Growth Marketer Academy: Episode 7 – Paid Search for Lead Generation

Everyone wants to start right in with SEO

But you can’t.

It takes a huge amount of time and resources to get started and off the ground.

Instead of wasting months editing your website and preparing and promoting content around keywords you think will work, we’re going to give you the secret that all successful digital marketers know: you have to start with pay-per-click.

What does pay-per-click have to do with SEO, you say?

We’ll reveal why the smart marketers – like you! – skip SEO and start with paid search.

Use Paid Search (PPC) as a testing ground

Decide which keywords to target

Start with your keyword matrix

(if you missed that episode, make sure you listen to episode 3)

Focus on high intent keywords

High intent keywords = those with purchase/or action signals

You’re paying for traffic.

Use the platform like the yellow pages

Focus on keywords from pretty far down their purchase path.

High intent keywords will be either


If you have a higher priced product or service and you’re looking to generate leads.

Set a budget!

Your budget will determine:

  1. Reduce scale of a high traffic keyword:

You don’t want to lose a bunch of money while you’re testing

Determine the best ad wording & landing pages in a controlled manner

One way to do this = Add a geo-targeted modifier

Otherwise, you could blow through a $2,000 test budget in minutes.

  1. You can set a budget for each ad group or for the account as a whole

WE RECOMMEND you set budgets for each ad group

Organize Your AdGroups

Ok, you’ve identified which keywords you want to test first

Use them to build out your Google or Bing AdGroups

AdGroups let you organize your PPC ads and set a target-specific budget.

Example: An insurance company might offer several kinds of insurance

(personal liability, auto liability, homeowner’s insurance, business property, business liability, etc., etc.)


If you have a keyword that’s super high traffic

AND you don’t want to limit with modifiers

Put it in its own ad group

You can set a budget for that specific ad

Don’t create an ad group for every ad, though

Sort keywords into their appropriate AdGroups

Pay attention to keyword matching options

  1. Broad match keywords

Broad match = default Adwords setting

Ads may show on searches that include:

These are dangerous.

Your ad can show in completely irrelevant searches


Dating sites are targeting keyword:

“find Valentine’s Day date” or “find Valentine’s Day match,”

Broad search match would show their ad for:

Pro Tip: Even when you limit your keyword match by choosing something OTHER than broad match, Google will still show your ad to “Close keyword variations”

For example, if your phrase match keyword is “kid’s scooter,” you’d still want to show your ad when someone searches for “kids scooter” or “kid scooters.”

  1. Broad match modifier (BMM)

Let’s you define which of your keywords MUST be present for your ad to appear


You sell custom dry erase boards

You’re targeting “dry erase board”

You’d probably want to have “dry erase” be required but board could vary

(to capture traffic from dry erase pen and dry erase calendar but exclude traffic related to board – from board game to cedar plank board)

You Can add Broad Match Modifiers to

This helps limit your ad to more relevant traffic

  1. Phrase match

Ad will show to those that type your exact keyword, + a few words before or after BUT no words in between


Your keyword is “tennis shoes”

Your ad will show for

Increases likelihood that searchers will find your ad relevant

Ad is likely to have a better Click-Through-RateCTR

BONUS: exact phrase match ads appear in bold in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

  1. Exact match

An exact match is a more qualified search

Ad is only shown when a searcher types the exact same keyword (or a close variation)


Your keyword is “shoes for men”

Exact match will show that ad to

Will NOT show ad to “red shoes for men” or “buy men shoes”

  1. Negative match

A broad match or phrase match keyword is likely to generate some irrelevant traffic

Adding a negative match can exclude your ad from showing in certain searches


An optometrist targeting keywords related to eyeglasses may want to add negative keywords for search terms like:

“wine glasses” and “drinking glasses.”

Goal: drive qualified traffic at the lowest cost possible

To do this:

  1. Start with broad match terms in a limited area to gather data without blowing your budget
  2. Review search terms that showed your ad.

Which are relevant?

Which are not?

