How To Use Ads To Drive Leads, And Emails To Convert Them

When it comes to digital marketing, we know that PPC and email marketing channels bring some of the best return on advertising spend (ROAS). The trick in driving revenue with these two channels is combining them into one well-oiled machine. 

How? By creating a strategy that feeds email marketing lists with good quality leads. 

In short: You can use ads to drive leads, and email to convert them into paying customers. 

By using Google and Facebook ads to target the right audience at the right time with the right products and strategically retargeting these leads to convert them, you can considerably boost sales. 

In this post, I will show you how to do just that. I’ll cover: 

Let’s get started!

Benefits of an optimized cross-channel email and PPC strategy

When it comes to bringing a continuous stream of traffic back to your website or product pages, email marketing can be a powerful tool. However, despite its value in terms of ROAS, average email conversion rates have been decreasing over time. Here’s one study from Barilliance that highlights this steady decline:

Source: Barilliance

Does this mean the golden age of email marketing conversion is over? 

Absolutely not! This same study showed that email accounted for 19.8% of all transactions, trailing behind paid searches. 

We know that the success of an email marketing campaign (i.e., conversions) depends on the quality of the leads in the specific segment of email subscribers. Therefore, by using ads to drive more qualified leads, you will be better able to convert them with a winning email marketing strategy.

email drip campaigns

In short: It’s all about how you build and optimize your cross-channel email and PPC strategy, and the payoff is worth it.

Here are the top benefits of using PPC for lead generating: 

  • It helps you attract new potential leads who are actively searching for what you are selling.
  • It gives you invaluable lead data and behavior metrics you can use to optimize other areas of your marketing strategy. 
  • It enables you to have more control over sales funnel messaging at every touchpoint. 
  • And most importantly, it helps you grow your lead and subscriber list more quickly. 

By creating a seamless, harmonic flow between your lead generation PPC and email conversion strategies, these high-performing channels will feed off each other. This will create mutually beneficial cross-channel relationships that will: 

  1. Improve targeting 
  2. Generate more leads 
  3. Increase CTRs 
  4. Improve conversion rates 
  5. Decrease CACs
  6. Improve customer churn rates 

For both digital marketing channels! 

Simply put, it will boost your business’s key marketing KPIs across the board. It’s all about leveraging a growing email list full of quality leads to boost conversions. 

Now that we know the why, let’s look at the how. How can you use ads to drive leads and email to convert them? 

By following these two fundamental steps: 

Step #1: Using PPC campaigns to drive more leads

The first step is to use the right PPC campaigns for lead generation and optimize them to ensure that the leads you’re getting are not too general (i.e., have high buying intent).  

The two main channels you should be using to build your lead generation PPC campaigns are Google Ads and Facebook. Let’s break down each in more detail. 

How to generate quality leads with Google Ads 

High-performing lead-generating Google campaigns should be set up to: 

  1. Tap into buying intent with precision 
  2. Reach and engage new audiences 

There are two main ways to use Google Ads to grow email lists:

Google lead extension ads 

The first Google ad type you should test for your business in terms of lead generation is lead form extensions. As they were designed to specifically drive leads from Search, YouTube, and Discovery, leads can then be retargeted with email campaigns. 

Here’s an example of lead form extensions in action, with Jeep noting they saw 10x more completed leads increase compared to other campaigns. 

Google lead extension ads

Pro Tip: By combining broad match keywords and smart bidding, you can automate your lead generation campaign optimization. The combination of tools allows Google to evaluate billions of combinations of signals in real-time.

Next, you will want to create more traditional Google ad awareness campaigns linked to a specific landing page (also known as a squeeze page) designed for lead capturing. If you are just a small online seller or run an eCommerce store, you will want to include the following ad types described in detail in this guide on how to run Google Ads for eCommerce

  1. Search ads 
  2. Smart campaigns 
  3. Video ads 
  4. Display ads 

No matter what campaign type you have, you should make sure you are optimized at the account level. This means improving and optimizing quality scores and constantly tweaking until you are consistently driving leads into your email subscriber lists. 

How to generate quality leads with Facebook ads  

The next campaign to drive high-quality leads you can then convert with email is Facebook ads. There are several ways you can do it: 

  1. Use signup ads for brand competitions 
  2. Offer ads that go to a lead-generating landing page 
  3. Use Facebook lead ads with built-in instant forms for specifically growing newsletter subscribers

While having a dedicated landing page can be powerful when your lead generation offers need to be more specific, Facebook lead ads are ideal for continuous subscriber growth. 

The key here is to keep your campaigns as segmented as possible. This ensures the leads you generate are highly targeted – aka qualified. 

The advantages of using Facebook’s lead generation over traditional methods are: 

  1. Segmented, highly focused targeting 
  2. No need to create specific landing pages per campaign 
  3. Autofill data 
  4. Better UX with the in-platform form submission 

To see how powerful Facebook is for growing your email list, let’s look at the results from a Royal Danish Theatre case study

  • 47% of their new email subscribers came directly from Facebook
  • The link ad campaign led to a 43% conversion rate 

Here’s another campaign example from Volkswagen UK

How to generate quality leads with Facebook ads How to generate quality leads with Facebook ads

When using a combination of ads, including Facebook lead, Instant Experience, video, story, and Instagram ads, they saw such results: 

  • 45% of all pre-launch leads came from Facebook lead ads 
  • There was a 13-point increase in overall brand awareness 

A short note on lead generation landing pages 

Ideally, you want to use a different landing page for a specific lead generation campaign. For example, let’s look at Mailbird’s Victoria’s landing page strategy: 

We typically use completely different landing pages for ad promotion on social media and lead-generation campaigns aimed to funnel potential customers into our email newsletters. For example, when we run Facebook or Google ads, we use some version of our homepage Don’t like Outlook? Get Mailbird. If we run a sign-up promotion or lead campaign, we will usually use a specific landing page designed to push those specific leads through our sales funnel.  

