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In a perfect world we would be able to ask our visitors and prospects where they heard about us, and they would say something like this:
“After performing a Google search for ‘local blue widgets’, I found your sponsored ad toward the bottom of the first page. Your ad looked more professional and appealing than the others even though it wasn’t at the top. I clicked on the ad and it brought me to a page that had great information on blue widgets. It was exactly what I was looking for, as if you somehow knew what I wanted…”
In the past when print media was the primary marketing channel, asking your prospects was a much more viable way to track your leads. You would get answers like “The billboard near my house”, “Your ad in the local newspaper”, “The Yellowpages”, or “The flier I got in the mail”. These things are easy for a viewer to remember. Online Marketing is different: when you browse through 20 different pages in ten minutes, it’s difficult to remember how you stumbled upon a website.
Unfortunately, with Online Marketing your typical answers like “The Internet”, or “A Google search”, simply aren’t enough information. You have no way of knowing if it was an organic result or a sponsored ad that they clicked on, and you can’t tell which page on your website they first landed on, or what keywords they searched. The fact of matter is that you can’t depend on prospects to tell you how they heard about you. We’ve seen folks say they searched Yahoo! for “Denver liposuction”, when we don’t even advertise on Yahoo! for that client. They’re not lying– they just don’t remember.
Here are 5 ways to track your online leads, the first being least effective and last being most effective:
Ask them how they heard about you: Even if the client had proper recall, the folks at the front desk aren’t always consistent. Do it anyway, but don’t rely on this data alone.
Use a “click to call” technology: For example, Google Voice allows you to embed a widget that will connect both parties. However, folks over 30 (the ones with money to spend on professional services), prefer seeing a phone number and dialing it. Plus, not seeing the phone number on the website will hurt your SEO– the search engines won’t see it as necessarily being local. If you’re in NYC, use a NYC area code; if in San Francisco, use a San Fransisco are code etc. This method is great for tracking leads, but you’re going to miss out on some sales or conversions. People want to see a phone number.
Use rotating extensions: So maybe you want to buy only one phone number. To track the source, you can have each page be a different extension– Press “1″ for “Denver Hair Removal”, press “2″ for “Denver Smart Lipo”, and so fourth. This does have its drawbacks; putting clients through another step is going to cause some portion of the leads to drop out.
Use multiple phone numbers: Buying a web-only phone number guarantees that if they called that number, then they were on the site. You can forward that web-only number to your regular number, so it’s no extra work for your office. There are a bunch of vendors that provide call tracking, charging from $10 per line per month to $35 per line per month. If you have 10 numbers, one to track each type of traffic, it becomes a large expense for a small business. However, if you have just ONE phone number on the site, how are you going to track what keyword they came in on? Though it may be expensive, this is an extremely accurate and easy way to track your leads. You also wont have to worry about prospects dropping calls out of confusion or frustration like you do with multiple extensions.
Use a coupon code: For example, when visitors are on a Botox landing page, tell them to mention “BOTOXDOCTOR” to get $50 off their next procedure. Have a different code for each of your different landing pages. Good old fashioned coupon codes that provide an incentive for customers don’t cost you a thing, and is a simple way to effectively track your leads.
I find it surprising that more people don’t use coupon codes. Google Local Business Center and MerchantCircle as well as a few other directories have begun integrating coupons into their advertisements, making it easy for business owners to determine whether a new lead came from Google Maps, MerchantCircle, or some other source.
250 Million users and growing… Facebook has more users than Indonesia (the fourth most populous nation on the earth), has people. So how can a B2B marketer pull in prized customers from this vast ocean of prospects? More importantly, how can an advertiser reach B2B customers while they’re posting photos, chatting, and playing Mafia Wars? Wouldn’t ‘reaching’ them be considered an interruption? Facebook’s Advertising Department is so confident they can reach B2B types they invited me and a group of fellow advertisers to its headquarters a few months ago. Though I remained skeptical I began the journey to Facebook’s Headquarters in Palo Alto one drizzly August morning with an open mind.
