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Here’s something for you to think about for a second: How does a business grow? It all starts with that one person. A person becomes aware of your business, they want to learn more about you and are interested in what you have to offer. They consider you above your competition and finally they choose to spend their money with you, becoming a client or customer.

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Developing that relationship from the ground up is hard work, but once it’s complete, securing that perfect conversion or sale is a great feeling.

Unfortunately though, that one conversion is not enough to keep a business afloat. It needs to be multiplied hundreds and thousands of times in order for the business to run comfortably. To do this, you must ensure you are attracting a regular flow of leads.

In a nutshell, lead generation is where businesses accumulate details (usually contact information) of people that are interested in what that business has to offer and qualify to become a customer at the same time. Inevitably, not every single lead will turn into a paying customer. So the trick is to ensure you’re attracting new leads on a regular basis. Below you can see our example of a lead generation funnel, representing the process that takes place from when people first become aware of your business, to when a percentage of them turn into paying customers:

Lead generation funnel

How can you attract regular leads in online marketing? Whilst various methods can indeed help to some extent – such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media and email marketing – we’ve found that the most effective method to achieve results quickly and regularly is by carrying out a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign, which you can learn more about over here.

One of the most popular PPC platforms is Google AdWords and, below, we’ll explain why you should be using it for lead generation.

1. Full control

First of all, AdWords will allow you to target an audience incredibly specifically; particularly handy if you only want to reach people based in a specific location or those browsing on a mobile device, for instance.

You can also split your campaign in such a way that you create dedicated ads used specifically to promote a different service. For instance, let’s say you provide both car and house insurance; not everyone who’s looking for car insurance will necessarily be interested in house insurance. Splitting the campaign so that one ad targets car insurance and the other house insurance will help keep you highly relevant to what your target audience is interested in and they won’t be distracted by things they don’t necessarily want to know about at that moment in time.

With AdWords, you have full control over the entire thing, making it easy to ensure people entering your lead generation funnel are interested in and qualified for the type of service you have to offer.

2. Good tool for all businesses

A common misconception is that AdWords is only for – or, only works best for – ecommerce websites.

With ecommerce websites, you’ll find that the aim is very much promoting instant actions. You’ll see a lot of “Buy now” and “Limited offer” signs dotted around. Lead generation, on the other hand, is more of a qualification process, helping to filter out enquiries that aren’t necessarily related to the service on offer.

Whilst it’s true that many ecommerce websites do use AdWords effectively, its use doesn’t end there. AdWords has been proven to work just as well for many other types of business websites. It’s a fantastic way of putting your company in front of people who may not otherwise have known about it. And the best part is, you know these people are already interested in what you have to offer because they are searching Google using terms that are related to your services.

If used properly, AdWords itself can literally be the first part of your lead generation funnel.

3.Works to your requirements

Is your business unable to deal with leads over the weekend? Do you have a limited offer that needs to be promoted straight away? AdWords fits perfectly around your requirements:

  • Start advertising immediately: Once you’ve taken the time to set up your campaign, all you need to do is hit the start button and your ads will begin running straight away; perfect for those wanting quick results
  • Seasonal promotions: Ideal for lead capture related to specific seasons or days of the year. Valentine’s Day and Easter are great examples of this. Any offers and services related to these are unlikely to be applicable all year round meaning they don’t warrant permanent ad placements. AdWords will allow you to target customers and publish ads only when your content is applicable.
  • Stick to a budget: Another misconception is that using AdWords will cost the earth. It may sound daunting at first but as you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, the costs may not rack up as much as you think. Even better, you only pay for as much as you want. If you have a specific budget in mind, specify the amount and you will not pay any more than that; so no need to worry about unforeseen charges or scary bills.
  • Time periods: You have the control to ensure ads run only when you want them to. If your services are only available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, you can make sure your ads only run during these times.
  • Unlimited keywords: When setting up your campaign, you may have a list of 30-50 key terms that you wish to target. But as the campaign grows, you may think of new ones or notice that people are triggering your ads using terms you’d never even considered. Thankfully, there’s no limit to how many keywords you can bid on; as long as they’re relevant to your service, feel free to add as many as you like.
  • Device control: You have the ability to target users based on what device they’re using, be it mobile or desktop. You can also tailor your ad accordingly to suit these specific devices, such as your ad’s content, destination or action. For instance, using the ‘click-to-call’ feature will enable users to click a telephone number on your ad and immediately their device will telephone you, putting you directly in touch with your potential customer.

