How to Build a Vending Machine for Customers or Leads (Part 2)

By Lewis Bassett, Bassett Providentia Ltd

In the previous article, I explained how you could use Google AdWords to build a customer or lead vending machine. It will give you the ability to buy new customers or leads - however many you want, and whenever you need them. This can be one of the most valuable assets your business will ever have.

We examined some techniques for finding one single keyword to focus on, and for determining whether or not that keyword represents a viable market. If you've followed those steps, you should have a reasonable idea of how much you will need to invest to build this customer/lead vending machine.

You'll also know have an approximate idea of how much it will cost you to buy a new customer, and how much a new customer is worth to you. And you can use this to determine the return on investment (ROI) you can expect from any money you put into this machine - once it has been developed.

In this article, I will show you how to build the Google AdWords part of the machine. You'll also learn how to use real market data to refine your ads and make them more efficient. This helps to lower the cost of buying a new customer.

(This article is not a beginner's guide to AdWords, though no previous knowledge is assumed. If you require step-by-step instruction on how to use Google's features, please refer to Google's own help pages.)

Setting up Google AdWords

Open a brand new AdWords account. Google uses previous account history to help calculate the price you should pay for each click. And the chances are, if you're like most AdWords advertisers, you have a sub-optimal history. For the purposes of building this machine, it's best if you start with a clean slate.

Create one single campaign, which we'll use for the whole customer/lead vending machine. If you want to create additional machines in the future, create separate campaigns for them too. (Once you've accumulated a good track record for your AdWords account, it makes sense to leverage that for future projects. So don't create another new account; just create a new campaign instead.)

Within a campaign, you can create multiple ad groups. For now, just think of ad groups as a way to group related ads and keywords groups.

Create a single ad group, for the one single keyword that you've decided to focus on. If you want to expand your machine later to include other keywords, you can create additional ad groups for groups of related keywords. For now, we just need one.

Creating Your Ads

When you're creating the ad group, you'll need to enter one ad. Use the following formula to guide you.

  • For the headline, enter the search keyword. For example, "Tooth Whitening Kit". This will stand out to the searcher as relevant, and Google will also display it in bold because it matches the keyword the searcher entered.
  • The first line should contain a key benefit of the product or service that you are offering. This benefit could be a positive (e.g., "Get White Teeth within 10 Days"), or a negative (e.g., "Never Repulse Women Again").
  • Use the second line to communicate one or more key features of your product, service or the offer itself. For example, "Daily Paste. 100% Guaranteed."
  • Enter a descriptive URL - preferably one that includes one or all of the keywords - into the display URL. This URL has to resolve to a page on your website, although it doesn't have to be the actual landing page. For example, "".
  • Finally, enter the URL for the landing page that searchers will be taken to if they click the ad. For example, "".

This is a good formula to use when creating your Google ads. There is plenty of scope for testing different benefits and features, but the structure will keep you on track.

The landing page URL should absolutely not point to your homepage. You need to create a specific landing page for the offer that you are advertising. Either the searcher buys something on that page, or they complete a short form and sign up.

Entering Your Keyword

To complete the setup of your ad group, you will need to enter your keyword. You should enter the exact match, phrase match and broad match versions of the keyword.

Exact match is the keyword in square brackets, and is used to display your ad whenever someone enters your search phrase exactly as you've entered it (or very close variations). For example, [tooth whitening kit] is an exact match for "tooth whitening kit", but not "tooth whitening" or "organic tooth whitening kit".

Phrase match is the keyword in quotes, and is used to display your ad whenever someone enters the exact same keywords (or close variations), but with other keywords too. For example, "tooth whitening kit" is a phrase match for "organic tooth whitening kit", but not "organic tooth whitening".

Finally, broad match is the keyword without and quotes and brackets, and is used to match all other searches that all the keywords appear in, but that are not exact or phrase matches. Variations and related terms are matched too.

If your keyword is "tooth whitening kit", you should have the following entered as keywords in your ad group.

[tooth whitening kit]

"tooth whitening kit"

tooth whitening kit

The reason we enter all three versions of your keyword is so that we can track metrics for all three different types of matches. In the future, this information will help you make adjustments so that your advertising is more efficient. These adjustments are outside the scope of this article, but it's a good habit to get into right away.

Complete the creation of your ad group.

Click-through Rate (CTR)

Google keeps track of how many people click yours ads, out of all the searchers it was displayed to. This is displayed as a percentage, and is called the click-through rate (CTR). The higher the CTR, the more people thought your ad was relevant and clicked on it.

For various reasons, it's in Google's best interests to display ads that are more relevant to searchers. Therefore Google rewards advertisers that display relevant ads. If an advertiser's ads are more relevant than their competitors' ads, they pay less to display their ad in the same position.

This means that the higher the CTR for your ad is, the less you'll pay for each click. You calculated your numbers in part one of this series, so you know why that's so important: your cost per customer will go down.

You need to make it your mission to always be improving the CTRs for all your ads. And there are two ways you can do this.

First, constantly improve the ads themselves. You do this by creating an additional ad in the ad group. The second ad should be identical to the first, but with just one aspect modified. For example, communicate a different benefit or feature. Then set up the ad groups so that all ads are rotated evenly. (This ensures that every ad gets the same number of impressions - roughly.)

After some time has passed, you will see that one ad is getting more clicks than the other - even though the number of impressions is very similar for each. When one has significantly more clicks than the other, you know that it is more relevant than the other ad.

Discard the inferior ad, and replace it with yet another ad with a new modification to test. There is loads of scope for testing new things. Keep repeating this cycle constantly, and you will see the CTR for your ads increase gradually. And this will reduce the average cost per customer from your vending machine.

Make it a rule to always be testing two ads against each other.

Testing Velocity

The more clicks you are paying for, the quicker you can complete these tests and make progress. This is why it's so important to be willing to spend money developing your machine. You need to get the CTR as high as possible, as quickly as possible. The more tests you can get through quickly, the faster you'll increase the CTR for your ads.

Negative Keywords

The other way to increase the CTR for your ads is to stop them from being displayed for searches that are not relevant to what you are offering. Regardless of what you are offering, I can guarantee that there will be some searchers who will never be interested in your offer.

Even though they're not clicking on your ads, the ads are still being displayed to them. This reduces your CTR score for those ads, which means Google charges you more per click.

You need to stop Google from displaying your ads for particular search terms. For example, if your keyword is "tooth whitening kit", you do not want to display your ads for searchers that enter "free tooth whitening kit".

You can do this by entering negative keywords into the ad group. Just enter the keyword, pre-fixed with a minus sign (e.g., "-free tooth whitening kit"). Google will not display your ads for those searches.

Additionally, you can view the CTR for each actual search term that your ads were displayed for. Look for search terms with CTRs that are much lower than other keywords. They'll stand out. These are the keywords you need to enter into your ad group as negative keywords.

Again, make it a habit to regularly check what actual search terms your ads are being displayed for, and the CTR for each keyword. Regularly eliminate bad search terms by entering them as negative keywords into the ad group.

Over time, the cost per click Google charges you will go right down, and the volume of relevant traffic going to your landing page will increase.

You'll recall from the previous article that cost per click (CPC) is one figure that affects how much an action (a new customer or lead) costs. The other figure is the amount of clicks required for each action - your conversion rate.

In the final part, I'll show you how to systematically increase the conversion rate of your landing page. And we'll setup a way to automatically measure the real cost per action for your customer/lead vending machine.

About the Author

Lewis Bassett is an online marketing consultant and speaker, and helps companies to increase their revenue. Bassett Providentia Ltd is his consulting practice.