Optimizing Your Inbound Lead Generation Strategy

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Good afternoon, everybody. Thanks for joining this presentation of mine. Hope you have a lot of energy left. I know it’s 2:30, so hang in there. Today we’re going to be talking about how to optimize your inbound lead strategy. And more specifically, I want to dive deep into how to track and also attribute all steps of the customer journey, which can have a dramatic impact on your performance. And you’d be surprised how all companies, big and small, forget to set this up correctly.

So, I’m Jonathan. I’m from Webistry. We’ve been around for about eight years now. We are a digital advertising agency. And our sole purpose is to optimize the entire customer journey online, starting with the paid click. So, we deal only with paid campaigns on platforms like Google ads, Facebook ads, Amazon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, you name it. But we don’t stop there. Above and beyond optimizing on the ad level, we optimize post-click on the landing page level, but also after you get your leads in.

Today’s Agenda:

  1. What’s your ultimate goal?
  2. How to make it happen
  3. Tracking vs Attribution
  4. Ad-Level Quantitative Optimization
  5. Ad-Level Qualitative Optimization
  6. Landing page optimization
  7. Real world optimization

So, today we want to talk about several things. We want to discuss your ultimate goal. What is your advertising goal? And how to make it happen, how to make your goals come true. We also want to talk about tracking versus attribution. What’s the difference between those two terms? We want to talk about ad-level optimization, both on a quantitative level, but also on a qualitative level. And I’ll explain the difference very shortly. We want to talk about landing page optimization, which is actually more important than you think. And finally, we’re going to talk about real world optimization, probably the most important and most forgotten part of the customer journey.


What is your ultimate goal?

Is it to be first on Google all the time?

And if that’s your goal, I’m here to tell you to squash that goal. That should not be your ultimate advertising goal. Being first on Google is great. Actually, Google has abolished that metric. You cannot know what is your average position within your Google Ads dashboard anymore. Being first on Google often means that you are overpaying for your click. You need to be bidding higher than everybody else to be first constantly.

So, what I have to say to that goal is this, if you’re spending your full budget and you’re getting great quality traffic, high intent traffic for your budget, your position on Google does not matter. You’re accomplishing your ultimate goal is to get the most high intent, high quality traffic for your budget at the least cost possible. And sometimes that means that you’re third or even fifth, but that’s okay.

Is your goal to appear on Google for all searches?

Well, in most cases that’s quite impossible. But that would mean that your impression share, that’s a metric that Google gives you, would be 100%. To have 100% impression share means that you are either overpaying for your click or you’re spending the full budget potential in your market, which sometimes could be tens of thousands of dollars. So, to appear on Google all the time is almost impossible for most people.

Is it for people to like your Facebook page and engage with your posts?

Although that would be a great thing and could have some advantages, that should not be your ultimate goal. In fact, if you were to go on any Facebook page as a user, you’ll have trouble finding the page like count. Facebook has kind of hid that away because it’s not the most important factor.

Is your goal to get more clicks?

Although that’s a great goal, it should only be a secondary goal. You can be getting hundreds of thousands of clicks. If they don’t convert, they’re worth absolutely nothing. So, what should be your ultimate goal or goals in this case?

Well, you’ll want to have:

  • A low cost per lead
  • High conversion rates
  • High closing rates on the sales level
  • Accountability
  • Measurability for all of your campaigns
  • High return on investment

How can we make that happen? I’m going to walk you through those steps.


How to make it happen

Numbers speak louder than words. That’s actually our slogan at Webistry. We have big posters that quote this sentence right here. And if numbers speak louder than words, that means that you need numbers to make decisions. And for you to have access to numbers, you need data.

Making decisions with data

How do you get your data when optimizing? The first thing you need to make sure you’re doing before even launching any campaigns, whatsoever, is to have tracking and attribution setup for every data point in your customer’s journey.

Your customer is complex. And if you think you know them best or you’re a designer or you’re an advertiser, you’re wrong.

