Build your digital marketing with lead generation

If you’re throwing a party or hosting another kind of event, you need to know exactly how many people will be attending. If you overestimate how many people are coming, you could spend too much on food and other libations that will just go to waste. If you underestimate, you might not have enough food and drinks for everyone, and some guests may go home unhappy. That’s why invitations almost always ask for an RSVP, and that’s why Internet marketers need to implement lead validation into their campaigns.

Building a lead generation campaign is a lot like planning a party. The difference is that instead of you sending the invitations to your guest list, your customers send you the invitations in the form of conversions on your lead generation website. The problem is, if you’re expecting a big crowd of customers based on the raw conversion numbers, you might be disappointed.

Don’t Trust the Numbers

The raw conversion numbers you get from Google Analytics only tell part of the story, however. That’s because those conversion numbers don’t make the critical distinction between interactions that are serious sales leads and those that aren’t. It may surprise a lot of Internet marketers to know that nearly half of all conversions generated by lead generation websites aren’t even close to becoming sales leads. These are interactions such as customer service inquiries, job applications and incomplete form submissions. From Google Analytics’ perspective, a visitor who submits a form without providing any contact information is the same as one who is serious about buying from you. This can create a big problem when it comes time to optimize your website.

A Hypothetical Example

Let’s say your website has two main sources generating conversions: Source A produces 50 conversions each month; while Source B produces 100 conversions a month.

If you rely purely on the raw conversion numbers from Google Analytics, this is as deep as the information gets. Based on that information, it would make sense to assume that Source B is more successful than Source A. When it comes time for you to optimize your website, you would probably want to emphasize Source B over Source A, and put more resources into promoting it.

However, let’s say you take the time to validate each one of those conversions. If you comb through those leads and identify each one as either a true sales lead or a dead end, you might find that Source A generated 40 true sales leads out of 50 conversions; but Source B only generated 25 true sales leads out of 100 conversions.

Even though Source B produced a lot more invitations, far more of the people who were invited through Source A are coming to the party. With that additional layer of information, you now know that Source A is more successful at delivering new customers, and you can make improvements to Source A to deliver even more.

Another substantial blind spot when it comes to using Google Analytics for lead tracking and validation is that it doesn’t track leads that come over the phone. A significant number of website visitors — about half in many cases — still prefer to pick up the phone and call a company rather than fill out an online form. These potential customers don’t show up in the raw conversion data because they never submit a form through the website. Without any data about these important conversions, you’re essentially flying blind.

A Crucial Component

The inaccuracies explained above underscore how important it is for Internet marketing campaigns to incorporate lead validation into their processes. With lead validation, every single conversion is studied to separate the actual sales leads from those conversions that will never produce sales. Lead validation also takes the crucial step of listening to every phone call brought in by the website and identifying the true sales leads.

Even though the lead validation process can be time-consuming and laborious, the value is clear: Lead validation allows Internet marketers to identify which conversions from their websites are serious sales leads and which ones are not. It also provides them with information about where each conversion was generated, allowing them to hone their optimization efforts and maximize the ROI they get from each conversion source.

Knowing exactly how many people you can expect at your event is one of the keys to its success. Knowing exactly how many of your website visitors are serious about becoming customers is extremely important, too. Lead validation gives you the power to see beyond the raw conversion numbers and get the entire picture of how successful your lead generation website really is. When you make sure lead validation is a critical component of your online marketing campaign, you’ll have all the information you need to be successful.

Aaron Wittersheim is Chief Operating Officer at Internet marketing agency Straight North.

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