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The Ultimate Guide to Google Ads [Examples]

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If you’re considering spending any amount of money on ads to reach your target audience, you’d better spend it in the right place.

That is, somewhere with over 2.9 billion unique monthly visitors and 5 billion daily interactions.

Somewhere like Google.

Google Ads was launched just two years after what has become the most popular website in the world: Google.com. The advertising platform came on the scene in October 2000 as Google Adwords, but after some rebranding in 2018, it was renamed Google Ads.

Given Google’s expansive reach, chances are you’ve seen (and probably clicked on) a Google ad, and so have your potential customers.

It’s no secret that these days, the stronger and more focused your paid campaigns are, the more clicks you generate — leading to a greater probability of obtaining new customers.

Little wonder then that Google Ads has become increasingly popular among businesses across all industries.

In this guide, you’ll discover how to begin advertising on Google. We’ll cover features specific to the platform and teach you how to optimize your campaigns to achieve the best results with your ads.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is a paid advertising platform that falls under a marketing channel known as pay-per-click (PPC), where you (the advertiser) pay per click or impression (CPM) on an ad.

Google Ads is an effective way to drive qualified traffic, or good-fit customers, to your business who’re searching for products and services like the ones you offer. With Google Ads, you can boost your website traffic, receive more phone calls, and increase in-store visits.

Google Ads allows you to create and share well-timed ads (via both mobile and desktop) among your target audience. As a result, your business will show up on the search engine results page (SERP) at the moment your ideal customers are looking for products and services like yours via Google Search or Google Maps.

This way, you reach your target audience when it makes sense for them to come across your ad.

Note: Ads from the platform can span across other channels, too, including YouTube, Blogger, and Google Display Network.

Over time, Google Ads will also help you analyze and improve those ads to reach more people so your business can hit all of your paid campaign goals.

Discover how HubSpot can help you better manage your Google Ads.

Additionally, no matter the size of your business or your available resources, you can tailor your ads to suit your budget. The Google Ads tool allows you to stay within your monthly cap and even pause or stop your ad spending at any point in time.

Now, onto another critical question: Is Google Ads really effective? To answer this, let’s consider a few statistics:

  • Google Ads has a click-through rate of nearly 2%.
  • Display ads yield 180 million impressions each month.
  • For users ready to buy, paid ads on Google get 65% of the clicks.
  • 43% of customers buy something they’ve seen on a YouTube ad.

Why advertise on Google?

Google is the most used search engine, receiving over 5 billion search queries daily. Not to mention, the Google Ads platform has been around for nearly two decades, giving it some seniority and authority in paid advertising.

Google is a resource used by people worldwide to ask questions answered with a combination of paid advertisements and organic results.

Need another reason? Your competitors are using Google Ads (and they might even be bidding on your branded terms).

Hundreds of thousands of companies use Google Ads to promote their businesses, which means that even if you’re ranking organically for a search term, your results are being pushed down the page beneath your competitors.

If you’re using PPC to advertise your product or services, Google Ads should be a part of your paid strategy — there’s no way around it (except maybe Facebook Ads, but that’s another article).

PPC planning template.

google ads ppc planning template from hubspot

Download this Template for Free

Using a planner keeps your PPC projects organized. With Google and HubSpot’s PPC Planning Template, you can view how your ads will appear online, see your character counts, and manage your campaigns all in one place.

2. Avoid broad keyword terms.

You really need to nail it for your keywords, which is why testing and tweaking should be a part of your strategy. If your keywords are too broad, Google will be placing your ad in front of the wrong audience, which means fewer clicks and a higher ad spend.

Review what’s working (i.e., which keywords generate clicks) and adjust them to best match your ads with your target audience. You likely won’t get the mix right the first time, but you should keep adding, removing, and tweaking keywords until you do.

Tip: Review the keyword strategies that we cover below.

3. Don’t run irrelevant ads.

If your ad doesn’t match the searcher’s intent, you won’t get enough clicks to justify your ad spend. Your headline and ad copy need to match the keywords you’re bidding on, and the solution your ad is marketing needs to solve whatever pain point that searcher is experiencing.