We do not know customers best. The only way to get to know our customer is through data. Their behavior changes every day, every week. The platforms we’re using change every day, every week. And so, we need to adapt. And we can only do that through tracking. So, you need to keep in mind that real optimization is only possible when you have actionable data. You need to be collecting data at every point. Your data must have statistical significance. What does that mean? That means you need volume. You need enough conversions, enough leads or calls in order to make decisions on what’s working, and what’s not working, and what to do to optimize. Your data tells a story. You cannot change that story. That story is your user’s behavior. But you can change the narrative with your data. So, understand how your user behaves with your campaigns and within the market, and optimize for that behavior instead of trying to change it.


Tracking VS Attribution

Before I get into the difference, very important disclaimer. Always own your data no matter what. If you’re using Google Analytics, if you’re using the Facebook Pixel or a business manager account on Facebook, if you’re using a Pinterest tag or a LinkedIn tag, make sure you own those tracking tags. And more importantly, do not let your freelancers or your agency place their own tracking tags. Data is the most valuable thing your business will build above and beyond your customer base. Your data allows you to run campaigns that are profitable. People sell data in the open market. They sell Facebook Pixel data, analytics data. It’s a common practice so make sure you own it all.

The true difference between tracking and attribution

Now, what is the difference between tracking and attribution? You’d be surprised, big companies don’t even know the difference. So, don’t make the difference between small to medium business or bigger companies or experience, everybody, all businesses of all shapes and forms mistake these two and fail to set them up correctly.

  • Tracking is like saying, “I got 87 phone calls this month from Google Ads. It’s great to know, it’s important.”
  • Attribution means, “I know exactly what search terms the user entered in order to find the ad, click through, and call me.”

And that’s when optimization is made possible. Without attribution, you cannot optimize. If we [inaudible 00:07:39] didn’t Google Ads dashboard, you cannot know where your phone calls came from on a keyword level. How can you be optimizing for keywords that convert? We’re going to walk you through that very shortly.

Set up keyword-level call tracking

So, what’s essential to make attribution happen and the most commonly missed step is setting up keyword level call tracking. Keyword level call tracking allows you to know which specific inbound phone call came from which user and which search term was typed in for that call to take place. So once again, we’re connecting your phone calls. And we’re not just talking about tap to call on your phone, it could be someone reading on their desktop, and picking up their landline and calling you. We want to know which keyword or search term this call came from. And that’s what this keyword level call tracking allows us to do.


Ad-Level Quantitative Optimization

  1. Optimize for leads, not just traffic
  2. Keep an eye on your conversion rate, lead volume, cost per lead
  3. Make bid optimizations, add negative keywords, add high converting keywords, & eliminate low converting keywords

Let’s talk about optimizing on the ad level, the first stage of your customer journey, that click, paid click. And let’s start with quantitative optimization. With quantitative optimization, you want to be optimizing for leads, not just traffic. And even if people think they’re optimizing for leads, in fact, more often than not, they’re optimizing for traffic, for clicks and nothing else. Because they’ve missed the keyword level call tracking. And in lead gen, you get a lot of phone calls in most cases. So, keep an eye on these key metrics, your conversion rate, your lead volume, and your cost per lead. Those are your three KPIs when you’re optimizing for leads and not clicks. When you’re able to look at these three KPIs, you’re able to make a series of decisions with that data. As long as you have enough data, you can make bid optimizations, meaning you can decide which keywords you want to pay more for or less for. That’s your cost per click. You could add negative keywords. Typical negative keywords, those are words that you do not want it to appear for, for example, jobs or cheapest or discount. Sorry. Back to that slide. Those are your typical negative keywords. But you will find new negative keywords, and it’s essential to be adding them to your campaigns. You can add high converting keywords, new keywords, and you can eliminate low converting or expensive keywords.

