Facebook B2B Marketing: Best Practices and Case Studies

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5 best practices for Facebook B2B marketing

Facebook is one of the hugest ad platforms available online and its size of inventory and targeting flexibility is awesome. However during digital marketing conferences and my personal conversations with colleagues I found out that their experience with Facebook advertising and enterprise B2B lead generation specifically was poor.

I started using Facebook Ads back in 2009 but this was first for Parallels Desktop for Mac which was a consumer software product. Since 2009 I used Facebook for various industries and products but only had the chance to see how it works for enterprise lead generation back in 2016 when I started digital marketing initiatives at Bacula Systems.

Why using Facebook for B2B marketing?

The answer for me is simple – it’s a possibility to have an alternative lead source to Google Search and Google Ads. If someone happens with your organic rankings (f.e. Google marks your website as malware for no reason and throws out of the index), you’ll have an alternative way to continue delivering leads to your sales team without losing numbers. Additional reason could be of your Google Ads campaigns are no longer working for you because of poor unit economy – this happens when the traffic becomes more expensive than you expected. So it’s always nice to have an alternative. Facebook Ads is one of them.

Below I will list some of the case studies that I had with Facebook in terms of lead generation. These campaigns were quite successful in terms of cost per lead which you’ll see below, however the sales people claim that these leads are “colder” than the ones from Google. That’s why using Facebook leads for B2B marketing can’t be done without later nurturing these leads using marketing automation tools of your choice: Marketo, Pardot in enterprise cases, Autopilot or Mailchimp for small businesses and Mautic – for those who want to host marketing automation on premise.

Retargeting of Bacula.org visitors with Facebook Lead Ads

Bacula Systems is a company which builds its offering based on the open source product Bacula Community. We use the open source software product to “feed” the small business backup software market with the free solution and see them growing later to enterprises that we’re mainly marketing Bacula Enterprise Edition to. We have a set of sales programs that support the migration from Bacula Community to Bacula Enterprise with special offers and discounts. Bacula Community has its own website but we never market to community users directly – we don’t want to disturb and spam anyone. The community product download was also not requiring the registration for downloading it at that time in 2016.

When I set the Facebook pixel to bacula.org I saw a huge audience available to market and decided to go and try several advertising messages. Those messages were:

– Migration to the enterprise product from the community one

facebook ads for b2b marketing

– Small business edition for the companies that don’t need enterprise functionality

facebook ads for enterprise marketing

– Product training for the community

facebook ads for marketing with long sales cycles

After several tests I figured out that landing visitors to our main website baculasystems.com which was made at that time doesn’t generate leads at all, that was probably connected with the fact that we didn’t have the microconversions on site that could generate us leads. The users sent to the main website were bouncing. That was the time when Facebook pioneered the Lead Ads and I went ahead in testing them for us. The results were impressive:

facebook ads manager lead cost

It’s possible to generate leads with Facebook Ads for 3 Swiss francs for this particular audience and these messages. Even if the lead-to-opportunity conversion is only 3%, than the cost-per-opportunity will be 100 Swiss francs.

The idea of not sending the user to an unknown website from a social network and offering the form directly on the well-known website instead solved the credibility issue. Additionally when your form is already pre-filled with data from your profile you’ll have better conversion rate from those who opened the form by itself.

facebook lead ads form

Retargeting of our main website visitors

After the first successful step I decided to go ahead and retarget the main website visitors. The reason behind this is simple, enterprise sale requires several touchpoints so I thought it could be useful to communicate our messages to the main website visitors during their Facebook sessions too. Even if they will not convert immediately, they’ll see Bacula Systems credibility growing from being shown everywhere on the web. Additionally the average sales cycle for Bacula Enterprise is from 12 up to 24 months, so it’s worth notifying about yourself without this being too costly.

In this particular case I tested Facebook Lead Ads and also the regular traffic campaigns from Facebook. You can see their results below:

facebook ads manager lead cost

19 conversions from the website were generated. We count whitepaper downloads, trial requests and contact form submissions as a lead. So the cost-per-lead equals to approx. 43 Swiss francs per lead. The average enterprise software market lead cost for Europe will be approx. 120 Swiss francs without the specific geographical targeting, so we can see the clear advantage of Facebook B2B marketing in retargeting audience case.

Technology whitepaper campaigns

Bacula Systems key advantage is the ability to backup practically any hypervisor, application or database with the support of 25+ operating system versions. To further promote this enterprise product flexibility and generate leads tied to specific technology that needs to be protected (f.e. VMware hypervisor backup or SAP HANA database backup) we used technology whitepapers that were sent to the prospect right after he filled in the Facebook Lead Ad form.