4. Complements other campaigns

There’s no reason that running an AdWords campaign has to be the “be-all and end-all” way to promote your business. In fact the best part about it is that it will run alongside any other online marketing campaigns you have on the go. So if you’re also dabbling in SEO, email marketing or social media strategies, don’t be afraid to run AdWords at the same time. It will perfectly complement your other campaigns whilst generating new leads for you simultaneously.

5. Simple to monitor and improve

You have full access to the back-end system of your AdWords campaigns. So if something’s not quite right, you can change it there and then.

You are also given a huge amount of analytical data, allowing you to review performance and easily assess what has, or hasn’t been working so well. As elements of your campaign improve, you may find that Google rewards you by giving you a higher quality score (a variable that Google uses to determine where your ads should rank and how much you should pay) or by reducing the amount you pay per click.

You can also use this analytical data to review whether your ads have been triggered by unrelated keywords. For instance, let’s say you’re an optician and, in many of the keywords, you’re using the word “glasses”. You could find that your ads are being triggered and receiving clicks when someone searches for “wine glasses”. As this would not be applicable to your business, you can add this to a list entitled ‘Negative keywords’ which is your way of communicating to Google that your ad should not be shown whenever someone conducts a search using this term. This is a sure-fire way of reducing any enquiries that aren’t related to your business and simultaneously reducing the bounce rate (the number of times visitors come to your site and then leave before navigating to any other pages).

You also have the ability to link your AdWords account with your Google Analytics account. This provides you with another avenue to find out how your keywords perform based on how much traffic they receive. Unlike organic information, Analytics for your paid marketing will provide you with a lot more data enabling you to tweak your campaign accordingly.

Keeping a regular eye on things and making tweaks to ensure everything’s running as it should be can help you to perform even better as the campaign continues.

6. Variety of choices

AdWords offers different methods for you to advertise your business. Each method suits a different purpose and can work individually or together with another method to help your campaign perform at its best. The choices include:

  • Search – Displays your ad amongst other results in Google’s search engine results pages. Usually these are found at the very top, very bottom or right hand side of the natural search results and it puts your business in front of people that are searching for your services at a specific moment in time.
  • Display – Shows your ads to people that are viewing other websites or blogs related to your services, or targets users based on their website browsing behaviour. For instance, people reading tips on a fitness blog may see an ad for a gym in their local area. As you’re being seen by people that are viewing similar/related content to what you have to offer, chances are they’re likely to be interested and click through to your ad.
  • Remarketing – Works when someone has already visited your website but not necessarily converted. As they’re clearly interested in what you have to offer (due to their previous visit), your ads will appear on partner websites to subtly remind people of your services and will act as a gateway to encourage them back to your site to make an enquiry.

7. Promote offers

Sometimes you need to think outside the box; why should people click on your ad? What’s in it for them? This is a great chance to offer something for free and tempt them to click.

Do you provide free quotations? Maybe you have a white paper or a guide that your target audience would be interested in. AdWords allows you the opportunity to highlight this offer within your ad’s text. You’d be amazed at how much the word “Free” can attract a person’s attention and offering that small something in return for a click can make the world of difference. After all, everybody loves a freebie.

8. Use landing pages to your advantage

With ecommerce, you’ll find that many websites take a user to a product page, but then also encourage them to browse (and hopefully, buy) elsewhere. Sometimes though, this can seem a bit like a hard sell and it can put people off instead.

With lead generation, however, you can tailor your landing page in such a way that a person is not distracted by other areas of your website and therefore less likely to be deterred and navigate elsewhere; the emphasis is very much placed on the important part of the process e.g. signing up, requesting a quote etc.

Think carefully when building your landing pages. What areas of the process are most important to you? A few things you could consider are:

  • Using simple bullet point lists to highlight the benefits of your services
  • Providing testimonials or a short client list showing potential customers what others think of your business
  • As mentioned above, highlight a free offer (a quote/whitepaper/guide etc) in exchange for the visitor’s information
  • If you have any trust or credibility badges (e.g. Trustpilot), place these in a prominent position to add an element of security
  • Any information that a visitor can digest quickly is favourable. So do you have a video or a slideshow you can embed onto the page in order to highlight your services quickly and efficiently?
  • Finally, does the content (or the message of the landing page) resonate with the content of the ad?

Using Google AdWords effectively will help to bring enquiries into your lead generation funnel and allow you to continue with the rest of the sales process. Lead generation is important; the funnel must be kept continually topped up, as not everyone will convert. Using AdWords to help assist you with this is a sure-fire way of achieving results fast.

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