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How Google Responsive Search Ads Work & 10 Helpful Tips

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How Google Responsive Search Ads Work & 10 Helpful Tips

Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) allow advertisers to enter multiple headline and description options that Google can combine in creating a personalized, relevant ad for each searcher. Google tests different combinations of the headlines and descriptions provided to learn which combos perform best in capturing shoppers’ attention and clicks.

“The ability to run and test multiple combinations of headlines and descriptions simultaneously using machine learning saves advertisers valuable time from repetitive A/B testing, as well as improving overall performance by showing the best combination possible.”

Josh Brisco, GVP, Acquisition Media at Tinuiti

In this post, we’ll explore how responsive search ads work, their advantages, how to create them, and some helpful tips for making the most of them in your Google advertising campaigns.

 

What Are Responsive Search Ads?

 
Google’s Responsive Search Ads were introduced in beta in 2018, and have grown to become the leading Paid Search ad format available in Google Ads. Similar in some ways to another popular ad type—Dynamic Search Ads—RSAs aim to best answer each searcher’s query through headline and description combinations based on their search.

Example of Responsive Search Ad on Google search engine results page

Responsive Search Ad optimization is done in real-time, continually working toward achieving the best performance outcomes from the provided ad elements. The more headlines and descriptions entered, the more Google Ads can test and learn which combinations work best for different searchers. With the ability to input up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for Google’s machine learning to mix-and-match in serving up the best ad, over 43,000 ad variations are possible!

Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) were the former standard ad format for Google search campaigns, with RSAs officially taking the throne when ETAs were sunset in June 2022. While ETAs created before June 2022 are still served and reported on—and can be paused and resumed—new ETAs cannot be created, and existing ETAs cannot be edited. If you still have lingering, stale ETAs in your account, take some time to transition to RSAs.

“The rollout of RSAs has saved advertisers countless hours of having to test combinations of ad messaging, but the effort doesn’t stop here. We’re seeing clients being rewarded with CPC—and ultimately, CPA—savings with creative RSA approaches and analysis.”

Austin Winkler

Austin Winkler, Paid Search Specialist at Tinuiti

Note that you can only have up to 3 enabled RSAs in any given ad group, so use your slots wisely.
 

The Advantages of Responsive Search Ads

 
Thanks to Google’s continual advances in machine learning and automation, RSAs offer advertisers and searchers alike a host of benefits. Let’s explore some to keep top-of-mind…
 

Simplify optimization through machine learning

RSAs allow advertisers to input up to (15) 30-character headlines and (4) 90-character descriptions. Each RSA constructed from the provided elements will include up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions.

Google can test and run all possible combinations of these elements to see which are the best performing configurations for which searches based on the query, device type, and available user-specific signals, like past search history and clicks. This means you can bid farewell to more manual A/B testing, with Google’s Machine Learning/AI testing all possible outcomes to save advertisers valuable time and variable consideration.

“The RSA ad format offers a huge improvement in how we run and test messaging. Even though AI/Machine Learning is involved, we still can guide the machine to fit our client goals. We have seen crafted and tested RSA formats ultimately help with efficiency.”

Austin Winkler

Austin Winkler, Paid Search Specialist at Tinuiti

Ad Variations testing is an option that allows for pointed A/B testing for RSAs. This lets advertisers test one asset versus another, or an asset group versus another asset group.
 

Show up in a greater number of relevant searches

Thanks to their extensive headline and description options, RSAs give you the needed space to highlight many unique characteristics or selling points of your brand or product.

Similar to the approach you might take when crafting a well-optimized product description, think of a variety of compelling things that might entice a prospective customer, or be related to their search query. Try not to simply ‘say the same thing a different way,’ instead highlighting totally different (or complementary) aspects of your product or business.

Example Scenario:

Let’s say you’ll be creating RSAs for a line of lip balms. Think of all the different types of shoppers for whom the products you’ll be advertising would be a good fit. Now, think of the ways each of those different customer personas will be searching, including the keywords they’ll be using. Ensure that you have at least one headline for each of the most important, relevant, and/or likely queries.

If you prefer to start with an outline before crafting your final ad copy elements, consider taking notes as you go about each of the selling points you want to be sure to account for.

Sample notes you might take to help in building unique headlines for your lip balms…

  • Mention they’re tinted in at least two headlines
  • Highlight the three key ingredients in separate headlines
  • Include that they’re cruelty-free
  • Consider relevant Brand selling points or taglines
  • Consider including compelling offers / sales (new customer offer, product category sales, etc.)
  • Container is fully recyclable
  • TSA-friendly
  • SPF30 protection
  • Variety of scents including unscented
  • Organic ingredients

The variety of relevant value propositions you highlight gives your ads an opportunity to compete in more auctions, helping your message reach more customers by showing up for more searches.

