In the consulting world, digital display advertising is all too often looked at as a negative thing. Far more often than not, new clients tell me that “display advertising does not work for their businesses” and refuse to try a new campaign strategy due to the terrible taste it has already left in their mouth. If you too agree that digital display advertising does not work, then you are missing out on your BIGGEST source of revenue!

If you would like for me to build you a free display campaign, one that actually works, then you can request that from me here


Why You May Have Failed in the Past

For those of you who were expecting good results from your display advertising campaign without an extremely defined direct response marketing strategy in place, you were doomed from the start …

You need to create dialog with your prospects so the people you attempt to attract know what you’re truly about. This article will explain how to establish this dialog with your prospects so you can be successful with your next display campaign.


Before You Start, Know Your Numbers

The first thing you need before you start any display campaign is your numbers.

First, calculate your typical close rates on the leads you do have coming into your business. Next, break down your customer list to find your overall deal size number and calculate how much you can pay to generate a profitable display advertising lead.

The next thing you will want to do is to audit your CRM system and draw correlations about who your most ideal customers are, so you know who you should be attracting with your display campaign. This includes demographics such as age, gender, income level, interest, or anything else you can derive from your customer base.


Determining Where Your Prime Prospects Are So You Can Attract Them

Simply put, you need to find websites where your prime potential prospects are frequenting. This can be mostly any website or sub-section of any website on the web.

The data you need to make your ad placement decisions are generated by means of a media kit,, or just by using your intuition.

Media Kits Ad Placement Decisions

Media Kits Tell Us About Our Readers So We Can Make a Decision on Placement



Alexa Demographics Third-Party Insight

Alexa Demographics Gives Us Additional Third-Party Insight About Their Readers



Commenter Insight That Reinforces the Demographic Data Collected

Commenter Insight That Reinforces the Demographic Data Collected


While there are easy ways to broadly target groups of people – for instance, middle-aged women with a higher than average income directly within the self-serve ad network interfaces themselves – I always recommend using your own instinct as well in order to determine where your ads should be placed specifically.



In the Google AdWords ad serving interface, I recommend targeting people looking for answers on very specific webpages of the Internet, using site and keyword targeting options in combination, as shown in the following example:

Google search result on how to sink 4 foot putts

Identify Search Intent by What Pages Rank for What


Using a very specific offer …

Capitalizing Identified Interest With a Free Offer

Capitalize on That Identified Interest With a Free Offer


Lead Capture Page Centered Around a Specific Problem

 Lead Capture Page Centered Around a Specific Problem



Alternatively, on Facebook, we can target people who have an interest surrounding things we sell:

Target by Sub-Interest in Facebook

Target by Sub-Interest in Facebook


And we can see if they are interested in solving specific problems that surround our products and services:

Collecting Identified Interest With a Free Offer

Then Again Collect That Identified Interest With a Free Offer


It is important to understand that we do not have to be exact with our targeting approach starting out, as the ad copy itself can do some of the “heavy lifting” required of prospect prequalification. With this said, the more relevant you are from the start, the higher your click through rates will be, and the cheaper your clicks/prospect acquisition costs will be.

If you don’t know where to start with your ad placement, you can start out very broad with your ad targeting and allow your ad serve interface to tell you where you should be dialing in your ad spend:

Facebook Ad Demographic Report

Facebook Ad Demographic Report Shows Who We Are Targeting With Our Other Advertising


Will Someone Looking for Free Information Really Buy My Product or Service?

While free offers seem only to attract cheap tire kickers in other aspects of your business, these same rules do not apply with display advertising for lead generation purposes using digital display advertising or any other display advertising.

If you sell high-end golf clubs, for example, a free guide on “how to make more four-foot putts” simply works because we know these people would likely do anything to fix this problem, money aside. All we need to do at this point is proposition this user how to fix the problem at hand after they already trust us.

Pro Tip: If we have done our job correctly, every prospect we generate costs us as little as $5, so you can understand how generating a big list of targeted buyers can be a profitable endeavor for you.


How to Turn a List of Prospects Into a List of Sales Ready Leads

Prospects turn into qualified leads when lead qualifiers are used to see if the user is actually interested in what you offer.