Don’t forget to optimize your landing pages so that they better convert your qualified leads into subscribers. If you find that your PPC lead generation campaigns are bringing the leads, but your landing pages are not converting, there’s a big chance that your landing pages:

  • Are confusing 
  • Are not matched to your ads in terms of relevance 
  • Are not engaging or showing incentive 
  • Don’t have a clear CTA 

Pro Tip: Google Search is a great way to test CTAs and offers before moving into the second stage of lead generation, your email marketing. Running campaigns to test CTAs or offers before using them in your lead generation landing pages or email marketing will help you optimize from the start. 

A brand that is a master at creating high-converting lead-generating landing pages and offers is Stitch Fix. Take a look at how they incorporate a style quiz to collect email addresses:

A short note on lead generation landing pages 

A short note on lead generation landing pages 

Step #2: Using optimized email campaign strategies to convert generated leads

Now comes the fun part: turning those qualified PPC leads into buyers. 

An optimized email marketing campaign strategy should include a variety of tactics to target different segments. Your leads should also be moving into different email segments as they move up the sales funnel. 

In short, for an email campaign strategy to convert, it needs to be: 

  • Highly targeted: matched to users with the highest buying intent
  • Personalized: speak directly to your potential customers 
  • Relevant: meet users where they are in your sales funnel and their buying decision 

Regarding relevance, there are three main touchpoints you should focus on: awareness, consideration, and repurchase. All three can be incredibly successful in converting leads. 

Let’s take a look at each. 

Welcome emails for new leads (awareness) 

A welcome email is a powerful tool in your lead generation email conversion sales funnel. Your new subscribers may not be quite ready to purchase yet, but at this stage, they are getting to know your brand, and your welcome email sets the tone. 

Here are some stats that back this up: 

  • 74% of your leads expect to receive a welcome email after subscribing 
  • With an average conversion rate of 51.94%, welcome emails were the highest-converting automated messages of 2020 
  • Open rates for welcome emails average between 30-50% 

A successful welcome email should: 

  1. Tell a story 
  2. Deliver on the promise made in your lead-generation PPC campaign 
  3. Be highly personalized for the user 
  4. Encourage further engagement 
  5. Be clear and user-friendly 
  6. Have an email signature designed to convert your recipient into a lead

Here’s an example of a brand that knows the power of a good welcome email. Away use their welcome email to further educate their new subscribers on their brand: 

Welcome emails for new leads (awareness) 

Promotional/conversion for newish leads (consideration) 

The next part of a converting email campaign is sending emails to lead segments that are already familiar with your brand but still need that extra push to make a purchase. This is the time to offer more value through tutorials, product reviews, promotions, free trials, and deals. 

The secret to the success of these emails is personalization. If you want to convert with emails, you should be diversifying the types of messages you send to different lead segments. However, you want these emails to be product-centric. 

Here’s the breakdown of what you need to do to master email marketing from the folks at HubSpot: 

A brand that has turned its email marketing into a converting powerhouse is Good Dye Young. By redefining their segmentation and building in more personalization, they were able to increase their monthly revenue by 305% and see above‑average email engagement: 

  1. Get a 20% average open rates
  2. Get an average of 2.2% CTR on emails 
  3. Earn, on average, $557 per campaign

All in just two years, from February 2019 to February 2021! And have a look at their welcome email as well – magic! 

Promotional/conversion for newish leads (consideration) 

How did they achieve these stats? By segmenting subscribers based on brand behavior and predictive data from tools like Mailchimp. This meant that every email they sent out targeted customers with the right message and promotion to push conversions. 

Lead-nurturing emails for older leads (repurchase) 

Even after you have finally converted your leads, the journey still isn’t over. Email marketing plays a pivotal role in cross- or up-selling, building long-term loyalty, getting reviews and feedback, and, of course, increasing sales. 

These campaigns are, for the most part, automated emails sent on specific dates such as: 

  • Milestone email (birthdays/anniversaries) 
  • Restock or renew email notifications 
  • Surveys and feedback requests 
  • Weekly newsletters 
  • Upgrade or cross-sell campaigns sent after a specific number of days for specific products 

Other email campaigns to send to customers would include new relevant product launches and seasonal promotions. 

Here’s an awesome example from theSkimm. They take personalization seriously and incorporate social share incentives to build subscriber loyalty and spread their brand to new potential clients. 

Lead-nurturing emails for older leads (repurchase)

Final thoughts: your email campaign conversion potential depends on the success of your PPC campaigns

Laying the groundwork for a converting email marketing campaign all starts with the success of your Facebook and Google lead generation campaigns. 


Because if you are not creating engaging campaigns that speak directly to your potential customer while tapping into their intent from the start, the leads you generate won’t be targeted. You will then be stuck with email subscriber segments of people who aren’t interested in your product.  

This means that even if your email marketing is on-point, you could be sending emails to the wrong audience. 


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