One of the biggest challenges most coaches and consultants have is getting quality prospects into their sales pipeline.
Word of mouth and referrals only take you so far.
Sure, they’re usually high-quality leads and convert to clients at very high rates. But, they’re unpredictable and there isn’t going to be enough of them to fuel a lot of growth.
That leads many to try all kinds of paid advertising, appointment setting, and other lead generation tactics.
Most end up with disappointing results.
Not because these approaches don’t work. But because they’re either implemented incorrectly or because the wrong tactic was used for the particular offer and audience.
What Most Coaches and Consultants do Wrong
When a lot of coaches or consultants set up a paid Google ad campaign, they are trying to get a prospect to schedule a call. There’s nothing wrong with this goal – it’s usually how you sell your services.
But it often fails to generate the desired number or desired quality of calls.
Why? Because you’re trying to get someone who never heard of you prior to seeing your ad to schedule a call and engage you. In marketing speak, you’re trying to “convert cold traffic.” That is a very heavy lift. And the higher your price point, the harder it is to get any sales.
This is basically the marketing equivalent of meeting a date for the first time and expecting them to be ready for a long-term commitment.
I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m saying it’s an expensive hit-or-miss way to get clients.
A Better Way to do it
A more effective way to use Google ads to find leads for your coaching or consulting business is to make some kind of opt-in offer and then try to get the prospect to book a call as part of a follow-up campaign.
This approach is a much lower bar for cold traffic. You are offering them something of value or interest in exchange for their contact information. You give the prospect an introduction to you and help them get to know you through follow-up. Only after you’ve built some familiarity do you ask for the meeting.
The other huge benefit of this approach is that you are building a marketing list that you own. That means you can continue to reach out to them (permission-based, of course) without additional cost. And, in the current online privacy environment, owned data is increasingly important.
This is more like meeting someone, going out on several dates, then deciding to get serious.
What to Offer
The thing that you offer in exchange for a lead’s contact information can take many forms. Regardless of the format, what matters is that the thing quickly provides useful information or solves a (small) problem that your prospect is facing.
This is what marketers usually refer to as a “lead magnet” because the appeal of the offer draws prospects to you.
Some common formats include:
Types of Google Ads
When people hear “Google Ads” they usually think of the ads that show up at the top of search results. There are several more types of ads you can run using the Google Ads platform.
The types most relevant to coaches and consultants are:
There’s also two Google campaign types that are essentially a combination of all three of the above; Performance Max and Demand Gen. If you’re just getting started with Google Ads, stick with search, display, and video until you get some experience.
Basic Campaign Setups
There are many different ways you can setup a Google ad campaign to get and follow up with leads. I’ll focus on just a few of the more basic setups here.
I’m not going to go into the step-by-step of how to create the campaigns and pages. Instead I’m going to focus on the structure. There are plenty of resources out there to teach you how to create a campaign in Google ads, if you’re inclined to try it yourself.
The things you’ll need to create any of these campaigns are:
Search Ad to an Opt-in Page
The most basic campaign you can run is a search campaign that sends people to a landing page to opt-in and get your lead magnet. This is my preferred way to use Google Ads to get opt-ins.
You use a Google search ad campaign with keywords related to the problem your lead magnet helps solve. The ad headlines and descriptions should reflect the promised result they will get from the lead magnet.
Your landing page should contain a headline and some copy to entice the person to opt-in. It would also have a form to collect their name and email address. Most email platforms have forms that you can embed on the website, so the information is automatically transferred to the email list. Others use an integration to connect your website form to the email list.
Your confirmation page should contain either a link to access the lead magnet (simplest), or a message telling the person to check their email for a link to the lead magnet. The latter approach is better because then only people who give you a real email address will get the lead magnet, and they will open and click an email you send them. This helps with email deliverability.
The email would be built in a workflow on the email platform. It is triggered by someone being added to the list from your opt-in form.
Display Ad to an Opt-in Page
This is the same as the search ad, except you are using the Google Display Network to show ads with text, video, and images.
The key here is to find the places on the Internet your target market is most likely to visit instead of thinking of search terms related to the problem you are solving.
The advantage of using display over search is a much lower cost to get traffic. The disadvantage is you’ll get a lower conversion rate.
There are people who have great success using display ads this way. My preference is to use display ads for retargeting, which I’ll cover shortly.
Video Ads to an Opt-in Page
Again, this is the same as the Search campaign except your video ads appear at the start and during YouTube videos.
Like display ads, the key here is to target channels and subjects your target audience is likely to be watching.
Using video ads to get people to your lead magnet are a good option if 1) you can make videos with reasonably good production value, and 2) you know your target audience spends a lot of time watching videos on YouTube.
As with display ads, I prefer to use video ads a little differently. I’ll explain more shortly.
Email Follow Up Campaign
Regardless of how you got someone to your landing page to opt-in, you’ll want to have a series of emails you can send after the opt-in.
We already talked about the first email - the one where you actually deliver the lead magnet. You’ll want to follow that up with several more that educate the prospect more about the problem, the solution, and your services.
A basic email sequence might look like this:
Pro tip: Include a way to schedule a call directly on the opt-in confirmation page to capture the people who are ready to do something right now.
Use display and/or video ads to target the people who come to your landing page, but don’t opt-in. You can also use retargeting to show different display ads to the people who did opt-in, but haven’t yet scheduled a call with you.
“Retargeting” is the marketing term for creating an audience based on some behavior. If you’ve ever noticed that you visited a website and then suddenly saw ads for that site everywhere you went online, you’ve been “retargeted”.
This type of campaign is a great way to capture the people who clicked on your original ad but didn’t convert. You could drive them to the same offer, or to a different offer on your website. They can also help build awareness of your brand through repeated exposure.
Retargeting is my preferred use for display ads. It’s one of my preferred ways to use video ads. The other way I like to use video is in a “video content funnel”, which I’ll get into in a separate article.
The biggest downside to retargeting on Google Ads is Google requires a minimum audience size of 1,000 people before they will serve ads. This can be difficult to achieve without a fairly large ad budget.
In some situations, Google won’t allow you to retarget people. This is usually when the subject-matter of your offer is deemed “sensitive”. This mainly applies to health and financial topics.
DIY or Hire A Pro?
Now that you have a framework for how to set up a lead generation system, should you jump in and start managing campaigns or work with someone who is an expert?
If you want to learn how to build and execute this yourself, there are plenty of resources online to teach you the the step-by-step of how to create a campaign, build a landing page, etc.. Just know that the learning curve can be steep, and Google Ads can be easy to do but hard to do well.
Unless you’re already skilled at running ad campaigns, you are better off working with a professional. While that may seem expensive, you are almost certain to get better results faster than trying to DIY. And now you know some of what to listen for to separate the real professionals from the people that will waste your money and get no results.