In a perfect world, when management tells marketing that "we need leads", marketing can then start determining the campaign structure from the ground up instead of the other way around.
Marketing has a say in the landing page layout, can determine a clear call to action and has the tools to make adjustments to the pages as the campaign progresses. They get to set up tracking for the conversion point they decided on and included.
Isn’t this better than just being in charge of managing a campaign and making sure the budget lasts, while never receiving data other than CTR, CPC, Clicks, Impressions and so on?
Don’t get me wrong, the data you get from your platform of choice is important, as it represents the touchpoint you have with your prospective customers, but you need to see the big picture and dig into the actual numeric results of your work.
Unfortunately for us marketers, however, that’s not how the corporate cookie usually crumbles and we’re merely given a task without being given a chance to affect the outcome in a meaningful way.
Setting up for success
So with the challenges presented to us, how can we make meaningful changes?
If you’re selling a product or a service that’s purchased directly on your site, you’re in luck: measuring online purchases is easy. Achieving your campaign goals is measured by sales.
However, when you’re in the business of expertise or your business requires lengthy negotiation and contracts, it gets harder to put a monetary value on your online marketing. It’s tricky, but still definitely doable.
For the sake of this example, let’s assume that you’re in a spot where your average business transaction runs in the tens or hundreds of thousands, maybe even in the millions. You don’t get many customers per year and your customers definitely don’t click a button and buy what you sell online in bulk. So, what’s the point of online marketing when you can’t sell online directly?
Well, it just so happens that not every one of your would-be customers knows you and even if they do, they could do with a refresher. So you, as the marketer, can decide that it’s time to test the online waters and see if you can score some leads. You set up a landing page outlining your chosen expertise, make the landing page easily navigable and the contact form – oh, so tempting – laced with the promise of convenience and quality.
You set up tracking on your form and integrate it with your CRM so that once those leads end up passing the finish line, you will know where they came from. If you’re savvy, you can even engineer it so that once the contact you scored moves forward through your lead pipeline in your CRM, it fires a virtual page view that you’ve set up as an additional goal for your campaign. This gives you a final data point for the campaign, completing your funnel for the lead. This enables you to ascribe a monetary value (ROI) to your campaign. Don’t forget to nurture the leads further down the funnel once you get there – it’s entirely too common to look at the short term and forget the big picture and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Moving the goalpost
Was that setting up for success? Yes, and no. That’s setting up a campaign where the goal is clear and measurable. It’s something we marketers must own. It’s easy to get handed a budget and told what to do, but if you truly want to take your online marketing efforts to the next level, embrace the results—and not just the ones on the surface, but those that go all the way. To make it simple, let’s list the steps to successful online campaign management:
Have a workshop where you assume command of the campaign and your online marketing in general. Assert authority. This is marketing, you’re the specialist, so you have the final say. In this workshop, determine what the measurable goals are and what kind of numbers you’re looking to reach.
Set up your landing page. Make it easy to use and remove all distractions. This means your corporate blog, your newsletter, the shiny new pdf files you received from product managers. Why? Because you should view your average website visitor as you would a small child. Their attention span is short and they need to be told what to do. So, remove every distracting element and tell your user what they came to do on the site and what benefit they will get from doing just that.
With your landing page optimized to the best of your ability, set up tracking. You’re going to need to be familiar with Google Tag Manager to successfully track your forms and other elements on your page. With proper tracking setup, you can even make your campaigns appear under the E-commerce section in Google Analytics with a clear view of the funnel to display your efforts, with that previously mentioned virtual page view representing the final point where the lead makes a purchase.
Determine budget and campaign run-time. If you’re in an industry where the purchase cycle is determined in years, run your campaign for years. If it produces one lead, it’ll be worth it and once it does, you can validate all your efforts thanks to correctly implemented tracking.
Optimize your campaign and keep constant track of how well the campaign performs, making continuous changes to the elements that lag behind.
That’s basically it. It all starts with asserting yourself as the person who’s in charge. Don’t simply take what you’re handed, but always look for ways to elevate your online marketing. There’s a boundless wealth of tools and techniques you can use, but remember that more tools isn’t what you’re looking for.
The thing you need most is a bit of math. When you know the average value of a lead, you can start comparing that against online marketing efforts that are correctly tracked, enabling you to take actual numbers to the board rather than bringing in a superficial report of a completed task.