Generating leads with SEO is getting harder and harder. Even before Google started crowding out organic search results with ads, it could take some time to rank. And for smaller businesses, ranking for competitive terms was next to impossible. Fortunately, PPC lead generation offers a way to avoid that struggle.

Yes, it costs money, but so does SEO if you have to hire a professional SEO and/or pay for content. And lead generation companies don’t work for free either. Regardless, as long as you’re getting positive ROI from your paid search campaigns, it ought to be worth it.

An Overview

PPC lead generation relies on pay-per-click ad networks like Google’s, Facebook’s, and Bing’s to drive traffic into your sales funnel. It can be expensive, but if you do it right your ads should pay for themselves in the long run (or preferably the short run).

Getting Started with PPC Lead Generation

Search engine marketing is the best place to start, and Google Ads is the best search engine to begin generating leads through PPC. Here’s why:

  1. You can focus on keywords with purchase intent (e.g., “buy socks”), so that you’re paying for traffic near the bottom of the funnel. That means the ads will pay for themselves sooner than if you were generating leads at the top of the funnel that still needed to be nurtured to the Decision stage.
  2. Google is the most used search engine, so chances are that’s where the majority of the fish are (though this obviously depends on your particular industry to a certain extent).

When to Move On

When you see a point of diminishing returns with Google Ads, it’s time to test other platforms. I recommending sticking with search for as long as it’s profitable. That means trying Bing Ads next.

It’s important to be sure you’re considering the right metrics when determining whether or not it’s time to find greener pastures. Don’t worry about CPC, or CTR, or any other metric except CPA.

CPA is cost-per-acquisition, and you’ll want to focus on the cost to acquire a customer, not a lead.

Once you find that you’re increasing spend without increasing your new customer volume (i.e., you’re paying more for the same amount of leads), it’s time to expand.

Paid Social Lead Generation

If Bing is profitable, keep upping your spend until you’re fully exploiting the opportunity. If it doesn’t work after a reasonable period of time, shut it off and move on.

At this point, paid social and remarketing are your best bet. I’ve explained how to use remarketing ads to generate leads in my Sales Funnel Template Guide.

Guidelines for Successful PPC Lead Generation

A successful lead generation campaign on the Google Ads network requires the following elements:

  • Keyword Research
  • Account Structure
  • Landing Pages
  • Ad Creation
  • Analysis

Keyword Research

First, you’ll need to do some keyword research. Develop a list of relevant terms that indicate purchase intent, and then use a tool like Ubersuggest or Google’s Keyword Planner to get an idea about how much traffic you can expect. Those tools can also help you come up with more keyword ideas.

You can also run your competitors’ websites through Ubersuggest to see what they’re ranking for organically. Then you can try to intercept that organic traffic with an ad.

Account Structure

Generally, I recommend building your account around single keyword ad groups (SKAGs). This means creating one ad group for each keyword (using all three match types), and writing copy specific to that keyword. (It helps if the landing page copy is written for the keyword as well.)

This improves the relevancy of your ads with should decrese your CPC and increase your CTR. Fiuti is a tool that helps create SKAGs easily.

Landing Pages

A good landing page is crucial to lead generation through any channel. This is especially true with PPC ads generally and Google Ads specifically. Your landing pages need to be:

  • fast
  • relevant
  • conversion optimized

Speed is important because if your site takes too long to load, people are just going to bounce. That means you paid for the click for nothing. Relevance is important because (1) if you’re selling them something they weren’t looking for you’re going to struggle to convert your traffic, and (2) Google considers relevance when determining your QS (which affects your CPC).

Finally, since you’re paying to send traffic to this page, you want it to be optimized to convert. Not to look pretty, not to be a feat of coding brilliance, but to make sales.

I’ve written a guide to help you optimize your landing pages for lead generation.

Ad Creation

Every good ad needs to get the viewer’s attention, arouse their interest, and entice them to click. Additionally, a Google Ad needs to be relevant to the target keyword. Use the target keyword as much as you can within reason.

And don’t neglect to use every field available.


Which ads are driving most of your sales? What’s your cost per customer? If possible, it’s important to have tracking in place that will allow you to see how much you’re paying per customer (not per lead, not per call, etc.). Basically, if you’re paying $1 for a $2 sale, you’re good to go.

This can be difficult to do if your business relies on offline sales (unless you have a big enough budget to hire a company that can track offline sales), but there are options.

More Keys To Successful PPC Lead Generation With Google Ads

  • Negative Keywords. Look at your search terms report on a regular basis to make sure you’re not paying for clicks from irrelevant searches.
  • Location Targeting. Don’t waste your money advertising in locations where you don’t do business!
  • Ad Extensions. Use every ad extension that makes sense for your business. These help your ads take up more space on the search results page (which pushes competitors further down), and they can lower your CPC. They can also increase your CTR and conversion rate.

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