How Paid Search Campaigns Help in Growing B2B Sales

Are paid search campaigns relevant in B2B sales? Do they really help drive growth? In a B2B world seemingly dominated by organic, SEO-driven marketing methods, many marketers are left wondering if paid search is still worth the effort.

In this article, we’ll tell you why the answer is a resounding yes—and why businesses not implementing paid search campaigns are likely missing out on lead-gen and revenue opportunities. Plus, we’ll cover the ways your paid search efforts can be integrated with your larger marketing strategy to optimize results.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Paid search campaigns allow businesses to bid on keywords for ad space on search results pages.
  • Benefits of paid search include immediate visibility, precise targeting, data-driven performance insights, and enhanced brand awareness.
  • Paid search can be integrated with organic methods (like SEO and content marketing) to optimize the results of both.
  • It’s important to be aware of challenges like ad fatigue and keyword competitiveness to keep your strategy fresh and effective.

Understanding Paid Search Campaigns

When a business runs a paid search campaign, it pays for its ads to appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) through a process called keyword bidding. The business sets a budget for how much they are willing to pay for each click on their ad for a particular keyword, and ad placement is then determined by a combination of criteria that includes bid amount and ad quality.

This process is why you often hear paid ads referred to as cost-per-click (CPC) ads—the business pays for the ad every time they earn a click on it, which motivates the platform to place the ads optimally. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement for both the businesses publishing the ads and the platforms on which they run.

The example below (a Google search for “paid search campaigns”) shows how the paid ads (marked as “sponsored”) appear first on the SERP before any organic results.

Screenshot of Google SERP showing paid ad campaign content for keywords “paid search campaigns”

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While today’s B2B consumers are savvy enough to recognize paid ads vs. organic search results, the high visibility offered by paid search campaigns deliver specific advantages that help to drive B2B sales growth more quickly and reliably in some cases than organic alternatives, like SEO and content marketing.

Let’s look more closely at the differences between paid and organic search, then walk through the key benefits search can deliver for your B2B business.

Paid Search Campaigns vs. SEO/Content Marketing

SEO and content marketing have become staples of every modern B2B digital marketing strategy—and for good reason. Targeted, high-value content is one of the best ways to attract your ideal buyers to your business and build trust with them over time.

This is critical. Trust is the X factor of B2B sales in today’s landscape—more than 70% of business buyers say it’s more important now than it was in the past to trust the brands they buy from.

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The time it takes to build trust, however, is also one of the biggest challenges when it comes to organic marketing, and also one of the primary reasons businesses so often complement these efforts with paid search campaigns.

While content marketing is a long game—one that establishes a brand reputation and builds a strong online presence over time—paid search campaigns help drive immediate traffic and drive sales growth at strategic and critical times for the business.

This could be seasonal (ex: paid search campaigns run during peak sales season for a particular industry or product) or during times of downturn (ex: the economy is slow in general, or your specific business is experiencing sales challenges and needs a boost).

The takeaway: Organic and paid search methods aren’t enemies. In fact, both work best when they’re strategically implemented together. SEO and content marketing create a strong online foundation for B2B businesses, while paid search campaigns drive targeted, timely sales growth.

Key Benefits of Paid Search Campaigns for B2B Sales

Now that we know how B2B paid search campaigns work and how they’re different from SEO, content marketing, and other organic efforts, let’s walk through some of the most impactful benefits paid search campaigns can deliver for your business.

Immediate Visibility and Traffic Generation

When you run a paid search campaign, they generate immediate visibility on SERPs. You don’t have to wait for Google rankings to climb over time, and you can expect to see a jump in traffic right away, which increases the chances of generating more leads and sales.

Targeting Precision and Audience Segmentation

Paid search campaigns give B2B marketers even more control over who their ideal audience will be for each advertisement. By utilizing keywords, geographic targeting, and user behavior data, businesses can ensure their ads are always seen by the most relevant, motivated, and interested buyers. This improves lead quality and reduces the time between lead generation and final sale.

Measurable ROI and Performance Analytics

The data-driven nature of paid search campaigns provides clear insights into their performance, which B2B marketers can use to make informed decisions and strategy adjustments to optimize their campaign effectiveness continuously.