It’s a combination that will yield the results you’re looking for, and it may just be a few tweaks away. You have the option to create multiple ads per campaign — use this feature to split test which ads work best. Or, better yet, use Google’s Responsive Search Ads feature.

Tip: Read our best practices for ad copy.

4. Improve your Quality Score (QS).

Your Quality Score (QS) is how Google determines how your ad should rank.

The higher your QS, the better your rank and placements on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). If your quality score is low, you’ll have fewer eyeballs on your ad and fewer chances to convert.

Although Google lets you know your Quality Score, it’s your responsibility to improve it.

Tip: Keep reading to learn how to improve your QS.

5. Optimize your ad landing page.

Your efforts shouldn’t stop with your ad — the user experience after a click is equally essential.

What does your user see once they click your ad? Is your landing page optimized for conversions? Does the page solve your user’s pain point or answer their question? Your user should experience a seamless transition through the conversion process.

Tip: Review landing page best practices and implement them to increase your conversion rate.

PPC. Either way, you’ll need to know these to run an effective ad campaign.

1. AdRank

Your AdRank determines your ad placement. The higher the value, the better you’ll rank, the more eyes will fall on your ad, and the higher the probability of users clicking your ad. Your AdRank is determined by your maximum bid multiplied by your Quality Score.

2. Bidding

Google Ads is based on a bidding system, where you, as the advertiser, select a maximum bid amount you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad. The higher your bid, the better your placement. You have three options for bidding: CPC, CPM, or CPE.

  • CPC, or cost-per-click, is the amount you pay for each click on your ad.
  • CPM, or cost per mille, is the amount you pay for one thousand ad impressions; that is when your ad is shown to a thousand people.
  • CPE, or cost per engagement, is the amount you pay when someone takes a predetermined action with your ad.

And, yes, we’ll review bidding strategies below.

3. Campaign Type

Before you begin a paid campaign on Google Ads, you’ll select between seven campaign types: search, display, video, shopping, app, smart, or performance max.

  • Search ads are text ads that are displayed among search results on a Google results page.
  • Display ads are typically image-based and are shown on web pages within the Google Display Network.
  • Video ads are between six and 15 seconds and appear on YouTube.
  • Shopping campaigns appear on search results and the Google shopping tab.
  • App campaigns use information from your app to optimize ads across websites.
  • Smart campaigns have Google finding the best targeting to get you the most bang for your buck.
  • Performance Max is a new campaign type that lets advertisers access all Google Ads inventory from a single campaign.

4. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Your CTR is the number of clicks you get on your ad as a proportion of the number of views your ad gets. A higher CTR indicates a quality ad matching search intent and targeting relevant keywords.

5. Conversion Rate (CVR)

CVR is a measure of form submissions as a proportion of total visits to your landing page. Simplistically speaking, a high CVR means that your landing page presents a seamless user experience that matches the ad’s promise.

6. Display Network

Google ads can be displayed on either search results pages or a web page within Google’s Display Network (GDN). GDN is a network of websites that allow space on their web pages for Google Ads — these ads can be text- or image-based and are displayed alongside content relevant to your target keywords. The most popular Display Ad options are Google Shopping and app campaigns.

7. Extensions

Ad Extensions allow you to supplement your ad with additional information at no extra cost. These extensions fall under one of five categories: Sitelink, Call, Location, Offer, or App; we’ll cover each of these ad extensions below.

8. Keywords

When a Google user types a query into the search field, Google returns a range of results that match the searcher’s intent. Keywords are words or phrases that align with what a searcher wants and will satisfy their query. You select keywords based on which queries you want to display your ad alongside. For example, a searcher that types “how to clean gum off shoes” will see results for advertisers that targeted keywords like “gum on shoes” and “clean shoes.”

Negative keywords are a list of keyword terms that you do not want to rank for. Google will pull you from the bid on these keywords. Typically, these are semi-related to your intended search terms but fall outside of the realm of what you offer or want to rank for.

9. PPC

Pay-per-click, or PPC, is a type of advertising where the advertiser pays per click on an ad. PPC is not specific to Google Ads, but it is the most common type of paid campaign. It’s important to understand the ins and outs of PPC before launching your first Google Ads campaign.

