Do any of the following sound familiar?
- You’re driving plenty of leads but they don’t turn into business?
- Your boss or client asks you how many real sales you have generated – not how many conversions or goals?
- You’re getting some leads, but despite optimisation your campaign continues to plateau?
- Your leads are high value and expensive to get, but you don’t know where they come from?
- You struggle to measure the ROI of your campaigns?
There is the fundamental problem when marketing for lead generation.
Leads, by their nature, are not sales. At least not yet.
Your leads could be high value, or worthless. They could close into a sale tomorrow, next year or not even close at all.
Your analytics might not even be telling you a true picture about where your leads are originating from.
Whilst most people track form fills, contacts through mediums such as phone calls and live chats go unattributed in most standard analytics setups.
If you’re running a marketing campaign and measuring success based on leads only, you have a gap in insight that is stopping you improving results.
Whilst tyre kicker, top of the funnel and research keywords may appear to be creating cost effective leads and making your campaign look great, if there isn’t any revenue coming out at the other end you’re going to run into a problem.
Take for example a client who came to us in the legal sector.
Their campaign was built around an exact match keyword generating circa 80 leads a month but spending the majority of a five figure budget. Looking at their AdWords and Google Analytics accounts would leave you believe that performance was great.
They were acquiring leads, something was happening, and they were making (some) money.
But that middle bit is what makes the difference. Like many others, they were failing to link their marketing activities directly to revenue, knowingly leaving a chasm in their insight.
When we broke down the leads generated by the keyword, we found that they were acquiring on average just below 1 new customer a month that was making a significant enough impact on their revenue to be considered valuable. The rest of their business was coming through a number of long tail keywords that represented a fraction of their total budget.
Even the high value nature of their business didn’t offset their initial outlay.
But do not fear, all is not forsaken.
The solution? Evaluating your campaigns the same way you evaluate business: by the amount of revenue it generates.
Show me the Revenue!
To find out if leads are turning into real sales and creating revenue, you need a process to track them and then match them with the marketing campaign or keyword that created them. This added insight is what will drive your campaign to the next level.
There are few steps to get this right but once they are in place they should produce the data you need each time.
NOTE: You can download a step-by-step breakdown of how to implement revenue tracking, including tracking templates, here.
Tagging, Tracking & Matching
Step 1 – Tagging – Identifying the Traffic Source
The first step is making sure the traffic coming to your website is tagged correctly so that you can see the exact source and any other variables associated such as campaign, keyword or advert reference. This commonly done using UTM tags which allow you to add specific labels to the landing pages (more info in our guide here.)
Step 2 – Tracking – Software & Tools
The next stage is to ensure that the data captured is at visitor level so you are able to match with the marketing source and to a closed sale later. Most leads come in the form of an enquiry form, live chat or phone call so you may need some additional marketing analytics or call tracking software at this stage but you can also pass UTM tag values in your forms.
Step 3 – Matching – Feedback & CRM
Finally, once you have captured the lead with the applicable marketing source there needs to be a feedback loop to see which leads closed into business and just as importantly which leads didn’t.
This can be done manually in a spreadsheet to begin with to get used to the workflow and prove the business case however this could be cumbersome at higher volumes so ideally they should be automatically matched where you handle leads, for instance in CRM.
Once you have this process in place it allows you to see where the real conversions and revenue come from, measure ROI definitively and optimise your campaign accordingly.