Google Adwords is the “New York” of marketing.

Frank Sinatra famously said, “If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.”

Well, if you can learn how drive leads profitably via Adwords, you can make any form of advertising profitable.

There’s no doubt a learning curve to Adwords. But it’s a myth you must spend thousands of dollars to acquire the necessary knowledge to run a successful campaign.

The great thing about Adwords is you can test small, very small.

In July, Agency Nation hosted a webinar with Clint Danks, co-founder of ThinkSEM.

The webinar was packed with great information on what Google Adwords can do for independent agents. What it didn’t cover was the tactical steps to start.

At my family’s agency, we use PPC Marketing (Google and Bing), to drive anywhere between 50-100 commercial leads a month. These are exclusive leads, in markets which we can write, who are looking for an agent. The cost per lead ranges anywhere from $12 to $25.

How did we get there?

We started small.

Once I learned how to create one profitable campaign, it was easy to duplicate. Then, duplicate again.

This article will provide you the tactical steps to creating that first profitable campaign.

Phase # 1 – Choosing Your Niche

When choosing a niche the aim is to find a market which:

You can generate enough revenue to meet the time and expense involved

You have the right markets to win the business

There is enough demand in Google

With the above objectives, I recommend starting with a commercial lines niche. The potential revenue generated from a lead is much higher and the competition, and therefore cost, is much lower.

Once you understand the black belt level tactics required to compete with the large national insurers, there are ways to drive personal lines leads at a reasonable cost, However, starting out competing against teams of expert marketers with a nine figure budget, is a great way to lose your shirt, fast.

Here are a few example niches you can start with:

  • Contractors Insurance
  • Errors & Omissions Insurance / E&O Insurance
  • Directors and Officers
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Restaurant Insurance
  • Apartment Building Insurance
  • Commercial Building Insurance

For the remainder of the article, I’m going to walk you through setting up a Google Adword campaign that targets commercial insurance for contractors.

Phase # 2 – Set Up Your Niche Landing Page & Thank You Page

Once you’ve chosen your niche, which for the purposes of this article is contractors, you then need to set up a landing page.

The landing page cannot be your homepage. Nor can it be a page about all the types of business insurance you offer, while mentioning that contractors is one of the areas you specialize in.

Your landing page must be targeted specifically and only to contractors. Everything from the headline, the images, the body copy…must “speak” contractor.

For an example of what a good landing page looks like that targets contractors, see Trusted Choice’s page or the contractor page at Weiss Insurance.

If setting up a landing page is going to take longer than an hour for you or requires an outside contractor, I recommend using landing page software that allows you to get landing pages up fast. Software such as  LeadPages, Unbounce, or InstaPage allow you to set up professionally looking landing pages within 30 minutes.

Phase # 3 – Choosing Your Campaign Settings

You’re now ready to start setting up your campaign in Google.

Google constantly changes the setup process for starting a campaign. In addition, the setup process will change depending on whether or not you’ve logged Adwords before.

Going through the process, you may find that the steps to setting up a campaign are in the exact order I discuss. You may also find a setup process that’s much different.The important thing is to make sure to complete all the steps below, whatever order that may be.

Step # 1 – Sign Up For Google Adwords & Grab The Coupon

If you’ve never advertised on Google before, grab the coupon voucher for $75 in free advertising.

Step # 2 – Select Search Network Only Campaign

Once you’re logged in, click the campaign tab and when it asks what type of campaign you’d like to start, select “Search Network Only.”

Google has many different types of ad networks. Selecting search network only means your ads will only show up in Google Search.

Step # 3 – Target A Specific Area

On the same page, Google has a location section. It’s here that you get to target a specific geographic area.

You have a few options including targeting an entire state, targeting specific zip codes or cities, or targeting a radius around your office.

A simple choice for now is to target a radius around your office. For example, a 25 mile radius around your office. Agents in a rural area, may want to expand the radius. Agents in a larger city, may want to reduce the radius.

This feature can be found in the “Advanced” tab.

Step # 4 – Set Language To English

Unless you specialize in working with a specific ethnic group, set the language to English only.

Step # 5 – Set Your Bid Strategy

When setting up your budget you want to set up both the maximum amount you’re willing to pay per click, which is your default bid, and the maximum amount you’re willing to spend each day, which is your budget.

For now, set your default bid to .01. You will change this bid once you set up your keywords and see what it costs to get on the first page.

However, set your budget to whatever you feel comfortable spending per day. I recommend a minimum of $20 to start.

Step # 6 – Set Up Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are a local advertisers best friend. Google Adwords allows you to integrate your Google Business Listing with your Google Adwords account.

As a local advertiser, you can now show your phone number AND address in your ad. This is something that most of your competition cannot do, which really makes our ad standout.

