Inbound marketing: Clicks vs. leads

There’s a significant difference between clicks to your website and true inbound lead generation. While it may be tempting to report those larger web traffic numbers as “leads,” the reality is that you can’t be certain that those folks are actually prospective customers.

Website traffic is important

Don’t get me wrong, traffic to your site is important. After all, it’s the first step in generating customers though online marketing efforts. But if your end goal is lead generation, it’s essential to consider clicks and leads as two separate entities when reporting marketing campaign successes.

Clicks vs. leads

A click is simply a person that visits your website. An inbound lead is a person that visits your website,  and you have reason to believe they may become a customer. How do you know that? Because you know specific criteria about these folks that makes them a fit for your product or service.

Consider this

You’re a B2B company that sells software to marketing agencies called RVA inbound. The page on your site about products and services gets traffic from three different sources: 1) me, an employee of The Hodges Partnership, 2) a recent grad doing research for an upcoming interview at your company, and 3) an avid hiker who meant to search for “RVA bound,” a website for hiking groups.

One of us is the right fit for your products and services. In this scenario, you generated three website clicks (visitors), and one potential lead. But, you don’t know I’m the right fit unless I tell you, by filling out forms on landing pages, for example.

Reporting inbound leads

Web traffic numbers are important, but reporting them as leads is… misleading. Instead, attach form fields and link off to landing pages on highly trafficked pages. That way, you can more efficiently track conversion rates – and nurture leads through the buying journey as you collect information about their needs and preferences.

Inbound marketing operates as a funnel (visitors become leads, leads become customers, with a few steps in between). You’ll naturally have more visitors than leads and more leads than customers. By tracking them separately, you’ll be able to see patterns, identify gaps in your funnel and establish conversion benchmarks to improve upon.

Determine the end goal first

For many organizations, generating web traffic is their primary objective. That could be to measure awareness around a product launch, or drive audiences to a specific page aimed at changing brand perceptions or spreading a particular key message.

Whether it’s brand awareness or lead gen you’re after, be sure you and your team are on the same page about the end goal and how to report successes along the way.

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Laura Elizabeth Saunders

Laura Elizabeth is a strategic dynamo, especially when it comes to implementing inbound marketing strategies. She also enjoys doing research, writing and media relations works for a variety of B2B clients.

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