“Showing an optimized search ad with the right message to the right audience has the potential to boost the CTR and lower CPCs for Search campaigns. If done correctly, this can help advertisers improve their ROAS and reduce wasted ad spend.”

Portrait of Josh Brisco

Josh Brisco, GVP, Acquisition Media at Tinuiti

 

Create thousands of ad combinations effortlessly

In addition to highlighting different selling points of your product—as we explored above with the lip balms example—pump up the variety by also exploring headlines and descriptions of different lengths, and including different types of callouts and offers.

Seeing what types of messaging result in the most clicks and conversions can not only help in optimizing your campaigns, but also in learning more about what’s most important to your customers. This can greatly influence your current and future advertising initiatives, and can even help in shaping the future of your business.

Examples of ad combinations based on headlines and descriptions for Google Responsive Search Ads

Source: Google

Note: Smaller scale advertisers may benefit from including less possible combinations to serve at first, as the required impressions for the RSA to optimize may be out of reach for many clients.
 

How to Create Responsive Search Ads

 
RSAs can be created in a few simple steps…

  • In your selected campaign, navigate to the ‘Ads & Assets’ tab in your Google Ads dashboard
  • Click the plus sign (+) alongside ‘Responsive search ad’ to create a new ad
  • Select an ad group to add your new ad to
  • Enter your RSA’s Final URL or landing page you’d like to direct users to with your ad
  • Input up to 15 different headlines (minimum 3)
    • If you currently have ads running, Google may suggest additional headlines that may improve performance (based on keywords in your ad group)
  • Input up to 4 different descriptions (minimum 2)
    • If you currently have ads running, Google may suggest additional descriptions that may improve performance (based on keywords in your ad group)
  • Click ‘Save New Ad’

Google will then review your RSA and launch it once approved.
 

Pinning headlines and descriptions

By their design, RSAs will test all of the headlines and descriptions you provide in different positions to see how their placement within a given ad impacts performance. If you want to maintain a bit more control over messaging—ensuring that all users are shown a given headline or description—you can opt to pin those in your ad in whichever position you choose, but this may result in a loss of eligible search volume.

Remember that while up to 3 headlines and 2 descriptions can show in RSAs, not all ads will include all elements. Depending on a variety of factors—including device screen size and competitiveness of the respective SERP—a given RSA may only include 2 headlines and 1 description (at minimum). With this in mind, you won’t want to pin essential (legal, brand guidelines) assets to ‘Headline 3’ or ‘Description 2’ as they may not always show.
 

Specs for Responsive Search Ads

 
Before you sit down to create your first RSA campaign, keep the following specs in mind to ensure you have everything you need for a successful launch.

  • Headlines to provide: Minimum of 3, Up to 15 (Recommended minimum of 5)
  • Descriptions to provide: Minimum of 2, Up to 4
  • Headline Character Count: Up to 30 characters (Aim for varied lengths)
  • Description Character Count: Up to 90 characters (Aim for varied lengths)
  • Display URL paths shown: 2 (optional)
  • Final URL: Where your ad will lead
  • How many headlines will show in each RSA: At least 2, up to 3
  • How many descriptions will be displayed in each RSA: At least 1, up to 2

 

10 Helpful Tips for Using Responsive Search Ads

 
Let’s explore 10 actionable tips advertisers can employ to see the greatest success from their RSA campaigns…
 

1. Provide a true variety of headlines

The greater variety of assets you provide, the more options Google has to work with in assembling your messages into highly relevant ads, which can significantly improve performance. RSAs allow you to upload up to 15 headlines, providing ample opportunity to experiment with different phrasing, value propositions, and CTAs.

We suggest including a focus keyword in two or more of your headlines, with at least three headline options that do not include a keyword. Remember that you’ll also want each to be distinct enough so that if two are shown in the same ad, they aren’t repetitive. For example, unless you were pinning one of the options, you would want to avoid including “Free Shipping” and “Ships Free” in the same ad.
 

2. Create headlines and descriptions of different lengths

Sometimes short and sweet is the best answer! Give Google the opportunity to experiment with the performance of short, mid-length, and long headlines and descriptions by providing a mix of each.

Example of a responsive search ad on Google Search for best NYC hotels

Source: Google.com

Don’t try to maximize the character count in every headline and description. Remember that each headline, description, and image is just a part of the recipe—they don’t all need to be running at full capacity to convey your message when they’ll be working together.
 

