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Five Lead Magnets that Complement Paid Traffic

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Five Lead Magnets that Complement Paid Traffic

If you are using ads to generate sales for a course or any other product, that costs more than $100, a lead magnet should be part of the funnel. As your conversion rates will be higher when you take the time to nurture the lead and build trust before pitching your product. 

There are so many types of lead magnets out there that it can be hard to decide the best one for your ad. This is why I have made a list of the best lead magnets that work well with ads. 

1. Ebooks

Ebooks are a popular lead magnet you will notice when you browse through your Facebook or Instagram feed. They range from cheat sheets, templates, checklists, worksheets, and so many other types. 

Source: Facebook

They’re popular because they are easy to create. You can just get a template, add your content and branding such as colors, font, and logo, and publish it in less than a week. 

The type of lead magnet you use should depend on the product you are promoting. For example, if your product is a video course, a guide that provides a glimpse of some of the content you cover in the course would work well. 

While if you are selling high-ticket consulting services, a case study where you share details about a result you got for a client would do well. This is because potential clients will want to see proof of experience and credibility before investing in high-ticket services. 

Another important factor to keep in mind is the amount of free time your target audience has available. If you’re targeting busy people a case study or template would do better, but if your audience has more free time you can use long ebooks and white papers. 

2. Webinars

Businesses use webinars as lead magnets to promote all sorts of products like courses, consulting services, and software. I have even seen marketers use them to sell eCommerce products. They are popular because people will always be interested in signing up for one-time live events. They can lower your CPA (cost per acquisition). 

Source: Instagram

Also, a good percentage of webinar attendees convert to sales as people are more receptive to your pitches after a live educative presentation. 

To get the best results, don’t just think of the webinar as a live event. Picture it as a complete funnel. This includes the follow-up emails you send after the webinar. As more people will buy after the webinar ends, especially when the deadline gets closer. 

You can also automatically deliver a satisfaction survey after the deadline to find out why someone bought the product or didn’t. This will help you create better products and improve your funnel. 

Another great thing about webinars is that after the live event, you can reuse the recording and build an evergreen webinar funnel around it. Most webinar platforms let you record the webinar. Some marketers take the recording and gate it behind a sign-up form on their website and use a funnel that is similar to the live event. When people sign up for this webinar they need to choose a time to watch it at and they receive pre and post-webinar emails. 

Source: Amy Porterfield

There are several platforms that make it easy to set up an evergreen webinar. But if you go down this route, make sure you don’t ever tell attendees that it is a live event. As it is important to build a trustworthy relationship with potential customers. 

Even though there are so many parts to a webinar, the most important one is the video presentation itself. Make sure you get it right by filling it with lots of unique tips your audience hasn’t heard before. You should also get the timing right. Webinar attendees prefer it when webinars are 45 minutes long. This should include a short introduction, the presentation, the pitch, and a Q&A session at the end. Do your best to make it fun and engaging to limit the number of people who drop out in between. 

Another important factor is the time at which you run your webinar. Usually, the afternoon or evening (after people finish work) is the best time. You can use the satisfaction survey to learn about what timings people prefer. 

3. Quizzes 

One of the most important aspects of marketing is specificity. If you can understand your audience and write highly specific content and copy, you will generate a lot more sales. This is why top marketers constantly run surveys and track email activity such as opens and clicks after people sign up to their list. 

But if you use quizzes, you can figure this out even before people sign up, like in this quiz from DoFasting

Source: DoFasting

It sells products that make it easier for people to fast. So, it uses this quiz to learn about its audience. In the beginning, it enquires about the quiz participants’ genders. After that, it displays many multi-choice questions related to their experience with fasting. Towards the end, it asks for more personal details like the height and age of participants. Finally, in the end, it creates a free report. But people can’t just download this free report, they need to provide their email to get it. 

This helps DoFasting attract highly qualified leads. As it segments people who sign up based on their answers. They receive very specific emails that increase conversions and reduce unsubscriptions. 

You can also create several custom audiences with these segmented email lists and retarget subscribers with extremely-relevant ads. 

