At V3 we handle marketing campaigns for a variety of industries from real estate to hunting calls and everything in between. We recognize with each marketing campaign we handle, there are specific elements to the business we have to model our goals around and implement accordingly. Even with the variety in our clients, they share a common goal with their marketing goals, lead generation. This idea applies to most service industry-based businesses, particularly those who rely on inbound customer phone calls or form submissions to generate new business. On the contrary, businesses that do not rely on direct customer engagement to make a sale focuses less on lead generation and moving straight to the sale.
Both strategies require specific data tracking methods that yield different results depending on the goals. Being able to understand and differentiate these two strategies can immediately impact the success of the campaign. Even though the concept appears to be straightforward, data from Google Analytics or Adwords can be misinterpreted without the understanding of the goals and context of the campaign.
For example, a marketing analyst’s analysis shows twelve phone calls generated per day as a successful result; if we consider the calls were for an e-commerce based business, we would prefer the number actually be zero. E-commerce stores aim to make a sale without speaking to a customer, which means someone is taking time to handle each goal when they could be addressed through resources built into the website.
Understanding Lead Generation Through a Sales Funnel
Any service industry will rely on phone calls for lead generation. Even with the debate of how customers prefer to communicate and the different options, we have found the most qualified leads come through phone calls.
Within the idea of lead generation is a concept of tracking your sales funnel to a dollar amount or the user path of interaction with your brand. We find many clients have difficulties differentiating between leads and sales when reading our marketing campaign analysis. With our help, businesses can make sense of the way dollars are spent and how to measure the success of their campaign.
Reach & Consideration
We recommend beginning with reach when thinking through your sales funnel for a lead generation campaign. Reach is how many people view your marketing efforts. For example, if a social media ad is seen by 10,000 people, your reach is 10,000.
After you have established reach, move to engagements or interactions. Engagement includes the people that viewed your ad and took action. This action could be clicks, likes, comments, shares, or video views. An example of this process is saying our engagement rate is 15% and 1,500 people interacted with the ad that has a reach of 10,000. The smaller number is the second level of the sales funnel known as consideration.
The average website or campaign will have a conversion rate of 2.5%-5% from those who consider your brand and turn into a lead. Taking those 1,500 users that have considered your brand, you should expect 35-75 leads to be generated.
An important distinction between engagements on a platform to click-through engagements is there is no direct relationship between likes and sales. A sponsored post can get 10,000 views, but those views will not generate 75 leads. This means the quality of the engagement is what matters in lead generation.
With social media slowly taking over, so has the amount of content present online. Every brand has a social media presence, every product has ads, everyone has information they are curating online. This makes likes and comments significantly easier to obtain than click-throughs for your brand since not all engagements are created equal. Your main goal should not be reach, but rather to get users from your advertisement to the main landing page of your sales funnel. The landing page could be your website homepage, a particular interior page, or anywhere that has easy driving UX for button clicks/engagements. The design of the landing page should make it obvious you want a user to take action when they land. This is the 3rd level of engagement of your sales funnel for lead generation.
The final 3 steps are the most commonly missed or misunderstood steps of the lead generation process online. Even though an ad has a wide reach that drives traffic does not directly correlate to revenue generation. Buying clicks is a simple process, we could spend $100 and buy 100,000 sessions for your website, but it will not generate real value from those clicks. In the same way, all engagements are not equal, neither is the quality of traffic to lead to a conversion.
This step is where digital marketing ends and intuitive web design begins. Once you have gathered your traffic from your desired marketing verticals, you need to convert the traffic into leads. If you are having trouble doing this, your issue is likely either from the quality of traffic you are generating or the quality of the landing page you gather your traffic to.
There are simple ways to understand both of these potential issues in the data of Google Analytics. If your website has generated 10,000 visits (sessions) a month, but you have a bounce rate of 98%, then it is most likely the quality of your traffic is low. Your generated traffic is not attracting the right audience. If you have a low bounce rate yet, leads generated are still low, the issue could be your website’s messaging or flow. Understanding how to read your data will help you get from traffic to conversions into quality leads.
The sales phase is when your marketing company has the least control since sales are typically an internal process. After a lead is generated, you and your sales team must turn that lead into a sale. However, if the quality of the lead is poor, then your marketing firm may not be sending you high-quality traffic referenced in step 3.
A CRM or sales portal will assist your business in understanding the difference between low and high-quality leads in addition to the gaps in the sales process. The sales process should be simple due to the inbound nature of the lead, assuming that the lead is high-quality. For example, if you receive 10 high-quality leads and only 3 converts to a sale, there could be an issue with the sales process. You should be tracking the value of each sale as they come through to make it easier to see numbers and ROI.
What happens after the sale is the most commonly missed step. Many marketers and business owners will think that if the sale is over, the strategy is complete but, this idea dismisses the impact that happy customers can have on your business. After your sale is complete you want to leverage a positive experience for more future positive experiences. This can include email marketing campaigns, 5-star reviews, social media content, and more.
As a lead generation based business, asking customers to share their positive experience with you through social media or Google My Business help improve SEO and lead generation. Reviews can account for up to 15% of your total SEO score, so generating as many as possible can be what separates your business from the rest.
Studies show that referrals have a greater impact on lead generation and sales than any outbound marketing efforts. Your business getting positive press from real people will carry a significantly greater impact in the long term than an ad on social media.
Understanding the much simpler sales funnel of E-commerce
Understanding the lead generation sales funnel requires a lot of math to get to your ROI. Understanding the sales funnel of e-commerce is so much simpler due to having direct sales numbers tied to your data.
If you are running an e-commerce store, you should have data tracking through the Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics set up and running. Both data tracking solutions will have their own attribution models and sometimes end up with slightly different sales numbers but both will be able to tie dollars spent to dollars generated instantly.
Facebook will give any traffic generated through their ad platform credit for sales that the user generates. If a user clicks on an ad and then purchases a product for $35.00 on your website, the FB Pixel in conjunction with the Ads Manager will be able to show you that you spent $4.38 amount of ads to generate this one sale of $35.00, bringing you an 8X ROAS (return on ad spend). These numbers will let you know if a campaign is successful without worrying about clicks, impressions, reach, etc. However, that does not mean those metrics are useless.
Brands understand the value of sponsorships, billboards, or display ads. For example, supporting a local high school football team, seeing a logo creates brand recognition and will increase the likelihood of consideration down the road. This is why billboard lawyers exist – when I think car wreck, I think this lawyer.
An e-commerce store will need to cast a wide net to bring in potential customers, but the measurement of whether or not those customers are good is measured through the dollars earned through sales on the site.
None of these ideas are possible without accurate data tracking on your website or sales funnel. If your data is bad, the results will be bad. Make sure that you have a complete and thorough understanding of how to accurately measure the results of your campaigns before spending a dollar on advertising. Stop clicking that boost post, button on Facebook and assuming that it is bringing your value. You will be better served to understand what is happening and make educated decisions so that your ROI can grow with your ad spend in a way that is scalable and repeatable.