This is an example of keyword level call attribution on the campaign level. We have four campaigns here. And as you can tell, they have different conversion rates. We’re tracking in one column, not the phone calls. And in the two other columns, the amount of form submissions, and we’ve even been able to separate out a qualified lead from a semi-qualified lead. And this is in a multi-step form but we’re able to do that. I won’t get into the details of those last two columns. In this case, we can tell that there’s one campaign you’re struggling at a conversion rate of 1.61% compared to almost 15% for the highest compared campaign. I would not be able to know that with just phone calls. In fact, if I looked at only the form submissions, I would see 88 qualified leads and I would not see those 126 phone calls and my decisions would be completely different. So, that’s on a campaign level. But we can go even deeper on the keyword level. I’m going to zoom in here. So, this is on the keyword level. If the campaign is not doing well, you should not exit right away. Go into that campaign and look at your ad groups, and look at your keywords, and see if there’s any keywords that are dragging you down if you can turn things around. In this case, we see a keyword that’s converting at 3.16% at the bottom and midway in this report, another keyword converting at 3.42%. Whereas, all the others are 10% plus. So, this is an opportunity to either bid higher on the high conversion rate keywords or eliminate the low converting keywords.

So, how can you make all this happen? Right? You need to connect things in order to track and attribute. CallRail has some future key solutions that you can look into. They’re very well documented. We won’t walk you through how to do it.

CallRail’s solution:

  • Dynamic Number Insertion for your landing pages
  • Google Ads integration for keyword level attribution
  • Facebook Ads integration for ad level attribution

You need to set up Dynamic Number Insertion for all your landing pages. What does that mean? That means that when any user lands on a page, your phone number up top or at the bottom or anywhere in the page will be dynamically swapped to a tracking number. And every new user is supposed to see a unique number. Basically, you have a number pool, maybe five numbers, maybe seven tracking numbers, and these are rotating between your users. And this is what allows a system to attribute the source of your calls. Number two, once you’ve established that on your pages, you need to integrate your Callrail account with your Google ads or Facebook ads account. And that’s also fairly simple. So, if you’ve done those two things, you’re able to do everything I’ve discussed in the last few slides.

Let’s look at an example of tracking versus attribution. And it’s not just about phone calls, it’s about form submissions too. And in a lot of cases for our customers, you have multi-step forms. These multi-step forms allow us to achieve higher conversion rates, but also to filter out for lead quality so that we know that the last lead that we get is with high quality lead. So, this is an example of a landing page that we can look at in detail at the end of the presentation.

This is a company that sells car insurance, but they’re a neutral party. They’re basically showing you options of car insurance companies and their pricing and allowing you to purchase your car insurance on the spot. You’re instantly comparing the best prices. In their market, they’re one of the only ones to do that instantly. So, they have four steps in their multi-step form.

  1. The first step is to give them information about your vehicle.
  2. The second step is to give your information, your personal information, like your full name and your email and your phone number.
  3. The third step is when they present you with all the policy options and the pricing.
  4. The fourth step, which we will go through right now, is the checkout. That’s when the purchase takes place.

Tracking these steps is important, but more importantly, is attribution. So, this is in Facebook ads right now. We’re looking at several columns on the campaign level. And every column here is tracking and attributing a step in the form. Now, if I was just creating a custom event with a Pixel, I would not be able to do this. To be able to attribute your conversions in Facebook ads, we need to do two things. We need to create a custom event for every step of the form. We’ve labeled them here S1, your vehicle, S2, your info, and S3, your policy. Once you’ve set up your custom events, you need to set up your custom conversions and that’s when you’re able to attribute specific events.

Let’s look at this example here. If we look at the campaign level with four rows, we can look at the last column to make it a little bit simpler. Your cost per, S3, step three. That’s a cost of getting someone to fill out the third step of your form. And we’re seeing that the first two campaigns are clear winners at $2 and $4 per lead, and the 2 last campaigns are significantly more expensive at 10 to $11 per lead. We’re seeing a gross difference between all four campaigns.

Now, we can go into the two last campaigns and look at the ad level or the ad group level and we can optimize there, perhaps there’s one creative that is dragging this performance down, or we might decide to completely eliminate those two last campaigns. Now, one important thing for Facebook ads for the algorithm to work for you, to help you reach the right people within your audience, you need to be generating 50 to 75 events every 7 days at least. So, at least 50 events so the algorithm starts working for you. The more, the better. In this case, we can be optimizing for step three, step two, and step one. I rather optimize for step three, which is further along the form process. Now, let’s look at a very simple report with only one metric, cost per click. And this is a report that does not have attribution set up. Those are theoretical numbers. They’re not real numbers. So, in this scenario, considering everything else being equal like your click-through rates and your impressions, we’re looking only at cost per click. I would decide to eliminate keyword E, which is the most expensive by far. It is five times the price of keyword A, so I would eliminate that keyword. From keyword A, in the scenario where I’m looking for more volume, I will need to increase my bid. And in the middle, at keyword C, I would maintain that cost per click. So, setting up decisions is fairly simple. Now, let’s add attribution to the mix.

