Historically, search and social have been two of the highest-quality sources for lead generation. They offer a multitude of ways to get in front of different types of customers.
When someone types words into a search form or likes a page on Facebook, he or she provides invaluable data to companies regarding his or her interests and needs, and companies can easily tool their messaging around these results.
But are these so-called high-quality lead generators actually delivering verifiable leads? Or do they just provide a mishmash of inaccurate data?
It’s crucial for companies to implement successful lead verification processes and validate the quality of their leads. In doing so, they also improve their lead pricing and marketing spend, as well as lead conversion rates.
Many companies don’t know where to draw the line between valid and invalid leads, and drawing it too far in either direction could lose hard-earned clients and cost them qualified leads. But with a solidified verification process in place, agents will pay above market value, and agencies are enabled to smartly spend on higher-quality traffic — it’s a win for everyone.
Setting up a successful verification process requires these six steps:
1. Set your criteria
First and foremost, you need to establish clear parameters for what qualifies as a “good lead.” Gather all relevant parties in one room — namely your sales and marketing departments — to collaborate and arrive at an agreement. There’s plenty of third-party data you can reference while drilling down your true target audiences. Make sure you do your research and come up with options that everyone is on board with.
2. Segment your targets
After establishing a few broad target audiences, you’ll want to break them up into smaller segments. Segmentation not only helps with testing, but it also allows for more personalized communication — something modern consumers have come to expect from businesses. Take a bird’s-eye view of your list, and you’ll probably notice that your audiences naturally sort themselves into segments. Organise and sort them by categories like industry, location, and size.
3. Test your segments
Testing isn’t an exact science, but a good place to start is with different keywords and images. Dig deep to study how your audience reacts to and interacts with these cues when presented across different platforms and channels. This will help you identify your best clients and develop strategies that help you reach them more effectively. You’ll also notice where your audience virtually “hangs out” — something that comes in handy when creating paid posts or more targeted campaigns.
4. Track the results
What good is testing if you don’t record the results? Track everything — not just your lead conversion funnel, but also your clients’ sales funnels. The more data you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to qualify the quality of your leads and reinforce the conclusions you came to in the criteria-setting phase.
5. Continue testing
As you make changes to any piece of marketing collateral - even if it’s something as simple as swapping colours or banner images - you should continue gathering data and studying the results. Being able to tie client conversions to specific ad and landing page variations will allow you to spot trends and create a high-converting blend of profitable leads for everyone.
A/B testing is great for both lead conversion funnels and client sales funnels. It helps you determine how audiences interact with changes and assess their impact on your conversion rates. But make sure you’re only implementing and studying one change at a time. Otherwise, you’ll dilute and confuse your findings.
6. Gather client-return feedback
Client-return feedback — the data explaining why a client returns leads — is just as important as conversion feedback. This feedback originates when an email bounces back or a phone number is found to be invalid, and it’s important: It only comes into play when a lead that should have converted didn’t.
It ensures the accuracy of your data by, among other things, making sure the locations of your leads’ IP addresses match the cities and states entered in your forms. In addition to these forms, the information can be gathered through customer service records. With a large enough client-return data set, you can pull validation levers to increase quality and impose new validation rules for the fields on your landing page.
No one comes right out of the gate with a campaign that’s both profitable and conversion-rich. It takes time, money, constant testing, and a unified, companywide approach.
Once companies implement solid lead verification practices, they eventually know exactly how and where they can generate high-quality leads.