4. Polls

The problem with quizzes is that it takes time for participants to finish them. The duration depends on the complexity of the quiz. In contrast, people can sign up for other lead magnets in a few seconds by just providing their email addresses. This is why a lot of people will abandon your quiz mid-way. 

An alternative to a quiz is a poll. In a poll, instead of asking people to answer multiple questions, you just ask them to answer one or two multiple-choice questions. This attracts more participants. 

You also won’t need to use a sophisticated tool to create a personalized report that will entice them to sign up. You can simply ask them to sign up to see the results of the poll. There are a lot of poll makers that make it easy to set this up. 

5. Content upgrades

A content upgrade is a lead magnet you create for one specific blog post like in this post on how to write a blog post. You will notice that there is a call to action for a blog post template at the top. As the lead magnet is very relevant to the topic of the post, it will generate a lot of leads. 

Source: Social Marketing Writing

They work well with ads, especially on platforms like Facebook and Instagram because these networks like it when you promote educative content like blog posts that aren’t gated behind a landing page. You will be able to achieve a lower CPC (cost per click) rate and generate more leads at the same time because of the content upgrade. 

Content upgrades are also very effective for converting organic traffic you generate from social media and search engines. Make sure you embed the opt-in form directly in the blog post several times so that readers don’t miss it. Some great places to add it are the top, middle, and end. 

In the beginning, you can place the opt-in forms in these three areas, but after you start driving traffic, you can analyze how visitors interact with the blog post and forms using heat maps and scroll maps. You can then shift the forms to the best locations. You can also experiment with the messaging and color of the forms and call to action buttons. 

Now create the lead magnets for your ads

When you promote inexpensive products there’s no necessity to use a lead magnet. It will just lengthen your funnel and delay the sale. But when you sell more expensive products, you can’t skip the lead magnet. They will help you build relationships with prospects and generate sales. This could be in a few days or months from now as you can regularly email the leads, nurture them, and pitch your products. 

Therefore, use this guide to determine the best lead magnet for your funnel and to generate maximum leads and sales from your ads.




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What the Big Tech Layoffs Mean for SMBs & PPC: 8 Key Takeaways

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What the Big Tech Layoffs Mean for SMBs & PPC: 8 Key Takeaways

Unless you live under a rock (I can say that because I’ve been known to camp out under a pebble or two), there’s no doubt that you’ve been hearing about one thing in the news lately:

Big Tech layoffs.

Microsoft, Google, Amazon.

It even has its own hashtag #layoffs2023.

Mass layoffs of any kind are unsettling no matter how applicable they are to you, but as a small business owner or marketer, you may have some concerns. Yes, this is “Big” Tech, but does this or will this have any implications for small businesses? Many of these companies are also ad platforms, so will this have any impact on PPC?

I’ve taken a dive into the story from this angle to provide you with some key takeaways. Read on to learn:

  • What’s happening in Big Tech?
  • Why are all these layoffs happening?
  • What does it mean for online advertising and small businesses?

What’s happening in Big Tech?

In January of 2023 we saw more layoffs in the Big Tech sector than in any month since the pandemic. To put things in perspective, there were 159,684 tech job cuts in 2022, but in January of 2023 alone, we saw 68,502. That’s more than 43% of what we saw in all of last year.

big tech layoffs 2022 vs 2023

Companies that have conducted mass layoffs in January and recent months include Google, Microsoft, Informatica Salesforce, Amazon, SAP, IBM, Spotify, Wayfair, Coinbase, and Vox Media.

As mentioned earlier, mass layoffs innately are concerning, but the reason why this situation is of particular interest is that not only is it unexpected, but it’s also being called one of the worst contractions in the industry’s history.

And it’s also a little peculiar when you look at it in relation to the labor market. As The Atlantic writer Derek Thompson points out:

  • During the 2010s, the labor market was weak but the tech sector was growing.
  • During the pandemic, the economy had a “flash freeze depression” while tech took off.
  • Today, the labor market is strong but tech is “bleeding.”

So what’s going on here?

Why are all these layoffs happening?

