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Why Is My B2B Digital Marketing Failing? Your Aim Is Too Broad

Published: July 23, 2018       Updated: April 21, 2024

3 min read


Before we get too deep into this, can we establish something? Unless every click you are driving with your digital marketing turns into a sale, there will  always be things you can do to improve your efforts. The reality, though, is even the best campaigns, at least when it comes to B2B digital marketing, aren’t going to convert at 100 percent.

We spoke in a previous post about one reason why your digital marketing is failing: You’re moving too fast. Digital marketing requires patience, especially in the B2B space. It can definitely work if you give it time, but patience for the process only goes so far. There’s another issue that can sink your digital marketing ship, and that’s a lack of focus.

You can’t talk to too broad of an audience. Your brand’s story likely doesn’t have that kind of appeal. But for the right people in the right industries, you have a story they want to hear. When you tell your story to an audience that’s eager to hear it, you will start to see tangible results. So, what are you doing wrong?

You’re targeting the wrong keywords.

That’s right, keywords are about more than SEO. In a pay-per-click digital marketing campaign, the right keywords are critical. Shoot too broadly and your ad will be seen by an audience of people who aren’t your buyers. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you make distributed antenna systems, the technology that can improve cell phone connectivity in buildings and stadiums. While building a pay-per-click campaign around the keywords “cellular coverage” or “improved cellular coverage” or even “improved indoor cellular coverage” makes logical sense, it doesn’t make practical sense. 

Will those keywords attract buyers of your product? Yes. People looking to improve the indoor cellular reception inside their corporate offices will be able to find you. But so will everyone who has trouble getting reception in their house on their individual phone. Those people aren’t your audience. They aren’t your buyer, but if they click your ad they’ve now cost you money.

Now, you might argue that if you narrow your keywords your ad will be served to fewer people, and you’re right. But that’s not a bad thing. It’s going to cost you less, and the money you do spend will be going to get your name in front of people who could actually become your buyer. They’re more likely to find their way into the top of your funnel, and isn’t that the point?

You’re targeting the wrong industries.

As a marketer, there’s a question we ask at the beginning of every engagement, and one answer I often hear is almost guaranteed to drive me crazy.

 The question: “Who’s your target buyer?”

The wrong answer: Some variation of “Anyone who has the need.”

Now, is that answer really wrong? No, it’s not. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t sell their product to someone willing to buy it. But when we are talking about effective B2B digital marketing, you have to have a focus.

When you know the exact industry or industries you are targeting, you can put a fine point on every aspect of a campaign. You can better target your digital advertising. You can better target your campaign collateral. You can better target where your PR bylines get placed. You can better target the content on your website.

But how do you pick an industry to focus on? Easy. Look at your current customer base and figure out where you have demonstrable expertise and where you have built up authority. In other words, where do you have the most customers? Will that be the industry you should target? Not necessarily. There may be reasons that you should move on from there, but at least it’s a place to start.

 However you come up with your answer, you need a place to focus. By keeping your digital marketing ship aimed in the right direction you can make sure your marketing dollars are well spent.

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