Committing to a new pay-per-click campaign can be daunting, particularly if your business sits in an industry reliant on lead generation rather than immediate sales.
Take a solicitor for example – the process of moving an opportunity from lead to tangible revenue can take months, simply because it involves a complex process of qualification, consultation and then delivery of the desired service. The customer could be parting with thousands of pounds, so there isn’t always a desire to move quickly, and they may be getting several quotes at one time.
So how do you ensure that a campaign click that occurred months ago still gets evaluated for return on investment? Get it right, and you’re arming yourself with an incredibly powerful revenue stream for years to come, but get it wrong and you’ll likely just end up frustrated and pausing all activity after a couple of months.
Here are the most important steps you should take in order to get the most out of tracking your ROI.
You’d be surprised how many businesses skip this stage. PPC has a reputation for being instantaneous, generating clicks and conversions at the touch of a button. This can unintentionally influence decision key making, in order to get it live as soon as possible.
While in certain circumstances results can come quickly, in reality approaching any marketing campaign with such urgency is unlikely to ever yield anything positive long term.
Set aside time – at least a few hours without distraction – to map out who your target demographic is and how long they typically take to convert into a lead/sale. Consider:
- What technology do you have in place already to track or converse with them?
- Do they typically come in via phone or form completion?
- Where are the gaps currently?
If you’re working with an external agency, this information is really crucial to ensure the campaign is set up in the right way, and that expectations all round are equal.
Now, onto the meaty stuff. How are you going to track calls and form completions in the first instance?
Most advertising platforms have native conversion tracking that will tell you what campaign your enquiries are coming from, and when. What they won’t do is tell you who the customer is, or how they are progressing. That requires a bit more thought.
Call tracking solutions
There are a couple of options when it comes to call tracking. You may already have the facility to set up a dedicated phone number for your campaign. But where does that data go once they use the number and how is it evaluated? Can it be tied back to a keyword level?
There are a number of paid for solutions that will not only track the phone call as PPC generated, but record it for later listening and feed back to the advertising platform what keyword the user came through on. This technology can then be further customised to allow the person answering the phone to log whether it was a lead or not, and what kind of opportunity value.
Once you have something that will help to identify the source of the lead months down the line, ensure that the record is kept up to date. Certain CRM systems are more sophisticated than others in this respect, but as a minimum keeping a list of phone numbers and names you know came from your PPC campaign will mean you have something to cross-reference later.
It’s easy to track return on investment from form submissions, as they are digital in format. It’s always worth during the planning phase checking to see what your existing technology is capable of, and pressing on your supplier to help ensure you can see where a form submission is coming from.
However, there are a few simple tips to help keep a record of enquiries from PPC if that doesn’t yield anything.
Dedicated landing pages are the most straightforward way to achieve an end to end tracking solution. Software such as Unbounce and Instapage enable you to set up a bespoke page and form for your campaign, and then will keep a record of the leads that come through. The systems can then be integrated with other technologies like Salesforce to automatically feed the leads into your CRM, which means they will be available for analysis at any time.
The fact that you have a software that is keeping a record of your leads coming from a particular campaign, means that in 3, 6 or 12 months you can cross-reference the lead data with any sales in that period, and gain a true cost vs revenue analysis.
Even if you are working with an agency, ensure that someone internally has been assigned the responsibility of checking that everything is tracking correctly before going live and following up on that process after you start generating enquiries:
- Did the first lead go into your CRM correctly?
- Are the sales team logging calls as agreed?
- When is the first full review planned?
Putting in extra resources at the start to ensure that everything is being monitored as it should will help to make your PPC a success.
Once your campaign is up and running, the first week or two can often seem slow while you gather data and optimise it.
Cost per clicks can be unpredictable to start with – especially in lead generation industries such as legal and B2B – and you have to find your ideal place in each search auction. Once you have a couple of enquiries, however, you can start to tailor budgets towards the keywords generating them as long as they are good quality leads.
Proactivity is important. Finding out whether a lead was good quality, if the details have been logged correctly and so on all impact on how long it takes to start generating a consistent return on investment.
It can take time, but you can be confident that you’ve given yourself the best chance of success, and the potential benefit is a new marketing channel that you can continue to grow sustainably.