Even better, most platforms have built-in data analytics tools (ex: Google Analytics) that stay updated in real-time so you have 24/7 visibility into campaign performance.

Enhanced Brand Awareness and Authority

Even when users don’t click on an ad, the mere presence of the brand in top search results contributes to increased brand awareness. Over time, consistent visibility can enhance a brand’s authority and credibility in its industry. This is especially beneficial for B2B businesses where the sales cycle is longer and decision-makers often engage in extensive research before making a purchase.

High visibility of paid ads creates brand awareness and brand name recognition that often translates to converted leads and sales on other platforms or during a different search altogether.

Integrating Paid Search with Other B2B Marketing Efforts

We’ve talked about SEO and content marketing some already, but in this section we’ll take a deeper dive into exactly how the two can work together to drive results, plus how paid search campaigns can work in tandem with other B2B digital marketing efforts, like social media and email marketing.

Complementing SEO and Content Marketing

One of the best ways to use SEO and content marketing with paid search is to amplify the content that converts the most. So, for example, if you have a specific asset—like an ebook or a whitepaper—that has a track record of converting leads at a high rate, you can run a paid ad for it to give it more visibility.

Leveraging your best content in paid search ads is a best-of-both-worlds approach for engaging modern B2B buyers. You’re highly visible through sponsored ads, but the content you deliver when they click on them is still genuinely valuable and relevant (vs. a preemptive hard sell that turns them away).

At the same time, data insights from your paid search campaigns around high-performing keywords can inform smarter SEO and content marketing efforts in the future.

Synergy with Social Media Marketing

Social media is one of the main avenues through which B2B consumers engage with brands they like and respect—more than 90% of all social media users followed at least one brand in 2023.

Much like it does on SERPs, paid social media ad campaigns can reinforce brand awareness and highlight key products or offers you have to audiences who already follow you and/or fit your ideal audience. Many people now use social media platforms to search for products the same way they do Google and similar traditional search sites, making them an important channel to include in paid search strategies.

Fortunately, each social media platform runs ad campaigns attuned to their audience and platform features, meaning you can be sure the ads you run will align with user behaviors and interests. You can also select the platforms that work best for your unique audience.

Today, LinkedIn is by far the most popular for paid ads in the B2B world, with 80% of marketers using it for this purpose.

Bar chart showing that 80% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for paid advertising

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Alignment with Email Campaigns

Paid search can be effectively used to augment your B2B email marketing strategies. For instance, visitors who land on your site through paid search can be converted into email subscribers. This enables further lead nurturing through targeted email campaigns. Additionally, data from email engagements can provide valuable insights for refining paid search targeting and messaging (and vice versa).

Overcoming Challenges and Misconceptions in B2B Paid Search

While paid search offers powerful benefits for B2B sales, it also comes with its own set of challenges and misconceptions. Addressing these effectively can significantly enhance the success of your campaigns.

High Competition and Keyword Cost

In B2B industries, certain keywords can be highly competitive, leading to increased cost-per-click (CPC). To navigate this, focus on long-tail keywords that are more specific and less competitive, yet highly relevant to your target audience. Aim to continuously optimize your campaigns based on performance data to get the best ROI.

Ad Fatigue

Over time, the same ad content can become less effective as audiences grow accustomed to it. To combat ad fatigue, regularly refresh ad creatives and messaging. Experiment with different ad formats and features to keep your content engaging and relevant.

Myth of Low B2B Effectiveness

There’s a common misconception that paid search is less effective in B2B than in B2C. However, when executed with a targeted strategy and clear understanding of your B2B buyer’s journey, paid search can be extremely effective in generating qualified leads and driving sales.

Putting it All Together

There’s no denying that paid search campaigns are one of the most important and effective parts of a modern B2B digital marketing strategy. The key to success lies in understanding that paid campaigns can not yield results on their own—they must be highly targeted and strategic. Ideally, they should also be integrated with your larger marketing efforts to maximize ROI.

RevBoss can help you add paid search strategically into your outbound marketing strategy to generate more qualified leads and convert them to paying customers. Our outbound prospecting and lead-gen services and platform are custom-built for SaaS companies, startups, agencies, and other high-growth B2B businesses.

Schedule a quick call with us to learn how we can help you win more clients.