10. Quality Score (QS)

Your Quality Score measures the quality of your ad by your click-through rate (CTR), the relevance of your keywords, the quality of your landing page, and your past performance on the SERPs. QS is a determining factor in your AdRank.

Click to get our free guide on how to use Google Ads.

How does Google Ads work?

Google Ads displays your ad to potential leads or customers who are interested in your product or service. Advertisers bid on search terms, or keywords, and the winners of that bid are placed at the top of search results pages, on YouTube videos, or on relevant websites, depending on the type of ad campaign selected.

Many factors impact your ability to create effective and high-performing Google Ads. Let’s cover them below, plus some Google Ads examples.

AdRank and Quality Score

AdRank determines the placement of your ads, and Quality Score is one of the two factors (the other being bid amount) that determines your AdRank. Remember, your Quality Score is based on the quality and relevance of your ad, and Google measures that by how many people click on your ad when it’s displayed — i.e., your CTR. Your CTR depends on how well your ad matches searcher intent, which you can deduce from three areas:

  1. The relevance of your keywords
  2. If your ad copy and CTA deliver what the searcher expects based on their search
  3. The user experience of your landing page

Your QS is where you should focus most of your attention when you first set up your Google Ad campaign — even before you increase your bid amount. The higher your QS, the lower your acquisition costs will be and the better placement you’ll get.

Location

When you first set up your Google Ad, you’ll select a geographical area where your ad will be shown. If you have a storefront, this should be within a reasonable radius around your physical location. If you have an ecommerce store and a physical product, your location should be set in the places where you ship. If you provide a service or product that is accessible worldwide, then the sky’s the limit.

Your location settings will play a role in placement. For instance, if you own a yoga studio in San Francisco, someone in New York that enters “yoga studio” will not see your result, no matter your AdRank. That’s because Google’s main objective is to display the most relevant results to searchers, even when you’re paying.

Keywords

Keyword research is just as important for paid ads as it is for organic search. Your keywords need to match searcher intent as much as possible. That’s because Google matches your ad with search queries based on the keywords you selected.

Each ad group that you create within your campaign will target a small set of keywords (one to five keywords is optimal), and Google will display your ad based on those selections.

Match Types

Match Types give you a little wiggle room when it comes to your keyword selections — they tell Google whether you want to match a search query exactly or if your ad should be shown to anyone with a search query that’s semi-related. There are four match types to choose from:

  • Broad Match is the default setting that uses any word within your keyword phrase in any order. For example, “goat yoga in Oakland” will match “goat yoga” or “yoga Oakland.”
  • Modified Broad Match allows you to lock in certain words within a keyword phrase by denoting them with a “+” sign. Your matches will include that locked-in word at the very least. For example, “+goats yoga in Oakland” could yield “goats,” “goats like food,” or “goats and yoga.”
  • Phrase Match will match with queries that include your keyword phrase in the exact order but may include additional words before or after it. For example, “goat yoga” can yield “spotted goat yoga” or “goat yoga with puppies.”
  • Exact Match maintains your keyword phrase as it is written in the exact order. For example, “goat yoga” will not show up if someone types “goats yoga” or “goat yoga class.”

If you’re just starting out and don’t know precisely how your persona will be searching, move from a broad match to a more narrow approach so you can test which queries yield the best results. However, since your ad will be ranking for many queries (some unrelated), you should keep a close eye on your ads and modify them as you can gain new information.

Headline and Description

Your ad copy can be the difference between a click on your ad and a click on your competitor’s ad. Therefore, it’s important that your ad copy matches the searcher’s intent, is aligned with your target keywords, and addresses the persona’s pain point with a clear solution.

To illustrate what we mean, let’s review an example.

google ads copy and headline

A search for “baby swim lessons” yielded this result. The copy is concise and uses limited space wisely to convey its message and connect with its target audience.

The Swim Revolution knew to put the keyword in their headline, so we instantly know that this ad matches what we’re looking for. Furthermore, the description tells us why this is the best option for swim lessons because it addresses the concerns of their persona — a parent looking to enroll their baby in a swim class.

They use words like “skills,” “fun,” “confidence,” and “comfort in the water” to ease our nerves about putting a baby in a pool and to prove to us that we will get what we want out of this class — an infant that can swim.

