It was hard work, wasn’t it, getting your Google Ads campaign to start producing a steady, predictable flow of good quality leads for your mortgage or financial services business?
You tested your headlines and your ad copy, you researched your keywords, you considered your negative keywords, you’ve audited and analysed your data. You’ve read books, undertaken courses, you feel that you’re good, but still got a bit to learn. Those algorithms keep changing and you have to keep up to date.
But all that work was so worth it. Your marketing is working like a well-oiled machine now with good quality leads dropping into your inbox all the time.
In fact, is it working too well? Maybe you’ve now got too many leads and are thinking that perhaps you no longer have time to “do marketing.”
The Feast and Famine Strategy
When a marketing campaign of any sort is performing well, a common reaction is to stop.
If you join a networking group, you will see fellow members dropping out because they've acquired new clients and feel they no longer have time for networking.
People who run successful social media campaigns often start to find that producing content takes up valuable time that they feel could be better spent doing the work that the marketing campaign has produced. And so they stop their social media.
It reminds me of the old story of Joseph, he of the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat fame. You will remember that he had a dream in which the harvests would be plentiful for seven years, followed by seven years of drought and famine.
And when the good times did come, many carried on as before, using up their wheat as if the good harvests would never end, but Joseph produced extra so that he could store some up for the seven years of drought.
Joseph had the advantage of being guided by a dream, but we don’t know what is around the corner for us. We are still in the middle of turbulent and unpredictable times, with Brexit, a pandemic and the uncertainty that will follow from the war in Ukraine.
If we can’t know what is likely to be happening in the next few years and how that will affect what our customers are likely to want, does it not make more sense to carry on with the things that are serving us well now? Joseph put it well when he said that the pain of the drought far outweighed the satisfaction of the times of plenty.
Should I turn my Google Ads Campaign off?
I’ve been working with a mortgage broker called Monica for some time. She originally approached me because she felt that she should take some measure of control over her marketing efforts. She wanted to be pro-active rather than reactive, going out to get the work rather than waiting for work to come to her through referrals from past clients or through her rather lukewarm efforts at networking.
I helped Monica with a fairly full range of services. I ran an audit of her website and suggested a few changes. We looked at SEO generally and set out a strategy for some blog posts. I prepared a lead magnet for her with an effective landing page. These are all essential elements of a long term digital marketing plan for any business, but Monica wanted… needed… some faster results.
So we set up a Google Ads campaign for generating remortgage leads. This is a competitive area because lots of mortgage brokers would prefer to get remortgage enquiries rather than ones from clients looking to purchase a property.
But we managed to get leads coming in from day one and then, as we gathered more and more data, I was able to optimise the campaigns to gradually increase the number of leads generated and lower the cost per lead.
By the time two or three months had passed, Monica was getting exactly the kind of results that she was after: regular, good quality remortgage leads which she could convert into business. And she became busy, then busier, and then became concerned that she would not be able to service all of the work that was coming in.
“Should I pause or stop my Google Ads campaigns,” Monica asked me?
I asked her whether she remembered how she felt about her marketing before we had started working together. Networking, referrals, word of mouth. She was basically waiting for the leads to come to her.
Did she want to go back to those days when she had felt stressed and worried about where her next client was coming from?
No, of course not, she knew that she had to have a strong online presence, but she was concerned about carrying on paying to keep her Google Ads running when she seemed to have plenty of work on.
Couldn’t she just have a break, she asked me, and then pick it up again in a few months? That way, she could clear the decks and then start the campaigns running again once things were quiet again.
Although this might sound sensible, it’s actually not a good idea. And here’s why.
Why you shouldn’t stop your Google Ads Campaign
From a commercial point of view, if something is working well for you, why would you stop? If you’ve got too many leads to service yourself then you can always take on additional staff or sell some of those excess leads to other mortgage brokers.
On the technical side, turning your Google Ads campaign off in order to take a break can set you back significantly. When you decide to restart, you can’t just pick up from where you left off and expect the same results as before.
If you take a break and then decide to return to Google Ads at a later date, you must be prepared to start again as if from scratch. Google will not use previous factors such as your CTR and landing page experience to boost your ranking. Your previous testing is no longer relevant, and will have to be revised. Your ads will be treated as completely new ads.
And, of course, the marketplace itself will have changed. The type of searches consumers do will have changed. The amount your competitors are bidding will have fluctuated.
You were monitoring those sorts of changes when you were running your PPC campaigns before and adjusting your ads, your bids, and your keywords to reflect any changes. But will you be monitoring (and testing) those changes if you are not running your campaigns?
While you are taking a break from running your Ad campaigns, what are your competitors doing?
Imagine you are running a marathon. You are out in front, running well. Are you really going to stop to let the other runners catch up and give them a bit of a head start? They’ve got into their rhythm and are running well now and you can’t be sure that you can catch them up again.
What should you do?
The sensible marathon runner will take one of two options:
- Step on the gas. There is that World Record to beat, or
- Stay out in front, but ease off a little.
My advice to Monica was heavily influenced by my Joseph story. I thought it was best to maximise the opportunities available to her while they were still available. She would then have a far greater control over the number and quality of leads coming in.
Easing off means allowing your competitors the opportunity to close the gap with you. You can’t control what they are doing, only react to it. And secondly of course, you can’t be sure that the same opportunities will still be available when you restart your ads campaign.
In uncertain times, you may be glad of the predictable results that a well performing ads campaign can bring.
But if Monica still wanted to ease off a little in terms of marketing budget and the time spent in processing the leads she was acquiring, there are a few things that she could do to bring down costs and perhaps reduce the number of leads coming in without causing too much damage to the overall campaign.
Firstly, she could study the data in Google Ads or Google Analytics to see what was performing well and what was not. She could identify those keywords that are performing less well, and drop her bids on them. She could also look at some of the demographics such as age, and gender. Are some performing better than others? She could add in some negative keywords to filter out some of the less well performing keywords.
Then she could reduce the amount that she was bidding on some of her keywords. This would mean that the ads would be shown less often, reducing the number of leads coming in. She would be receiving fewer clicks, fewer leads, but those clicks would now cost less, perhaps improving the cost per lead.
All these things would make far more sense than stopping Google Ads completely.
If you're feeling a bit like Monica and you'd like some tailored advice on what your ongoing Google Ads strategy should be so as you can strike the right balance between feast and famine, click here to book a free strategy call with me.