last updated 14 October 2021

How to Get Mortgage Leads With Google Ads

How does Google Ads work? And how can you use Google Ads cost-effectively for generating new mortgage leads?

These are common questions I get asked by mortgage brokers and financial advisers.

So, I decided to run this free event in my Facebook group to share a quick overview of how Google Ads works, talk about why it often goes wrong for mortgage brokers, and to explain how you can set up Google Ads properly so as it generates mortgage leads for your business.

Here are just some of the things that you’ll learn from this video:

  1. How Google Ads can work for your mortgage business

  2. How to write ads that beat the other advertisers

  3. The importance of bidding on the right keywords

  4. Common mistakes mortgage brokers make when using Google Ads

  5. Steps for creating your Google Ads campaign

  6. Why you should identify your niche before running Google Ads

  7. The importance of having your unique selling points in your ads 

If you’ve been wondering how you can generate more leads for your mortgage business with Google Ads, or if you’re thinking of starting running Google Ads for your financial service business, then you really must watch this video.

A full transcript appears below.

Full Transcript

Hello there and welcome to all of you who are watching this live. It's really great to have so many of you on here with us, and if you're watching this later on the replay, then hello to you as well. 

I'm David Miles and I'm on a mission to help mortgage brokers and financial advisers to generate their own leads online, so as they can stop giving money to lead generation companies. As there are lots of different online channels that you can use to generate leads and get new clients.

In today's session, we're going to be talking about one of those channels, which seems to get a bit of bad press. To be honest, amongst some mortgage brokers and other small business owners which is Google Ads or was it used to be called until two or three years ago, Google Ad Words.

You might know it by that name as well. It'd be really useful just to get an idea of the sort of where you're up to as an audience if you could just leave a quick comment and just to say whether you currently use Google Ads or you've tried it in the past. Then if you're not using it at the moment or you stopped using it, what was it that means that you don't use it as we go along through this session. 

Please do feel free to post any questions in the comment box and I'll do my best to sort of keeping an eye on those as we go through. But I'll be honest, I'm not a great multitasker, so I might not see them all. But what I try and do is stop, pause halfway through and have a look at what's there. Then if I do miss any of your questions, I will make sure I go through them at the end, after the session is over. I'll answer any of them as well.

While if you're watching this on the replay, feel free to put a question in and I'll answer that later on as well. So I see a few of you commenting in there saying that you've don't use it or have tried it in the past.

What I'm going to do here in today's session is I'm going to talk about three things. I'm going to give a quick overview, first of all, of how Google Ads actually works, what goes wrong with it, why it goes wrong for a lot of people especially those in the mortgage sector and other areas of financial services. And in the third part, I'm going to talk about how to set up a Google Ads campaign in the correct way. It’s actually generating leads for you rather than losing your load of money. Do stick around to the end because I'm going to be sharing some details of some free Google Ads training that you can get access to and I've also got a special offer just for people who are on this Facebook live today. So do you hang around for that?

Let's get started then by talking about Google Ads for mortgage lead generation. We'll start with how Google Ads works. Google Ads are those adverts at the top of the Google search results above the organic results. If you typically get a maximum of four with those adverts at the very top and up to three of them appearing at the bottom and the way the system works is that the advertisers, If you guys are using it, you give Google a list of keywords like mortgages, mortgage, broker, mortgage advice, and others. These keywords are relevant to the products or services that you are selling.

For example, you say to Google or if someone types in a search term that matches one of these keywords, then I'd like my advert to appear. It's called a PPC or Pay Per Click advertising system because you don't pay for your advert actually to appear, but instead, you only pay if someone clicks on your ad and then goes through to your website. 

How does Google decide which ads to show? Well, first of all, it has to look at the search term that we use or enters into Google. Then it looks at all the advertisers and decides whether the keywords they're bidding on are similar enough to the search term. That's been entered to trigger that their advert to appear.

If one of your keywords is a mortgage broker and someone types in I'm looking for a mortgage broker, Google will look at that search term and say, that's similar to the keyword mortgage broker. Then, it will potentially show your advert the amount that you pay for each click is done on an auction system.  Each advertiser tells Google how much they're willing to pay for each click, like an eBay auction with the maximum amount that you can pay. But what you will actually pay is just enough to beat the next person in that auction. If there are two mortgage brokers, both bidding on the same keyword, then one of them might be bidding £2 per click, while the one will be bidding with £1 per click. The person with the higher bid will be one of the things that would determine whether they appear in the results and they will pay just enough to beat the next lowest bidder.