This kind of ad copy will get you clicks, but conversions will result from carrying this level of intention into your landing page copy.

Ad Extensions

If you’re running Google Ads, you should be using Ad Extensions for two reasons: they’re free, and they give users additional information and another reason to interact with your ad. These extensions fall within one of these five categories:

  • Sitelink Extensions extend your ad — helping you stand out — and provide additional links to your site that offer users more enticing reasons to click.

google ads sitelink extensions

  • Call Extensions allow you to incorporate your phone number in your ad, so users have an additional (and instant) way to reach out to you. If you have a customer service team that is ready to engage and convert your audience, then include your phone number.

google ads call extensions

  • Location Extensions include your location and phone number within your ad so Google can offer searchers a map to find you easily. This option is great for businesses with a storefront, and it works well for the search query “…near me.”

google ads location extensions

  • Offer Extensions work if you’re running a current promotion. It can entice users to click your ad over others if they see that your options are discounted compared to your competitors.

google ads offer extensions

  • App Extensions provide a link to an app download for mobile users. This reduces the friction of performing a new search to find and download the app in an AppStore.

google ads app extensions

Google Ads Retargeting

Retargeting (or remarketing) in Google Ads is a way to advertise to users who have previously interacted with you online but have not yet converted. Tracking cookies will follow users around the web and target these users with your ads. Remarketing is effective since most prospects need to see your marketing multiple times before becoming a customer.

You can select from one of five campaign types on Google Ads. Let’s cover the optimal uses for each and why you might choose one over the other.

1. Search Ad Campaigns

Search ads are text ads that are displayed on Google results pages. As an example, a search for “pocket squares” returns sponsored results:

types of google ads search ads campaigns

The benefit of search ads is that you’re displaying your ad in the place where most searchers look for information first — on Google. And Google shows your ad in the same format as other results (except for denoting it as an “Ad”), so users are accustomed to seeing and clicking on results.

Responsive Search Ads

Responsive search ads allow you to enter multiple versions of headlines and ad copy (15 and four variations, respectively) for Google to select the best performers to display to users. With traditional ads, you create one static version of your ad, using the same headline and description each time.

Responsive ads allow for a dynamic ad that is auto-tested until you arrive at the version that is best suited for your target audience — for Google, that means until you get the most clicks.

2. Display Ad Campaigns

Google has a network of websites in various industries and with an array of audiences that opt in to display Google Ads, known as the Google Display Network. The benefit to the website owner is that they’re paid per click or impression on the ads. The benefit to advertisers is that they can get their content in front of audiences that are aligned with their personas.

These are typically image ads that draw users’ attention away from the content on the webpage:

google ads display ad

Image Source

3. Video Ad Campaigns

videos. Remember, YouTube is a search engine, too. So the right keywords will place you in front of a video, disrupting the user’s behavior just enough to grab their attention.

Here’s a video advertisement that pops up in the middle of another video on how to tie a tie:

youtube-trueview-in-stream-ads

Image Source

4. App Ad Campaigns

Google App Campaigns promote your mobile application through an ad displayed on Google Search Network, YouTube, Google Play, Google Display Network, and more.

You can run ads that encourage your audience to install your app or, if they already use it, to take a certain action within your app.

Unlike other ad types, you don’t design an App ad campaign. Instead, provide Google with your app’s information and audience, and place a bid. Google does the rest to get your app in front of the right eyes:

types of google ads app ads campaigns

Image Source

5. Shopping Ad Campaigns

Another type of Google Ad is Google Shopping Ad Campaigns. Shopping campaigns, like these other types of ads, are displayed on SERPs and include detailed product information such as price and product imagery. You can run a Shopping campaign through Google Merchant Center, where you input specific product information that Google pulls from to create your shopping ads.

Instead of marketing your brand as a whole, Shopping Ads allow you to promote specific products and product lines. That’s why, when you search for a particular product on Google, you’ll see ads for different brands pop up along the top and/or side. This is what I see when I search “running shoes.” The ads at the top are Google Search ads, but the specific products advertised on the side are Shopping ads optimized for the keyword “running shoes”:

types of google ads google shopping ads

How to Use Google Ads

Convinced that you should start using Google Ads? Good. Getting started is simple, but requires a few steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide for setting up your first campaign on Google Ads.