In addition, there are callouts and sitelinks.

Callouts allow you to add short benefits below your main ad. Examples could be Local, Independent, Call For A Quote, 24 Hour Turnaround, etc…

Sitelinks allow you to link to additional pages within your website.

Most importantly, callouts and sitelinks give your ad more real estate, which will lead to a higher click through rate.

Step # 7 – Use Broad Phrase Match Keywords

There are four variations of keywords you may use:

  • Broad Match
  • Broad Match Modifier
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match

You can learn more about these options here.

In 95% of my campaigns, I use Broad Match Modifier. This allows my ad to show up for close variations of my keyword. For example, the keyword +contractor +insurance will show up for the following searches:

  • insurance for contractors
  • contractor contractor

To use a broad match modifier keyword, use a plus sign before each of the letters.

Therefore, you’d insert the following in the keyword box:

+contractor +insurance

Step # 8 – Negative Keywords

Negative keywords will block your ad from showing if the searcher types in that word.

While you want your ad to show when someone search for Contractor Insurance Quotes. You probably don’t want your ad to show if someone searches for contractor health insurance.

By inserting -health (that is health with a minus sign in front)  into the keyword box, it will block your ad from showing for any search that has the word in it.

To find negative keywords, type in your keyword into the Google Keyword Planner, found under the Tools tab in Adwords. You’ll want to select “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms” in the Keyword Options box.

Scroll through this list to find single words you don’t want your ad to show for. Add the keywords into the keyword box with a minus sign:

So, your list may look like:







The goal is to eliminate all searches from prospects that are not your ideal prospect.

Make this list as long as you can. For contractors, my list of negative keywords is over 90 keywords(Note: I can share Google Doc/Or upload provide excel sheet).

Step #  9 – Tracking Conversions

If you really want to measure your ROI, you need to setup conversion tracking.

Google allows you to put a tracking code on your Thank You page, to measure the effectiveness of your ad. In addition, you can set up call tracking, which allows you to track the number of phone calls.

The process will be different depending on your Content Management System (such as WordPress, Drupal, etc…). See Google for full instructions.

It’s tempting to skip this step and just try to track by hand or in your head but don’t. The more good data you have in Google, the better you can make decisions regarding where the best use of your ad spend.

Phase # 4 – Setting Up Your Ad Group

Your campaign is now set up. Inside of your campaign are your Ad Groups.

As of now, you have one Ad Group with the keyword:

+contractor +insurance

It’s now time to set up your actual ad and set the most you’re willing to pay for a click.

Step # 1 – Creating Your Ad

The goal of the ad is to attract the right type of prospect to click through to your landing page.

The standard Adwords ad will look like:

Headline – 25 Characters

Line # 1 – 35 Characters

Linke # 2 – 35 characters

Display URL – The URL which will show in your ad.

Destination URL – The actual URL you want to send visitors to

Here’s the formula which I use on most of my ads.

Headline – Type of Insurance

Line # 1 – Features

Line # 2 – Benefits – Call To Action

Display URL –

So, my ad for contractor’s insurance will look like:

Headline: IL Contractors Insurance

Line # 1: Fast Quotes. Low Rates. Since 1905.

Line # 2: Your Local Expert. Start Online.

Display URL:

Very few local, independent agents advertise via Google Adwords. Therefore, it’s easy to differentiate yourself from most of the competition as the value you can offer to a client is so much greater.

Review Your Default Bid

When setting up your campaign, you set your default bid maximum to .01.

When you click on the keywords tab within your Ad Group, look under the “Status” column you’ll see the minimum bid it’s going to take to get on the first page.

With the right keywords (including negative), with the right ad, targeted to the right landing page you can expect to convert a minimum of 10% of your clicks. With practice, you’ll be able to get this number much, much higher.

But as a beginner, let’s say you’re able to convert 10% of your clicks. That means your cost per lead will be 10X what your maximum cost per click is.

Now, let’s say to get on the first page for the term contractor insurance, you must bid a minimum of $4.00. So, your estimated cost per lead will be $40.

For now, bid the minimum amount required to get on the first page.

Click save.

Congratulations your ad is now live.

Phase # 5 – Next Steps

While your ad is live, your work is not done.

The important thing here is to monitor your campaign. You’ll want to look closely at:

  • Clicks
  • Cost Per Click
  • Click Through Rate
  • Conversion Rate
  • Total Conversions
  • Cost Per Conversion

Since your starting small, your numbers will be small.

You many only get one click per day and one conversion per week to start.

However, that’s still useful data.

Commit to getting enough data where you can make an informed decision.

Yes, it will take time. But, once you can make one campaign successful, it’s easy to duplicate again, and again, and again.

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