July 10, 2017
Numbers don’t lie, but they can mislead. If an online marketer isn’t careful, he or she can be tricked into believing parts about his or her lead generation websites that simply aren’t true. The problem isn’t that the numbers aren’t correct, but that marketers often don’t dig any deeper into those numbers to mine the truly valuable information contained within them. This is why, for Internet marketers, lead validation and tracking are essential components of their campaigns. Marketers who fail to validate and track the sales leads they generate through their websites end up with only a piece of the puzzle. In turn, putting themselves at risk for major mistakes down the road.
The Internet marketing experts at our company have identified a critical error being made by far too many online marketers. This error is putting the effectiveness of their lead generation campaigns in jeopardy, making it more difficult for them to generate new sales leads. What’s worse, they don’t even know it’s happening. Because many online marketers don’t use a lead validation and tracking process to measure the true success of their websites, they become vulnerable to falling into some dangerous traps lurking within their data.
The problem for many online marketers is that they put all their faith into the raw conversion numbers they receive from Google Analytics. These stats tell them how many conversions their lead generation websites create, and they use this information to make decisions to optimize their sites. However, unless they validate and track those conversions, they’re not getting the full story.
That’s because Google’s numbers don’t account for the fact that nearly half of all website conversions are interactions that aren’t sales leads. These interactions can include job applications, customer service inquiries from existing customers, and incomplete form submissions. Although the difference between these conversions and conversions that become sales leads is extremely important to online marketers, Google Analytics doesn’t provide any information to distinguish them from each other. Google’s conversion numbers also obscure data because these numbers don’t include any information about conversions that come in via phone calls. A significant number of website visitors still prefer to convert over the phone, but Google Analytics includes no information about these conversions.
When online marketers take the Google Analytics conversion numbers at face value and assume they don’t need to dig any deeper, real problems can arise. Based on incomplete information, marketers can make assumptions that can do more harm to their campaigns than good. For example, a website may have 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 that 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 might be surprised by the results. It might turn out 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 actually 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 real sales leads could suffer as a result.
This example illustrates just how important lead validation and tracking can be for an Internet marketing campaign. The following guide takes you step by step through the process of implementing these features in a lead generation campaign. Numbers don’t lie, but it’s important to know where they’re telling you everything you need to know.
Matt Cannon is director of Web Services at Straight North, an Internet marketing company in Chicago that specializes in SEO, PPC and Web design services. Cannon manages all web development activities to make sure that each project is applying current development standards and techniques.