These have made us realize that lead generation is not simply a volume game. It’s about gathering necessary information from the right people to deliver a great brand experience. The first steps are establishing trust, and making sure your audience knows why you’re collecting the information and what you’re going to do with it. Once we have the data, we need to think about how we are using it to maintain that trust.
Data privacy regulations underline the need to understand your audiences at a deep level. Without this understanding, content will fall flat. And, in today’s world, it’s easier than ever to request access to your personal data and/or opt out. Great content based on a deep level of audience understanding is the only way to engage, convert, and retain your audience.
Recent data privacy regulations have had a significant impact on digital initiatives — namely, as it relates to implementing cookie consent and data management platforms on clients’ websites to ensure GDPR and CCPA compliance. With these implementations, we’ve had to reconfigure user tracking and behavior analysis as well as reporting because of decreased data collection, especially from users who opt-out.
Our team is always collaborating to research and educate ourselves and our clients on the evolving data privacy landscape. We focus on the changes that impact how we’re able to leverage social media to support lead generation programs. For example, the iOS 14.5 updates that went into effect at the end of April 2021, have impacted our targeting capabilities. They also affected audience sizes across social channels as people opt out of tracking.
When planning and strategizing for campaigns that rely heavily on third-party data, we continuously stay on top of what the vendors we work with are doing to get out in front of a cookieless future. We also consider their plans to differentiate themselves from the competition when it comes to this new frontier of targeting and optimization.
I collaborate with internal team members and clients to answer a number of questions that need to be addressed when developing a lead generation campaign. It even starts with asking a very elementary question — What is a lead? Is a lead simply obtaining a name and an email address for future communications? We need to determine when to collect information and what information is most critical to gather to deliver a great customer experience.
With any campaign work, the strategic communications team works closely across all disciplines to take an integrated approach to the project. However, one thing that’s unique is the need to work hand-in-hand with the research team. We need to know how the target audience is encountering the lead gen form and what their expectations, challenges, opportunities, and needs are in that space.
I work closely with the account service and web development teams to help guide landing page development. I also work with the media and social teams to better understand how we are driving traffic to the landing page to ensure the destination is meeting user expectations. Collaboration with the strategic communications team involves reviewing the content that’s being gated so we can determine what information the user will be willing to provide to access the content.
Can I just say ditto to what the others have said? As a member of the social team, I collaborate with my digital counterparts on the destination strategy; the strategic communication team on the content we’re promoting; the media team on what tactics fit into the larger media mix; and the insights team to help measure and report back on the success of the campaign.
The most important piece to any lead generation campaign and strategy is to make sure all functional teams are aligned on how our target audience goes from prospect to lead. The more team members involved in planning conversations offers a greater chance of lead generation campaign success.
Cost and quality would be the most basic measures. For example, cost per lead (overall and by channel), lead to opportunity conversion, lead to purchase conversion, and average purchase price. We want to give the sales team quality swings at the plate and we want to spend on the types of customers that provide the best return on the marketing investment.
There are a few different layers of measurement that are key to an effective lead gen campaign. But, content effectiveness is a “first-order” measurement. Did it capture their attention? Did they interact and engage with it? For how long? Did it drive decision or action? These are the KPIs that are important to know to be able to make strategic adjustments along the way.
Every client has a different KPI, but generally the success of the campaign is not solely assessed by just one KPI. It’s multiple factors. How many leads were generated and at what cost; if they opted in to future marketing communication; user interactivity with the content; or additional actions they took on the site. All these metrics tell a much larger story about the audience, the content, and the campaign. This is especially true if you’re having to wait for ROI metrics, which in the B2B world could take time due to longer sale cycles.
In addition to all of the metrics previously mentioned, we also like to measure success (when we’re able) by tracking the leads we’re driving through the sales pipeline. This allows us to report on close rate, average sale size, and pipeline velocity. When we have this information available, we’re able to better optimize our programs and engage new customers in cross-selling and recurring purchase strategies and campaigns.
There is parity between a majority of our clients when it comes to measurement of success. The top metrics that come to mind are both cost-per-lead and volume of qualified leads entering the pipeline. Beyond that, the addition of web analysis throughout the campaign helps with optimizations that can be beneficial to securing the right type of leads more efficiently.
Don’t simply think about lead generation as short-term demand generation campaigns. Take a step back and think about two things: 1) How are your lead generation efforts improving the brand experience? 2) How are your lead generation efforts empowering the creation and further activation of customer insights?
Probably the single biggest issue we see from a content perspective in lead gen campaigns is failing to fully understand the value exchange that is taking place when a user submits their personal information. Content in a lead gen experience is basically a transaction — the user is “paying” you with their personal information to access the amazing content that you’re offering. Make sure it’s worth it to them so they’ll pay the “fee,” and then make sure to surprise and delight them so it’s worthy of that payment.
Test. Test. Test. Make sure you have multiple traffic drivers so you are able to optimize your campaign based on what’s producing the best results. Not only should you be testing different platforms, test the creative on each channel. Lastly, test your landing page. Play with the number and type of form fields required. See if having the form higher on the page yields better results. Or switch creative to match your top-performing campaign assets.
Start planning early so you have time to integrate technology (or invest in and set up the technology). Build out all of the landing pages, content, ads, and nurture streams, and have time to QA and test before your campaign launches. These types of programs can seem overwhelming, but with enough time to prepare, you can reap a lot of reward from investing in them!
Understand that not all tactics will produce the same results from campaign to campaign. There are many variables that can affect the success of a lead generation campaign, such as audience, messaging, and timing. Be prepared to invest in a media and content mix so you can understand what will drive the best performance with every campaign.
If you’re looking for an experienced marketing partner that offers integrated campaign services to help you plan and execute your lead generation programs