You can find out who actually wants what you offer by using one-on-one engagement with the prospect, a series of videos, other webpages using pixel-based PPC retargeting, or my favorite, an email autoresponder sequence.


How to Execute an Autoresponder

When planning an e-mail autoresponder sequence to pre-qualify prospects, first consider all the actual information your prospect needs to take this leap of faith with you.

Using our scenario from before, you may first have to establish with your prospect that they have a problem with their current line of thinking, admit that truth, then also understand and admit the reason for their problems is related to a bad decision they made previously. This way, we can build that prospect back up with the implicit line of thinking that supports what we are trying to sell.

This can usually be done by talking as a person of experience (having the same experiences they have had) and as the owner of the company in the first person (now an expert), or pointing to third-party messages of other people who are also just like them and have tried what you’ve suggested and succeeded. Position your line of thinking as presenting no to little risk to try what you are suggesting.

By first providing value to the prospect without asking for anything up front at all, you will now be in a position to ask for a later favor supported by the psychological principles of reciprocity.

This lead nurturing process only works if the user doesn’t realize it’s a sly ploy to exclusively ask for money later on. You need the prospect to let down their guard to build up and adopt your line of thinking, without hindrance, to set up your future sale. For this, go light on the branding used in your sales sequence, so as not to set off any red flags with your prospect before the sales finale!

Once the prospect has been engaged with seven or more times, the user can then be approached with the monetization method of your choice. Alternatively, you can then call these people directly, out of the blue, as they will already be pre-vetted and generally perceptive of your further correspondence.

Make sure to track prospect engagement throughout your whole email engagement sequence to weed out and score your best leads who will actually buy from you. If you did your job right, between two to 20 percent of your prospect list will be apt to purchase an entry level offer from you when prompted to do so.


Increasing Overall Average Prospect Value by Cross-Selling

In most instances, I use my client’s prospect lists developed during this lead generation process to cross-promote other similar offers that may be better suited for that particular prospect if they were not engaged with my initial offer.

Just because someone wasn’t interested in your eBook on how to make more four-foot putts, that doesn’t mean they won’t be also or alternatively interested in an eBook explaining how they can make 300-yard drives, for instance, trying to sell a driver to the prospect of a high-end putting system.

Once you have a list of people who like access to detailed information in a sub-niche such as this, each additional and similar prospect list you wish to create from then on out will be cheaper because of this fact.

All you would need to do in this instance of building another interest list related to golfing (as per my previous example) would be to send out another marketing message to your current prospect list, see who engages with it, and define this list accordingly.

Never discount the difficulty of setting up your display campaign funnel correctly to get the campaign to work profitably for you, no matter how easy I just made it seem. You must either employ a professional copywriter/direct response marketer to set this system for you, to learn the skills necessary to make the campaign work like it is supposed to.

The good news about the difficult and time-consuming nature of building an effective lead generation funnel such as this is as that once it is set up, your software automates the delivery of your pre-determined sequence, so the campaign eventually becomes a hands-free way of generating qualified leads or sales for your company.


How Google Search May Tie In

Alternatively, if you don’t really like doing display advertising to find possible buyers of what you sell or if you want to expand on what you already have, you can always find actual buyers right from Google search in a similar manner. Instead of direct selling a product or service to a user using this particular medium, in many case, you could make even more money by building out a prospect list exclusively, and alternatively.

I personally am able to make even more money using a link bait/lead generation offer in Google search space vs. using a commercial offer via my client’s niche-buying terms, due to the increased click through rate, grabbing even more of people’s attention in this highly coveted space.

I recommend split testing your offer (commercial offer or lead gen) to see what works best for you in Google search because of this fact.

Google search result on water filtration systems

Non-commercial Ads Are Used to Maximize Clicks in Prime Real Estate


Non- commercial Offer Stimulating Trust

Non-commercial Offer Stimulates Trusted, Commercial Intent


Even though this is not a short style lead gen landing page, it’s obvious this “bait” style technique works; otherwise, they couldn’t afford to monetize this said ad space …



I find in most niches that you can grab an email for $5-$10, so if you can replicate this, you can make a good chunk of money. The more engaged your user is while they are on your list, the more money you will make. Happy display advertising!


Corey Zieman

Paid Search Strategist

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