If you have an online marketing campaign, you probably expect your lead generation website to be accurate. After all, what possible reason would a website have to lie to you? However, the truth is that your website might be keeping secrets from you. What’s more, those secrets can come back to haunt you and your online marketing efforts if you’re not careful.
Here at PPC management firm Straight North, we’ve found that too many online marketers have lead generation websites that are keeping secrets from them. The issue isn’t that these websites are lying to their owners. Rather, that their owners aren’t asking their websites the right questions when they evaluate their performance. They take one set of data at face value without stopping to look any deeper. By basing their decisions on a surface-level reading, they run the risk of making the wrong call.
The problem lies with the fact that most online marketers pay attention only to the raw conversion numbers provided by Google Analytics. These numbers tell them how many conversions their lead generation websites produce, which many online marketers consider to be an accurate assessment of how many new customers are acquired. However, the raw conversion numbers are only part of the story.
Nearly half the time, conversions are not true sales leads. Whether these conversions are customer service requests, job applications or incomplete form submissions, there is practically no chance they will produce new customers. Nevertheless, Google’s reporting makes no distinction between these conversions and the ones that could become serious customers. Based on this incomplete information, marketers may work to improve their websites by overemphasizing sources that produce a large number of conversions, but a smaller percentage of true sales leads.
This is why lead tracking and validation should be a key component of any online marketing campaign. With this process in place, marketers can separate the true sales leads generated by their websites from the conversions that don’t lead to new customers. Marketers also can determine exactly where those sales leads were generated and optimize those sources to deliver a stronger return on investment. Finally, a lead tracking and validation process also includes tracking phone calls, which Google’s numbers ignore completely.
Adding lead tracking and validation to an existing online marketing campaign involves building special code into the infrastructure of a website as well as partnering with a vendor that can provide phone call tracking. Although these require a bit of additional effort, the result can be well worth it to give you the most accurate picture of how successful your lead generation website truly is.
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 dimension 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.
Once these processes have been implemented and configured, you will be able to get more detailed reports about the form submissions and phone calls generated by your website. Your reports will include information on which form submissions are validated sales leads as well as the marketing source for each one. When you log into your phone call tracking vendor’s dashboard, you will be able to see a spreadsheet that provides data on every phone call that was tracked and the source for each one.
Your lead generation website might not be telling you everything you need to know, but that doesn’t have to spell disaster for your campaign. With lead tracking and validation as crucial components of your efforts, you can get to the heart of how successful your website is and put yourself in a better position for the future.