Report Central Blog

How to make real money from paid search

If you’re a marketing professional that’s been on a journey with Google Adwords like I have then you can be forgiven for believing that paid search is a very expensive way to obtain clients and as such for most there isn’t an opportunity to make real money from paid search.

To give you some backstory about my own journey, about 3 years ago (long before my Report Central days) I was fortunate enough to be the marketing manager of a large financial services group. I use the word fortunate because I hadn’t ended up there by design, in fact I’d inherited the role out of pure luck as my predecessor had taken maternity leave and as the next most qualified person I was given the role of turning around their paid marketing.

As marketing manager I inherited a number of outsourced paid search campaigns (that weren’t making real money) and their associated agencies.

I wasn’t impressed by the agencies we were using…

What I quickly worked out was that despite being award winning, these agencies could neither articulate how they were improving their campaigns, or the value those campaigns added. As a marketing manager these agencies actually made my job increasingly difficult; how could I relay to my superiors that we were doing a good job when the “experts” running the campaigns didn’t have a clue what they were doing?

After multiple visits to some quite frankly fantastic office spaces, I worked out that the agencies simply didn’t care about whether their clients were making real money, all they cared about was generating leads.

The journey I went on to prove these campaigns weren’t actually very good is documented in our about us section, but the basic premise for believing these campaigns could do better was quite simple, if someone could run a paid search campaign based on generating customers, not just leads then you’d be able to link real money outcomes to your paid search budgets.


So how then do you make real money from paid search?

The answer is simple; put in place a process that enables you to pay attention to what happens after a lead is generated.

Wait, is that it? Pretty much. All you need to do is look at what your leads do and the rest will follow suit.

Now that can be a little harder than it sounds. At Report Central, watching our lead outcomes is so important that we put it in our name. However you decide to do it, maybe it’s salesforce, hubspot, excel or simply a notepad (I wouldn’t advise that one) as long as you can see what happens to your leads then you can make real money from paid search because you’ll naturally start to focus your budget on the parts of your campaign that work and actively pause the bits that don’t.

You see by following the outcomes of your leads you’ll realise something that I figured out back as a marketing manager in 2014; not all leads are created equal.

Not all leads are created equal…

Put simply, some leads will make you more money than others and if you know which leads created the most revenue then you can focus on getting more of them. Now by default this means you’re also going to stop going after the leads that didn’t generate revenue and that might actually mean accepting the fact that you’re going to get less leads overall, because more often than not, the highest volume leads are not the ones that actually make you the real money.

Now that might seem obvious but did you know that 71% of advertising spend is wasted on keywords that don’t generate you revenue each year? That’s incredible right; but it’s completely true.

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In a digital age where amazing platforms like hubspot allow you to track every single lead you create, people still don’t know which leads generate their revenue or worse, actively still pay for things that don’t work because they are too scared to let their lead volumes drop.

If then you want to make real money from paid search, before you spend a penny on paid search, the first thing you need to do is sort out your lead and outcome tracking. It’s something we do at Report Central every single day and quite frankly you shouldn’t start spending money without.

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