Yes, it's a little bit more complicated than that, but that's the basic gist of it. So the adverts will write their own ads and there are lots of different adverts. An advert is made up of three headlines along the top, and then two lines of description text. And what's really nice about the ads is that they are more prominent than the organic results. So that's like they will appear above the organic results. And over the years, Google has done more and more things to aid, make the ads take up more space because that's where they get their money from. Are people clicking on the ads and also to make them look less like adverts? That's when a lot of people don't even realize it's an ad they're clicking on rather than a natural search result.

Actually, that brings me onto a thing as well. A lot of people say, ‘I don't want to use Google Ads because they themselves never click on them.’ Well, whether that's true or not, what I can tell you is loads and loads of people do click on the answer and that's where Google make the bulk of their billions of pounds of profit per year, even if you're not clicking on them yourselves, is definitely people who are doing so. So that's an overview of what the system is.

So how does it go wrong? Why are there so many people who say they've tried Google Ads, spent a lot of money and got nothing back? Well, the part of the reason is that Google makes it very easy for anyone to come along and set up a Google Ads campaign, but they also make it very easy to do it the wrong way. Because if you just go through the setup wizard and accept all the default settings, you're likely to set your campaign up in a way that will put more money into Google's pockets than it does into yours. I'm sure they don't do that deliberately because I'm not that cynical, but that's the way, but it is.

Therefore, the mistakes that people often make are, first of all, they choose the wrong keywords. This is partly because the Google system is always suggesting additional keywords that you can add to your campaigns, but very often the best campaigns have fewer keywords rather than loads and loads of them. To give you an example. You see, if you were doing and coming up with a list of keywords for a mortgage broker, your first instinct might be to think, ‘Okay, I'll bid on the keyword mortgages,’ but that's an example of a really, really broad keyword, which is not specific enough.

It's like, if I said to you, you're looking to go on holiday. What you're going to type into Google. You might say cheap holidays as the first thing that comes into your head. But the people who type in cheap holidays, it's fairly unlikely, but they're actually going to book at that point. They're probably what we call high up the keyword funnel. They are still doing their research. It's only when they type in something more specific like holidays in a particular hotel or in a particular place that they're probably at the point of being ready to buy and the same applies with mortgages and lots of other services.

The more specific somebody is with their search term, the more likely they are to be a warm prospect, who's ready to take action. When you're choosing your keyword, you should look for more specific things like for example, mortgages for NHS staff would be much better keywords than mortgages, because it's one that's not going to be being chased after, by all your competitors. And remember this is an auction and like any auction, the more people that are chasing the same thing or the same keyword in this case, the more that's going to drive the price up.

So think of those kinds of less competitive, more niche keywords that other people won't be going after. You won't get many searches for each of those, but if you have enough of them, you'll still get a decent search volume and you'll pay less per click than you would for the really broad things.

Now, the other thing linked to this and keywords is to think about choosing keywords, which show what's called buyer intent. In other words, the keywords that are likely to be used by people who are showing some kind of intention to buy a product or service. I had a really good example of this, about five or six years ago, I was running a training course on Google Ads. There are all sorts of different people in the room, but there was a guy who ran a business that did a commercial cleaning of like restaurant kitchens and things like that. One of his keywords was kitchen steam cleaning and the other keyword is kitchen steam cleaning company. The keyword that got by far the best results was the one that was kitchen steam cleaning company, and the reason for that is if someone goes to Google and types in kitchen, steam cleaning, they may want to hire a company to do it for them, or they might just be looking to download a fact sheet or something on how to do the job themselves.

Whereas the person who searches for kitchen, steam, cleaning company, they clearly want to pay somebody to do it for them. So in a similar way, in the mortgage world, there would be a there's someone who types into Google on a mortgage for the first-time buyer, they are showing less intent to use a service like yours than someone who types in the first-time, buyer, mortgage advisor, or mortgage broker because as they've included mortgage advice or mortgage broker in their search term that shows they want the help of someone like you to get their mortgage. Whereas the person who just types in mortgages for first-time buyers, might want to talk to a broker, or they might be just looking to do the research themselves, go and apply directly to the bank without, without an intermediary. So that's the first area that goes as long as people not choosing the right kind of keywords.

