Pete Bowen's site

I’m getting too many B2C leads. I want only B2B.

I’ve bumped into this problem with almost every client who sells to other businesses (B2B) not to consumers (B2C).

We use Google Ads to find leads for what they sell - things like industrial machinery, hotel linen or software training.

Some of the enquiries come from individuals not businesses:-

Some clients get particularly crabby about these type of enquiries. Over the years I've tried filtering them out at different places in the search -> sales lead process.

The process goes like this: -

  1. Someone searches Google and sees your ad.
  2. They click on your ad and land on your website.
  3. They read your website and fill in the enquiry form if it looks like you can help them.
  4. You get their enquiry and respond to them.

Here's how you can reduce the number of B2C enquiries at each step.

Step 1. Someone searches Google and sees your ad.

Step 2. They click on your ad and land on your website.

Use ad copy to emphasise that you deal with B2B customers only.

Step 3. They read your website and fill in the enquiry form.

Use the copy on the landing page to tell people that you are a B2B business. Use phrases like We don’t supply to the general public. Wholesale and trade customers only. Minimum order size applies.

Step 4. You respond.

You can ignore enquiries that obviously don’t meet your criteria.

I added a ‘Reject’ button to the lead delivery email. (Screenshot below.)

If my client clicks the button it sends a polite "Sorry we can’t help you" email to the person who enquired. It takes 2 seconds and the enquiry is out of your hair.

You could do the same with a copy paste reply or a template in your email system.

None of these filters is perfect

They reduce B2C leads but they don't stop them. A guy doing woodwork in his garage searches for an industrial bandsaw. People skip over ad copy. People ignore the words on the site and fill in the form anyway.

And worse, they get rid of good B2B leads.

And, if you dump all enquiries that aren’t obviously a good fit you could miss out on some great business.

I may have told about the 8-word Google Ads enquiry that lead to a multi-million deal for one of my clients? The enquiry read - "I’m looking for a water jet cutting machine". It didn’t look like a B2B prospect because it had an @gmail address and not much detail.

Every instinct suggested that this was going to be fruitless. But my client called back and spoke to a sparky young engineer from a neighbouring country. He had been tasked to find a water jet cutting machine for the mine he worked at.

That eight-word email turned into my client's biggest sale in five years. The mine bought a second machine some months later. That relationship is still worth significant money from the sale of spares, consumables and training.

B2C leads may just be a cost of doing business

If you don't want the downside that comes with trying to filter out B2C leads you might have to accept them as a cost of using Google Ads.

If you’re selling big industrial kit the value of a sale is often high enough to cover lots of ad spend. It’s better to waste some money on B2C clicks than it is to lose out on the good leads that you’d never get if tried to filter out the B2C enquiries.

Want to increase your conversion rate?
I’ve seen conversion rates double, triple and even 10X after a few quick and easy changes to the enquiry form. Subscribe now, and I'll send you a free copy of my in-depth ebook High-Converting Enquiry Forms.
You're already paying for clicks. Now turn them into conversions. Privacy policy. Unsubscribe at any time.

Related articles

Getting a lot of junk leads from Google Ads?
You can spot conversion fraud because the leads have genuine email addresses and phone numbers but when you call them they don't remember filling in your form.
A love letter to statistics
This is for you if you’re interested in making data-driven decisions about your Google Ads. Amy Hebdon, founder at Paid Search Magic, wrote a fantastic article she described a love letter disguised as a how to about PPC data interpretation.
Allocating budget
How do you know the best way to split your ad budget between search and display, between Facebook and Google, between one keyword and another?
Does Google rip advertisers off?
I'm not saying that everyone who's paid for Google ads has turned a profit. That's definitely not the case. But, when people lose money on Google ads its likely to be because Google Ads was a poor fit for their business, or because of the way they did Google Ads. I can't see Google risking their future to steal your advertising budget
Don’t believe every recommendation from Google.
The optimisation score is Google’s newest way of telling you how to run your Google Ads account. Read on to see how following it blindly can hurt your business.
Don't believe my writing
I'm not trying to bamboozle you, it's just that my - and everyone else's - writing isn't always right for your circumstances. Read on to find out more...
Google showed your ads to the wrong people today.
Google showed your some of your adverts to the wrong people today. You (or someone you hire) must deal with this or your ads are going to start costing more and generating fewer leads. Here's how.
Has Google jumped the gun on mobile?
How much commercial activity happens on mobile phones? Is it enough to justify a mobile-first approach to development? Case study with mobile vs desktop AdWords generated leads across 7 industries.
How do you get more leads from Google Ads when you’ve maxed out impression share?
How do you get more leads from Google Ads when you’ve maxed out impression share? Here's how we solved this problem...
How to get fast traction on a brand new Google Ads campaign.
I worked out a process for getting fast results from new AdWords campaigns so I didn't have to worry as much. You're welcome to copy (and improve) my process.
I'm scared I'll break my campaign
If you don't feel confident making changes to Google Ads campaigns this might help...
Improve conversion rates by adding extra calls to action.
Need to improve your conversion rate? Here's a tested approach that takes only a few minutes.
Putting a little science into AdWords
In the past I relied on a combination of the change history in AdWords, some rough notes and my memory to keep track of my testing. It worked but it wasn't great. It became more difficult as my business grew. I started to feel like I was losing control. I couldn't answer questions about an account without having to root around in Google docs, AdWords and email. Read on to see how I fixed this.
Should you advertise on Search Partners?
We check the campaigns we manage regularly to see how much it costs to generate an enquiry on Google search versus search partners. Most of the time it costs more or less the same. Sometimes the difference is huge.
Should you show ads to people on their phones?
It is a fact that more people use the internet on their phones than they do on computers these days. But are these glued-to-their-phone types going to buy from you?
The hidden trade-offs of automated bidding
I like automated bidding. But, there are some trade offs with automated bidding that are not well documented.
Using the Search Terms Report to find negative keywords.
The Search Terms Report is a great place to find negative keywords to add to your AdWords campaign. It shows (some of) the actual words and phrases that triggered your ads.
You don't have enough data to be confident that you're making the right decisions.
Here are 3 rules of thumb I use to to help me make more of the right decisions when data is scarce.