How to generate phone leads from Google AdWords

by Mitchell McCormick - Get more articles like this sent to your email here

Usually, a lead from a phone call is worth much more than a lead from someone filling out a form. When a business prospect calls you directly, they are more eager to purchase your product or service and the sales process is faster.

A phone call involves a human element, which is a powerful opportunity to build trust, create relationships and close sales.

I’m not suggesting you should start cold calling potential customers. That can work, but before you even consider it, you need to make sure you give your prospects every opportunity to contact you.

Strangely, many businesses don’t implement a strategy for increasing their incoming phone leads. There’s plenty you can do beyond sticking your phone number on your website and waiting for the phone to ring.

It’s time to get proactive with your approach to generating phone calls.

A new method for driving high quality phone leads

Google AdWords is an ideal channel for generating phone calls from highly targeted customers who are actively seeking your products and services. The secret to enticing these customers to call is understanding their behaviour and setting up your online marketing to give them the opportunity to call you throughout your sales funnel.

Phone calls can be generated in two ways with Google Adwords:

  1. A customer on any device (desktop, tablet, mobile) clicks on your ad, visits your website, sees your contact details and calls you.
  2. A customer on a mobile device taps the ‘click-to-call’ section of your ad in Google and calls your business directly, without visiting your website or landing page.

Both of these methods are powerful and they can each attract a different type of customer, so your online marketing strategy should be optimised for both of these situations.

Get customers who visit your website to call

First, let’s take a look at customers who call you after visiting your website.

In this case, the initial AdWords campaign will be the same as any other type of lead generation. It’s all about on-page optimisation for phone calls and tracking.

Once the prospect has clicked your ad and visited your landing page, you need to make sure your phone number is visible on each page and that your website is fully responsive, so that it displays well on all devices. Make sure your number is coded as a ‘click-to-call’ link and consider using a call tracking system on your website (such as Delacon or Google’s own call forwarding numbers), which will track which ads and keywords are triggering the calls that occur on your website.

At Web Profits, if a client is receiving a substantial portion of business through phone leads or they want to be in the future, we’ll push for a tracking system such as Delacon. By switching the phone number each time that a new customer lands on your site, Delacon pinpoints the source, whether it’s organic, AdWords or Facebook. This is incredibly powerful because:

  • It links back to Google Analytics and AdWords.
  • You can pinpoint which user search query triggered the specific keyword which resulted in the call.
  • You can then optimise your campaigns based on accurate conversion data, instead of just guessing.

Now let’s talk about generating calls directly from PPC.

Get customers calling before they even visit your website

In this instance, your customer won’t even visit your landing page. ‘Click-to-call’ ads on Google mean that they can click your ad on their mobile device and call you directly. The beauty of these ads is that you are only targeting devices that can make phone calls. Any click on the ad will result in a phone call.

Screenshot of Google mobile results with click-to-call ad

Setting up click-to-call ads is pretty simple. In AdWords you select the ‘Call-only’ ad and fill out the required fields.

Screenshot of Call-only ad drop down option

Screenshot of Call-only ad drop down option

Running a successful click-to-call campaign is more complex, as you are dealing with a different type of user and user experience.

Running AdWords campaigns for mobile traffic

According to the 2015 Sensis e-Business Report, 72% of Australians now own a smartphone, so it’s very important that you understand the nuances of mobile traffic.

Someone on a mobile device acts very differently to someone on a desktop computer or tablet. Think about the last time you searched for something on Google using your mobile device. If you’re like me, you probably grabbed your phone out of your pocket, punching in your search query while walking down the street or sitting in a cafe. Compared to a desktop computer, searching from a mobile device is often a rushed experience. It’s also likely that you used your mobile device in an effort to solve an immediate problem, rather than research a future problem.

This kind of consumer behaviour on mobile devices is very valuable to businesses. If a potential customer sees an ad that will solve their immediate problem, it’s highly likely they’ll click it. This brings up a few problems and opportunities.

Ad positioning on mobile devices is very important. Compared to desktop, where Google currently displays up to 11 paid search ads, mobile devices only show up to six paid ads (three at the top of the SERPs and three at the bottom).


Screenshot of desktop vs mobile

If you want qualified customers to press your click-to-call ad and phone you, a good average position is somewhere around two to three. Although the first position is great for getting high click rates, many users are not paying attention and will blindly click on your ad, wasting your money. Also, remember you are charged for the ad as soon as it is clicked, even if the customer doesn’t proceed with the phone call.

Screenshot of option to take or discard phone call

If your ads are showing in positions four, five or six on mobile devices, your customers will have to scroll all the way through the organic results to view your ad. Although this can result in more qualified customers calling, you are missing out on a lot of traffic.

Anticipate the unique user behaviour on mobile devices

The keywords you target in a click-to-call campaign are also influenced by the customer’s unique mentality when using a mobile device. The tone used when entering searches into a mobile device is often more conversational (this is even more true if someone uses a voice-to-text function such as Siri). This may require you to use more ‘open’ keyword matching to capture long-tail variations. Experiment with using the ‘broad match modified’ keyword type instead of phrase or exact match.

Users on mobile devices are often on the move and likely to use location-based keywords in their searches. Setup unique ad groups for each location relevant to your business (both at the city and suburb level) and use a unique ad that includes this location in the text.

Now that you have your click-to-call campaign up and running, you need to monitor the data and optimise.

Optimising AdWords for mobile traffic

As already mentioned, you need to keep an eye on your ad position and look for that sweet spot where you receive both a good click through rate and a good phone conversion rate (often around position two or three).

Just like any PPC campaign, monitor which search queries are leading to phone calls and optimise accordingly. Use your data to consider which locations people are calling from and exclude any locations where you are spending excessive money and not generating calls.

Unlike a traditional PPC campaign, you also have to consider when you are available to take phone calls. If someone calls at 3 am, will they be sent to an answering machine or do you have a service that mans the phones for you? If you are just starting out, it’s often a good idea to simply limit showing your click-to-call ads to business hours.

Optimise your process for receiving calls

In a typical PPC campaign where we drive traffic to a landing page, we can increase our conversion rate by split testing aspects of the landing page and making changes based on heat maps and recordings of user experience (this is known as conversion rate optimisation). In a click-to-call campaign, you have to optimise the process of answering your phone calls. This includes the following:

  • Answer promptly – no one likes waiting on the phone.
  • Know what you are going to say and have an action plan.
  • Write down common questions asked by your customers and develop a standard response.
  • Develop these responses into a live document and share your best practice responses with your team.

If you can perfect the process of taking phone calls, you will see great results in your conversion rates.

Get ready for a boost in your incoming phone leads

To summarise, these are the most important factors in using Google AdWords to generate consistently high-quality phone leads:

  • Understanding that your customer’s behaviour is different on a mobile device than on desktop
  • Tracking phone statistics and optimising for calls
  • Optimise your process for talking to customers on the phone

Google AdWords is an ideal way to increase calls to your business. More importantly, you can ensure that the people calling you are highly targeted and likely profitable customers. Just like any form of online marketing, it’s important to consider the entire sales funnel in a PPC campaign. If you allow your customers to call you at all stages along this sales funnel and have a solid strategy for converting the phone leads you receive, you will see some great results.

Mitchell McCormick

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One response to “How to generate phone leads from Google AdWords”

  1. peter hanley says:

    Great idea, and will start today. I am lucky because part of our product set is location based telephone numbers and 1300 location numbers so I can check all trafic stats. Using say a Sydney number for Sydney traffic will improve the call rate.

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