Knowledge is power, and most successful businesspeople will tell you that it’s always better to approach any new venture with as much information about the situation as possible. However, when it comes to Internet marketing, not enough businesses actually follow that advice. When they look at the analytics from their lead generation websites, they have an unfortunate tendency to look at the raw conversion numbers — believing that they tell the entire story about the site’s success. They’re actually not getting a complete picture. In reality, not having all the information is leading them to make some bad decisions that hurt their campaigns.
Here at Straight North, we’ve studied more than 350,000 website conversions and discovered some alarming facts that should get the attention of anyone involved in Internet marketing. Most importantly, nearly half of all website conversions aren’t sales leads at all. Instead, they’re things like customer service requests, incomplete form submissions and job applications. These are interactions that will never turn into sales, and yet most businesses can’t distinguish these from true sales leads. This may cause them to overstate results and make bad assumptions about their sites. Without solid information about how many actual sales leads their sites are generating, businesses put themselves at risk for misinterpreting the results. In turn, wasting time and resources nurturing sources that aren’t generating actual sales.
For example, let’s say your website has two sources that are generating conversions: Source A and Source B. According to the raw analytics, Source A generates 100 conversions a day, and Source B generates 50. Based on those raw numbers alone, it would make sense to assume that Source A is far more successful, and you would want to direct resources there to maximize its potential.
However, applying lead validation to those numbers might show you that out of Source A’s 100 conversions, only 25 are true sales leads; whereas Source B is generating 45 true sales leads out of its 50 conversions. In terms of ROI and cost per lead, Source B is outperforming Source A by a significant margin. Without lead validation, however, Source B would probably receive fewer resources, and leads from it could begin to dry up.
Our research lays out some of the most compelling data to make a case for lead validation as a critical part of a lead generation campaign. You wouldn’t want to go into a new situation without the most complete information you can get. To make every dollar invested have maximum value, lead validation must be added to the campaign management process.
Aaron Wittersheim is Chief Operating Officer at Internet marketing agency Straight North. His focus is on marketing and website services, and technology.