This week I am welcoming guest author Matt Cannon, writing on a topic we should all be well aware of – tracking and validating website sales leads.
Matt Cannon is Director of Web Services at Straight North, an Internet marketing company that offers SEO, PPC and web design services. He manages all web development activities, ensuring that every project is applying current development standards and techniques.
How To Track And Validate Website Sales Leads By Marketing Channel
Internet marketers count on the data they collect to help improve their businesses. They need to know as much about their customers as possible, without being obnoxious about it. Every data point they have about their customers is scrutinized for any sign of anything useful they can use to improve their websites and pull in more customers. Yet far too many online marketers are leaving perhaps the most important and pertinent data point out there on the table. Simply put, they don’t know if those new customers are actually customers or not.
Here at PPC agency Straight North, we’ve discovered something surprising about a lot of online marketing campaigns. Too many Internet marketers don’t know everything they need to know about their customers, because their lead generation websites aren’t configured to provide them with the lead validation and tracking processes that would give them all the information they need. Without lead validation and tracking to provide them with this information, they can run the risk of making important decisions about their websites with serious gaps in their knowledge.
Taking Numbers at Face Value
The problem is rooted in the relationship many online marketers have with the data they collect from their lead generation websites. Too often, they rely on the raw conversion numbers from Google Analytics to provide them with an accurate picture of how well their lead generation websites are performing. This is making a dangerous assumption. As it turns out, nearly half of all website conversions aren’t even sales leads.
About half the time, in fact, website conversions are interactions that have little to no chance of becoming new customers. These are interactions such as job applications, customer service inquiries and incomplete form submissions. These are all dead ends from a sales standpoint, but Google Analytics counts them as equal with conversions that are serious about becoming customers. Many online marketers, however, take the raw conversion numbers at face value and don’t think they need to delve any deeper into the data. That can turn out to be a seriously risky assumption.
For instance, say a website has two main sources that generate conversions: Source A generates 100 conversions a month, while Source B generates 50 conversions. Based on those raw conversion stats, an online marketer might see that and believe Source A is by far the more successful source. He or she might pull resources away from Source B to concentrate on Source A, or try to fine-tune Source B to make it more like Source A. Either way, there’s a lot riding on this decision.
If that same online marketer put the conversions from his or her site through a lead validation and tracking process, however, he or she may be surprised by the results. It’s possible that out of Source A’s 100 conversions, only 25 were true sales leads, whereas all of Source B’s 50 conversions were serious about becoming customers. With this new information, it becomes clear that Source B is the more successful source on the website. Any attempts to emphasize Source A or make Source B more like Source A might bring in more conversions, but the number of true sales leads could suffer as a result.
All of this illustrates why lead validation and tracking are too important for online marketers to ignore. They need to build new code into their websites to improve the reporting from their lead generation websites. They should also work with a vendor that can validate and track sales leads that are generated over the phone. The following guide takes you through the process of implementing lead tracking and validation into your Internet marketing campaign — step by step. Follow it, and you can be confident that the information you’re getting from your lead generation website is information that will help you.