1. Set up your Google Ads account.

First, go to the Google Ads homepage. On the top right-hand corner, click on ‘Start Now.’

how to use google ads: set up account

You’ll be directed to sign in with a Google account or set up a new one.

2. Choose your business name and website. 

After signing in, you’ll be taken to a page where you’ll provide your business name and website. The URL you provide is where anyone who clicks on your ad will be taken.

how to use google ads: choose business name

how to use google ads: landing page url

3. Select your advertising goal.

Next, select your main advertising goal. You have four options: Get more calls, get more website sales or sign-ups, get more visits to your physical location, and get more views and engagement on YouTube.

how to use google ads: advertising goal

4. Craft your ad.

The next step is to create your ad. This requires creativity and can be a bit challenging.

Thankfully, Google gives you tips on what to write. But, of course, the most important thing is to write an ad that’ll attract and convert your audience.

how to use google ads: write ad copy

5. Add keyword themes.

On the next page, you can choose keywords that match your brand. Google will suggest a few for you; if you’re not familiar with keyword research, we suggest selecting the ones Google has suggested to start. After selecting the right keywords, click ‘Next.’

how to use google ads: keyword themes

6. Set your ad location.

The next page lets you choose the location or locations where you want your ad to appear. It can be near your physical address or anywhere else.

how to use google ads: ad location

7. Set your budget.

Here, you’ll either use the budget options offered by Google or enter a specific budget.

how to use google ads: budget

8. Confirm payment.

Lastly, provide your billing information.

how to use google ads: billing information

And that’s how easy it is to create your first Google ad!

As you can see, setting up your paid campaigns on Google is relatively easy (and quick), mostly because the platform takes you through the setup and provides helpful hints along the way. If you have your ad copy and/or images created, the setup should take you no more than 10 minutes.

What may be less obvious are all the additional things you need to do to make sure your ads are optimally set up and easily trackable. Let’s cover these together. These are the steps you’ll take once your ads are submitted for review.

9. Link your Google Analytics account.

You likely have Google Analytics set up on your website (if not, here’s how to do it on WordPress) so you can track traffic, conversions, goals, and any unique metrics. You also need to link your Analytics account to Google Ads. Linking these accounts will make tracking, analyzing, and reporting between channels and campaigns much easier because you can view these events in one place.

google ads link google analytics

10. Add UTM codes.

Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) codes are used by Google to track any activity associated with a specific link. You’ve probably seen them before — it’s the part of a URL that follows a question mark (“?”). UTM codes will tell you which offer or ad led to a conversion so you can track the most effective parts of your campaign. UTM codes make it easier to optimize your Google Ads since you know exactly what’s working.

The trick, though, is to add your UTM codes at the campaign level when you set up your Google Ads, so you don’t have to do so manually for each ad URL. Otherwise, you can add them manually with Google’s UTM builder.

google ads set up utm codes google campaign url builder

11. Set up conversion tracking.

Conversion tracking tells you exactly how many customers or leads you’ve acquired from your ad campaigns. It’s not mandatory to set up, but, without it, you’ll be guessing the ROI of your ads. Conversion tracking allows you to track sales (or other activities) on your website, app installs, or calls from your ads.

google ads conversion tracking

Manage and organize your ads with our free Google Ads Kit and Templates.

12. Integrate your Google Ads with your CRM.

There is something to be said about keeping all of your data in one place where you can track, analyze, and report on it. You already use your CRM to track contact data and lead flows. Integrating Google Ads with your CRM gives you the ability to track which ad campaigns are working for your audience so you can continue marketing to them with offers that are relevant.

google ads integration hubspot crm

Source

Google Ads Bidding Strategies

Once you’ve set up your ad campaigns and have tracking in place, it’s time to start bidding. Remember, your ability to rank in Google Ads depends on how you bid. While your bid amount will depend on your budget and goals, there are a few strategies and bid settings you should be aware of when launching your paid campaign.

Automated vs. Manual Bidding

You have two options when it comes to bidding on your keywords — automated and manual. Here’s how they work:

  • Automated Bidding puts Google in the driver’s seat and allows the platform to adjust your bid based on your competitors. You can still set a maximum budget, and Google will work within a range to give you the best chance at winning the bid within those constraints.
  • Manual Bidding lets you set the bid amounts for your ad groups and keywords, giving you the chance to reduce spending on low-performing ads.