Same cost per clicks, same keywords, but we’ve added cost per lead to the mix. And now, your most expensive keyword at $5 is also giving you your cheapest leads at $10 per lead. And your cheapest cost per click up top at $1 is giving you your most expensive cost per lead. So, as you can tell, our decisions are being completely flipped. The keyword I once wanted to eliminate I’m now willing to spend more on. And the keyword I was willing to pay more for, I need to now eliminate. And this is what attribution can do. It could flip your decisions around very quickly.


Ad-Level Qualitative Optimization

  1. Optimize for quality, not just leads
  2. Use CallRail’s integrations with popular CRMs or Google Sheets with UTM parameters
  3. Keep an eye out on your closing rate, lead scoring, and ROI

Let’s talk about ad-level optimization on the qualitative side. So, what does that mean? That means you want to optimize for lead quality and not just leads. In the scenario before, we’re optimizing just for leads with a cost per lead. But what if my cheapest cost per lead is bringing me the most horrible quality of leads?

What you need to set things up

Well, we need to integrate with CRMs. If you don’t have any or if you don’t want to pay for a CRM, you can integrate with a Google Sheet. And that integration needs to be able to pull over your form submissions and your phone calls, but also it needs to tell you where they came from. And CallRail allows you to do that with their integrations. You need to also make sure you have UTM parameters set up so that when a person clicks on your ad, we know exactly where they came from up until they take the final step, which is converting. Lastly, you need to keep your eye out on those three KPIs, which is closing rate, lead scoring, and return on investment. Lead scoring could be simple. Just give a score to your lead on your Google Sheet or your CRM. It could be on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. Closing rate is very important as well and so is your ROI. That one is a little bit harder to get, you need to be communicating with your entire team, but it’s the most important one. So, this is a previous example. We’re only tracking your cost per lead. And we had said that I would be willing to pay more for your $5 CPC because it’s getting me the cost per lead of $10. But what if that $10 cost per lead is bringing me horrible leads? And I’m able to track that with, for instance, your return on ad spend. That could also be your lead score. It could be your closing rate, that’s up to you. You can look at all three of them, but your analysis becomes a little bit more complex. For the sake of exercise, we’re going to look at return on ad spend only. So, in this case, my $5 CPC is not my highest role. My highest return on ad spend is for keyword C at 5X. Now, if I’m getting 5X return, I’m willing to pay more so I can show up more. So, I’ll bid…I will increase my bid so I can get more volume for that keyword and, ultimately, I will also increase my budget. The keyword that is generating the smallest realization, I would eliminate in this case, and the others, I would just manage it by bid optimization. So, again, just to compare, my decisions have been flipped entirely just by tracking the quality of leads or outcome of leads in this case.


Landing page optimization

Now, we might ask ourselves, what can I do to fuel my split testing for landing pages? Or why did this old design convert better? What can I pull from those results? And there’s no real way of knowing for sure. But you can help yourself by using heatmapping.

Heatmap Analytics:

  • On-page click heatmaps
  • On-page movement heatmaps
  • On-page scroll heatmaps
  • Recordings

So, heatmapping will allow you to know where are people clicking in within your page. Where are they’re moving their cursor? And my favorite, which is scroll heatmap, would be to know at which stage in the page are people leaving. For instance, if 90% of your users leave before even scrolling past the first section, there’s a problem. Your headline might be off, maybe not interesting enough, maybe not specific enough. Maybe you’re not message matching with your ad copy. You can even have session recording for your landing page sessions, which are video recordings of the user interacting with your page. This can provide you with lots of insight.


Real world optimization

Now, on to the last most important stage, real world optimization. And as an agency, for years, we struggled with that. We were delivering amazing results up until the last step. The customer would call us and say, “I didn’t make sales this month.” And we look at our numbers and they look amazing. So, we decided to help our customers post lead, after they receive the lead.

