How to Set Up a Lead Campaign on Google Ads (and Get Results)

So you’ve decided to expand your Lead Campaign on Google ads. Good choice!

Google has cemented itself as the go-to search engine and has moved on to capitalise on its 92.42% market share.

But the days of easy organic clicks lining your pockets are long gone.

Creating a lead-generation campaign on the Google ads platform only requires a few clicks.

Setting up a successful campaign that generates leads at a profit month after month, however, requires a lot more effort.

In this article, you’ll learn how to set up a Lead Campaign on Google Search Ads in four easy steps.

Google search ads absorbed as much as 25% of high-commercial-intent desktop clicks and 55% of mobile clicks just from 2015 to 2017.

And that trend has continued to the point where text and local ads card, and other things might be displayed a full mobile screen above your result, even if you finally made it to the first page.

This is the reality in 2019: if you don’t compete in SEM as well, you’re letting your competitors eat the bigger piece of the pie undisturbed.

As a business, you can no longer afford not to run Google ads for any business objective, lead generation included.

What Is a Lead Campaign on Google Ads?

A lead campaign, in this context, is an online advertising campaign dedicated to generating high-quality, relevant leads for a business.

Businesses that have a long sales process, like insurance and real estate, rely on lead campaigns to supply their salespeople with sales opportunities.

They drive traffic to a landing page, a relevant page designed to get a visitor’s contact information.

In insurance, most landing pages are designed to get people to give their contact information in exchange for a free quote.

The original Google Ads were ads displayed in relevant search results. As Google has expanded its advertising program, these are now referred to as Google Search Ads.

These ads are typically the easiest to drive a positive ROI with (an average of $2 in revenue for every dollar spent).

Because every visitor is already searching for a relevant product, service or solution, they also give higher quality leads than Google’s other platforms like the Google Display Network.

For these reasons, we will focus mainly on how to create a successful lead campaign on Google Search Ads in this post.

First Step: Find The Right Keywords

It’s tempting to set up a campaign targeting the keyword “plumber” and just watch the leads come in.

Google even encourages this with the actual landing page for Google Ads.

We all wish it was that simple.

But it isn’t.

Common “head” keywords don’t convert very well. For example, the average real estate campaign converts at only 2.70%. Out of every 100 people that clicked the ad, less than 3 signed up for more information.

You don’t have to settle for expensive leads. Why? Because relevant “long tail keywords” can convert at up to 36%. (Long tail keywords are smaller-volume, longer search terms that typically have less competition than the main keywords.) That’s more than 10 times higher than the average.

But how do you find these magical keywords?

Do You Receive & Convert Organic Traffic Already? Look at the Data

If you already have an SEO-based lead campaign running, it couldn’t be any simpler.

You can check the existing data in your Google Analytics dashboard to see which pages & queries are driving the most conversions.

This will allow you to find the right keywords for your SEM-based lead campaign with ease.

Go to the “Search Console” section in GA, and look at the breakdown for landing pages.

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console is a collection of tools and resources to help website owners, webmasters, web marketers and SEO professionals monitor website performance in the Google search index.

Features include information about search appearance, search traffic, technical status updates, crawl data and additional educational resources.

Unfortunately, the “Queries” breakdown doesn’t show conversions or relevant GA data, so you have to start here.

Instead, this breakdown will show you which pages drive the most conversions based on organic traffic from Google.

Then all that is left is to cross-reference by heading over to the “Queries” report.

For most smaller campaigns it’s not too difficult to put the dots together.

In this example, the search term “plumber Sydney” overlaps almost perfectly with the data for the landing page “/Sydney-plumber/.”

Since this was the landing page driving most of the lead conversions through organic traffic, it’s a viable candidate for a Google Search Ads campaign as well.

No Organic Traffic? Start With Keyword Research

If you don’t have any traffic or existing data to work with, don’t give up hope. You can do keyword research to find great keywords from scratch.

Start by opening the Google Keyword Planner and searching for a term or phrase related to your business.

This will show you all related searches, including data on search volume and average bid prices.

You want to search through these results to find keywords with decent volume, high relevancy to a specific service, and lower competition and bids.

When looking through the results for “electrician,” you will quickly find a few searches that stand out from the rest.

For example, “home plumbing problem” which has an average top of page bid more than $10 lower than the high-intent phrases that include “plumber.”

But it’s not enough to look at the search volume and bids. When you create a Google Ads campaign for leads, you have to evaluate how easy it would be to tie to a specific service that your company offers.

If your plumbing company caters to private homes and does plumbing jobs all the time, great, no problem. But if your company focuses on commercial gigs and complex projects that require a lot of design and planning, it would be a bad match.

Second Step: Optimise Your Landing Page (& Follow Google Ads Guidelines)

Sure, you should optimise the page to convert as many visitors as possible into leads.

But you also need to follow the guidelines, as Google will not hesitate to pause/remove your ads if you do not.

No Pop-ups / Interstitials

While popups and interstitials are all the rage for converting organic or social traffic, they’re against Google guidelines.

These means not only no annoying pop-ups, that you probably weren’t planning on including anyway, but also no lead-capture interstitials like this one:

 

Because it covers the entire landing page and is not directly related to the content/search term, it would be considered a breach of Google’s policy.