Bidding on Branded Search Terms

Branded terms are those with your company or unique product name in them, like “HubSpot CRM.” There is much debate on whether to bid on your branded terms or not. On one side of the debate, bidding on terms that will likely yield organic results could be seen as a waste of money.

On the other side, bidding on these terms gives you domain over these search results pages and helps you convert prospects that are further along the flywheel. For instance, if I’ve been researching live chat tools and am heavily considering HubSpot’s Live Chat, then a simple search for “HubSpot live chat software” will yield precisely the result I’m looking for without the effort of scrolling.

The other argument in favor of bidding on your branded terms is that competitors may bid on them if you don’t, thereby taking up valuable real estate that should belong to you.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

If the idea of spending money to convert prospects into leads makes you uneasy, then you can set a CPA instead and only pay when a user converts into a customer. While this bidding strategy could cost more, you can take comfort in knowing that you only pay when you acquire a paying customer. This strategy makes it easy to track and justify your ad spend.

Additional Resources to Optimize Your Google Ads

Your ad copy and headline is not the only component that will make your paid campaign successful. Getting a user to click is only the beginning … they should arrive on a landing page that’s optimized for conversion and then be taken to a Thank You page that tells them what to do next.

If you want your Google Ads to produce qualified leads and customers, then check out these additional resources and use them as guidelines as you set up your Google Ads campaign.

Google Ads Tips

Now that you know how to use and set up a Google Ad campaign, here are a few short tips or best practices to follow to help you create successful campaigns.

We’ve covered these at length throughout this post, but their importance can’t be overstated. Use this as a checklist you can refer to again and again.

1. Have a clear goal.

It’s vital to define your objectives before you create your ad, instead of creating an ad first and then tweaking it to fit your objectives. Sit down with your marketing team to prepare an advertising plan and create SMART goals for your Google Ads campaigns.

2. Create a relevant landing page.

When prompted to add your URL when creating your ad, ensure that the URL you provide leads to a relevant landing page. If your ad is interesting enough to get clicked, you could undo all that great work if it directs them to a poor landing page.

Therefore, optimize your landing pages so that your ad will help convert a curious visitor into a paying customer. Check out our landing page guide so you know exactly how to create great landing pages.

3. Use the right keywords.

Keywords are super important, so it’s only right that you choose the best ones for your ad.

Long-tail keywords are some of the best types of keywords because they are very specific and can target one business.

For example, say you run a cat clinic. A generic keyword like ‘cat clinic’ won’t target people in your area, but something like ‘cat clinic in belvedere’ is more likely to attract the right audience.

4. Automate the process.

You can maximize conversions by optimizing the bidding process. Tools like Smart Bidding can increase or reduce bids for you, depending on the chance of success.

Therefore, you’ll spend money only when there’s a higher chance of success.

5. Use Ad Extensions.

Extensions can take your ad performance up a notch. These extensions allow you to specify your locations, services, goods, or sales promotions.

For example, you could include a telephone number in your ad so people can call you to inquire about your services right away.

6. Use negative keywords.

Google Ads allows you to include negative keywords. Using these keywords indicates what your product or service is not, thus preventing you from showing up in irrelevant SERPs.

Using the cat clinic example, you might only cater to cats and not dogs or other pets. In this case, you can exclude terms like ‘dogs’ and other qualifiers.

7. Measure and improve upon your strategy.

When you integrate your ads with Google Analytics, you can track important metrics like page popularity, the keywords that drive the most traffic, and more.

Collecting and analyzing these and other metrics will help you improve the quality of your ads, boost your conversions, and increase revenue over time.

Start Your Google Ads Campaign

Given its reach and authority, Google Ads should be a part of your paid strategy. Use the tips we covered to get started, and remember to refine and iterate as you go.

There’s no such thing as a Google Ads campaign that doesn’t work — there are only ones that need a bit more work. Using the strategy and information provided above, you have what you need to create a successful Google Ad campaign that drives clicks and converts leads.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for 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.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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!

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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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