How to Use Paid Search to Get More Leads [Customer Story]

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Mark Kilens
Mark Kilens



Thunderbird Online is the online professional development division of the #1-ranked Thunderbird School of Global Management. Our goal was to generate more leads so that we could increase enrollment in our executive certificate programs.  

By using HubSpot for blogging, managing our increased social media presence, and SEO, we were able to achieve that goal, and can even quantify the benefit that we derive from HubSpot from our markedly increased PPC lead generation.

The Result:  Thunderbird Online has seen a 444% increase in our PPC lead generation efforts in the last seven months.  

STEP 1:  Test your landing pages

We realized quickly from our consulting calls with HubSpot that landing pages were going to be the fastest way we would see an increase in leads.  We started small, and focused on landing pages for LinkedIn campaigns.   We began there because we already saw that the leads were highly qualified, and wanted to receive more qualified leads from that particular lead source.

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STEP 2:  Decide what your form will look like.

We have generated the most leads from the above landing page, keep the form short, and only include mandatory information that we need.  We use a landing page similar to this on online ads and also have it embedded on our website. 

On the back end of the form, we customize the hidden fields so we know the campaign, country targeting, and media information that will filter into our HubSpot reports for more qualified analytics on which campaigns are working the best for us in terms of ROI. 

We found that we get the most conversions when we only request the necessary information including:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail Address

These pieces of information give our enrollment counselors enough information to reach out to the prospect and know their initial program of interest.  From there, our enrollment team will make contact and gather the additional lead information so the length of the form does not cause the prospect to abandon the page.

Step 3:  Continue to modify your ads as you see them working.

Thunderbird Online has implemented specific landing pages for all online ads.  We expanded and modified our ads for Google, Facebook, and other PPC providers we work with for lead generation. We now have a customized landing page for every online ad and/or campaign, trade show, and event we attend so the prospect has a truly custom experience when they engage with Thunderbird Online. 

In addition, we have also included CTA’s with forms on our most viewed website pages, and are in the process of adding a CTA and form to all pages on our website.  With the increase in PPC leads and organic traffic using HubSpot, we understand it is now necessary to create the custom experience for prospects throughout every page of our website.

What we have seen to be successful is to utilize HubSpot analytics to determine what landing pages get the most conversions.  Below you can see a snapshot of our most successful landing pages with conversion rates ranging from 34% - 45%.  (The above image of the landing page is the “Syllabus Download – Global Leadership”)  We now know that the particular format we used for these landing pages will most likely be effective for other avenues, and have modified our landing pages to include the similar layout and content strategy.

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The HubSpot tools we have used to track our success and areas for improvement are Landing Pages, Page Grader, Analyze Your Landing Pages App, Keywords, and To-Do List.

Thunderbird is the world’s No. 1-ranked school of international business with more than 60 years of experience in developing leaders with the global mindset, business skills and social responsibility necessary to create real, sustainable value for their organizations, communities and the world.  Thunderbird Online, a professional development division of Thunderbird School of Global Management, provides online courses and executive certificates to busy professionals seeking to continue learning throughout their professional career.

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