Then the other big mistake that people can make is to not understand something called keyword matching. Now, I said earlier on when we talk about how Google Ads works, Google has to look at the search term that the user types in and look at the keywords that you're bidding on and decide whether the two are similar enough to make one of your answers here. Now, a lot of people assume, but it works on an exact matching basis. So if you're bidding on the mortgage for a first-time buyer, your ad will only appear when someone types in mortgage for a first-time buyer.

But the reality is that in the default settings, your ad will appear for anything which matches your keyword or which Google thinks is related to it. But the problem is that Google's definition of what's related is quite wide. So if you were bidding on the mortgage for a first-time buyer, you could appear when someone types in mortgages for first-time buyers with credit problems and no deposit, which clearly is not the kind of inquiry that you're going to be able to do anything with. It can even go broader than that. If potentially only one word has to match and someone could type in mortgage for a business. Your bidding on the mortgage for a first-time buyer, but because it's got the word mortgage in common, that can be enough to trigger the ad. Then, you really need to understand the different match types and make sure that you use those to restrict how wide Google casts its net in terms of who will see your ad.

So, if you have a look on my website, you go to, there are lots of different articles there about Google Ads and one of them is specifically all about keyword matching explains how it works, tells you which match types you ought to be using instead of using the default ones, elevator where people go wrong it's might have badly written adverts. What I mean by that is adverts, which don't convey any benefits or any unique selling points.

Think about what happens when you search for something gets a whole page of search results with these three or four adverts at the top. Why should they click your advert rather than someone else? Then, the answer to that is they'll click your advert. If your advert is the most appealing in terms of the benefits that it offers to that potential client, and very often people write ads, which are very descriptive, very factual, or which don't really have anything that kind of entices people to work to actually click.

I'll talk about a couple of examples of that a bit later on, and the final, main area where it can go wrong is that people don't have the right kind of landing pages. They don't send people to the right kind of page on their website. That's going to maximize the chances of that visitor submitting an inquiry. I often say to people that in many ways, the easy part of this thing is driving traffic to the site, the trickier part, and the bit where it gets more interesting is how do you convince those site visitors to take action and to fill in an inquiry form or pick up the phone to you or whatever.

In terms of your landing pages, you need to make sure that the page states very clearly what it is you do, what you offer gives people reasons to stay around and make an inquiry, or do whatever other action it is that you want them to do and it should have simply to use inquiry, form, clear phone numbers, all those kinds of things. If you don't get that kind of thing right, then it's a bit like running a massive advertising campaign to send people to a shop where MTM is rubbish all over the floor and all that kind of thing. You've got to get the website landing page sorted before you start spending money to advertise.

Now we've talked about what can go wrong and let's move on to how you actually create a Google Ads campaign that is going to work properly. There are a couple of things that you should do before you even go anywhere near Google Ads itself, but there's a question which I'll just try and pick up before we launch into that.

What word to use as an adviser was an ‘E’ or advisor with an ‘O’? So I'm guessing, if whether to use an advisor as a keyword, should you bid on it with an ‘ER’ or an ‘OR.’ The answer is that because of the way Google's matching works, because of the fact it has some flexibility and it will show keywords for things that are very close to what you're bidding on. Then you could bid on it by putting your keyword in as adviser with an ‘E’, which is the more usual way of spelling it in the U.K.

But if someone did a search for a mortgage advisor or was an ‘O’, then your advert would still appear. In terms of what you actually put in your advert itself, personally, I'd go with an adviser with an ‘E’, I say about some more usual British way of spelling it, but if all of your other literature, marketing and everything says uses ‘O’, then I'd probably go with that in the advert to be consistent.

