Generating More Leads for Your Business

Validate Online Leads To Generate Many More Of Them

Because ongoing testing of the website and marketing campaigns is essential for successful lead generation marketing, a company is only as good as its data.

Surprisingly, most lead generation marketers fall short on what is the most important piece of data there is – sales lead production.

Most companies track website conversions, the number of form submissions and phone calls generated by Internet marketing campaigns.

Conversion data is used in testing and marketing campaign evaluations. And while most companies realize conversion data is somewhat fuzzy, we wonder if any realize how utterly murky conversion data really is.

In the course of processing more than 600,000 website conversions from our agency website and client websites, we unearthed a very important (and surprising) bit of data: Half of website conversions were something other than sales leads.

What were the non-leads? Things such as spam, misdials, uncompleted forms, sales solicitations, personal phone calls, and customer service inquiries.

Bottom line: Conversion data is half wrong, and is therefore all wrong for serious lead generation marketing.

What Is Lead Validation?

Lead validation, which we used to process the 600,000 leads, involves listening to recordings of phone conversions and reading all website form submissions, to separate true sales leads from non-leads.

The lead validation process proved so valuable we have made it standard procedure in all of our agency and client SEO and PPC campaigns.

Why Lead Validation Generates More Leads and More Value

Lead validation is rather time consuming, but is well worth the investment for a number of critical reasons.

  • First and most important, having accurate lead data enables Internet marketing campaign managers to test and improve campaigns with laser accuracy. Conversion data alone is misleading. For instance, a given PPC keyword can generate lots of conversions but relatively few leads.

When lead production for keywords becomes visible to the campaign manager, he or she can put the emphasis where it belongs. The cumulative effect of testing based on leads rather than conversions is far more rapid growth in lead production.

  • Lead validation helps company leadership make far more accurate assessments of the productivity of their Internet marketing campaigns. Since most campaign reports fail to distinguish leads from non-leads, and instead lump everything into a single bucket, leaders often get a false and overstated impression of how their marketing investments are paying off.

Having hard lead data makes reporting more transparent and meaningful, giving companies the ability to make intelligent decisions about which campaigns to ramp up and which to ramp down.

  • Lead validation helps sales teams close more deals. Suppose the lead validator reviews a form submission from a CEO involving a $100,000 purchase.

The lead validator can bring this inquiry to the sales manager’s attention immediately, giving him or her the ability to bypass the standard follow-up procedure and go the extra mile to lock down that lead. (This is why we recommend doing lead validation in real time or as close to it as possible.)

  • Lead validation brings other efficiencies to the sales team. Another good practice for lead validation is turning over phone recordings to the sales department.

When sales management listens to recordings of phone inquiries, they often spot flaws in how the calls are being handled. A bit of training can create major improvements in close rates.

  • Lead validation improves sales department morale and execution. Happy sales teams are productive, and getting a continuous flow of high-quality leads from the marketing department makes them very happy.

The norm is quite different though; companies without validation dump undifferentiated conversions on sales teams, burdening them with follow-up on dead end after dead end.

Eventually, sales departments grow cynical about the business value of their marketing departments and website investment. None of this is conducive to good marketing or sales execution.

For more detail and insight about the value of lead validation, review my analysis, The Critical Importance of Lead Validation in Internet Marketing.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of  Web Design and SEO of Carolinas, its staff, or its partners.

Author: Aaron Wittersheim

Real Estate SEO for 2017 – Google’s “Mobile First” World

Source: Search Engine Land

These pages can appear within the normal Google search results, as well as in distinct content carousels that offer up timely or relevant information. AMP pages are available in a number of popular search categories such as news and recipes, and Google is working on implementing even more.

It’s likely that AMP will continue to play a major role in providing a fast and user-friendly experience as Google continues to push their mobile narrative.

At the time of this writing, AMP is not yet ready or suitable for wide adoption, however, this will likely change as improvements are continually made to the framework and plugins available. So if you haven’t built any AMP pages yet, you still have time to implement them before they become a real game-changer.

Increased Emphasis on Structured Data to Prominently Feature Results

Structured Data will be critical to make your mobile result stand out above the competition. Structured data organizes your mobile site’s data to be more digestible for Google’s crawlers, which could allow your site a higher position in the search results.

With structured data, Google can feature your site in article carousels, rich cards, and other prominent search results. These placements in the results can give you an edge over the competition, as they can make your page visually stand out from the “10 blue links” people are used to seeing.

Optimizing for Longer Title Tags

When a user initially performs a search query, the title tags are the primary element that gets them to click on your site. They are the first thing a user sees when viewing the results of their query, and they can make or break a user’s interest on whether to click it or not. Right now, title tags are slightly longer on mobile SERPs compared to desktop SERPs. It’s possible that title tags will be optimized to 70 characters moving forward instead of the 60-65 we’re used to.

Longer title tags may actually help you with Google’s mobile initiative because they help you show more information about your pages. An extra 5-10 characters may not seem like a lot, but if you use them to enhance your landing page, you can draw customers in with strategic, targeted wording. For certain pages like product listings, the extra characters could be enough to add a “free shipping” label. Mobile users looking to snag a good deal would see that label and be more inclined to click.

Links Will (Likely) Still Play a Major Role

Links are known in the SEO industry as the most significant factor in Google’s ranking algorithms. However, links don’t quite have that star treatment on mobile.

Google has said people link out less often to the mobile version of a URL compared to a desktop version. And since the majority of sites use responsive design these days, the implications of a mobile first index don’t appear to be a game-changer to links and their importance as a ranking factor.

On the other hand, don’t think that links will see a decrease in use with the onset of the mobile first index. Gary Illyes recently said on Twitter that it was hard to rank without links.

He later clarified, saying that external links “translate in some sense to popularity and endorsement by others.” So Google will still look at external links to offer up the best results to mobile users. Without such a filter, users will get less than optimal search results, and Google wants to avoid this outcome at all costs.

Heading into the Google’s Mobile First World

Change is unavoidable in the world of SEO, but you need to have a plan for the mobile first index. To meet the changes head-on and secure a successful SEO future for your site, you need to have the right preparations in order:

  • Functional desktop and mobile versions
  • Fast page speed
  • Structured data
  • Strategic title tags
  • Healthy, natural links

Google has not said when the mobile first index will fully roll out, but this first “experiment” was released mere weeks after Google announced the mobile and desktop split.

In all likelihood, Google will continue to tweak it until it’s ready, and even then the final version will undergo many changes to refine it and improve it for users.

One thing’s for sure – the mobile first index will bring significant changes with it. Will you be ready when it arrives?

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of  Web Design and SEO of Carolinas, its staff, or its partners.

Author: John Caiozzo