Improving PPC Lead Generation Conversion Rates

April 25, 2008

A client of mine just sent me a note saying:

We’ve seen a decent uptick in <region> area leads/conversions. I know we are spending more $ up there, what – if anything else – do you see happening?

As per usual, I spent some time revisiting the data and identified not one but many contributing factors. I could respond one of two ways to this question. The first would be to basically say “Well we’re doing a better job of targeting our customers and delivering them to better-converting, more relevant landing pages.” That’s basically it. That’s why we’re getting more leads and conversions. I probably should have written that. But alas, the good Lord did not bless me with a knack for brevity.

So here is what I found, more specifically. Note that I’ll paraphrase a bit from my email reply to the client, and also cut out a few points that were situation-specific and not so applicable to PPC-based lead generation and conversion in general. I also changed the regions and keywords as well. The client is in fact not a pizza shop. That would be e-commerce conversion, not lead-gen conversion. We don’t do that!

Hi <client>,

Many things are playing into this, hard to isolate just one:

1) The previous PPC campaign (prior to us) that was targeting Maryland was a national campaign that had keywords which included “Maryland” or other regional words. As such, this would effectively show the ad for a guy in California (not the region we’re targeting) who searched for “Maryland pizza shop” or for a guy who is actually in Maryland and searched on “Maryland pizza shop”, but not a guy in Maryland who just searched on “pizza shop”. Chances are that guy wants a pizza shop in Maryland… but its certainly possible he wants one in Iowa. Just not likely.

We have since paused that old campaign and our current one is regionally-targeted. This means it will show for a guy in Maryland searching on our targeted keywords (without specifying his location), as well as a guy in California who specifies something like “MD” or “Maryland” in his search phrase.

> Video about Google’s Geo-Targeting via AdWords

2) We’ve refined the ad groups and keywords we are bidding on in Maryland such that a greater percentage of the money is being spent on your core services now than it was several weeks ago.

3) I believe the ads are a bit more targeted now than they were previously to people in Maryland, in that they not only have something like “Maryland” or “MD” in the ad copy, but also will show “Maryland” under the URL b/c of the geo-targeting feature.

4) The landing pages we’re sending traffic to now (as of last month) are better matches for the content and also present a clearer “call to action” in my opinion. Thus better conversions. This is a result of the time we spent creating individual, targeted landing pages for each service type your firm offers.

5) By separating out the campaign (versus before us) into separate ad groups for each we’re taking people directly to what they are looking for. If they search on “thin crust pepporoni pizza” we’re taking them directly to that page, not just a page about “pizza in general”. Before everyone was going to the homepage and had to find what they wanted specifically. Now we take them directly to the page they are looking for.

Note: Don’t put a bunch of different keywords in one ad group! That will effectively force them all to the same page (unless you go through extra effort) and will also make it much more difficult for you to compare one type of service versus another in terms of their performance. Break your offerings down into 5-10 smaller buckets and make each of those its own ad group. You’ll be able to better-targeted and match your ad copy to the subject, as well as get higher quality scores for your resulting landing pages.

6) All of the above basically contribute to a lower CPC that we’re now paying. You were paying $10 per click in Maryland and now you are paying like $5.50. Plus I believe you’re getting better quality visitors too. Thus, more traffic and more leads for your money.

So there you have it. Side note on pizza… these pizza kits are yummy. Mmmm. Okay now back to online lead generation!

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