Paul asks: ‘How much would you suggest spending on Google Ads?’ That's a very open-ended question obviously. But, in terms of when you're starting off, you've got to spend enough to actually be able to give it a decent test. Clearly, you don't want to go mad with it. You've got a formula that works now my general rule of thumb for a mortgage broker, starting off with Google Ads, I would say to try to budget between £500 and £1,000 in the first month as to get the thing going the problem if you do less than that is, say you only budget at say £200 for the month. You're not going to be able to get a huge number of clicks each day for that, because if you budget £200 for the month, Google will spread that budget out throughout the 30 days of the month or 30.4 days, if you want to be totally accurate about it. With that, you won't have very much budget available on any given day, if you've only got a budget of fewer than £10 per day, you're bidding on keywords where maybe it costs £4 or £5 per click, you're not going to get much in the way of clicks and you won't be able to give it a fair test.

Also bear in mind, think what a typical mortgage earns you in terms of broker fees if you charge them plus prop fees, plus any life insurance, etc. On the back of it, it's generally going to be an average of more than £500. Is it really a fair test? If you only invest £200 to test something which could potentially own you £800 or £1,000. I think it's when you're in this kind of industry where one client could be worth quite a bit of money, you do need to be willing to invest at least one client's worth of profit in that first month to give it a proper test. And then obviously once it's working, then, then you can scale it up. That's a good question which is not a short answer.

Going back to creating a campaign, the first thing to do before you even start creating a Google Ads campaign is I strongly advise you to choose a niche within the mortgage industry to focus on for your initial pilot project, with Google Ads. What I mean by that, it's like we're talking about just now, rather than just fun going after anyone who's looking for a mortgage go after specific niches. What about something like mortgages for NHS staff, like you mentioned before, or mortgages for teachers or mortgages for contractors, mortgages for self builds. There are all claims of different niches within the mortgage industry. Pick one of those and focus just on that. Because again, if you are starting with a limited budget, it's much better to assign that budget to one particular niche and test it properly rather than try and spread a small budget over loads and loads of different keywords. Because you'll never get enough data for any of them to make, any sensible decisions about what's working and what isn't.

If you want more information on choosing niches and the benefits of having a niche within your marketing, then I'm going to have a look at the website, go to the blog page about mortgage broker marketing. There's a whole article there on niching. Or if you want to go really more into that, those of you who are doing my online course will know it was a whole section around choosing niches within Module 1.

With that, you can choose a niche that you're going to focus on. Then the next thing is to get your landing page sorted out. Because like we said, just now poor landing pages is one of the biggest causes of people losing money on Google Ads. So make sure that your landing page has a really clear value proposition, which will tell people when they land on your site, where they are, what they can do there and why they should stick around and do it.

I often say to mortgage brokers, one of the biggest challenges you've got is that by and large, you're all selling the same products or services from the same lenders. So as a potential client, 'Why should I choose to go to you for my mortgage rather than the other broker down the road?' and a good value proposition will help answer that, then will give me a reason why I should choose you rather than your competitor.

Again, there are articles on the website about creating a value proposition, and there's are sections in the online course on how to do that as well. But do put the effort into getting a good value proposition and then make sure that that's displayed clearly on your landing page. Also, make sure that you clearly highlight your unique selling points. For example, if you're a broker that doesn't charge a fee, make sure that's really prominent and highlighted on the page, because that will be something that differentiates you from other people.

Then have a really strong and clear call to action. If you want people to submit a quick inquiry form or request to call back, make sure that what stands out really ours was a button that they click or an inquiry form embedded within the page. That is really obvious. Keep the page simple as well. What I normally recommend is you keep your main website over here as it is, but you create a separate landing page. It's not linked to the rest of your site. and you can use that for your Google Ads traffic.

In actual fact, you make sure it has no menus on it and nothing like that. There are no distractions. All people can do when they get there is read the information and submit the inquiry. That might sound counterintuitive, but most of the time that actually produces a greater number of leads and conversions than if you allow people to just stroll through the entire site and stroll out the end again.

Another thing I would recommend you have on your landing page, which I talked about this on Facebook live a couple of weeks ago about Facebook Advertising. I think it's important with Google Advertising that you have some kind of lead magnet on your landing page. If people aren't ready to make an inquiry yet, have some useful and valuable resource, like a PDF guide to buying a home, or something like that, which they can download in return for giving you their name and email address. Because once you've got that name and email address to include on your mailing list. Then, you can send them follow-up emails to keep you at the front of their mind. So when they are ready to take the next step, it's you that they remember rather than someone else.

