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Boating Industry Advertising: 3 Must-Do Tactics For Stellar Lead Quality

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Steve Ward

Improve lead quality with these tested methods for Google Ads.

Getting leads is not enough. Getting the right leads is critical.

Getting the right leads is not guaranteed.  Google Ads is a powerful tool to reach millions of buyers.  However, if you’re not careful you can get a pile of leads that don’t turn into buyers.  

In this article, learn three critical tactics for improving lead quality. High quality leads have a better chance of becoming paying clients.  

In an ideal world, a large number of your prospects become clients.  What if that doesn’t happen?  What if that person who filled out your form was looking for a much cheaper alternative? Or a different product altogether?   

Improve your chances

Advertising is a numbers game.  We’ll review some important ways you can improve your chances that each lead turns into a buying customer. 

First, let’s review the simple flow of a Google Ads lead generation ad:

  1. Prospects type in search terms 
  2. Your Ad campaign’s keywords match those terms
  3. A Google Ads shows 
  4. The prospect sees your Ad and decides to click
  5. Prospect becomes a lead by filling out a form on your website, calling you or scheduling time with you.

Here are key tactics which you must employ to improve your chances that a lead is the right one for you.

Who is responding to your ads? Who are your ideal clients?

Once your campaign has run for several weeks you’ll have data to review.  For each of your conversions (lead form, phone call, booking request) head over to Audiences….Audience Segments….Show Table.  Here  you will see where your visitors fall on a variety of demographic factors such as:

  1. Age range 
  2. Gender
  3. Household income
  4. Parental Status

If you run a boat rental business that targets younger, affluent buyers, this information can help you tailor your campaigns to that audience.  

For example, if your data shows clicks and conversions all over the age ranges and income brackets you may want to exclude or down bid segments that are not your customer to ‘steer’ your ad traffic to more fruitful prospects.  If your list of people who filled out forms on your website shows that older demographics don’t convert into actual sales, you can improve your results by excluding say the 55-64 and 65+ age ranges.  [Note: these types of adjustments are only available in Manual CPC or Max. Clicks campaign types].

Review your leads against Google Ads data frequently and adjust your targeting to ensure you hit the desired mark.  

Search terms

Next let’s look at what your prospects are searching for and which of those Google searches are converting.  

person searching at the computer with a graphic overlay showing a search barNOTE:  For this analysis you’ll want to have your list of clients who converted from Google Ads (i.e., became paying clients).  You’ll also need your list of prospect that did not work out.  

In Google Ads head over to Keywords…Search Terms.  For now let’s limit our review to search terms that converted. To do this, click in the Filter area and choose Conversions.  Type in 0.1 and hit apply.  This will filter your data to show only search terms with one-tenth or more conversions.  Then pick an appropriate time range, say 30 days, that your ads were running.   

Now review the search phrases in the table.  If you sell daily sailing cruises or sunset sails you might see searches related to “cruises” or “dinner cruise,” which is not your ideal target. 

Why would this happen?  Well, a couple reasons.  First, Google has been steadily easing match types over the past few years.  Essentially, Google is allowing a wider and wider set of searches to match keywords.  Second, if your keyword match type is set to broad or phrase, that could lead to many more adjacent — but irrelevant — searches to match your keywords.  

Whatever the reason, tighten match types and add negative keywords to narrow which searches Google will show your ads for.  Negative keywords for dinner and dinner cruise, would prevent most searches for those types of services and drive better conversions for your daysails that do not serve food.  

Ad copy

Finally, your ad copy language is important for lead quality.  Use words to qualify visitors and increase the likelihood of the right clicks reaching your website. 

If, for example, you specialize in outboard motor sales you have to be on guard for other motor type searches.  With the techniques mentioned above you would already have tight, narrow keywords and the correct demographic targeting.  Now, take it to the next level by very clearly saying and showing what you sell in your ads.  

Example Headline:  Boat Motors For Sale
Example Qualifying Headlines:  Outboard Motors For Sale | We Specialize In Outboards | Short & Long Shaft Outboards

The second set of headlines clearly spell out that you deal in ‘outboard’ motors.  Furthermore, you could experiment by ‘pinning’ headlines in your responsive search ads that explicitly mention ‘outboard.’  

Light wood canoe under construction with workers hands in the frameAnother technique for price targeting is to mention prices with “Starting At $X,XXX” in your ad copy.  For example if you specialize in classic, custom, made-to-order wooden canoes that sell for $6,000 and more (like this neat Maine Co.), beware the myriad searches for sub-$500 canoes sold at big box stores.  To get your message across to the right client try this:

Example Headline:  Custom Hand-Made Canoes | Heirloom Quality Starting At $6000


What do you think?  If you have a question about these tactics or have suggestions for future topics get in touch.  Email:  


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