Facebook allowed us to target various job titles and compare lead cost results: system administrators, IT managers, CIOs and CTOs, those who’re interested in backup, those who’re interested in competitors, those who’re interested in datacenters etc. Additionally the campaigns were running in the selected geographies and were limited with the age we suppose is an average for taking decision about purchasing the backup system.

Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent campaigns that I have executed:

You can see the variety of geographies: France, Italy, Spain, the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom – all runs in separate campaigns. The second level of organization is the whitepaper itself: BMR (bare metal backup and recovery), VMware backup, Oracle backup, Linux backup and the others. The messages are getting localized too:

facebook localized ads for b2b marketing

It’s vital to nurture the Facebook leads as they’re not like the leads from search. The user browsing social network is not always ready to download trial version or even buy enterprise software immediately so we need to master his user journey towards the actual interest: from whitepaper download to trial software download, from trial software download to the actual request for proposal.

To execute email nurturing we use the tool called Mautic, it’s an open source product which can be hosted on-premise. The strategy that we developed is working for 12 months after the initial touchpoint on Facebook after downloading the technology whitepaper.

facebook leads nurturing

With our nurturing campaigns we see approx. 30-40% open rate and 0,5-3% reply rate depending on the whitepaper content.

Product training campaigns

The next practice that I was able to try with Facebook is training participants generation. Training is very important for Bacula Systems business, it’s a foundation of turning the customer into the actual fan of the product and build the retention. But trainings, especially the offline ones that Bacula Systems is offering, require participants. The trainings are evergreen and represent the typical ways to protect the enterprise data with Bacula Community and Bacula Enterprise.

facebook training ad campaigns

Bacula Systems offers training campaigns in various locations incl. Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the USA and Japan. We had the identical geography and ad copy translations in the ad campaigns, here are the messages that we used:

facebook ads for marketing with long sales cycles

Webinar promotion and offline event visitor boosting

The last case study will not be about the lead generation but will cover the eventing activity area. It’s vital for the B2B business to generate participants to webinars and we used Facebook successfully for it.

Here is what you’ll see in Facebook’s Newsfeed while promoting an event:

facebook event ads

Additionally we used Facebook because of it’s really precise mechanism of geo-targeting. While exhibiting at Cloud Expo in Frankfurt we needed to attract the audience to our stand so I created a highly-targeted geo campaign narrowing the exhibition audience with job titles and advertising our stand:

facebook hyperlocal ad targeting

We didn’t do it, however it’s easy to track the efficiency of this advertising with the usage of coupons or special codes in exchange for something special: not-for-resale license keys, IT assessment or something else.

Conclusion

We have reviewed the 5 ways of how I used Facebook for B2B marketing and lead generation and nurturing within the enterprise company. I assume that the typical user journey, consumer behavior and marketing tactics can vary in your particular case but I strongly advise you to try Facebook for B2B marketing.

Clutch recognizes Andrei Iunisov as a digital marketing expert and industry leader.

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If you won’t want to move forward together, that’s OK too. Worst case scenario will be that you'll receive some free advice from me which will help you grow the traffic, leads and sales numbers.

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Andrei Iunisov is an independent digital marketing and freelance SEO consultant for B2B and B2C with 13 years of experience on a global level. Since 2006, Andrei has been involved with digital marketing and SEO in the rapidly growing software development company Parallels in Seattle, Washington. In 2009, Andrei founded the first web analysis agency in Russia. The list of Andrei customers includes TOP-100 Russian and international companies from all industries. In 2014, the business was sold to the largest independent online advertising holding company in Russia - iConText Group. Andrei has been offering digital marketing, SEO consulting and digital transformation services for various companies from all economic sectors worldwide since 2016. Andrey regularly shares his expertise on his personal blog.

Clutch recognizes Andrei Iunisov as a digital marketing expert and industry leader.

Want me to improve your leads and traffic?

Let's chat and see what can I do for you. Only if I'll foresee the value for your business in working with me, I’ll be able to take you on as a client.

If you won’t want to move forward together, that’s OK too. Worst case scenario will be that you'll receive some free advice from me which will help you grow the traffic, leads and sales numbers.

Feel free to book an initial 60-minute free consultation. You will hear from me within 24 business hours after submitting the below form.

Facebook B2B Marketing: Best Practices and Case Studies Facebook is one of the hugest ad platforms available online and its size of inventory and targeting flexibility is awesome. However during digital marketing conferences and my personal conversations with colleagues I found out that their experience with Facebook advertising and enterprise B2B lead generation specifically was poor. 2019-11-25
Andrei Iunisov - Digital Marketing & SEO Consultant
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