There are multiple factors at play, which Derek’s article does a great job covering. Here’s the rundown:

The expected tech “acceleration” from the pandemic turned out to really just be a “bubble.”

Tech companies, consumers, and investors alike all subscribed to the notion that the surge in remote work, ecommerce, and other online platforms during the pandemic put us on the fast track to the 2030s. But this has not been the case. We never made it there; we’re still just on our way and we’re settling back into the same speed of travel as in 2019. As a result, all of that expansion and investing now is in excess. Hence the contraction.

Inflation caused an advertising slump

Keep in mind that many of these tech companies—Google, Meta, Amazon, etc.— are also advertising platforms. And with inflation reaching its highest levels in 40 years in 2022, many businesses pulled back on advertising as this is often one of the first areas to see cuts during a shaky economy—not to mention the fact that advertising costs increased along with everything else.

Companies are preparing and adjusting

For some companies, the layoffs are happening also as a proactive measure. While inflation appears to be on the mend (it has dropped from 9% to 6.5%), economists, and therefore businesses and consumers are still wary of a recession. If these companies want to maintain profitability and to send the right message to shareholders, they need to prepare for businesses and consumers to continue cutting back on spend even in the new year—which means cutting back on spending themselves.

Of course there are spinoff theories and schools of thought, but these are the core reasons you’ll find woven throughout any coverage on the matter.

What does it mean for small businesses and PPC?

Alright, so now that you have a grasp on what’s happening and why, let’s talk about what this means for small businesses and PPC according to news articles, last week’s PPC chat discussion, and the very PPC experts who contribute to our blog! Here are some key takeaways that feel particularly pertinent:

1. Big tech is not at risk

“Revenue decline” doesn’t necessarily mean that any of these businesses are failing or on their way out. Remember, these aren’t just businesses, they are behemoths. And as Tech Reporter Bobby Allyn’s NPR article cited earlier states, while these changes are historic, they’re still small on a percentage basis.

These companies are still massively wealthy and Big Tech has been on a strong growth trajectory for the past ten years. Microsoft alone made $198 billion in revenue in 2022.

microsoft annual revenue

Image source

These measures aren’t a sign that they’re on the brink of disappearance, but rather course correction in accordance with the post-pandemic story as it unfolds, to get back on that growth trajectory.

2. This is only temporary; digital advertising will still grow

Given the above, it’s not surprising that many PPCers feel this is only temporary and aren’t concerned about there being a further economic downturn or ripple effect on small businesses or advertising in general.

Take digital marketing strategist, author, and speaker Anders Hjorth’s Tweet in #PPCChat, for example:

We also asked Brett McHale, founder of Empiric Marketing, LLC and regular WordStream contributor for his take on the matter and he shared the same sentiment:

“We have seen economic downturns and mass layoff lead to eventual booms/bubbles—what comes to mind is the 2008 economic crisis that eventually gave way to the tech boom of the 2010s. I’m not necessarily saying that is what is going to happen now, just that these economic situations tend to have a cyclical nature to them.”

It’s worth noting also that no one expressed concerns about any one platform in particular other than Twitter, for obvious reasons.

3. It could open up new opportunities

Another perspective that many PPC influencers and practitioners share is that with so many talented people out of work and with time on their hands, there is potential for new opportunities or movements to happen. Paid search manager Sarah Steman Tweeted in #PPCChat:

Mark Irvine, Director of Paid Media at Search Lab Digital and regular WordStream contributor (and former Streamer!), shared this viewpoint:

“The biggest piece to think of is that there are tens of thousands of people with top-quality talent reentering the industry who have years of experience working with large numbers of clients and varied budgets. They’re also well-versed in their former company’s tools and features and have unique insight into the industry from their past roles that many of us don’t have exposure to.”

