Today we had a long call with an accident lawyer client of ours. Their intake specialist had put together a spreadsheet that listed out all the AdWords leads they had received over the last few weeks. Many of the calls turned into new, signed up clients, which is great. That’s the goal. But a lot of the calls and leads they received from AdWords turned out to be no good. The slip and fall case occurred in a jail, and they don’t handle jail cases. The person was in a car accident, but it was their fault. The caller got rear-ended, but the other driver didn’t have insurance. And on and on we went, going over bad leads. These are bad leads because these people have bad cases. Injury lawyers don’t want to deal with jail, at-fault drivers, or cases where the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance. So the client was asking us “why did we get so many bad leads from AdWords?”
I assured the client that we have thousands of negative keywords added to their AdWords account, and we are doing everything we can to avoid searches about jail, at-fault drivers, and cases where there is no insurance. I listed out examples of our negative keywords, and I showed them our search terms report, to assure them that we’re not showing up on any bad searches.
Why then, they asked, are they getting leads about jail, at-fault drivers, and no insurance cases? The answer here illuminates a soft skill that the truly best AdWords advertisers have.
The reason why they received these bad leads is because that’s part of the game. That’s how the game works. You do your best to find the right keywords, use the right match types, and have all the negative keywords you need, but at the end of the day, many times you can show up on the right search, but from the wrong person.
The jail slip and fall lead came from the search injury lawyers in my area.
The at-fault accident lead came from the search accident lawyers.
And the no insurance lead came from the search rear ended two weeks ago need me a lawyer.
All three of these search terms are perfect search terms for an accident lawyer to get clicks from. People searched these great search terms, our ads showed up, and we got their clicks. We did our job. We played the game correctly. The problem was that the wrong people happened to do these searches.
We don’t want jail slip and fall cases, but if someone searched injury lawyers in my area and happened to be searching on behalf of their cousin who was in jail, there’s nothing we can do about that.
We don’t want cases where the lead was at-fault, but if someone who was at-fault happened to do a great search like accident lawyers, that’s just a cost of doing business.
And we don’t want cases where the lead was hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance, but if all that person searched was rear ended two weeks ago need me a lawyer, then we’ve just got to sit up straight and take the L.
What you’ve got to remember, is that all three of the above searches are search terms we want to show up on, and the keywords that generated them are profitable keywords. And that’s the way the AdWords game is played. You’ve got to understand that not everyone who searches a great search term you want to get clicks from is going to be the right person for what you’re business is looking for. Not every lead you get from AdWords is going to be a good lead.
The above situations happen to Rothman PPC clients hundreds of times a day, and beyond the preventative measures we mentioned above, we’ve just got to sit back and accept the bad leads that come through when we’ve done everything we can to avoid them. Bad leads will always happen. There’s no magic fix.
However, AdWords can still be wildly profitable, even when you account for these bad leads. And that’s the beauty of the system. Not every lead you get is going to be a good lead, but overall, you can generate leads at a profitable rate. You do this by controlling the cost per click.
It’s a similar situation to poker. Someone can have the better hand going into the showdown (getting a click from a great search term) and still lose the pot (the lead turned out to be a bad lead). But if you have the better hand going into showdown more often than your opponents, you’re going to win a higher percentage of the pots and be a profitable player. And it’s the same thing with AdWords. Not every lead will be a good lead, but if you manage bids correctly, you can generate new business at a profitable rate, despite the bad leads that are unavoidable.
And being able to handle difficult situations, like accepting that bad leads happen and focusing on the big picture of overall profitability, is a soft skills that the truly best AdWords managers and advertisers have and pride themselves on. Not everyone can handle paying for leads when a certain percentage of them are going to be bad no matter what. They get emotional, they get irrational, and they either stop running a profitable campaign or they make so many dumb changes to appease their irrational feelings that they turn a profitable campaign into an unprofitable campaign.
I don’t know how you develop the soft skill of focusing on the big picture and not sweating the small and ultimately irrelevant issue of bad leads. From my experience it appears to be genetic and personality-based. But then again, maybe some people can learn it by reading articles like this. Goodnight from Oklahoma.