As a small business owner, do you know where your leads are coming from, beyond a general idea of a phone call, web form, or personal referral? Do you have a system in place to track how your various marketing channels work together to generate leads? Can you accurately measure how many potential customers are coming from which source? When you experience a period where leads are higher or lower than normal, do you have a way to understand what’s causing these peaks and dips? Tracking leads is an important way of determining how well your local marketing strategy is actually working. Having access to accurate data allows you to improve both the quantity and quality of your leads. It puts you in a position to optimize your marketing efforts. By knowing which marketing tactics — like PPC, SEO, or social media — are bringing in the most leads for your business, you can allocate your budget based on true performance to maximize your marketing investment. Let’s take a look at the different tools you can use to monitor your customer journey and find out where your leads are coming from.
In digital marketing, tracking leads is becoming both easier and more difficult. It’s easier because business owners like you can track what’s happening throughout their customer journey. However, it’s more difficult because you need the tools and knowledge to correctly interpret all of this data and turn it into actionable insights.
Challenges in Tracking Leads
Here are five of the most common challenges business owners experience when it comes to lead tracking.
- All leads are not created equal
Every lead is different. Some people may be interested, but are not yet ready to buy. Other leads might be sales-ready, or they might not be a good fit for your service or product. You need a system to identify marketing qualified leads – the ones who are likely to become customers – and separate them from low qualified ones.
- Where are the leads coming from?
Rarely will your customer go straight to your website and make a purchase. Multiple channels and messages were responsible for the final buying decision. For instance, a social media post, the email newsletter they subscribed to, or user comments on a third-party review site. How do you take into account the role each channel plays when attributing performance?
- Too many marketing vendors
You need tools to measure marketing performance. However, using too many different tools can lead to confusing data, since each provider will have a different way of measuring performance. It can be a challenge to align all of your vendors to provide consistent information. Moreover, if you’re not using an integrated system, one piece of marketing software won’t always take your other tools into account — resulting in errors and conflicting performance suggestions.
- Weather and economy are a factor
When tracking leads, you need to take offline factors into account. You need to think about larger social patterns that are affecting your target audience. For instance, if you’re a roofing company, the weather can play a large role in how many people need your services (for instance, after a particularly stormy spring). If you’re a home remodeling firm, the health of your local economy will influence if people have the extra income to invest in remodeling their houses.
- Marketing ROI measurement is confusing
The entire concept of ROI is rooted in evaluating one-time capital projects. However, marketing doesn’t quite fit this model. This is why people who use ROI in a marketing context often don’t apply it correctly. Linking marketing to financial performance is absolutely critical, but your measurements need to take attribution, short-term performance, and long-term results into account.
Types of Lead Tracking You’ll Want to Have
There are a lot of different tracking options on the market, but here are the four most critical systems for tracking leads you need to have in place for your online marketing:
UTM codes — A UTM code is a short piece of code that you can attach to a URL for something like an ad, a blog post, or a coupon. Analytic tools can then track how people are accessing that URL – where the searchers are coming from as well as what campaign directed them to you. For instance, you could create a digital marketing campaign that you promote via social media, email marketing, and paid advertising. Each channel has a unique UTM so you can track which ones are performing and which ones need work.
Call tracking — Call tracking technology works much like a UTM but with unique phone numbers for each channel instead of a URL. This allows you to track where every call to your business is coming from. For example, the only way a person can call the number assigned to your paid ads is by seeing those ads. Call tracking also helps you gather demographic data about your leads, such as peak call times, call duration, location, etc. You can also analyze call recordings to uncover important keywords and check lead quality.
Lead Sources — Because leads can contact you in a variety of ways (for instance, they both call AND submit a form), you need a way to bring it all together. You want to have a way to track where leads originated from when they decided to click on a UTM enabled URL or call a specific tracking number. For instance, did they start their customer journey from an online directory, a paid search ad, a social media post, or an organic search result? Tracking lead sources allows you to get better visibility into how effectively your marketing is working, as a whole.
Asking your customers — In addition to high tech solutions, there’s still a place for a good old-fashioned conversational approach — namely asking leads how they found you. Add a field on your form asking visitors how they found your website. Train your staff on how to build a rapport and ask people who call or visit your location in person. Doing so can help you uncover unexpected lead sources. For example, there’s a trusted community member who is recommending your business, or they saw your truck at a job site. Just make sure you have a system in place to record this information in a way that can be integrated with your other lead data.
Digital Tools for Tracking Your Marketing Activities
To effectively run an online marketing strategy, your lead tracking system should include the following features:
- Google Analytics — This is a free website analytics service offered by Google that gives you insights into how people find and use your website.
- Google Search Console — With this feature, Google can send you information about site issues, errors, or even penalties that affect your local SEO performance.
- Google Ads manager/Facebook Ads manager — These tools let you see how many leads your pay-per-click ads are generating, how much you’re spending, the cost per lead, and other metrics. They also offer suggestions on how to optimize campaigns on their respective platforms.
- Directory Listings insights — A citation management tool will help you track how your online citations are increasing local visibility. For instance, new listings, average review ratings, and user engagement.
- Google My Business insights — This feature focuses on how customers use Google Search and Google Maps to find your Google My Business listing, and what they do once they find it.
- Forms on websites — With form tracking tools, you can see how long it takes people to complete your form and if any sections cause them to get stuck or leave.
- Phone tracking and Campaign tracking with UTM codes — As previously mentioned, your lead tracking system needs to have UTM and call tracking capabilities. This is what will allow you to understand which channels people are using to connect with your business.
Knowing how your marketing is driving leads and new clients for your business means you can be more strategic about your marketing tactics in the future.
Request a Demo of the Surefire Local Marketing Platform
You want technology to make your life easier, not harder. Using all-in-one marketing software, like the Surefire Local Marketing Platform, helps you gather together all of these separate marketing tools into a comprehensive lead tracking process. In your complimentary 30-minute consultation, you’ll learn how you can use the Surefire Local Marketing Platform to easily manage your entire digital marketing strategy. We’ve helped over 3,000 small businesses across North America take control of their local marketing strategy. We believe that you know your business the best, so you’re the one who should be calling the shots. Using our all-in-one platform, you no longer have to log in to a dozen different marketing tools and learn how to operate them. Rather, you can oversee and manage your marketing from one easy-to-use place that can be accessed everywhere. You never have to worry about wasting money again because you can see the results of all your activities and campaigns in one place. It makes it easy to track what’s working and what’s not. Request your free demo today!