When I first arrived to Luxhabitat years ago, I found that we didn’t have a way to know from where many leads where coming from. Additionally, we weren’t following the whole lead journey, so when there was a transaction, sometimes it wasn’t clear from where did the client come from. Quite socking, but not so uncommon among traditional businesses.
Lead source tracking is crucial to have clear what’s the ROI per channel and knowing so, to use it as a key factor to decide where to put the effort and money. So on this article I’d like to review three basic ways to tackle this problem.
1. Using a different phone number per marketing channel
Phone is still a very relevant contact channel, so when the client calls, we need to know from where do they got our number. This is specially important for high cost traditional channels like outdoor advertising, print, affiliates and property portals. There are cheap ways to do it like using a virtual number service, or more expensive but better ones, like having a in-house call center.
There is a downside: Losing the extra engagement given by using a unique vanity number everywhere. But I believe the benefits of having every call well tracked are really worth.
Additionally, if we want to track the source of the phone calls coming from our website, there is a way to do it, although is not suitable for every business: Changing the website phone number based on the visitor referral. Easy to do by a web developer, although user perception wise it’s quite strange.
2. Tracking campaign links with UTM parameters
When we want to track the leads source coming from your website in general, UTM parameters are the easiest solution. Every digital marketing campaign should have every link tagged, so when the visitor arrives to the website, you know exactly from where is coming from. Adding these parameters to the URL, we can have the campaign source, name and additional information. All of that would be available in Google Analytics and ideally, also in your own CRM. You can try Google’s Campaign URL Builder to get a properly tagged URL, it’s very straight forward.
The resulting URL could be very long, so I would recommend using it together with a URL shortener service like Bitly, that offers some reporting as well. Or even building your own url shortener, technically is quite easy.
This is specially critical for email campaigns, because many times there is no referral coming from the email client. Therefore, visitors coming from emails can be counted as Direct Traffic by Google Analytics, messing up the campaign results.
3. Asking the client directly
Sounds obvious but it is an option. Ideally doing it during the first contact point with the client, when it’s still fresh in their memory. You can add the question to your CS team’s script or using the classic “how did you find us” form on the website. Is not ideal because it depends on the client’s input and it’s not entirely trustworthy. But if you have no other option, better to have a reference than being totally blind ;)
Once the lead source is known, you just need to assign it to the new contact in your CRM software and it shouldn’t be a problem to keep track during the whole journey. So if there is a transaction, you can know from which channel and even which campaign came from.
It’s also important to make everyone aware of the importance of knowing the source. Every time a lead goes into the CRM, the source should be specified no matter what. And you need to encourage your brokers to include every single lead on the CRM.
Reaching the point where you have everything perfectly tracked on every channel and every campaign is quite a challenge, but definitely worth spending time on it. Finally, mention that there is a following step, very important to nail an ROI analysis: Attribution modeling. I’ll talk about that another time ;)