  1. Use that data to convert your broad match keyword ad into several phrase match & exact match ads
  2. Ad negative keywords to reduce irrelevant traffic and improve CTR

More relevant ads = lower cost & more qualified traffic

Write your ad copy

  1. Don’t reinvent the wheel

Look at your close competitor’s ads

Mimic the phrasing

Copy of the ads that appear to be working for them

(from your competitor analysis data)

This will allow you a baseline

Think all your competitors are idiots?

You should still run similar versions as a control group against your own inventions.

  1. Include search terms for relevancy

Your ads need to be immediately and obviously relevant to the person that typed the appropriate keywords into search

Consider including the keywords themselves in your ad copy.

If you type “best organic dog food” into Google, the ads specifically include those words.

BONUS: Google highlights the search phrase in the ad

It calls out “here’s what you’re looking for!” to the searcher.

  1. Dynamic keyword insertion

Use dynamic keyword insertion to put the exact term that searcher types into Google in your ad’s headline or body

Increases apparent relevancy of the ad to the searcher


You sell chocolate.

You want to focus on sales of dark chocolate and sugar-free chocolate

DKI: Insert the code “buy {keyword: chocolate}” into the headline section.

Google will now replace search term “chocolate” with a keyword from your ad group (dark chocolate or sugar-free chocolate)

DKI is also helpful for brands who target long-tail keywords.

Adwords has a 25 character limit on headlines

Long-tail keywords can get cut off.

With DKI, a long search term can be replaced with shorter alternatives.


You’re selling an accounting software

Use dynamic keyword insertion to have a search for “best small office accounting software” show your ad with exactly that headline.

Someone who searches for “best Quicken alternatives for small medical billing office” would see the alternative you set, such as “best Quicken alternatives”

Warning: if you use branded dynamic keywords, your ad can inadvertently appear like you’re intentionally misrepresenting yourself to be a competitor


You are an RV Repair center, “Bob’s Best RV Repair.”

You want your ad to show when people search for your competitor, “Annie’s Awesome RV Repair.”

If you use dynamic keyword insertion, someone searching for “Annie’s Awesome RV Repair location” would see an ad with that (your competitor’s name) for its headline but clicking would take searchers to your landing page.

  1. Use ad extensions

Call out specific pages on your website that searchers might be interested in

(like location page, reviews, etc)

There are a bunch of search extensions

Extensions give you more real estate on your ad

PRO TIP: Don’t go crazy

If you use them all, Google decides which extension to show

Google decides what it feels will generate you the most traffic/clicks

If you only enable one or two, Google only shows the ones you want

This is a better way to control your message

Landing Page Perfection

Now that you have the perfect ad, you need to decide where to send click traffic

You may be tempted to send traffic to your homepage. Not a good idea.


Instead, create a dedicated landing page. Make sure it:

  1. Matches the intent of the person clicking the ad

If your ad is focused on “cheapest” or “least expensive,” you know the visitor wants pricing.

If your ad is targeting keywords like “best,” you know the searcher is interested in features

  1. Limit the distractions

What’s your goal?

To collect email addresses?

Make sure your landing page has an appropriate lead magnet and enticement

To sell a product?

Make sure your landing page sells the product the customer clicked through for.

Your landing page should be concise and focused.

Limit paths to anything but your end goal

  1. Consider using a sales funnel or squeeze page when appropriate
  1. Use tracking tools like Google Tag Manager to track & retarget landing page visitors 

This is particularly important to those looking to generate leads AND

“Marketing Rule of 7” – a new lead needs to see your brand/ad/message at least 7 times before an individual feels ready to commit.

  1. Make sure you make a version that matches your competitor’s style

You need to A/B test your idea of what you think will work against what your competitor is already doing to gauge success.

You probably don’t need a designer or coder

Use a template for fast deployment

Many of these landing page generators also let you:

Test, Test, Test

Test landing page design, layout, wording for click-through & bounce rate

Paying for traffic makes a lot of sense at this stage in your marketing campaign.


You’re in the data gathering phase. Ultimately pay-per-click lets you identify the highest converting keywords and landing page combinations BEFORE you spend the hundreds of man-hours crafting content and drumming up traffic for SEO.