Mortgage Leads: DIY Google Ads

by | Jan 27, 2023

I’ve been reading threads on various forums dedicated to mortgage brokers; it’s apparent that many new mortgage advisors need more customers to successfully start and grow a new business. In other words, they needed to receive more quality mortgage leads to stand a better chance of covering their monthly compliance fees, for instance.

Even though I generate leads for mortgage brokers, I’ll explain how I use Google Ads so that you can apply it how you see fit for your business.

You might be wondering why I’m going to share the exact approach when I sell this as a service. Well, some mortgage advisors will want to do it themselves no matter how busy they become, and others will want support along the way. Whatever side you’re on, I hope you find this article invaluable.

Mortgage Lead Generation with Google Ads

Before you read on, I want you to forget any negative experience you’ve had with Google Ads. If you’ve not used it, you don’t need to worry about blowing your marketing budget with little to no return in the form of quality mortgage leads.

Now that I’ve got that out the way, I also want you to understand that you can easily buy mortgage leads from a company like Unbiased and Bark. However, these companies are just running ads and charging you a premium.

The trouble is, these leads have yet to visit your website, so they haven’t come to know, like or trust you. That process only starts once you speak to them, and the sales funnel is one or two steps longer than it could be if you run them yourself. And that’s what I’m going to explain now.

Ad Campaigns

Typically, when a mortgage broker starts running ads, they’ll set up one Ad Campaign with the goal of generating leads. In that campaign, they’ll be one Ad Group with a bunch of pre-generated broad-match keywords and only one Ad Set.

The problem with this is that your marketing campaign is of poor quality because you’ll have the same ad shown to first-time buyers and those looking to remortgage, for instance. They’ll be sent to your homepage at a hugely expensive cost per click, then leave because the page doesn’t contain the desired information in a flash.

You’ll generate very few leads for a fortune, making you feel ads don’t work for you.

Setup One Ad Campaign for Every Service and Your Occupation

Your ad account should have multiple Ad Campaigns segmented by your occupation and all of your services. In other words, each type of mortgage you can find and offer. For example, one of your Ad Campaigns will be titled “Mortgage Broker/Advisor”, which would only contain Ad Groups with keywords related to your occupation. An example would be singular and plural variations.

Other Ad Campaigns should be titled:

  • First Time Buyer
  • Moving Home
  • Help to Buy
  • Shared Ownership
  • Right to Buy
  • Buy to Let Mortgage
  • Buy to Let Remortgage
  • HMO
  • Holiday Let
  • Bad Credit
  • Interest Only
  • CCJ
  • Self-Employed
  • Remortgage Advice
  • Remortgage Home Improvement
  • Remortgage Release Equity
  • Remortgage Bad Credit
  • Remortgage Consolidate Debt

You’ve probably got the idea that every service should have its own Ad Campaign. If you don’t offer every service I’ve listed, then don’t create a campaign. Likewise, create an Ad Campaign if you offer a service I’ve not included.

Ad Campaign Type

Particularly when you’re starting a new business, or beginning to get your hands dirty with search engine advertising, the right way, then the goal of your Ad Campaigns should be “Leads” via “Search”. You don’t want “Traffic” or any of the other goals. Similarly, you don’t want “Display”, “Smart”, or “Performance Max”. These all serve different purposes and tend to produce fewer mortgage leads that cost a fortune.

Mortgage Leads Campaign
Search Campaign to Generate Mortgage Leads

Bid Type

You’ll want to start with automatic bidding. In other words, Google bidding for you. And, in particular, you’ll want Google to bid when the user is more likely to convert. So, select “Conversions”.

You’ll notice a box below pops up to “Set a target cost per action (optional)”. Leave this unchecked, but once you start running your Ad Campaigns, you’ll get an idea of how much each conversion should cost, and then you can set the target.

At that point, you should run a manual cost-per-click campaign to see if you can beat the target cost per action. However, manually managing the cost-per-click goes beyond the scope of this article.

