How To Track and Validate Website Sales Leads By Marketing Channel

Matt Cannon

There are situations where too much information is not good. When your uncle shares the details of his gallbladder surgery over Thanksgiving dinner, for example. However, there are other situations where there is no such thing as “too much information,” and optimizing a lead generation website is one of those situations. Online marketers should have every little scrap of data they can find when overhauling or fine-tuning their lead generation websites. There are times when the information they’re missing can be more important than the information they have.

For instance, a large segment of online marketers rely on the raw conversion numbers they receive from Google Analytics and other reporting platforms to make crucial decisions about their lead generation websites. Yet unless they dig deeper into those conversion numbers through lead validation and tracking, they’re working off incomplete information. The gaps that exist in their data put them at risk of making some poor decisions — without even knowing it.

That’s because conversion data often doesn’t include some crucial information that marketers should have. One of the biggest and most important gaps in raw conversion numbers is that they don’t distinguish between conversions that are true sales leads and those that are not. Knowing which conversions are serious about becoming new customers and which are not is extremely important. This is because, nearly half the time, conversions turn out to be customer service inquiries, job applications and even spam. Another serious gap in that data is that online reporting platforms don’t cover conversions that come in over the phone. This leaves a treasure trove of information — about a business’ sales leads — completely neglected.

Implementing a lead validation and tracking process can close these gaps for online marketers. In turn, giving them a much more complete picture of how well their lead generation websites actually perform. Lead validation and tracking allow online marketers to determine exactly which conversions are serious sales leads and where they were generated. Armed with this additional level of information, they can make vital decisions about their websites that enable them to become more effective at driving new customers to their businesses.

Filling the Gaps in Marketing Data
To understand how important lead validation and tracking can be, consider a website that has two sources generating conversions. Source A generates 100 conversions a month, according to the raw conversion data from the reporting platform. Source B, on the other hand, only generates 50 conversions a month. Without drilling any deeper into that information, the site’s owner could assume that Source A was much better at bringing new customers to the business than Source B. Based on that assumption, any efforts to optimize the website would focus on Source A. The marketer may pump more resources into Source A, revamp Source B to be more like Source A, or simply eliminate Source B altogether.

Applying a lead validation and tracking process to those conversions may uncover something startling that turns everything the marketer thought was true upside down. Lead validation and tracking might reveal, for example, that Source A’s 100 conversions contained just 25 true sales leads. Subjecting Source B’s conversions to the process, on the other hand, might reveal that all of them were sales leads. With 50 potential new customers versus 25 sales leads, Source B actually turns out to be the more successful source. Any attempt to emphasize Source A when optimizing the website — based on that incomplete information — could end up harming the campaign.

How the Process Works
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 element 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.

“Too much information” might be a problem at the dinner table or in your gym’s locker room, but this simply doesn’t apply to online marketing. Making lead validation and tracking essential elements of your campaign can mean the difference between a campaign that functions like a well-oiled machine and one that struggles to get started.

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