4. We may see more small consultancies open up

Brett also sees new opportunities arising, more small consultancies in particular:

“I can see many talented professionals in the space making the transition from big brands to independent contract work. Taking on a W2 employee is a massive risk for a company whereas a 1099 employee is a much lower risk, both financially and legally. Talented folks who have lost their jobs might source their talent to multiple companies to create several sources of income for themselves and handle their own health benefits under their own LLCs. “

Navah Hopkins, Brand Evangelist at Optmyzr, regular WordStream contributor (and also former Streamer!) Navah Hopkins expressed the same:

“On a personal note, I often questioned whether I made a mistake not going for one of the big brands. When the layoffs happened, it cemented for me and many other digital marketers like me that we can thrive without “big brand safety.” I’m excited to see the rise of consultants and taking lessons learned to verticals that didn’t have access to the amazing talent now on the market.”

5. Agencies and large resellers have the most to gain

Another outcome we may see, Mark pointed out, is an influx of new talent to agencies and resellers.  Here’s what he had to say:

“Agencies and large resellers likely have the most to gain from this shuffle. Compared to small businesses, they’re in the best position to attract this new talent that has experience working across a large portfolio of clients. Additionally, Google’s most recent announcement is that of reembracing its partners, specifically resellers to enable more advertisers to grow on their platforms.”

google's turn to resellers

Resellers mentioned in the article include Accenture, Interactive, Incubeta, Jellyfish, and Media.Monks.

6. Advertisers need to be on guard

One potential concern that many PPCers agreed on was that with revenue in greater focus, ad platforms may start pushing features and upsells more so than genuinely helping advertisers succeed. This wouldn’t be a novel concept by any means (Google Ads automation anyone?), but it will be important to be extra vigilant, especially if you’re a beginner advertiser.

PPC influencer Robert Brady expresses this concern in his Tweet:

He also followed that up with:

And I feel like reps will be even more insistent on pushing features that help the platform and not advertisers. @robert_brady

Mark shared the same viewpoint:

“I’m going to be increasingly skeptical of new products released over the next ~120 days. Layoff rounds right before an earnings call is not coincidental. Product announcements aren’t coincidental either. There’s still lots of great teams at these companies that are making great things, but following a round of layoffs, a product manager isn’t going to boldly recommend that they push back their new anticipated tool for another quarter or two because it’s not ready. Implicit or not, many teams will feel the pressure to produce “quickly now” rather than “correctly later.” I would be extra skeptical of anything announced or anticipated before big days for their investors in April or July. Looking at you, GA4.”

7. Be prepared for outages and/or gaps in support

Another concern is that we could see a degradation in customer support or more outages. In fact, Google Ads was out for three hours on January 23.

Many agree that support is already lacking so this could be a pain point. Navah notes that these brands will be under higher scrutiny:

“The brands doing the letting go will be under more scrutiny than ever before. I suspect true return on investment with any of these platforms (Google, Microsoft, Amazon), as well as less patience for substandard service will be the main themes of higher churn for their customers. Many of us noted that it was odd Google Ads went down hours after the layoffs, and instances like these might become more common, and the industry will have less patience for it.”

8. Moderation and policy enforcement could suffer as well

Mark comments on this final concern (as if ad disapprovals weren’t already a pain point):

Unfortunately, I agree that traditional “cost centers” like customer support are going to be pulled from first. Particularly given the recent successes in AI like ChatGPT, it’s increasingly tempting to push AI in these areas.

However, I’m also worried that there’s temptation to pull away from areas like moderation or policy enforcement. Google has increasingly automated its policy enforcement over the past few years, to poorer results, and I imagine this will continue.

Twitter sets a dangerous precedent in eliminating its moderation teams and I think that lowered bar makes for poor incentives for other tech giants to dedicate resources to important non-revenue generating teams.”

headlines about twitter eliminating moderator staff

While I hope that companies continue to reinvest in their values, even things ensuring advertisers only pay for quality traffic and filter out invalid traffic are troubling. When no one is watching, are these tech companies going to improve or maintain their standards, or are they going to be tempted to water down that wine and charge advertisers for more traffic to influence their bottom line?”

So what’s the verdict?

If you haven’t been quite sure about how what’s going on with all of these Big Tech layoffs, my hope is that this article has demystified some of that for you. And as far as how you should be feeling, I’d say that a little concern is good, but panic? Not necessary. The experts and veterans in the industry aren’t taking any drastic measures. The idea is, as Ashton Clarke Tweeted to “help clients keep a level head and maintain stability.”