Optimize your phone systems

  • Do you have an auto respondent? What do customers want?
  • Do you keep callers on hold? How long is too long?
  • Do you have way too many missed calls? Why is that?
  • Are there patterns emerging (i.e. constant wrong numbers)?

Do you have an auto respondent?

If your customer really wants to deal with a machine, keep in mind, those users that are calling you are from paid campaigns, generally high quality and high intent. They know what they want. They don’t want to talk to your customer service or your billing, they want more information. So, you can skip the machine and the respondent and take them straight to a representative.

Do you keep callers on hold, and how long is too long?

If I know what I’m looking for and I have a list of two other competitors that I’m going to call, I will not wait two minutes on the phone. And that’s me. And a lot of people would agree with that. Do not keep your customers on hold when they’re calling in from your ads. Find a solution for that.

You have way too many missed calls and why is that?

If you have 50% of your calls missed calls and you tell me, “Well, give me more form submissions.” I won’t do that. Your call, your users, your leads prefer calling you. We’re not going to change your behavior. We have to adjust to their behavior.

Are there any patterns that are emerging?

For example, constant wrong numbers. I’ll give you a really good scenario for this. We’re dealing with a lot of dental clinics at the beginning of the business and we realized there was a pattern emerging. They’re getting a lot of wrong numbers. And by recording our calls, we’re able to listen in and figure out that the wrong numbers where people who search for their own dentist. For example, Smith Dental Clinic. Because we are bidding on the word dental clinic, we might appear for similar related keywords and then we might appear for someone looking for Smith Dental Clinic. Now, how do you avoid that? In this example, you have to add a negative keyword for word the Smith. To avoid this problem altogether, we decided for every market, for a dental practice, we would find all their competitor names and import that as a negative keyword list. And that problem was solved. That’s a really good example of how you can optimize post lead by listening to call recordings and then adjusting on the keyword level.


The solution? Analytics & automation:

  • Call recording
  • Call Transcription
  • Conversation Analytics for calls
  • Callback feature for forms submissions

How can you optimize your human capital? Are you able to get back to people right away when they fill out a form? Or you get back to them five hours or a day later? Is your staff handling calls correctly? Are they nice, polite, and generous in their information giving? Or are they impatient and impolite? There’s only one way to know, you have to listen to the calls. Is your staff knowledgeable about your services or product? If you have a new promotion, are they aware of it? Are they knowledgeable about the product itself? Now, how do you get answers to these questions? It’s very simple. You need to enable call recording. The examples I mentioned utilize call recording. Call scripting can be very powerful. That’s the activity whereas your system is taking your recordings and transcribing them in written form. And when you have transcriptions, you can utilize conversation analytics for your phone calls. For example, if most of your calls finished with the words appointment confirmed, the system will pick up on that and report back to you that 80% of your calls are generating appointments. That’s a really good way to go through high volume of leads without going through them individually.

A callback feature can also be priceless here. So, what is a callback feature? When someone fills out a form instead of having to go through emails, and as you all know, we get a lot of emails. We need to prioritize and sift through them before you know you’re getting back to a customer hours later. The callback feature is where the system connects you via phone. The system will dial your number or your sales rep’s number, and as soon as they pick up, it will connect them with the lead’s phone number. So, the lead is simply filling out your form and receiving a call within 30 seconds, and on your end, you’re just picking up the phone.
Now, what are the takeaways? We’re almost out of time here, so I’m going to summarize the takeaways of this presentation. How do you optimize for the customer journey? First, you need to own all your tracking tags. Make sure you do that before you create any campaigns. Make sure you set up keyword level call tracking and attribution. Track and attribute all steps of the multi-step form if you have. And even if you don’t, I recommend you try to enable some multi-step forms. Track and attribute lead quality and lead outcome. So that means lead scoring, closing rates on the sales level, and ROI. And make sure you’re connecting that with the source. Create an optimized landing pages, set up call recording, and conversation analytics. And finally, set up that callback feature for your forms. That’s about it for me today. Thank you for sticking around. And if you have any questions, you can find me. Thank you.


Next session: Watch Jenny Bristow break down the foundations of analytics.

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