3. Add at least 2 distinct descriptions

Responsive search ads show up to two descriptions at a time, so you’ll want to include a minimum of two complementary options. That said, we encourage you to take advantage of all 4 description slots to get the quickest learnings about what works best for your brand. The more work you put into maximizing your RSAs from the beginning, the greater head start Google has on testing combinations, and the sooner your campaigns will be optimized.
 

4. Provide relevant copy with features and benefits

Take the space you’re given to tell your brand story, and what makes your product the right choice for a given shopper’s wants and needs. Share additional products or service benefits and features, special offers, a problem your product solves for, activities for which your product is a good choice, shipping and return information, and more!

Think of your headlines and descriptions as foundational pieces in your wardrobe that can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits and looks for different occasions—an ad copy version of a wardrobe capsule collection. Google is doing much of the same work when crafting the perfect ad based on query and user signals as you are when crafting the perfect look from your closet. Make sure each ad element is strong enough on its own that it will be eye-catching regardless of what else it’s paired with.
 

5. Use a CTA in your description

Don’t be shy or mysterious! Be clear and concise about the action you want shoppers to take. A strong CTA helps your ad stand out in a busy SERP, providing clarity of desired action. You can also use CTAs to convey immediacy for products with limited availability or an expiring sale price.
 

6. Use pins intentionally

The option to pin is a very valuable feature, but it’s important to consider that the more you pin, the less impression volume you’re going to see in nearly all cases. We recommend using pinning as intentionally as possible to achieve the desired effect, relying on Google to craft the most compelling ad for each searcher without excessive requirements in place.

As for what to pin? Certain things may require pinning, such as legal disclaimers. Many advertisers also choose to implement pinning for testing different ad themes. Others leverage pinning to test multiple RSA units in an ad group. This is all to say that pinning is useful and effective, and can be used both practically and creatively. However, given that RSAs are dynamic by nature, over-pinning can put up concrete guardrails that prevent the ads from operating as intended.
 

7. Monitor Performance with Google’s reports

Use RSA Asset Reports across tactics—brand or non-brand, new or existing users, etc.—to determine which assets are boosting campaign performance the most. For directional purposes, we can assume that more impressions likely lead to a performance boost when this asset is shown.

Higher Ad Strength has more to do with the potential reach increase (number of ad auctions you’re eligible for) you could see, rather than suggesting higher CVR or CTR.

Frequently replacing low-volume or non-serving assets with new concepts, CTAs, or value propositions ensures you’re giving the algorithm new and exciting reasons to serve your brand’s ad. Combine the replacement using Google’s Ad Variations tool to set up an easy-to-use A/B split test that will provide you with valuable insights, and just might impress your boss or client!

Combination reports are useful in evaluating what the bulk of your users are seeing in their messages. If you find that two similar headlines are often shown together in a resulting ad, try pinning both to the same headline position. This will create a mini-test that guarantees the two assets won’t show in tandem.

It’s worth noting that current RSA Asset Reporting is limited, with impressions and ‘strength’ being the primary measures of performance success at this time. Advertisers also have insight into the most commonly served combinations of headlines and descriptions, which they can leverage to continue refining their campaigns, providing Google with more of what’s working to choose from.
 

8. Solve Business Problems / Run Your Own Tests using Ad Variations

Use Ad Strength as a general guide to creating the right components that make up an effective RSA, but use your ad’s performance and your client goals when determining success. Use your own testing methodologies to optimize towards desired outcomes (e.g. CVR improvement, % new customers, etc.).
 

9. Expand your testing breadth by combining copy tools/features and testing BETAs where applicable

Fully maxed out in your 15 headlines and 4 description lines? Try testing out other Google ad content features within RSAs, including Ad customizer feeds and Dynamic Keyword Insertion.
 

10. Start with one RSA per group, then expand

Try RSA versions built to suit different target audiences or customer types. For example, ‘New Customer RSA’ can feature brand value-adds and percentage-off first purchase assets. ‘Research-Centric User RSA’ are best armed with less ‘buy’ CTAs and more ‘Learn More / Newsletter Subscribe’ CTAs.
 

Conclusion

 
RSAs are the progression beyond Expanded Text Ads that advertisers needed to meet each user where they are in today’s complex search journey. Want to learn more about how RSAs and other Google advertising options can help you reach your business goals? Stop by our Paid Search services page, or contact us to chat with an expert.

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Greg Swan in May 2018 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

​​

via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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