Information is everything in Internet marketing, and not having enough of it can be a disaster. With so much data out there for Internet marketers to obtain and analyze, there’s no reason why they can’t have all the vital information they need to run a successful campaign.

However, far too many times, online marketers put themselves in a bad position without even knowing it. Because, they neglect to drill deeper into the information they receive. Without proper context, some of the data marketers get can be incomplete and even dangerously misleading.

identify website visitorThe Internet marketing professionals here at Straight North have found that many online marketers are basing important decisions about their campaigns on incomplete information. That’s because they are taking the raw conversion numbers they receive from reporting platforms such as Google Analytics at face value. They assume that those conversion numbers give them an accurate picture of how successful their campaigns are at bringing them new sales leads. However, there are some serious gaps in that data that can’t be closed without validating and tracking every lead.

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An Incomplete Story

For example, raw conversion numbers don’t tell marketers anything about if each conversion is a true sales lead or not. That’s an important distinction to make because nearly half of all website conversions turn out to be interactions other than sales leads. These conversions — which include customer service inquiries, inquiries about products or services not offered, and even incomplete form submissions — have almost no chance of becoming new customers. Yet Google Analytics lumps them in with conversions that are valid sales leads. This gives marketers an inaccurate picture of how well their lead generation campaigns are working. Furthermore, raw conversion numbers don’t include any information about conversions that come in via phone call.

Because the information is incomplete, marketers lack essential data they need to make important decisions about optimizing their campaigns. For instance, if one source generates 100 conversions and another generates 50, a marketer might assume that the first source is more successful at generating sales leads. However, validating those conversions might reveal that only 25 of the first source’s 100 conversions are actual sales leads, while all of the second source’s 50 conversions are. If the marketer decided to optimize the campaign without going any deeper into the data through validation, he or she might harm the campaign.

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Building Better Results

This is why online marketers simply can’t overlook validating and tracking their leads. Although implementing these processes can be complicated, the value they provide to marketers makes them well worth the effort.

To ensure that your lead generation website can provide you with more detailed information about your conversions, you need to:

  1. Confirm that the primary contact form on your website has a required “comments” field.
  2. Confirm that your website is running Google Analytics.
  3. 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.
  4. Modify your Google Analytics code to pass the form submission ID to Google Analytics using a custom dimension.

identify website visitorsTracking phone calls is an important facet 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:

  1. Find a call tracking vendor that can track each phone call back to a specific marketing source.
  2. Implement the call tracking vendor’s code on your website to start tracking phone calls.
  3. 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.

There’s no excuse for not having all the information you need to optimize your lead generation campaign. Drilling deeper into your conversion data through lead validation and tracking provides much-needed context that can give you a clearer picture of how well your website is performing. Armed with the additional context provided by lead validation and tracking, you can approach website improvements with greater confidence. Ultimately, you could drive greater results for your website and your overall campaign.

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This is a post by Matt Cannon the Director of Web Services at Straight North, an Internet marketing agency that offers SEO, PPC and web design services. Cannon manages all web development activities to make sure that each project is applying current development standards and techniques.