Fixing Data’s Broken Links
Broken links can be a killer for Internet marketing. If a customer can’t follow through on an opportunity because the link simply isn’t there, he or she is not likely to remain a customer for much longer. However, there are other kinds of broken links in the world of Internet marketing that can be just as harmful to a lead generation campaign, and no amount of coding can fix them. These broken links are in the data marketers receive about the performance of their lead generation websites. Unless those links are patched through the process of lead validation, they have the potential to unravel all the work that has been put into a campaign.
These broken links stem from the fact that for many Internet marketers, the raw conversion numbers they receive from Google Analytics are the sole measure of their websites’ success. They see the number of conversions, estimate the amount of sales leads that their sites are generating, and then base important decisions about optimization on that data. However, relying on the raw conversion numbers can be a dangerous gamble because of the broken link between that number and the true performance of a website.
As it turns out, nearly half of all website conversions are not sales leads, and conversion numbers leave out some important data. Any Internet marketer who studied each one of the conversions generated by his or her website might be astonished to find that only about half of conversions could be classified as sales leads. The others, it would be discovered, would be made up of interactions and inquiries that aren’t true sales leads — such as job applications, customer service inquiries or incomplete form submissions. However, all of these false leads are counted among the conversions listed by Google Analytics. What’s more, Google’s numbers don’t include any information about sales leads or other conversions that come over the phone. Although Google Analytics can be a useful tool for Internet marketers, it doesn’t provide the complete picture of a website’s effectiveness at delivering sales leads, leaving a crucial link broken.
The reason this creates danger for Internet marketers is because they often use that incomplete information as the basis for some critical decisions when it comes time to update or improve their websites. Because the links between the raw conversion numbers and the true effectiveness of the website are broken, marketers don’t actually know where the inquiries came from, or which of their inquiries can be considered potential customers. Using this incomplete information, they may end up overemphasizing the wrong conversion sources or redirecting resources away from sources they believe are underperforming based on the incomplete information they have. This means crucial improvements to a campaign may happen more slowly than they should, if they happen at all.
More Complete Data
Fortunately, Internet marketers have a way to fix the broken links in their data through the process of lead validation. With lead validation, marketers comb through every conversion generated by their websites as well as every phone call they receive — separating the sales leads from the conversions that don’t fit into that category. Lead validation also tracks and notes the source of each lead, making it clear to marketers which sources are most effective at generating leads and which ones could benefit from some fine-tuning. What was once a mass of undistinguishable conversion numbers becomes a much more detailed and accurate picture of a website’s effectiveness through lead validation.
With the broken links filled in with more accurate information, marketers can know which of their websites’ sources truly are generating the most leads, and they can optimize those sites accordingly. The result is a website and a campaign that are optimized for greater performance, delivering additional leads more effectively. Now, marketers have a much more accurate measure of how much each lead actually costs them.
No Excuse for Broken Links
While there’s no doubt that lead validation can be a very involved and time-consuming process, the benefits it can provide are self-evident. Without the complete information provided by the lead validation process, those links in the data Internet marketers rely on can remain broken and cause serious dysfunction. Incorporating lead validation as a critical component of a campaign gives marketers the most accurate picture of their websites’ success or shortcomings. In a world where information is power, there’s no excuse for having broken links — on your home page or in the data you rely on for your ultimate success.
About the Author
Aaron Wittersheim is Chief Operating Officer at Internet marketing agency Straight North.