Importance of Separate Ad Campaigns for Your Occupation and Services

Creating separate Ad Campaigns for your occupation and your services serves several purposes.

Firstly, you’ll have an organised Ad Account, which enables you to clearly monitor the performance of each campaign for every segment of the market.

Secondly, when the data is organised in such a way, you can make informed decisions, such as to pause, change or remove a certain Ad Campaign, Ad Group or Ad Set.

Finally, making better decisions significantly improves your lead generation and makes every penny produce a healthy return on investment.

Ad Groups

Within every Ad Campaign, you should have multiple Ad Groups. Each Ad Group within an Ad Campaign should only contain keywords highly relevant to the name of the Ad Campaign. In addition, each Ad Group should contain one keyword and three variations of that keyword.

Let me give you an example of a few Ad Groups for the Ad Campaign, First Time Buyer:

Ad Group 1: First Time Buyer Mortgage

  1. First Time Buyer Mortgage
  2. “First Time Buyer Mortgage”
  3. [First Time Buyer Mortgage”

Ad Group 2: 5 Mortgages for First Time Buyers

  1. 5 Mortgages for First Time Buyers
  2. “5 Mortgages for First Time Buyers”
  3. [5 Mortgages for First Time Buyers]

Ad Group 3: First Time Mortgage

  1. First Time Mortgage
  2. “First Time Mortgage”
  3. [First Time Mortgage]

You may have noticed two elements as you reviewed the three Ad Group examples: the name of the Ad Group is the keyword, and the three keywords have no or different forms of punctuation. The former helps with organisation and performance monitoring, whereas the latter are keyword match types, which affect visibility (impressions).

Use All Keyword Match Types in Every Ad Group

There are three match types: broad match (no punctuation), phrase match (quotation marks) and exact match (square brackets). These match types serve your ads differently depending on the query searched by your potential customers.

Exact Match Keywords

As the name suggests, your ad will be served to a user who types in the exact match or the same meaning as your keyword. These clicks will cost a little more than a phrase or broad match because they’re significantly more relevant.

Phrase Match Keywords

Again, as the name suggests, your ad will be served when potential customers search the phrases with other words before or after the phrase. Or queries that have the same meaning without the phrase.

Broad Match Keywords

Finally, with this match type, your ad is served to any queries that relate to the keyword. Therefore, it can be irrelevant and cost a lot less than a phrase or exact match keyword. So, it’s essential to monitor the search queries where your ad served so that you can add them to your negative keyword list. Choosing not to add keywords to a negative list will result in a hugely wasted ad budget.

Importance of One Keyword and Three Match Types

One Keyword Per Ad Group

With one keyword per Ad Group, it enables you to send a potential customer to the right landing page and, therefore, improve the landing page experience score.

In addition, it enables you to create highly targeted ad copy, including the headings and descriptions, to match the intent behind the search and improve your ad relevance score.

Furthermore, the latter can influence your click-through-rate score, indicating whether your ad resonates or is persuasive enough to entice a potential prospect to click and whether it needs changing.

All of this combined produces a Quality Score of 1 to 10, and the higher your score, the less you pay for every click, even if you’re in the first position. In other words, businesses with ads in 2nd, 3rd and 4th position could be paying more than you for the click, if their Quality Score is worse.

Three Match Types Per Ad Group

Using all three match types greatly improves your ads’ visibility, so you’ve got every chance of gaining new customers.

Over time, as your account has more data, you’ll be able to make decisions as to whether one match type is costing too much for each new enquiry, and decide to turn it off.

Likewise, you may find the following analysis that one of them is producing lower poor quality leads despite costing less, and again, decide to pause that keyword match type.

Finding Keywords for Your Ad Groups

To start creating Ad Groups, you need to conduct keyword research. The best way to do it is by using Google Keyword Planner, within the ad platform. Using this tool, search one service at a time. For example, First Time Buyer Mortgages.

