How To Track And Validate Website Sales Leads By Marketing Channel

Like the horror movie villain hiding in a dark closet, there’s a hidden danger lurking in your lead generation website and you won’t notice it until it’s too late. The danger comes in the form of incomplete data, and far too many Internet marketers are unaware of the danger until it strikes them. With lead validation and tracking, however, online marketers can protect themselves against the danger and bring all the scary unknown elements into the light, where they have no power.

Here at PPC marketing agency Straight North, we’ve found that a shocking number of Internet marketers make themselves vulnerable to this threat by not giving themselves all the information they need. Specifically, they put their trust in the raw conversion numbers provided by Google Analytics to tell them how successful their lead generation websites are. The problem is that the raw conversion numbers only tell marketers part of the story, and the truth can sneak up on them without warning.

When online marketers think conversion stats tell them how many new customers their websites are delivering, they ignore a simple but crucial fact: Nearly half of all website conversions are not new customers — they’re other types of interactions such as job applications, customer service inquiries from existing customers, and even incomplete form submissions. In the eyes of Google, however, all of these conversions are the same, disguising those “dead-end” conversions and allowing marketers to make some dangerous assumptions.

For instance, a lead generation website may have two main sources that generate conversions: Source A generates 100 conversions a month, while Source B generates 50 conversions. The marketer, seeing those raw conversion numbers, could assume that Source A is far more successful at driving new customers to the company than Source B. When the time comes for that marketer to optimize the website, Source A should logically receive more resources and attention than Source B. The marketer may even decide to rework Source B to bring it more in line with how Source A performs.

However, armed with what we know now about what those conversion numbers actually tell us, that marketer may want some additional information before proceeding with any optimization plans. Subjecting the site’s conversions to a lead validation and tracking process may produce some surprising results. For example, Source A’s 100 conversions may only contain 25 true sales leads, with the rest made up of those “dead ends” mentioned earlier. Source B, on the other hand, may deliver 50 sales leads out of 50 conversions. This is a much higher return on investment for the marketer and would reveal that Source B is really the higher-performing source. If the marketer had proceeded under the assumption that Source A was more successful, the website could have become less effective at drawing in new customers. The danger for Internet marketers is obvious. Incomplete information can lead to serious problems and websites that could function less effectively than they did before.

All of this underscores the need for making lead validation and tracking part of an Internet marketing campaign. These processes will tell marketers exactly which conversions are true sales leads and where those leads were generated. With these steps in place, online marketers can gain additional insight into their lead generation campaigns that they can use to improve their websites’ performance. The following guide explains the process of adding these features to a campaign, step by step. Follow it, and you’ll protect yourself from becoming the next victim of the dangers lurking in the dark corners of your lead generation website’s data.

Matt Cannon is Director of Web Services at Straight North, an Internet marketing firm in Chicago that provides SEO, PPC, and web design services. He manages all web development activities to make sure that every project is applying current development standards and techniques.