The AdWords interface opens and presents a million different possibilities. And that is exactly the problem –  what was supposed to be an exciting and easy form of advertising is completely overwhelming.

You know you want to begin an AdWords campaign, but you have no idea where to start. You try typing a keyword into the Google keyword suggestion tool and even more suggestions come up. How do you know which ones to pick? Even then, how do you know what to write in your ads?

The whole PPC process is completely frustrating – you consider giving up and hiring a town crier to get your message out.

This is the situation many businesses and entrepreneurs find themselves in as they begin their Internet advertising, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a strategy that will help you get a grip on the tasks that need to be done and help you to efficiently move through the PPC process.

You Are Starting At the Wrong End


While keywords are certainly important, they are not necessarily the correct place to start. You need to know what you want your potential customer to do before you even pick your first keyword.

In Internet marketing jargon what you want your user to do is called a conversion. A conversion is any action that you want a user to perform that moves that user forward on your businesses’ sales pipeline. It must be an action, and it must be business related. These actions can include:

  • Inbound phone calls to speak with a representative of your company
  • Form submissions for a free consultation
  • Downloading an eBook
  • Purchasing a product
  • Viewing a certain page
  • Filling out a form for a free trial

Start With The End Goal And Build Your Campaign Around It


When you start with the end goal, you can theneffeciently build your campaign around it. This allows you to efficiently make all decisions from the keywords to the bids to support actionable business goals (conversions). It removes a lot of the fluff and guesswork because all decisions are guided by your end goal. This allows you to laser focus your time and resources.

Think of how different your campaign is designed when you are guided by the conversion of inbound calls vs. the conversion of form fill outs. In this very simple example, if you want a user to call vs. fill out a form every facet of your campaign changes:



  • Keywords include terms such as call [company X]

Form Fills

  • Keywords include information about [company x]



  • The ads include a call to action that states something like Call Now For A Free Consultation
  • You utilize call extensions to allow users to call directly from their mobile device

Example of a Call Ad

Form Fills

  • Your ads offer something that a user can receive in exchange for their email address, this is often an eBook or a free trial

Example of Ad With Free Trial

Landing Page (the page a user is sent to after they fill out the form)


  • Want to make the number on your landing page a click to call. (here is a good article on how to make a number click to call)
  • Make the number prominent and show your hours

Example Of Phone Optimized Landing Page


Form Fills

  • You want to have a great offer and a place where a user fills out a form
  • Some copy that informs the user of the benefits they receive from filling out the form
  • A call to action button (in the example it is setup my Trial now)

Form Fill Landing Page Example




  • More than likely you would not run these types of campaigns on the display network because that is not in alignment with user intent

Form Fills

  • This can run on all networks since it is in alignment with user intent that they will stay on the computer and fill out the form



  • You increase the spend on mobile devices

Form Fills

  • This can go across all devices, but you want to test and see if users are actually filling out the forms on their mobile devices.



  • You track these conversions with a system like callrail (I have no interest in them – we just use them and they do a great job tracking the inbound phone calls for our clients)

Form Fills

  • You track the form submissions via Google AdWords conversion tracking. You can also track within your system such as UnBounce, SalesForce or Mailchimp

How To Choose Your Conversion and Work Backwards

A. Decide What Kind of Campaign You Want to Run

There are three main types of campaigns that businesses run in AdWords:

  1. Brand Building – The main goal of this type of campaign is to build awareness of and positive associations with your company and its products and services. Your conversion goal will generally be clicks.
  2. Lead Generation – In this type of campaign you try to get users to contact you in order get them in your businesses’ sales pipeline. I find this to be one of the most effective types of online advertisements. It enables your business to use potential customer’s email addresses to continue to send them useful information. The key concept here is useful (ie not just marketing information). Lead generation is better for longer B2B businesses where an immediate sale is extremely unlikely.
  3. Sales – This type of campaign is just how it sounds – the goal is to receive an immediate sale. If you have a product under $150.00 I think it is worth trying this type of campaign, but anything over that price point it is worth testing a lead gen campaign as well to see what delivers a better return on ad spend.

B. Look At Your Resources

You want to see what your company has the bandwidth to actually offer.  This seems obvious, but I have seen lead generation campaigns where the conversion goal was a phone call and when I called no one picked up. They don’t have the staff for the phone lines and ended up wasting money on clicks that went unanswered.  Some resource variables you may want to think about are:

  • Do you have the creative team to write and eBook
  • Do you have the capacity to accept phone calls
  • How will you accept credit cards for sales? Will you take all cards? PayPal? We Pay?
  • If you offer a free consultation – how will you schedule (this ends up being more of a pain than you suspect)
  • If you plan to provide an eBook or Whitepaper – how will it be delivered?
  • If you plan to put them into some sort of auto-responder email sequence how will you enable this to work

C. Decide

After looking at your resources, decide what your company can realistically do. Make a decision – it won’t be a perfect decision but don’t be struck by indecision paralysis. 

D. Build out your Landing Page

Now that you know what you will use as your conversion, build your landing pages around the conversion goal. At NDIB, we typically use UnBounce because it is so easy – but it does have limitations. For example, it won’t allow you to accept credit cards so it is almost exclusively for lead generation campaigns (which is what we do the most of). Make sure to pull out all of the benefits that come from taking your company up on their conversion. For example, what are the benefits that the user receives from downloading your eBook?

E. Choose Your Keywords

Make sure your keywords reflect the conversion goal. As we said previously, if it is a lead generation, you may want keywords that include the word quotes or estimates whereas if it is a sales campaign you want keywords that include phrases like buy.

F. Create Your Ads

Make your ads reflect the conversion goal. Again, focus on the benefits they receive from the conversion goal. When writing ads you always want to focus on the user and what they get.

G. Track it

Track your conversion goals. Generally, for the calls we utilize call rail and for form submissions and sales we utilize AdWords conversion tracking. Once you begin to get your conversions make sure to track them all the way through to your revenue.

How have you started your AdWords campaigns effectively?

Image Credits:

Hockey Player – LOLhome

Mario – Jokedio