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Not All Leads are Created Equal: How to Pre-Qualify Your PPC Leads

July 28, 2014 // By: Michelle Kelly


I think that we can all agree that not all leads are created equal. For this reason it is important to properly define what a qualified lead means for your business. This will allow you to take steps to not only improve the quantity of leads, but also the quality. Below are some quick tips that if implemented could really help to increase your return on investment from your paid search buy.

  1. Agree On A Clear Definition Of What A Qualified Lead Means To Your Business.

This definition can be quite a bit different from company to company. In your line of business a qualified lead may be someone who submits a specific form on your website and provides a valid phone number and email address. They may also need to be located in a specific area. Phone calls could also be defined as leads. What makes them a qualified opportunity for your business? Perhaps the call needs to be 30 seconds or longer in duration.

If this definition varies based on time of day or day of week, this should be taken into consideration. An example could be phone calls that come in after business hours. Are they routed to an answering service? Are they directed to voicemail? Does your voicemail allow them to leave a message or does it tell them to call back during normal business hours? This can result in shorter calls from prospects that are good leads.

  1. Use Targeted Keyword Lists That Are Not Too Broad.

Once you have identified what a qualified lead looks like, your paid search team can start implementing changes to better target the right prospects.

The keywords selected for your paid search campaign, as well as the match types, can greatly impact lead quality. For example if a qualified lead for your business needs to have good credit, you would not want to appear for searches specific to people with poor credit or no credit.

Targeted Keyword In This Example:   Honda Financing Specials

Keyword To Avoid In This Example:    Honda Financing After A Bankruptcy

  1. Use Calls-To-Action That Steer Your Prospect To A Desired Action.

While this may seem like a no-brainer, you would be surprised at how often this is an issue.

If you are trying to drive phone calls from mobile devices, your ad copy specific to mobile devices should prompt for a call.

If you are trying to drive more price quote requests, the call to action should push a price quote. Remember that the call to action used on your landing page should match the paid search ad copy for the best results.

  1. Location Targeting / Time Of Day Targeting / Day Of Week Targeting

Your paid search team has many targeting options available. Many of these targeting options can help fine tune your campaign to better focus on those searchers who are most likely to convert to a lead and/or a sale.

The top three targeting options for optimizations are location targeting, time of day targeting, and day of week targeting. Reports can be pulled to show what areas are most likely to convert for your business, as well as what times of day and/or days of week are the most profitable.

Bid adjustments can be made on any or all of these targeting options based on performance.

Google is continuously testing new ways to target the “right” prospect. For example, we are currently running some Demographics For Search betas that allow us to increase or decrease bids based on age or gender. This is a very powerful tool for those companies who know their ideal customer profile.

  1. Collect The “Right” Information In Your Lead Forms.

Be sure to only require fields that you need for conversion. The more hurdles and form fields, the fewer the leads.  The goal is to find the proper balance between the quality and quantity of leads. If you rule out too many potential buyers, your opportunity for growth can be severely diminished. However, you don’t want to waste money on leads from areas that do not convert or for leads with invalid contact information.

For those fields that you do need to collect, make sure that your web forms are setup to require necessary fields (i.e. phone number, email address, etc.). Make sure that your code is checking for proper formatting before form submission is allowed. For example, you will want all 10 digits of a phone number, email address format should follow email@address.com , etc.

You can even take it a step further to block phone numbers starting with 3 of the same digits (555, 444), or area codes entered that are not valid area codes in the continental United States. This can easily be done with reference tables or lookups.

  1. Provide The Tools That Your Paid Search Team Needs To Make Good Decisions.

Make sure that your paid search team is fully aware of your business objectives and that they have access to sales data and all relevant CRM data. Make sure that you have an open line of communication between your sales team, your management team, your other marketing departments, and your paid search team. Feedback and proper tracking are critical to your success.

  1. Call And Lead Audits – Refine PPC Strategy And Sales Approach Based On Findings.

Periodically listen to call samples to see if there are any trends that need to be addressed. This can either be with lead quality, or with the sales process itself. As important as it is to pre-qualify your PPC leads, it is just as important to make the most out of each and every opportunity received. Both pieces of the equation are necessary for the best results.

Ready to take your PPC campaigns to the next level? Click here to watch this free webinar replay, 7 Tips to Conquer Paid Search.

All the best,


Michelle Kelly is a Sr. PPC Consultant at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia area advertising agency.


Topics: Digital Marketing, lead generation, Paid Search, PPC, ppc, PPC 101, PPC Secrets, ppc targeting