Since most organizations begin their software research on the Web, online campaigns targeting these prospects should be a vital component of any lead generation plan. Pay-Per-Click allows you to pay only for those people who see your ad AND click on it to view your website.
Not all web visitors are good prospects, so a successful website must be able to entice those who are to supply their contact details and thereby convert to leads. Obtaining this information and immediately following up with the prospect allows you to maximize your marketing dollars. Here are some basic steps you can follow to monitor the effectiveness of web advertising campaigns and convert web visitors to qualified leads.
Step 1 - Collect Email Addresses for Your Web Visitors
Generally, your web visitors will not reveal their contact information unless you entice them with a free offer such as a white paper, seminar, consultation or product trial. Highlight a consistent direct call to action with an associated reward on every page of your website. When a visitor clicks on the offer, require them to complete a brief online form that requests their name, company, email address, phone number and little else. The more elaborate the form, the more likely you are to lose the visitor. Avoid a field that asks visitors where they found your site, since tagged URLs and cookies can provide that information.
Step 2 - Use Tagged URLs and Cookies
Web analytic tools are great for monitoring your website traffic, but their success rate for identifying the referring website for all of your visitors is often less than 90%. Therefore, your paid campaigns should include a tag on the end of the referring URL. The link could look something like www.company.com?source=CPC. This allows your site to automatically identify the visitor as coming from “CPC" campaign. Combined with tagged URLs, you can also assign a cookie that will save the referral information as the visitor navigates throughout your website. When the visitor submits contact details via your online form, that cookie can report the referring campaign.
Step 3 (optional) - Consider Customized Phone Number and Email Addresses
After optimizing your website to encourage visitors to provide contact information via an online form, you will probably find that this becomes the preferred method of initial contact for most leads. However, if you still find that many of your leads prefer to call or email you, consider using customized phone numbers and email addresses. Instead of displaying static company contact information on your Contact Us page, you can have it change according to the referring campaign identified by the cookies (see Step 2). Why shouldn't you just rely on your salespeople to ask “how did you hear about us"? Research has found that most prospects forget what resource they used to find you and that their responses are highly unreliable.
Step 4 - Cultivate Your Leads
Not every inquiry that you receive is ready to make an immediate purchase. Since your sales department is focused on the most qualified leads, your marketing department should engage in campaigns to maintain contact with the prospects and provide all of the necessary information - success stories, case studies, white papers, etc - to convert them to a more qualified leads.
Once you implement each of these steps in your sales and marketing practices, you will be positioned to provide key metrics such as conversion rate, cost per lead and cost per sale - all of which can be calculated at the campaign level. This will allow you to determine which of your campaigns are worth expanding and which ones should be shelved.
Michael Ortner - Capterra, Inc.