Also, you can also use those emails to build up a bit of a relationship and rapport with them. So they get to know and trust you before you even have that first conversation with them. Once you've done all the groundwork, now you can actually move on to creating the Google Ads campaign. As I've touched on already, I would suggest you start off with a small campaign targeting a limited number of keywords based on whatever niche you've chosen. So if you had chosen first-time buyers as your niche, let's stick with that example. Just have keywords, like first-time buy mortgages, mortgages for first time buyers, first time to buy from a mortgage broker, and other than those kinds of things, and keep the focus of those keywords really tight, rather than trying to go off and cast the net too wide.

Then you need to make sure that your ads are really well-written. So like I said before, you need to have in your ads plenty of benefits and unique selling points. Now those unique selling points could be things where it's something that you offer, which other brokers don't. Your free advice can be a USP. That is something you do, but other brokers don't, but a benefit or USP doesn't have to be totally unique. It can just be that you're the only broker who mentions it in their ad, even though it's something that everybody offers or it can be around the way that you present the same benefits. For example, I was lucky on Google earlier on and searching for mortgage-related terms and I saw a couple of ads come up where they said that they were whole of market brokers.

Now, my question is, ‘Does the average person in the street actually know what a whole market broker is? Do I know how big the market is? Is the whole market impressive or not?’ Because all I know is as an educated potential client, the market might only be 20 lenders or something like that. It's much better with these things. If you can put a number behind it and quantify it.

When I worked with one broker a couple of years ago where they weren't actually the whole of the market. They were a restricted panel and they had access to 50 odd lenders. I think it was. In their ads, we put things like choose from over 50 lenders or choice of 50 plus lenders, which actually sounds more impressive than the whole of the market because you're putting a number behind it.

Even though 50 plus lenders, isn't the whole of the market, it actually sounds better than the ads of the people who were saying the whole of the market. So think about how you present these things, think about how they look to your potential client and don't assume that industry terms that you and I understand will necessarily have the same meaning to your potential clients.

I started by showing you a couple of share of examples. I looked at some adverts earlier on and I just picked out a couple of examples, one is how not to do it, and the other is how to do it a lot better. So I did a search for first-time time mortgages or whole of market mortgage brokers. One of the ads that came up said, you can see that there is a company here Willow Private Finance. Apologies if anyone from Willow Private Finance is watching, but, I am going to give you some definite tips on how to improve this.

So the headline says ‘Willow Private Finance, independent mortgage brokerage, and then the description says experts in specialist lending, finance and protection since 2008.’ In actual fact, just notice there's a typo in it. It says experts in specialist, spelt wrongly leading instead of lending finance and protection, since 2008, ‘call now we can help you.’ There are a few problems with that apart from the typos and the spelling mistakes, firstly, they've used the headline, which is the most prominent part of it to put their company name in and with the best one in the world, when someone's looking for a mortgage, they really don't give a what your company is called. But I don't care what your brand name is that what they care about is do you offer mortgages for doctors or first time buy mortgages or whatever it is they've searched for?

Then, your headline should focus on the keywords that you're targeting and hence for search terms that people have put in rather than wasting space with something like your company name, which isn't going to add a lot of value to the advert. The other major issue with it is saying they're experts in these things, we've only got their word for that but where's the proof of it? If they could put something in to actually prove their expertise or explain how they help and the benefits of using them, that would be far more powerful. And ‘call now we can help you while you haven't actually told me how you can help me. So the ad, if the ad was a good ad, would make it clear how they could help me. It wouldn't need to tell me to call because I'd be wanting to call anyway, cause the ad would have been so convincing.

By contrast, we got another one here. Yes, I definitely didn't see that or not, but I will read it to you. This one says, ‘home mortgage is finding the best deal for you.’ That's the headline. So straight to buy them a headline. We've got a benefit rather than telling me the name of their company and the fact that a mortgage broker they're saying that they will find the best deal for me. Then they're making it about me, not about them, which is a really important thing to do. Also, the description says, ‘we search the entire market so that's what we do, but then we come benefit saving you time and money on your mortgage.’ So immediately there we've got something. Well, I've got a reason to talk to these people because the outcome, the benefit I'm going to get is I'm going to have, they're going to save me time and money on my mortgage.