So long as you stay on top of the storyline, keep an eye on your metrics, and make PPC decisions based on data, not automated recommendations, your account and performance will stay in good shape!



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Why (& How) to Set Up Conversion Paths in Google Analytics (Successfully!)

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Why (& How) to Set Up Conversion Paths in Google Analytics (Successfully!)

Tracking your customer’s conversion paths helps you understand the journey your customers take before converting. Knowing this journey is critical as it shows you the areas to focus on to increase and accelerate conversions.

So what exactly are conversion paths and how do you track them? Keep reading to learn how to create successful conversion paths in Google Analytics so you can generate more leads and sales.

Table of contents

What is a conversion path in Google Analytics?

A conversion path is a series of actions a new website visitor takes before completing a desired action on your site, also known as a conversion. This action can be a form fill, a button click, a purchase, and more.

For example, suppose one of the goals on your website is to generate leads through an ebook. In that case, a conversion path will illustrate a connected channel of clicks that website visitors take to submit their contact information.

Here’s an illustration of some common conversion paths:

Image source

Conversion paths typically include a landing page, content offer, and a call to action button. You can also include thank you pages in your path.

Why are conversion paths important?

If you want to improve conversion on your website, you need to know what’s leading to those conversions. And since customers often take several actions before converting, it’s important to know the ins and outs of those behaviors.

Let’s dive deeper into some of the reasons why tracking conversion paths is so important for creating and maintaining a marketing action plan.

  • Know what’s working and what’s not. Knowing the behavioral paths of your leads and customers helps you to identify which campaigns and touchpoints are working so you can focus your budget and resources accordingly. For instance, you may notice that more of your users’ conversion paths start from PPC ads than your social ads so you can allocate more budget to PPC to boost your sales.
  • Identify bottlenecks in your funnel. Conversion paths help you to see where there are leaks in your funnel. For instance, you can see if there’s a drop-off for a particular offer, perhaps due to a bug, a tracking issue, or because an improvement is needed (such as to be more mobile-friendly, to have fewer fields, etc.)
  • Better understand your audience. You can also get insights into factors like location, income status, and gender to get a better feel for your target audience. For instance, you may notice a high cart abandonment rate among users in a particular location. You can look to see if the issue is a lack of localized payment methods, which you can improve on to better customer experience and boost conversion rates as a result.
  • Simplify campaign reporting. Finally, clear conversion paths allow you to easily gather metrics across channels, which helps you analyze your cross-channel marketing performance more accurately and boost your ROI.

How to set up conversion paths in Google Analytics

Now that you know the importance of conversion paths, it’s time to dive into how to set them up successfully in Google Ads and Google Analytics.

1. Set up your conversion tracking

To make use of conversion paths in Google Analytics, you of course need to establish what your conversions are. Depending on what marketing strategies you’re using, you can do this through Google Ads conversion tracking and/or through Google Analytics goal setup.

In Google Ads:

  • Go to Tools and settings > Measurement > Conversions
  • Click on +New Conversion Action.
  • Click on the Website
  • Input your website’s URL
  • Click on Scan

google ads conversion tracking setup

Next, you’ll set up your Google Tag, as shown below, then input the tag name and select the destination accounts.

conversion paths - google ads google tag

Set up your goals

You’ll also need to set up goals in Google Analytics. With GA4, this setup will be different, but for now, here’s what it looks like in Universal Analytics.

Click Admin on the bottom left corner.

Click on Goals

google analytics conversion path goals

After that, click on the custom option to set a new goal and add your goal description and details. Your description entails a name and goal type, as shown below.

google analytics conversion paths goal setup

Though there are four key types of Google Analytics goals you can choose from, your desired conversion action will determine your goal type.

