By Paul Parcellin, Staff Writer
June 18, 2014

You may be wondering how prospects are finding you, and if that's the case you're probably missing out on opportunities to improve your online advertising campaigns.

What's the connection between the two? If you aren't using an effective lead tracking system then it's hard to make informed decisions about which campaigns you need to augment and which can be dropped.

If you follow some of the guidelines below and devote a portion of your time toward lead tracking you may be able to tailor your ads and websites to the prospects you want to reach, and in turn see better results.

Consider your site a lead generating funnel, not merely an electronic pamphlet that touts your products' or services' benefits. Your pages will either cause visitors to advance toward conversion or send them elsewhere. Your site is the one place where all of your prospects will likely converge before getting in touch with you. In almost any industry, prospects will likely first visit your site before talking with you. A lead tracking system can help you collect relevant data about the bulk of your prospects from your website.

Know Your Visitors

Knowing your visitors means, among other things, getting a handle on the number of unique visitors you get every month. You'll also want to know which search engines or sites are referring them and what percentage gravitate to the "Contact Us" page - or any other page that provides them an opportunity to convert. Lead tracking can help you determine whether or not you've achieved your lead generation goals.

Let's say that your goal is to convert prospects interested in purchasing a product or service. Prospects who want to buy products normally want information or wish to contact a sales representative. So the Contact Us page, the Demo Download and application form pages are of critical importance.

Hosted analytics tools sometime require that you put a hidden code on your site to enable lead tracking. It's a good idea to put it at the top so it's the first thing that downloads. If it is placed lower on the page you risk missing the visitors who leave before the code downloads.

Tagged URLs

Using tagged, or tracking, URLs, or landing pages provides you with a more precise way to discover which sites have referred your visitors, as well as which specific links brought them to your site. With tagged URLs, you can get an exact count of the visitors who responded to a specific campaign.

You can pinpoint which visitors become leads when you track inquiries made via email, phone and your online contact form. Compare that number to the number of those who visited your Contact Us page and this will help you figure out the percentage of visitors who have become leads.

Keep all of your contact information in one place, namely your Contact Us page. This will enable you to determine how many of your leads came from that specific page. But if you scatter contact information in other places you won't be certain how successful your Contact Us page has been.

That's because tools you use to appraise your site's success track navigation paths. There is no navigation path for lead tracking if your visitors can get your product information and contact details and other pertinent information on the same page. When you track navigation paths you are analyzing what works and what doesn't on your site.

Accessibility

Make your Contact Us page easy to reach no matter which page a visitor may be on. Highlight it and make sure the link to it is easy to find. Keep any contact forms short. Don't ask visitors to fill in a lot of information that you don't really need. That will only increase the likelihood that the visitor will become frustrated and fail to complete and send the form.

If you get customized 800 numbers you can use them to get a better idea of how your prospects find you. It will cost you a few more dollars a month, but you can then link each of the 800 numbers to your different advertising campaigns. When visitors who are looking for a specific company collect your contact information, make certain that the company-specific 800 number displays. The same can apply to a customized email address. When prospects use the customized number or email address you'll be able to do some lead tracking and know immediately how that individual found you.

Post Script

Not all prospects will be ready to make an immediate purchase, so it's important to cultivate leads that may eventually result in a purchase. Sales departments are normally concerned with leads that are ready to make a purchase, so marketing can focus on more long-term prospects. That means providing prospects with all of the product information, success stories and other materials that will help push the prospect into becoming a warmer lead.

In addition to helping you tailor your ad campaigns, lead tracking can help you stay connected with prospects. That may give you the inside edge that will ultimately help you boost sales.

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