You always want to have as much information as possible before making any important decision. For instance, you wouldn’t want to buy a home without first checking the foundation for cracks. Any missing piece of information becomes a potential pitfall that can take you by surprise later, often at the worst possible moment. This concept is critical when tracking website sales leads: without all the available information at your disposal, you run the risk of making vital decisions based on incomplete data.
For online marketers who know the value of tracking website sales leads, the good news is that the world of Internet marketing is built on information. Marketers have a wealth of data that comes from their lead generation websites, and they can use that data to create campaigns with pinpoint accuracy that can drive new customers to them and enhance their businesses. The bad news, however, is that many online marketers don’t know how to make the best use of the information they receive from their websites. That begins with their inability to drill deeper into their data to get the most complete picture of their websites’ effectiveness. That’s why, we here at PPC service provider Straight North advocate that online marketers implement lead validation and tracking as critical components of their lead generation campaigns. These processes can fill the gaps that exist in many marketers’ data, and give them the most comprehensive information they need to make informed decisions.
Getting More Information
The problem for many Internet marketers isn’t that their lead generation websites aren’t performing sufficiently, it’s that they don’t know enough about how well their sites are performing, because they’re not tracking website sales leads. In many cases, that’s because they take the raw conversion numbers they receive from reporting platforms such as Google Analytics at face value and never dig any deeper into the details. The problem is that although those raw conversion numbers provide some basic information about how well a lead generation website performs at generating new customers, they don’t tell the whole story.
For example, raw conversion numbers don’t make any distinction between conversions that are potential sales leads and those that are not. That’s an incredibly important data point that many marketers are ignoring, because nearly half the time, website conversions are interactions other than sales leads. Interactions such as incomplete form submissions, customer service inquiries or job applications have practically no chance of becoming new customers, but many reporting platforms lump them in with serious inquiries from website visitors interested in becoming customers. This creates some significant gaps in an online marketer’s information that can have serious consequences.
To take a hypothetical example, imagine a lead generation website has two main sources that generate conversions. Source A generates 100 conversions each month, while Source B generates 50. Taking only those conversion numbers into consideration, the marketer may believe that Source A is far more successful at generating new customers than Source B. Based on that belief, the marketer may try to optimize the site by diverting more resources to Source A, retooling Source B to be more like Source A. Or, even eliminating Source B altogether.
However, without validating and tracking the sales leads that are mixed in with all those conversions, the marketer doesn’t actually have enough information to make any of those decisions. Lead validation and tracking involve checking each conversion, including the ones that come in via phone call, which website reporting platforms don’t track at all. These processes keep a tally of which conversions can be considered true sales leads and which sources were responsible for generating them.
With a validation and tracking component in place, the hypothetical marketer from earlier would have a better picture of how well Source A and Source B actually perform. For instance, validation and tracking could reveal that only 25 of Source A’s 100 conversions were true sales leads, with the other 75 consisting of those dead-end interactions mentioned earlier. Source B, on the other hand, may be a perfect 50-out-of-50, in terms of generating conversions that are serious sales leads. By focusing 100 percent of the attention on Source A, the marketer may unwittingly harm the lead generation website and the entire campaign.
Building Better Reporting
The importance of lead validation and tracking for online marketers simply cannot be overstated. Without these processes drilling deeper into conversion data, marketers just don’t have the proper information they need. Many online marketers may not implement these processes in their campaigns because they don’t believe the extra effort is warranted. However, the added context they provide can be a life-saver for struggling campaigns, and a serious shot in the arm — even for successful ones.
Lead validation and tracking mean building advanced reporting into a website as well as partnering with a vendor that can provide phone call tracking and validation. Here is a brief rundown of how online marketers can make these elements part of their campaigns:
To ensure that your lead generation website can provide you with more detailed information about your conversions, you need to:
- Confirm that the primary contact form on your website has a “comments” field and that it is a required field.
- Confirm that your website is running Google Analytics.
- Confirm that your website is running on a content management system that stores each form submission in a table with a unique ID assigned to it.
- Modify your Google Analytics code to pass the form submission ID to Google Analytics using a custom dimension.
Tracking phone calls is an important component to add to a lead generation campaign, because a substantial number of people still prefer to connect with a company over the phone as opposed to email.
To implement phone call tracking, you should:
- Find a call tracking vendor that can track each phone call back to a specific marketing source.
- Implement the call tracking vendor’s code on your website to start tracking phone calls.
- Make sure your phone call tracking vendor can provide you with a single tracked phone number that you can hardcode on your website to replace your business phone number.
It’s never a bad idea to have as much information as possible before making an important decision. Remember, there’s a hidden danger that comes with assuming raw conversion statistics are sufficient. Building a lead validation and tracking component into a lead generation campaign may seem like an unnecessary step, but the results can be well worth the effort. They can give you the information you need to build a better website, and ultimately drive more customers to your business.
Matt Cannon is Director of Web Services at Straight North, an Internet marketing company in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC and web design services. Cannon manages all web development activities to make sure that every project is applying current development standards and techniques.