Back in the day, generating sales leads usually one of three things, and probably some combination of all of them. You could place ads in the newspaper or phone book, or you could pick up the phone and dial for dollars, or you could pound the pavement and solicit leads. But with AdWords, you might just have the sales lead Holy Grail.
Imagine that you sell a product to other businesses. It could be a physical product that you ship, or sometimes a service like website design. What is your business based on?
Sales, of course, but where do the sales come from? Sales leads, and the more qualified they are, the better your profits will be. Fortunately, AdWords lets you find some of the best qualified leads you'll find everywhere. It's like an even more powerful phone book that works faster, filters better, costs less and brings you more sales leads.
What could be better?
The "trick" is to have a well designed lead system which prequalifies leads well and reduces your cost per lead. AdWords and some testing will let you create a system like that. It's easier than you might think when you get down to the details.
Suppose you're looking for qualified sales leads for your website design service catering to local businesses. You could certainly go door to door to find people who might be interested, and you'll probably find some. But fully qualified leads in this niche probably should have enough web savvy to find you online. If they can not, they might end up being customer support nightmares.
So you create a sales lead generation page that will capture a name, email address, phone number, when they'd like to have a site up, and other things you want to know. Once you have the page, you need to test it to make sure it converts well. This is pretty easy as well.
Google offers the Website Optimizer tool, which lets you do simple A / B split testing, as well as multivariate testing to refine which page element combinations work best together. It's easy to set up, and free to use. It's one of the better tools out there, actually, and certainly top notch for a free tool.
But testing will not work unless you have visitors. That's where AdWords comes in.
You'll need to spend a little time finding keywords you can hit hard and dominate in a relatively short time. Those typically have relatively low competition and a healthy number of monthly searches. When you've found several, you can create AdWords ads to target them. Send the targeted traffic to your lead generation page and let testing show you how to improve your performance.
This approach takes a little time, but the reward can be tremendous. Once you have a reasonably well optimized landing page that converges well, you can ramp up your ad spend and send mountains of traffic to the page, for very little cost per click. That will build your business over time, and help you make sure the business you build is based on qualified sales leads that turn into great customers.