Why This Stat About Internet Leads Should Worry You

You May Have Half As Many As You Thought

“People often mistake activity for outcomes, but they are not the same thing.” — Anthony Iannarino, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need

Now that traditional media companies are offering a full array of digital advertising products, we (and our clients) benefit from all of the measuring tools available to us.

When the message is online or on mobile, we have lots of metrics to choose from. It’s important to choose wisely when it’s time to keep score.

In sales presentations, I often see Account Executives focus on their ability to generate click-throughs. Sometimes they even guarantee a specific number of clicks as part of the package.

Problem: the desired end result for most advertisers isn’t a click-through — it’s usually a sale. Clicks are an activity, not an outcome.

You can’t eat clicks and likes.”

Mark Hunter, High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results

A recent study by the SEO firm Straight North demonstrates that all click-throughs are not created equal.

Over 18 months, Straight North analyzed more than 350,000 form submissions and phone calls generated by internet marketing campaigns. What they found is startling:

Only half of them — roughly 178,000 — were genuine sales leads.

Digital salespeople may be shocked by this internet stat

Photo by Brian Jackson

According to Straight North,

Roughly 50 percent of all inquiries are not sales leads, instead made up of things such as:

  • Customer service communication
  • Sales solicitations
  • Job applicants
  • Phone misdials
  • Auto-dialers
  • Full voice mail systems and other phone menu issues
  • Spam form submissions
  • Empty form submissions
  • Form submissions missing contact information such as an email or phone number”

Straight North points out that lead validation is crucial here. When you don’t know what happened after the first click, you don’t know what you’re delivering.

If it turns out that half of the click-throughs your campaign delivers are worthless, you may not be delivering the outcome that your advertiser wants.

To generate more sales from the campaign, you’ve got two choices:

  1. Increase the quantity of the clicks with more advertising. If the overall number rises, you can generate more sales even if the ratio of good-to-bad doesn’t change.
  2. If the budget won’t allow more advertising, you need to focus on improving the quality of inquiry, with sharper ad copy, stronger landing pages, and a better sales funnel.

You may think you’re selling click-throughs, but your client wants to buy sales.

Focus on the outcome, not the activity.

Here’s a link to a summary of the study:


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