If you’ve ever spoken with a salesperson who was trying to sell you digital marketing services, there’s a good chance that one or both of the following quotes were referenced at least once:
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
Man, it’s too bad these guys didn’t have social media back in the late 1800’s. Dropping savory morsels of wisdom like this, they’d be crushing it on Twitter.
The reason we all love to reference these particular quotes, of course, is that they point out the greatest advantage of digital marketing over traditional marketing channels.
With digital marketing, you have the ability to accurately measure your audience’s behavior and attribute your results to the proper channels.
With traditional marketing, the success or failure of your initiatives is often surmised by nothing more than a gut feeling.
You run a print ad, business seems to pick up slightly, maybe, so… it was successful-ish? Should you allocate more budget to do it again? Follow your gut, I guess!
Closing the Loop
So, digital marketing is great. We’ve established that.
Let’s say you hire an agency like us to do your digital marketing. Wonderful, that’s a step in the right direction, but even when your website and paid search campaigns are all decked out with the proper analytics and conversion tracking tags, we’re still missing vital information.
Where do we need to get this missing information?
We set up analytics and conversion tracking to measure key performance indicators, or KPI’s. There are different kinds of KPI’s, but for the sake of keeping it simple, we are mostly talking about form submissions and phone calls. These are measurable events that serve to signify that a visitor has converted from an anonymous visitor to a lead.
Sweet! More leads are what you really want, right?
Well… almost. Leads are awesome and we love them, but they don’t directly put money in your bank account and keep the doors to your business open.
Only paying customers do that.
Tell Us What Becomes of Your Leads
Unless you tell us, we don’t know what becomes of your leads. We can see that someone filled out a quote request form, but we don’t know if they decided to do business with you. We can see that a phone call happened, but we can’t listen in.
The problem is, our stats might not tell us the real story.
Let’s say you threw $500 at a social media campaign and $500 at a Google AdWords campaign.
The social media campaign got you 50 leads at a cost of $10 per lead. The AdWords search campaign got you five leads at $100 per lead. Without knowing what became of those leads, it would appear that the social media campaign was a resounding success and AdWords was a flop.
But what if 30 of those 50 social media leads were solicitors, 10 were job seekers, and 10 of them were inquiries about low-profit services or services you don’t even offer? It looks like you just wasted $500, plus all that time talking on the phone and responding to emails from 50 different people.
Conversely, what if you got three high-value customers from those five AdWords leads? That $100 cost per lead is suddenly looking pretty good.
We don’t just measure and quantify results for fun or to make ourselves look good. We need good data to make smart choices.
In this scenario, looking at our conversion data alone without your input, we’d have incorrectly chosen to ditch the AdWords campaign in favor of dumping your money into social media.
How Do I Know Where My Actual Paying Customers Came From?
There are a few ways, and this first way is a top-secret technique that only a select few of the savviest marketers know.
Technique #1 – Ask them.
It’s not hard. You just have to make it a habit. It’s easy to make it a habit if you are convinced that this information is important. It’s not prying, no one is going to be mad at you for asking.
To be clear, I’m not endorsing asking them via an extra field on your contact form. We always want to keep forms as short as possible. Ask them in conversation.
Technique #2 – Using your CRM.
CRM stands for customer relationship management. CRM software is widely used by most businesses to keep track of details about clients and to keep a log of client communications for easy reference. A good CRM can keep track of every interaction with your website, and it can also tell you where the visits originated from (organic search, PPC, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
With a good CRM, you can know that John Doe found you via Google AdWords after searching the keyword phrase “Best Kalamazoo Taxidermist” and they filled out a contact form on December 28th.
What a beautiful bounty of useful info, but you’re not off the hook yet! When you fill John Doe’s order and charge him $1100, you need to enter that info into your CRM. When he comes back for another order the next year, enter that, and when he refers a friend, enter that.
You and your marketer can now get a true picture of where your revenue is really coming from.
Technique #3 – Using call tracking software.
In case you and all your salespeople forgot to utilize technique #1, you can find out where your customers came from using call tracking software. Call tracking software works by using a dynamic phone number that switches in real time when a user visits your site.
When John Doe comes to your site via AdWords and calls that dynamic number, the software can attribute that call to the correct source.
There’s a goldmine of useful information when you can see all your calls in one central, easily searchable database. You can see who called, when they called, where they came from, and even listen to recordings of the calls. (Recording laws may vary by state.)
Make it a Priority
Few win in business flying by the seat of their pants. You wouldn’t settle for murky information from your accountant, would you? No, you give them all your receipts so every last penny is accounted for.
You can’t settle for murky information about your marketing either. Make it a priority to document what happens with your leads, and we’ll all enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing the real story of what is happening with your marketing dollars.