You wouldn’t dare try to fix something in your car or assemble a piece of Swedish superstore furniture without a set of instructions. The potential that you could miss some crucial step or component and ruin everything is just too high.
However, many Internet marketers are doing just that when putting together their lead generation campaigns.
The infographic below, The Internet Marketing Lead Generation Ecosystem, was designed to be that complete set of instructions no online marketer should be without. By benchmarking your campaign strategy and structure against this model ecosystem, you will be able to:
- Identify new marketing channels to test
- Identify missing or misconnected pieces in your execution process
- Identify overlaps in the process
The result will be more efficiently executed campaigns carried on within a more solid strategic framework, resulting in conversion rates and ROI that improve more rapidly.
Key Areas to Review
All campaigns have their strengths and weaknesses. Areas where campaigns tend to falter, even in sophisticated lead generation campaigns, include the following.
Campaign types (second row)
Companies tend to settle on a few marketing campaigns … and then stop testing new ones. But every marketing budget should contain some funds to systematically test and retest other options.
SEO and social, for instance, may be working well, but what if PPC or affiliate programs could work even better? Solid marketing strategies continually evaluate every option, since the pace of change and user preferences evolve rapidly.
Form and phone submissions (below "company website")
Just about every serious lead generation campaign tracks form submissions, but relatively few track phone conversions. To do the latter, a company must set up granular phone tracking, usually through a third-party firm, so that each phone inquiry can be traced back to its marketing source.
Without accurate phone conversion data, marketers will underestimate the effectiveness of campaigns — and also miss opportunities to export phone data into their CRM for future outbound marketing efforts.
Lead validation (third row from the bottom)
Lead validation is the manual process of reading form submissions and listening to recordings of tracked phone inquiries. Extremely important, but done by very few companies. The reason it’s important: About half of all form and phone conversions are something other than sales leads.
Without validation, marketers will overestimate campaign effectiveness; worse, they will interpret A/B split tests with inaccurate data, leading them to make changes to campaigns that may hinder rather than help results.*
CRM data from non-leads (second row from the bottom)
Even when companies start validating leads there is still one more serious pitfall to avoid, trashing all of the non-lead data. Usually, some or many of non-lead conversions are worth adding to the CRM, because they represent good long-term lead generation opportunities. A few examples:
- A customer service inquiry from a new contact within the existing account. This new individual could have buying authority or strong buying influence. Today the individual is expediting an order; tomorrow he or she could be looking for an item bought from a competitor.
- A sales solicitation from a vendor. Vendors may be potential customers, but perhaps more importantly, are a rich source of sales leads that should be cultivated in a systematic way. (Have you considered adding a segment to your email list for vendors?)
- An inquiry for a product or service the company doesn’t provide. Even though the fit is wrong on this inquiry, it may be spot on next time. Before discarding a conversion such as this, it’s well worth the time to investigate further, to see if the company is a prospect. If so, you’ve already started the lead generation process.
Using the Roadmap
These and other components of the successful lead generation campaign can all be found in the above infographic.
With this ecosystem serving as a blueprint, Internet marketers are able to build a campaign that includes all of the elements necessary for success. If you’re building a new campaign from scratch or looking for a way to optimize an existing one, referring to this infographic can help you determine if your ecosystem is missing any critical components.
Incidentally, this infographic was originally designed as an internal training tool. We found that when new staffers got a visual impression of what a campaign should look like, they understood much better (and much faster) than by reading various text-based resources. We certainly hope this tool helps you and your marketing staff in the same way.
An example of how lead validation improves testing accuracy and continuous improvement:
Consider a hypothetical PPC campaign. Without validation, the campaign manager sees Keyword A produced 50 conversions and Keyword B produced 30. More emphasis will be given to Keyword A. But, with validation, the manager now sees Keyword A produced 10 leads, and Keyword B produced 20. Now, it is Keyword B that gets more emphasis!