Can you use Search for B2B?

lightbulb 150x150 Can you use Search for B2B?

Julie Batten of Clickz recently wrote an article outlining how companies could use Search in a B2B context. To summarise her article and to add some of my own comments, the 5 key reasons she gave were:

  1. It can help you reach a motivated audience. This is true of all search queries. Given that the audience is searching on terms you are specifically advertising on they are a ‘pre-qualified’ audience and therefore likely to be interested in your product or service. The ‘warmth’ of their interest can be enhanced via sophisticated search techniques such as using ‘exact match’ (allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase exclusively) or ‘longer tail queries’ (instead of advertising on just ‘mutual fund’ you could advertise on specific capabilities you may have such as a ’130/30 absolute return fund’ or for the none financial ‘Nike sports shoes’ rather than just ‘sport shoes’.
  2. Search can extend your reach. It can be a highly effective way of reaching audiences you aren’t even aware, or more crucially, afford to advertise to.
  3. It can leverage off any PR you receive. Search can be used to help you benefit from interest your PR may generate or simple good news that you might feature in. It is of course important to consider scenarios where your company may not be shown in the best light. In these instances Search can also be used to deliver your side of the story or just the facts.
  4. Positioning you as thought leaders. Many companies regularly produce whitepapers or inhouse research. Instead of just relying on your internal sales team or colleagues to distirbute information why not leverage the power of Search to push this valuable material out. Consider offering an excerpt to show the quality of the material. The trade off is that to receive the information visitors to your site register and have the document emailed to them. If used responsibly this can be highly effective at helping build your database.
  5. Using Search to capture traffic from your competitors. Although this approach sounds less than ‘above board’ it is entirely legal in many markets including the UK and USA. Advertise your products and service against competitor keywords and brands is now possible, provided that you do not refer to any trademark protected names or copy in your descriptions. The downside, as your keywords quality score is unlikely to be as high as your competitors, your cost per click is likely to be higher than what they are paying. Nonetheless this can be a highly effective way of driving traffic and business to your site, particularly if your competitor is ignoring the opportunity Search presents.

It is clear from the above that Search is not just for B2C campaigns. It can be used effectively, with a little thought, by all companies, B2B or B2C.

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