But that doesn’t mean your landing page needs to be a long and informational article about the topic.

Google is perfectly fine with full-screen landing pages, as long as the content is relevant to the search terms and it doesn’t disrupt the experience of their users in any way.

For example, this is a landing page for the search term “travel insurance:”

 

Note: PDF files cannot be a landing page since they initiate an auto-download for most users. Slow pages or pages that require downloads to unlock content are also not allowed.

Give the Destination Requirements a read before you start sending traffic to a page.

Tailor Landing Pages to Each Keyword

Landing pages don’t have to be the most expensive or best designed in the world to work.

Instead of worrying about the superficial, focus on making the landing page as relevant as possible to the keyword.

This technique sometimes called “message match,” can improve conversion rates by as much as 212.74%.

The basic concept is that you use the exact same language as the search term in the ad, and on the landing page itself.

For example, here are the ads for a Google search for the search term “Hotels near Sydney Opera House.”

The Booking.com ad has the headline “Look for hotels near Sydney Opera House?" It’s a 100% match to the search term.

 Airbnb, on the other hand, has a mostly perfect message match with “hotels near Sydney Opera House” in their ad, and their landing page as well.

 

This instantly reassures the visitors that they’re in the right place. The headline is exactly what they were looking for.

You can achieve this by creating a Single Keyword Ad Group, or SKAG, structured campaign. This is a campaign that has unique ad groups for each search phrase or keyword. That way you can serve a unique ad tailored to each keyword.

For plumbers, you might want to target individual cities and locations within your service range.

Create a campaign for locations and a single ad group for each separate location.

That way, when someone searches for “plumber Sydney” your ad matches the message with “Plumber Sydney,” instead of just “Best plumber services.”

Put The CTA Above The Fold

Have you noticed something every landing page featured so far has had in common? They all have the call-to-action front and centre.

The industry doesn’t matter. You have limited time to communicate with each visitor, so getting straight to the point is the most effective strategy.

In fact, simply moving up your call to action above the fold can increase your conversion rates by as much as 591%.

The Costa Rican airline Nature Air was looking for ways to improve the conversion rates of their website.

They implemented a seemingly small change.

They added a box to each location based landing page that said: “Fly to LOCATION.”

(The part outlined in black was the added content.)

And this simple change transformed how people interacted with their website.

So make sure that you include a call to action above the fold on all your landing pages.

But making sure that your landing pages follow the Google Advertiser Policies, that they match the ads and searches and that there’s a clear path to the CTA is only the beginning.

Third Step: Test, Test and… Test

The secret of successful marketers on Google Ads is that of running Tests to Improve Quality Score & Lower Cost per Click and CPA

“Quality Score” is a metric that measures of how relevant your ads and landing pages are to the users who search your target keywords. Some advertisers think of it as a vanity metric, but it’s Google’s attempt at a holistic relevance metric.

Low-quality scores and click-through rates are a good indicator that you need to make changes to your ads.

A/B testing landing pages can improve conversion rates by as much as 550%. And testing simple changes like adding extensions to your ads can improve your CTR by up to 542%.

Drastic improvements like this would have a drastic improvement on your quality score, and in turn, lower your CPC and CPA.

How to Split-Test Ads

It’s easy to set up split tests not just in Google Ads but across multiple platforms.

When adding new ads to a campaign, enter in the different description and headline variations you want.

Then, manually add the different variations you want to the ad group, or use the new “Ad Variations” tool in the same way as AdEspresso.

Then, all you need to do is monitor the individual CTR, CVR, and CPC.

Then you can switch the ads on and off based on performance.

How To Split Test Landing Pages

There are two ways to split test landing pages inside the Google Ads dashboard.

Either you could create duplicate ads with different landing pages in the same non-optimised ad-group (not recommended), or you can set up a new campaign experiment.

To be able to create an experiment, you first need to implement campaign level changes and save it in a draft.

Give it a relevant name like “Campaign Name LP A/B Test.”

Then you can implement ad level changes to the landing pages with the ad variation tool (or just in the ads section).

I highly recommend Leadpages for building your own landing pages. I've been using these guys for many years, and have achieved some great results. It has an easy to use interface and the support is fantastic.

 

To replace the landing page URL with the new one.

Or, if you use a keyword-based landing page approach for message match, you can just as easily change it on the keyword level as well.

If you don’t want to go through the process of making changes to your campaign for every A/B test, you can use a tool like Google Optimise instead.

Through running tests over time, you will be able to improve your campaign by leaps and bounds.

One of the biggest factors in creating a successful campaign is the dedication to stick with it past the set-up phase.

Conclusion

Creating a lead-generation campaign on the Google ads platform only requires a few clicks.

Setting up a successful campaign that generates leads at a profit month after month, however, requires a lot more effort.

By using existing data you cut down the time and expense usually spent on the front-end of the Google Ads learning curve.

Developing individual landing pages tailored to search queries, optimised to drive people to your CTA is the second step.

But the true test of a campaign manager is their ability to continue testing and improve the results over time.

CPCs are rising with the competition, and unless you keep improving, eventually the shrinking margin will render your campaign useless.

 

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