One of the best tools available to entrepreneurs like you today is Internet marketing, which allows you to connect with potential new customers in ways that were virtually impossible a generation ago. Just setting up a website and providing visitors with a means to contact you through it can yield numerous sales leads that you otherwise wouldn't have been able to access. However, if all you've done is set up a website and watched the conversion counter tally each click, that may not be enough. Your lead generation website has the potential to deliver a substantial amount of new customers to your fledgling business. Yet unless you're using lead validation as a critical component of your online marketing efforts, your site may not be living up to its full potential. Because your young business needs every edge it can get, lead validation can be vitally important.
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs can make when building an online marketing campaign is relying entirely on the raw conversion numbers provided by Google Analytics about their sites. These numbers can be misleading because they don't distinguish between conversions that are serious sales leads and those that are not. In fact, nearly half of all website conversions aren't sales leads. Google Analytics counts all of these interactions — including incomplete form submissions, job applications and even spam — along with serious sales leads. This gives online marketers an overstated picture of how effective their lead generation websites are, which can create some serious problems and inefficiencies.
For example, a lead generation may have two main sources that bring in conversions: Source A may pull in 50 conversions each month, while Source B draws 100 conversions in the same timeframe. A marketer relying entirely on the Google Analytics conversion numbers sees this data and nothing else. Based on that level of information, it would be logical for the marketer to assume Source B is more successful at bringing in new customers. When the time comes to optimize the website to attract new customers, the marketer is more likely to prioritize Source B because of the raw conversion numbers.
However, those raw conversion numbers don't take into consideration what those conversions actually are. If the marketer were to take the time to examine each one of those conversions from both sources carefully, he or she might be surprised. It is possible, for example, that Source B only generated 25 true sales leads out of 100 conversions, with the rest being spam form submissions or incomplete submissions. Looking closely at Source A's conversions, on the other hand, may reveal that 40 of its 50 conversions turned out to be actual sales leads. Now that the marketer has that layer of information, it's clear that Source A is better at creating new customers. When the time comes to optimize the website, Source A would rightfully receive more attention, putting the marketer in a much better position to take full advantage of the site's potential.
Entrepreneurs also can find themselves with an information gap because Google Analytics provides them with absolutely no information about leads that come to them over the phone. A significant number of website visitors still prefer to speak with someone via phone rather than fill out an online form. Google Analytics, however, only tracks those conversions that come in through online forms, so a huge portion of potential customers simply get left out of the equation. Implementing lead validation as a component of an online marketing campaign ensures that phone calls are screened and the true sales leads that are generated over the phone are counted.
The vital information provided by lead validation can be essential for young businesses, making lead validation a crucial addition to any entrepreneur's online marketing efforts. Although the lead validation process can be laborious and require additional help from an outside vendor, the benefits are plain to see. Lead validation allows entrepreneurs to identify which conversions from their websites have the potential to become new customers and which ones do not. The process also provides them with information about where each conversion was generated, allowing them to hone their optimization efforts and maximize the ROI they get from each conversion source.
There is simply no excuse for not having as much information as you can get about your potential customers. Lead validation is extremely important for entrepreneurs to implement into their online marketing efforts. Ignore it, and you'll be working without an essential advantage your fledgling business needs to succeed. Lead validation could mean the difference between success and failure for your young business, so make sure you are taking every advantage you can get.
Source: Cate Costa, guest blog.