  • Duration: These track how long users stay on your site before leaving, which you can use to track engagement.
  • Destination: These goals track when a particular page loads on your site as a way to track a conversion. For example the thank you page that triggers after an email newsletter signup or a thank you for your order page.
  • Pages per visit: These goals track the number of pages web visitors navigate before leaving your site—which can also be a helpful SEO metric.
  • Events: These goals track user interactions that Google does not typically record, like PDF downloads, button clicks, outbound link clicks, or even downloading a pricing quote for businesses like VoIP service providers.

After filling in your goal details, click on the value button to set your goal’s monetary value (we show you how to set conversion values here). Click “verify” and save.

Set up an attribution project

To use the conversion path report in Google Analytics, you must first create an Attribution project. Go to Explore> Conversion Paths, and then follow the prompts to set up your project.

google analytics new attribution project

Once you have your project set up, you can now create a conversion segment.

Create a conversion segment

Go to Conversions » Multi-Channel Funnels » Top Conversion Paths. Then click on Conversion Segments.
conversion paths google analytics - top conversion paths

Click on Create New Conversion Segment. The new segment can define your users from a particular geographic location, who buy a particular line of products, etc.

Define and name the new conversion segment. This ensures that your Google Analytics and your Data Studio show the same reports.

Click Apply then Save

Doing this will create a new conversion segment and also apply the segment to your conversion path report.

Now you’re ready to go!

Understanding the Top Conversion Paths report

With your conversion paths set up, you can now use the Multi-Channel Funnels report in Google Analytics to better understand your marketing attribution. This report will show you which channels contributed to a conversion on your site, such as organic, direct, paid, referral, and more.

To view these paths, go to Conversions » Multi-Channel Funnels » Top Conversion Paths
google analytics top conversion paths report

Pro tip: Set the date range to the last three months. Remember, the time lag to conversion can run into days or weeks, so set your date range for at least the last three months. This is also often enough time to gain actionable data.

Understanding the Assisted Conversions report

Within the same tab in Google Analytics is another attribution modeling tool called the Assisted Conversions report.  Assisted conversions for a given channel are all the channels that assisted or led to conversion but weren’t the final interaction.

For instance, say a user scans a QR code for app download but decides not to download the app immediately. Later, they download the app through a link on your social media. While the social link tap is considered the last-click conversion, your QR code played the assisted conversion role which may not be accounted for by the conversion metrics.

The flowchart below illustrates assisted interactions further.

google analytics assisted conversions

Image source

It’s important that you understand assisted conversions to identify marketing channels that introduce customers to your product. Then you can tailor your marketing strategies to ensure you attract quality leads from these channels and boost your conversion rates.

By understanding assisted conversions, you can also attribute values to paths and clicks in the line that made way for the final conversion, such as referral links, ads, etc., as shown in the report below.

google analytics assisted conversions report

Doing this not only helps you understand the role of various assisted conversion channels but also goes beyond the last-click conversion to provide a clear picture of your campaign performance and the general customer journey.

Get your conversion paths set up today

Conversion paths in Google Analytics enable you to track user activity on your site and analyze your campaign’s performance, giving you insight into the best performing marketing channels. These insights then help you to allocate your resources accordingly and identify optimizations to boost your conversion rates.

About the author

David Pagotto is the Founder and Managing Director of SIXGUN, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne. He has been involved in digital marketing for over 10 years, helping organizations get more customers, more reach, and more impact.

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9 Non-PPC Questions Your PPC Clients Will Ask (& How to Answer Them)

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9 Non-PPC Questions Your PPC Clients Will Ask (& How to Answer Them)

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about things I wish I had known when I started my career in PPC. There was….quite a lot and one of the areas I covered was that of being a surprise business consultant in addition to a PPC consultant.

When a client asks you a question that has nothing to do with PPC…

It seemed like an area that other PPCers have experienced as well. So I thought it might be a good idea to dive deeper into this topic, discuss some of the most common (and sometimes most difficult) questions I’m asked by clients about their business and then also provide insights on how I go about answering them.

9 non-PPC questions your clients will ask (+ answers)

Here’s a list of nine common questions I’m asked as a PPC pro that I wanted to share my typical answers to.

Note: None of these answers are perfect. They’re simply what I’ve found works best for the clients I work with over time and keep us moving forward.