You’ll be presented with 100’s keywords to choose from. In order to select the right keywords, work through the list from top to bottom, and make a note of each keyword that you believe indicates a first-time buyer looking for a mortgage.

If you’re not sure, search it on Google, see the types of ads that appear, and check the organic results below. This will provide you with a better understanding of the intent. For example, a keyword that shows many blog posts explaining first-time buyer mortgages may not be the best keyword to choose when mortgage lead generation is the goal.

Ad Sets

Now that you’ve set up the Ad Campaign, and started the first Ad Group, it’s time to create several Ad Sets within it. For example, if the Ad Group is Mortgage Advice, you’ll want to create several Ad Sets that showcase the features and benefits of your business for this particular service.

Creating several Ad Sets serves one purpose: to find out which one works best. You’ll want to know because it’ll help improve your click-through-rate score, and therefore, your Quality Score. Thus, reducing the cost per click while improving your conversion rate.

In other words, enabling you to generate more mortgage enquiries for less than your competitors and less than if you were to buy leads from a lead generation company.

Ad Set Headlines

You can create up to 15 headlines for every Ad Set. They need be concise and catchy (30 characters), such as including features and benefits in title case format, to entice the searcher to click on your ad. In addition, you’ll likely want to include a call-to-action, whether it’s an online, face-to-face or telephone consultation. It could be anything else, like a guide, for instance.

Ad Set Descriptions

You can create up to 4 descriptions of 90 characters each. These are great for emphasising the key benefits and addressing sales objections. Again, you’ll want to include the same call-to-action.

Ad Set Sitelinks

Sitelinks are a great way to make your ad appear larger in the search results, which, in turn, can result in more clicks. It’s best to add relevant sitelinks. You may choose to add the About page, a relevant blog to that keyword, and closely related services.

Ad Set Callouts

Callouts are bullet features or benefits you provide. For example, “Free Consultation”, “Award-Winning Service”, and “Whole Market Broker”. You get the idea.

If you imagine that your ad descriptions are concise sentences of your callouts, it makes it easier to create both.

You’ve got 25 characters to use, but the fewer characters in each callout, the more can show on the ad – usually 4 to 6 show.

Ad Set Call

Simply add your phone number to the ad, so someone can call you straightaway.

Ad Set Images

Using images that represent the service, your business or showcase you are a great way to stand out in the search results.

Conversion Tracking

Landing Page Form Submission

Most of the time, your mortgage leads will come from a form submission on the landing page you sent the searcher. For example, remortgage leads will come from the remortgage leads page.

To track the performance, you’ll want to track every time you receive an enquiry. So, the user should be redirected to a Thank You page with conversion code added.

You may even want to connect form submission to a customer relationship management system to keep it all organised, and help with remarketing in the future.

Contact Page Form Submission

Some users will submit a form on the Contact page after navigating your website to find out more about you and your business. Again, you’ll want the form directed to a Thank You page to track the keyword that triggered that conversion.

Call from Ads and Website

The Ad Set Call I previously referred to will be tracked as a conversion by Google automatically, in most cases. You can check by going to the Conversions page. On the conversion page, you can create a conversion to track phone call clicks on your website.

Landing Page

One part of mortgage lead generation is everything above, but the other part is the landing page.

Some mortgage advisers will create dedicated landing pages on their websites, while others will use an entirely separate platform like LeadPages. However, the majority will use their service pages to generate mortgage leads via ads and SEO. I recommend the latter.

A mortgage broker that uses the same web pages for mortgage leads can focus all of their efforts on optimising it for ads and the organic search results on various search engines, thus eventually create the perfect landing page.

Due to the complexity of creating the perfect landing page, it’s not included within this article.

Confidence in Generating Your Own Mortgage Leads

As you reach the end of this article, I hope you feel confident in performing your own lead generation, so you can offer more mortgage advice to exclusive leads. Want to combine ads with SEO for Mortgage Brokers? I’d be more than happy to help your business grow.