‘Apply now get expert advice," so getting their use mics, but advising, "then let us take care of your entire application.’ Again, it's a benefit to me. Not only am I going to save time and money, but the implications I'm going to save hassle as well because they're going to take care of everything for me. Then there are just some bullet point benefits are that low-interest rates, easy remortgages etc.

Hopefully, you can see there the kind of difference. But what I would say is if before you start writing any ads, just one, some Google searches yourself, not just for mortgages, but for other things that you might be thinking of buying all other services and just compare the ads. And I hope you get to start seeing that some ads jump off the page at you a bit more than others and just try and analyze and think, well, what is it in that ad that attracts me? The answer will be it's the benefits.

The fact they're talking about you, the potential customer, rather than talking about them, the company of a supplier. Then the next thing, once you've got your ads, you need to set a sensible bid. This ties in with the stuff we're saying now and answered just now in answer to the question. Don't get drawn into huge bidding wars, but equally be realistic about what you're going to bid per click. If I say that a click might cost you an average of £5. A lot of the time people will say, ‘Oh! That's a huge amount of money.’ But actually, if you think about it, if a keyword was going to cost £5 per click to get a decent position and Google will give you estimates of what it needs to bid, that means that a hundred clicks will cost you £500. Out of a hundred clicks, it's not unreasonable to think that you'll get 10 inquiries. And out of 10 inquiries, it's not unreasonable to think that you'll get one completed case.

So when you look at that, we're saying you a £500 investment to get one completed case that could be worth £1,000. That's actually not bad. Then, don't be shortsighted with it. Look beyond the cost per click and think a does this stack up based on my assumed conversion rates? That's eating a nutshell. Obviously varies, there's more detail to it, but I can cover it in a half-hour slot.

Again, I do have some things on the website that can help. I have a free Google Ads training online course, which actually steps you through how to set up your first simple Google Ads campaign. It's not mortgage specific. It's designed to apply to any small business, but it covers those same things I've gone through there. You can access that by going to the course.

If you want to take things a step further there's my full-blown paid for online course, which covers all these things around niching, value propositions, creating landing pages, and then running the Google Ads. That's at the The special offer that I said I've got for you guys is if any of you have been as, hopefully, you have been inspired by this to go and try setting up your first Google Ads campaign. My offer to you is that set it up. But before you start running it, go to, that's number two. Book a call with me. Then, I will go through the campaign with you on a zoom call and review it before you go live and tell you whether it's set up correctly or make suggestions for how you can improve it. In that way, you should be able to try it without falling into any unpleasant traps.

If there are any other questions then do pop them into the chat now or put them in once the session ends in a moment. I'll come back and answer them afterwards.

I hope you found that useful. I hope it's inspired you to give Google Ads a bit of a trial. As I say, it’s sometimes got a bad press for mortgage brokers and they say, ‘Oh, we'll do Facebook Ads instead because it's cheaper.’ But Google Ads tends to get you people who are more likely to convert because they're actively searching on Google for a mortgage or mortgage broker, rather than people on Facebook who are just seeing your ad in their feed. You have to just hope, but it piques their interest.

So, if you haven't given it a try before, please do, but also do take me up on that offer to book a call and let me look over it before you go live.

Thank you very much for coming along. Thank you very much if you're watching the replay later on. And, well, aims do another one of these in a couple of weeks time. Thanks very much. Bye now!


  • "The more specific somebody is with their search term, the more likely they are to be a warm prospect, who's ready to take action. When you're choosing your keywords, you should look for more specific things.. think of those kinds of less competitive, more niche keywords that other people won't be going after."
  • In terms of your landing pages, you need to make sure that the page states very clearly what it is you do, what you offer gives people reasons to stay around and make an inquiry, or do whatever other action it is that you want them to do and it should have simply to simply to use enquiry forms, clear phone numbers, all those kinds of things.
  • " need to make sure that your ads are really well-written.. you need to have in your ads plenty of benefits and unique selling points. Now those unique selling points could be things where it's something that you offer, which other brokers don't."

About the author 

David Miles

As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.

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