1. What should our budget be?

This is a topic that’s becoming more prevalent as my time goes on. It used to be that only small businesses would ask me what they should be spending on their ads, but more and more, I’m hearing larger companies ask similar questions. Luckily, this one is a little easier to answer with the help of some of the platform planning tools.

google keyword planner

The Google Keyword Planner, for example, is a keyword research tool with built-in functionality for you to estimate overall costs of your potential keywords and geographic area. And when you create audiences on LinkedIn, there are size estimates and CPCs estimated based on your parameters that give you a range of what you could spend. There’s also a budget report in Google Ads that can help you see your current and projected spend based on your daily budget.

These tools are best used as guideposts. Typically, I use these numbers as a suggested range to get the conversation moving, but they’re just starting points. I have never taken the suggested spend from these tools and told my clients that’s what the budget HAS to be. That’s simply not practical. Sometimes the estimated spend is too small, other times it’s too large.

The other consideration aside from potential is realistic performance expectations. Often, clients will have a target number of leads or amount of revenue they would like their campaigns to produce. I work with them to create realistic CPA or ROAS goals, then reverse engineer the appropriate budget from there.

For example, if you want to generate 100 leads per month and your realistic CPL target is $200, you’ll need to have at least a budget of $20k per month to hit those goals. Anything short of that simply isn’t realistic.

2. Who should we be targeting?

I always tell my clients that you know your business, we know the ad channels. When someone asks me who they should be targeting, I turn the question back on them.

Who is your target audience?

Give me a persona. How old are they? Where do they live? What types of companies do they work in? What do they do on the weekends?

Maybe not all of these types of questions will feed into every business type, but the more information we have, the better off we are.

No matter what they tell me, I take those characteristics and conduct targeting research on the ad channels. Can I find any of these characteristics on LinkedIn? Snapchat? Google? Facebook?

facebook ad targeting settings

Depending on what I find, my response to them is usually a rundown of targeting options on a number of channels that we then use as the starting point to develop a multi-channel or cross-channel approach to customer generation.

3. Who are our competitors and how can we differentiate from them?

Competitors in PPC are not always the same as regular market competition. Typically when my clients ask me this question, they’re asking for their market competitors. But that’s not where my value lies.

Instead, I discuss what makes a PPC competitor. These are companies that you’re directly bidding against for the attention and clicks of your target customer.

On search, this could be a number of brands that sell the same products/services that you do, or they could be folks who are in the wrong place. Depending on who you find in these areas, you need to craft your advertising accordingly. I use a couple of tools to help identify these competitors.

First, if there are already search campaigns running, I use the Auction Insights tool. The domains that show up here are bidding against you on a regular basis. In some cases, this can give you a good list of folks to do further research on and in some cases, it can also cause you to revisit your keyword list if you find that many of the brands listed aren’t relevant to your company.

spyfu competitor analysis example

Image source

Second, I use the competitor keyword tools like SpyFu, SEMRush, and iSpionage. While they’re not perfect, these tools can help identify the keywords certain brands are bidding on and give you more ideas of keywords to target and stay away from based on competition.

No matter what the list of competitors, I usually try and provide a report that includes insights on keywords, ad copy, calls to action, and landing page insights for the main 5-10 competitors to give my clients a good idea what they’re realistically up against in the SERPs.

4. Should we focus on growing our customer base or servicing the customers we already have?

There’s not really a right or wrong answer here, but I usually ask about customer churn. If you’re losing customers faster than you can make them, you should likely work on retaining the customers you have before you go find more. Otherwise, you’re just going to lose them down the line.

leading causes of customer churn

Image source

That said, it can be very short-sighted to only look at existing customers when running a business. If you’re not influencing new users, you’re not building a pipeline for future customers.

Even if you need to work on retention, I’ll have a hard time saying you shouldn’t do ANY prospecting. If you don’t, you likely won’t have a place to go for users once that retention strategy is in place.

5. Should we expand into new geographic markets?

I love when companies want to expand, but you need to make sure it’s worth it.

