- Go local! Searchers like to see their geography in the ad and on the landing page for most lead gen type companies. There are some exceptions, such as education when the person is often trying to leave the state. However, no one buys ‘national insurance’; they buy Seattle or Washington insurance. In addition, your campaigns often convert differently by location, so when you go local, its easier to work with local based bidding or exclude areas. Going local can also help you engage users by other factors, such as income levels, the type of residence commonly bought in the area, and a host of other census type data.
- Biggest Mistake – Using a single landing page for all your keywords. I can’t count the number of times that a company might have 100 campaigns and 100,000 keywords and a single destination URL. I often see these pages or templates tested over and over again and can become exceptionally fine tuned; however, by just connecting to the user at a keyword, industry, or geographic level, it can significantly increase the conversion rates.
- Focus on the various micro-conversion rates beyond the initial click and final conversion. Bidding and ad testing can make a big difference but they are not a panacea for the other PPC problems that can only be solved by maintaining accountability beyond the click. Examples: Find the bottleneck buried in fallout analysis. It is fine to have a top priority KPI like CPA that you respond to first, but when a keyword or ad has no conversions to calculate conversion efficiency, fall back to the other micro-conversion rates to find other optimizations worth spending time on.
- When conversion signals dry up, filter for zero and find more opportunities by sorting the next metric closest to the bottom line. Invest a little extra work to estimate revenue from leads based on their type and close rates. Moving beyond CPA to estimated ROAS can improve the data-driven nature of advertising investment. Then fall back to close rates, completion rates, bounce rates, and finally CTR. Examples: What is the conversion rate from landing page to lead started? (Refine ad copy to qualify visitors before they click). What is the conversion rate from lead started to lead completed? (Simplify the form to balance detail with speed). What is the conversion rate from lead completed to sale closed? (Coordinate efforts between advertising and sales teams).
- Biggest Mistake – Avoid blindly accepting whatever landing pages that the client already has. Don’t just try to squeeze profitability out of an inefficient conversion process that was doomed from the start. Never underestimate how a little time spent on testing designs up front can save countless hours on SEM optimization later. The only lead gen campaigns that can sustain success are the ones that combine relevant ads with data-driven bids before the click and solid business plans with an aligned site after the click.
- Biggest Mistake 2 – Adobe Target and Optimizely are my 2 favorite tools for this job, but there are many others. The cost and learning curves of these tools pay for themselves quickly. During the early phases of any client engagement, discuss how much time and money clients are willing to invest in the essential first step of design testing. Some retailers might complain that testing tools only demonstrate a small part of the larger site redesigns that need to be funded in the long term. Smaller lead gen campaigns can avoid those excuses for caving in to inertia of the current site. Lead gen can be much more agile with even the simplest of testing tools
- For effective lead generation campaigns I recommend telling people exactly what you want them to do in your ad text or on your banners. Frequently people you’re targeting with lead gen campaigns are in information gathering mode. You need to get them to click on your ad by offering them the information they are looking for, but once they get to your site you need them to take action rather than just reading the information and leaving. So you want to specifically tell people to use the contact form or enter their email address in your ads. By setting the stage in your ad with a call to action and an offer to provide information, you will get a strong CTR but people will be more likely to do what you want them to on your landing page.
- Biggest Mistake – The biggest mistake I see is not testing landing pages or testing too many landing page changes at once. Simply moving a contact form or reducing the number of required fields on a form can dramatically increase conversion rate. When you start testing, focus on finding the layout that converts the best. Once you get the layout optimized, test the language you use and the offer you provide. For instance, does your page convert better when you offer a whitepaper or infographic in exchange for users submitting their information?
- Start with a wide search funnel, then refine and target. Begin by capturing (and most importantly TRACKING) a large audience and observe their search behavior. Once significant data has accrued, analyze search queries, refine campaigns with negative keywords and pause/remove under-performing keywords and ad text. Segment ad groups, write more targeted ad text and test variations of lead capture specific landing pages. Extra credit: Give visitors who didn’t complete the form on your initial landing page the one-two punch by remarketing to them on the display network and their Facebook feed.
We look forward to providing you with more tips and suggestions in future posts!