By Matt Cannon – You’ve spent countless hours with your product team designing, developing and finally launching your product. It’s been an exhausting process and by all accounts you feel you are in the best position for success. In the end, there is only one measure that counts, and that’s whether your product is being sold or adopted as your team forecasted. The real work is just beginning and your understanding and relationship with sales and marketing will determine if there is going to be a next version.
Although marketing has built it to promote your products, your lead generation website is something of a product in and of itself. There’s a long and complicated development process that ultimately leads to the finished product. Any shortcuts or hiccups along the way will result in lead generation that doesn’t live up to expectations and that means your lead generation “product platform” is lacking. If you’re in product management it would behoove you to be involved with marketing to understand the process at a minimum and lend some product management assistance in the best case. If you’re an online marketer, you want to put the same level of care and feeding into the development of your lead generation website as you have the products that are delivered to your customers.
Yet, too many online marketers don’t and as a product manager it’s important that you provide cross-functional oversight and expertise. Online marketing can neglect certain key features that can make the implementation of their lead generation website much more effective and valuable. Here at Internet marketing agency Straight North, we’ve seen this time and again. What’s more, it’s something that could be avoided easily if marketers took the time to use lead validation and tracking as critical components of the process by which they build a better lead generation website product.
Leaving Gaps in the Data
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes online marketers make when building a lead generation website is not gathering enough data, or taking the data they have at face value. For instance, many online marketers consider the raw conversion numbers they receive from Google Analytics or other reporting platforms as sufficient. This turns out to be a mistaken assumption, however, because nearly half of website conversions are interactions that can’t help them make important decisions. These conversions include incomplete form submissions, job applications and customer service inquiries — none of which will likely lead to new customers. Nevertheless, because some marketers don’t dive deeper into their data, they don’t know that Google Analytics reports these dead-end conversions along with potential sales leads. That creates a situation in which marketers have incomplete information. If they try to make decisions about improving their lead generation product based on that incomplete information, the consequences can be disastrous.
On top of the gaps that exist when it comes to reporting website conversions, those raw conversion numbers have another serious flaw. Because they don’t track any information about phone calls, they leave out some critical information that online marketers could use to optimize their websites and create a better product.
Building the Best Product
All of this is why lead validation and tracking are so important for online marketers looking to build the best possible product. Although adding these to an existing campaign require some work, the result can be a better product that functions more effectively for a marketer’s goals.
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 component 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.
Creating an effective lead generation campaign requires building a product that serves your online marketing purposes as effectively as possible. Lead validation and tracking are critical processes that need to be included to ensure you have everything you need for the best and most effective product, so make sure you don’t leave anything out of your product.
Matt Cannon is Director of Web Services at Straight North, an Internet marketing company in Chicago that specializes in SEO, PPC and web design services. Cannon manages all web development activities, making sure that each project is applying current development standards and techniques.