The first place I usually look is demand: is there search volume or high enough target audiences to support expanded coverage for their services? Ideally, I can find some benchmark stats for performance, but typically that information is pretty scarce.

The next thing to do is check the business fundamentals.

  • Do your shipping costs go up?
  • Can you keep your service timing promises?
  • Can you support a dispersed customer base and maintain your level of service?
  • Could you keep up with increased production needs?
  • Are there other considerations that come into play with expanded coverage?

If all of these things align with green lights for the expanded coverage, I’ll suggest a controlled test. Target the audiences that have the highest performance from the current locations or are the best fit in the new ones and run a time and budget-restricted campaign.

The time and budget restrictions are important. You want to ensure your test has enough time for some optimizations and enough budget was spent to give this new area an honest chance to perform. Getting signoff on those pieces will be important to prove if this area is worthy of ongoing expansion.

ansoff matrix

Image source

6. Does it make sense to extend our product or service offerings?

Similar to geographic expansion, we PPC pros can help with this in a couple of ways:

Would there be existing demand for these new products/services or would we have to create it?

Are there other companies doing this already? How would we stack up against them, cost and quality-wise?

In some instances, I’ve found huge demand for a product or service, but my client wasn’t able to deliver at a level that beat the competition on either quality or cost. To unseat an existing company, you’ll likely have to beat them on one of these two. If you can’t do that, it might not be in your best interest to expand.

 

b2b vs b2c marketing - swot analysis template

Our SWOT analysis template could come in handy here.

7. Should we have a holiday sale this year or hold off?

Based on the brands I’ve worked with, holiday sales are usually designed to do a couple of things: meet annual revenue targets or acquire new customers at a lower cost with the expectation that they’ll come back later on. Typically, holiday sales are NOT meant to be the time of year when people rake in the highest ROAS performance.

happy socks black friday sale

When I’m asked this question, I usually ask what the main goals of having a sale would be. What are they trying to achieve? Work on coming up with estimates of performance during the holiday period to see if the goals they have are realistically achievable.

This can be done through some of the planning tools, but the best is to use historical performance if you have it. Take a look at the last couple of years during the holiday. How did things shift? How did they stay the same? Based on these trends, do you think their goals for this holiday season are achievable with a holiday sale or will they be undermining the campaigns?

8. What areas of our company do you think are resonating well and what could be done to improve?

In my experience, this question is nearly impossible to answer other than from a campaign perspective.

Likely, you don’t know how customers are liking their products or services, but you can get insights about which ad copy messages, calls to action, or keyword groups are receiving the most attention in the account, either volume or engagement wise to help give some guidance.

Take a look at the different components of your account. What campaigns/products/services are getting the most volume? Which have the highest CTR? Which have the highest conversion rate? What has the highest ROAS or the lowest CPA?

search ad benchmark data

View our latest online advertising benchmark data here.

Depending on what you find in the performance, you might be highlighting an area of their business that your client didn’t realize is a strong performer for them and give them a place to focus on expansion.

9. What are some brands you engage with regularly and what do you like about them? How could those same practices apply to our company?

Honestly, this one is a little tougher, because it’s pretty much all opinion based. For this question, I try to be on the lookout regularly to find brands that I like and are doing a good job achieving specific goals.

That said, it’s always a good idea to check out the ad libraries to see what types of ads high-spend brands are running and see if you can find some takeaways for your clients.

I personally like to look at the Facebook Ad Library and the TikTok Ads Inspiration section. Others like MOAT can help you find display ads companies are running.

tik tok ads inspiration center

No matter where you get the info, it’s always good to show actual examples of the ads rather than just talk about them. Clients love to see visuals to make a point and then they’re much easier to share with their own creative departments as direction for future campaigns.

Conclusion

Almost every PPC pro I’ve talked to over the years agrees: In some ways, we end up being an additional business consultant to our clients outside of our usual PPC duties. Hopefully, highlighting some of my answers to these questions, which you’ll find are usually research or process-based more than anything, will give you the confidence to take this extra role head-on and continue providing additional benefits to your clients.

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