5 Ways to Improve Your Lead Gen Campaigns Throughout the Funnel via @hoffman8

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Lead gen advertisers are faced with the struggle of not only posting strong on-site KPIs but also balancing quantity with the quality of the leads delivered.

In this article you will learn the steps you need to take to improve your lead generation while also keeping sight of and improving funnel conversion thereafter.

1. Take It from the Top

Lead gen advertising can get expensive – especially if you have a long buying cycle.

Starting at the top of the funnel might seem counter-intuitive when you have a lot of touchpoints.

However, it allows you to both take advantage of lesser expensive targeting methods and lead generation techniques and get in front of your prospects early on – positioning yourself to engage with the prospect throughout the buying cycle.

Better yet, prospecting in channels such as LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook opens up an array of targeting options to help you zero in on the right targets.

This can be a little bit trickier with search, especially if you sell a product or service that consumers are seeking, as well.

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Not only do you have a broader selection for targeting but diversifying your media spend also opens up new ways to convert prospects.

For example, using lead gen forms on LinkedIn and Facebook can often prove to be much less expensive than sending folks to a landing page.

(Granted, if you leverage those tactics at the top of the funnel, those leads will usually need to be nurtured but we’ll get to that!)

2. If You’ve Got Content, Flaunt It

Content is a great way to capture top-of-funnel and middle-of-funnel leads.

Content allows you to offer something of value in exchange for their information.

Plus, content allows you to start collecting information.

You can learn about prospects based upon what type of content they look at.

SMB or enterprise; mustang or F150; beach vacation or backpacking Europe – you see where this is going.

By engaging with your content, they begin to self-select into market segments, which can then help inform your marketing strategy moving forward.

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Last but not least, content creates a great way to re-engage while continually offering value in exchange.

3. Don’t Forget the Middle of the Funnel

While we’ve touched on the middle of the funnel a few times already, I’d still be remiss if I didn’t call it out.

The middle of the funnel is still an area that I commonly see as a weak spot for businesses that rely heavily on PPC efforts for lead gen.

As advertisers start to move up the funnel, we often go all the way to the top (which is good!).

But then, there’s a disconnect when we generate top-of-funnel leads and treat them the same as bottom-of-funnel leads and become frustrated when they don’t perform the same.

Leads generated at the top of the funnel can be much less expensive than lower funnel leads but they’re also not as warm.

Thus, a re-engagement strategy is critical to make sure that you get a good return on these efforts.

When folks hear “middle funnel”, they often think of email.

Leveraging email is a great way to re-engage folks throughout the funnel.

On the PPC side of things, audiences are a great way to keep folks engaged, too.

4. Get the Most Out of First & Third-Party Audiences

The great thing about starting higher in the funnel is that it allows you to build up some excellent audiences that can then be used in lower-funnel campaigns (i.e., audiences around content topics).

Your first-party audiences don’t have to be pixel-based, either.

You can create first-party audiences off of your email lists, too.

There are also a ton of third-party options available for audience targeting.

You can layer both first-party and third-party audiences on top of your search campaigns with the observation-only setting.

Doing so will allow you to collect data on the performance of these audiences without restricting or changing the targeting of your search audiences in any way.

Make sure to also check out the third-party audiences which fall under “detailed demographics.”

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Not all of the detailed-demographic-audiences can be layered into search campaigns, but some can.

For instance, B2B advertisers can choose audiences for company size and industry.

Depending upon how those audiences perform, you might choose to create RLSA campaigns, requiring your searchers to also fall into the audiences that you choose.

Using the B2B example, this could be a safeguard to attempt to ensure that you’re targeting the appropriate company sizes for your ads.

Check out this article, How to Drive More Revenue to Your Search Campaigns with Third-Party Audiences,
for more information on how to leverage third-party audiences in PPC.

The great thing about audiences is that they can be used in a wide variety of channels, so you can take your learnings and apply them in other areas as well.

For instance, you can use your first-party audiences to re-engage folks in display and YouTube to facilitate funnel movement. (Get more tips on driving revenue through remarketing here.)

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Plus, you can apply those learnings to the top of the funnel by cycling those third-party audiences up the funnel into your prospecting campaigns as new targeting options.

Just remember to keep an eye on conversion rates.

When you move third-party out of search and into display and YouTube, the audience tends to open up significantly because you don’t have the keyword requirements enforcing relevance.

I suggest checking out how those audiences are performing in Google Analytics against all website traffic, not just paid search, to see how conversion rates look.

If conversion rate drops significantly – or if the data is skewed because the majority of your site traffic is coming from search – you can use the Combined Audiences feature to layer multiple audiences to help narrow in your targeting.

5. Track Everything & Monitor Lead Quality

Sometimes it’s really easy to launch campaigns based upon what we already have the ability to track, even if tracking isn’t currently comprehensive.

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The problem is that if you don’t track everything, you can’t get a good gauge on performance.

With lead gen campaigns, it isn’t only volume that we are concerned about – it’s also quality.

Making sure that we’re tracking leads through to sale is critical to get a good handle on:

Which sources and campaigns are driving good leads.Which sources and campaigns are driving junk leads.

The most commonly missed metrics in my experience are micro-conversions and calls.

Let’s touch on each of those.

Micro-Conversions

Micro-conversions are valuable because they allow you to monitor engagement.

As you move up the funnel, it’s really helpful to know if – and how – folks are engaging, versus just driving as much traffic to your site and hoping that they’ll come back.

Micro-conversions are also great for creating audiences, which can shape your strategy.

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Tracking micro-conversions is a great way to create a feedback loop on your campaign to ensure that you are providing value to your prospects and receiving value in exchange.

I would much rather see a report that shows X number of folks watched a video, downloaded a guide, downloaded a coupon, and so on instead of a report that strictly shows the number of impressions and clicks.

Calls

Without proper call tracking, it’s really difficult to get a handle on the number of calls.

Agencies have likely worked with clients before that shared anecdotal feedback:

“Calls seem light today.”“We had quite a few calls yesterday.”“We have had a lot of calls but they don’t all seem relevant.”And worse “Calls increased significantly but I think it’s because we did X offline.”

Without tracking in place, you’ll never know what the driving factors are behind those calls or if they’re even coming from media efforts.

This means it’s all but impossible to improve call volume or quality which PPC is great for.

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Implementing a call tracking process allows you to get a good pulse on call quality and value, volume, and trends.

Ideally, this can all be done on a granular level that allows you to make optimizations that really effect change.

More Resources:

5 Demand Generation Tactics That Work in PPCHow to Measure Success in PPC Campaigns With & Without Conversion DataPPC 101: A Complete Guide to PPC Marketing Basics
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