Calls-to-Actions: Make it easy for buyers to take the next step by including clear call-to-action buttons. Make the call-to-action buttons sticky so they are never out of buyer’s sight.
- Simplified Forms: Use simple inquiry forms with as few fields as possible so that prospective buyers don’t hesitate to provide their information. A/B test your way to optimal placement of your inquiry forms.
- Destination/Landing Page A/B Testing: Test variations of headlines, copy, messaging, images, calls to action, form fields and form placement. This ensures that your destination/landing page reaches your right-fit buyers, allows you to learn from their behavior and reveals the best possible way to persuade them.
Craft High-Performance Digital Ad Creative
Knowing the client’s brand, the target audience and the goal of the campaign helps us shape a unique strategy for each client. There are several factors that we take into consideration as we develop ad creative for each client campaign:
- Use Authentic Photos/Videos: As all paid marketing platforms have become more and more visual, using the right photo/video is exceedingly important for creating the right ad. The use of high-quality photos/videos also helps us develop a more authentic communications strategy.
- Stand Out From the Competition With Attention-Grabbing Design: There are only three reactions to a piece of design: no, yes or WOW! Wow is one to aim for.
- Write Clear and Concise Copy: Great copy is rhythmic, resonant and persuasive. Write copy that sells.
- Highlight Your Uniqueness: Lean into your inherent differential.
- Bake Calls-to-actions: There is no sale unless you ask for the business.
- Use Consistent Messaging on All Platforms: Surround and engage your prospective buyers with consistent, stereophonic and symphonic messaging.
- A/B Test Ad Creative: Try fast. Test fast. Fail fast. A/B test different sets of ads — videos, photos, copy and other creative elements — so you understand the messages that best resonate with your audiences. Feed the winners, starve the losers.
Activate Conversion Tracking
It’s vital to know which channels are converting the best. To know that:
- Devise a Rational Conversion Tracking System: A more rational system will make it easy for you to know which ad channels, which ad variations, and which destination/landing page variations are performing the best. Avoid ad-hoc’ing conversion tracking.
- Encode Ads with UTM Parameters: Carry them forward to the conversion point and flag conversions appropriately. A/B testing will reveal the best performing ads and channels.
- Track Destination/Landing Page Performance This will enable you to identify which A/B destination/landing page variation is performing the best and where bottlenecks exist on your destination/landing pages. Act decisively once you have sufficient data.
- Specifying Monetary Values to Conversions: When possible, specify monetary value to various conversions.
Test the tracking system from end-to-end to ensure it’s working as planned and there aren’t any leaky buckets.
Manage Paid Campaign & Optimizations Smartly and Judiciously
Search, Social and Media Advertising paid platforms are all powered by algorithms that maximize their own profits with little regard for a marketer’s investments. To offset the algorithm’s greedy tendency, Elliance uses sensible campaign management techniques to tune, optimize and micro-manage various aspects of the campaigns.
- Budget Optimization: Managing a budget to get the most results out of your investment is an important part of running a successful paid campaign. The day-to-day optimization tactics should maximize your budget and campaign performance.
- Bid Management: With AI playing a big part in paid campaigns, providing the right bidding signals to the algorithm becomes crucial to run a successful campaign. Bidding signals include bid adjustments by devices, locations, time of day, day of the week, ad type, audiences and many more. Without judicious bid management, the algorithm will always steer towards maximizing profits for the platform at your expense.
- Keyword Management: Continuously update your keyword list to filter out non-relevant searches through negative keywords. This will keep the campaign on target and your ads showing to the right-fit searchers. This will also eliminate waste in your precious marketing investments.
- Audience Optimization: Regularly monitoring your audience profiles and demographics to make sure you’re getting conversions from the right audience can help to keep the campaign showing to your right-fit audience. Again, to maximize return on investment, leave no stone unturned. God is indeed in the details.
- Managing Algorithmic Recommendations: The advertising platforms will routinely recommend changes to your campaigns. Instead of blindly accepting these recommendations (most of which lean towards maximization of their own profitability), filter them through the lens of your strategic objectives, accepting the ones that align and discarding the ones that don’t.
Report Campaign Performance
The discipline of regular reporting keeps everyone honest and focused on the mission. Report on at least the following:
- Number of leads, e-commerce orders and sign-ups all trended over time by channel. Include a discussion about their quality.
- Traffic to destination/landing pages, trended over time.
- Best converting geographies, devices, channels, time of the day, time of the week, and keywords for paid traffic and conversions.
- Destination/landing page performance including identification of bottlenecks
- Results of A/B tests for ads and destination/landing page variations.
- Next steps including new A/B tests, destination/landing page adaptations, and more.
All the SEM and paid advertising efforts will amount to nothing without rapid evolution of your campaigns and effectively following-up on leads, fulfilling e-commerce orders and nurturing prospective buyers. Meet weekly, biweekly or monthly to ensure all the processes are working, and you are measuring and optimizing your strategies and tactics. At the end of 6 to 12 months, your campaign should not look anywhere close to where you started. It should be humming like a well-oiled machine.