Researching Facebook’s site was the most fun I’ve had at work in a long time. I wasn’t nearly as familiar with Facebook as some of my friends. The site is so addicting I’m not sure I want to know it too much better than I do now… Some of my Facebook savvy friends had hundreds of friends and were sending me Mafia Wars weapons, IQ Quizzes, and cause invitations before I even ‘friended’ my wife and daughter. The quizzes are entertaining, the games are worse than crack, and the ability to re-connect with long lost friends sucked me in. The site combines the best features of,, Picasa, (photo sharing) chat, charities, fan clubs, causes, and games. Additionally Facebook brings all the best features of these sites to a new viral level. But the one thought that kept nagging at me was: folks on Facebook are not there to research products so how can we reach them while they’re socializing on this site? The marketing challenges seem insurmountable:
Finding my B2B audience among the 250 Million
Getting their attention while they’re ‘playing’
Not interrupting or peeving them in the process
Facebook’s Headquarters in Palo Alto have all the trappings of a typical Silicon Valley start up: high ceilings with exposed ventilation ducts, a gourmet kitchen open all hours, and a virtual United Nations of employees all spread out in desk areas without walls. None of them appears older than 28, and some are moving about on skateboards and razors on smooth concrete floors. Our conference room was a candy colored assortment sofas that swallow your bottom surrounding a 60-inch LCD TV serving as our demo screen. Despite the trendy trappings, Facebook had much more substance than met the eye.
One of the mid twenty somethings presented to us that Facebook an incredible lineup of user demographics and can target them on no less than 19 different parameters including:
TV Shows
High School
Relationship status
Small Business
Pet Enthusiasts
Demographics didn’t quite convince me but I was getting warmer. Facebook connects more than just people to people; it connects:
People to companies
People to organizations
People to products
People to classmates
People to social groups
People to causes
People to hobbies and interests
People to brands
While all this reconnecting/socializing/chatting/sharing/gaming is going on, the viral aspect of Facebook is also thrown into the mix. Word of mouth is powerful.
For example, when someone goes out to eat, buys a car or any product or service for that matter, do they trust the reviews they see on Yahoo!,, or Amazon? No disrespect to these fine websites, but I don’t trust their reviews any more than I trust restaurant reviews from TV “Phantom Diners.” Disappointing sushi shops are more the rule than the exception when I believe American restaurant critics who purport to know something about sushi. The fact is, I trust my friends, especially my very meticulous Japanese friend’s sushi restaurant recommendations. So when I’m connected to friends on Facebook and one of them recommends a good sushi shop, they’ll usually tell a friend. That friend tells friends and soon the word on the best sushi shop spreads around like a virus.
Now let’s take that virus and multiply it. Let’s say the sushi shop we’re raving about runs an ad on Facebook with a $10 off coupon. My friends are more inclined to click on the ad because of my recommendation. CTR and Conversions increase because the social context increases the probability of intent to purchase, (by a multiple). Ok, I’m getting warmer, but it’s still a B2C example. What about B2B?
Through Facebook’s Pages, businesses can create a page to connect with customers and create a community. Company X can, through Event Ads, let its community know that it’s attending the next Comdex or E3. The company can run an ad on its corporate page with a lottery for a prize to be announced at its booth. Company X could have speaker announcements on its Facebook Page. Why would a company want to do this? Company Fan Sites or Corporate site Pages are Voices – 1/3 of your fans will see what you put up on your site. 30% of your fans will read what you’ve launched on their individual home page. If they comment on that announcement on their wall, it’s seen by all their friends following their comments. How’s that for reach?
Engagement Advertisements
On the right side of the home page, (Engagement Ads) “become a fan,” Ads can be video, static, Users can comment on ads or video on the user’s profile page.
Celebrities and Industry Experts
Company X can capitalize on its unique content and celebrities. If Company X has industry experts who’ve published technical articles and how-to application notes, it can feature these experts as Celebrities on Facebook. If your company has a celebrity or expert who can create fresh content for you, that content can be launched as an update on the corporate Facebook page or the expert can have his or her own Facebook page.
Favorite Pages Application
The Favorite Pages Application can be used as a corporate sponsor. The Afflac Duck fan site posts photos of the Duck visiting famous places all over the world such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the pyramids of Giza. All the photos posted on the site of course are taken from the Duck’s perspective, i.e., from 1 foot off the ground.
If Facebook is the social networking site where everyone is, why not take advantage of the fact by becoming part of it? The B2B aspect became clear: start a corporate Facebook page, populate it with useful unique content that users can’t get anywhere else, and make sure the content drives traffic to and from the corporate web site. Facebook Profiles enable brands to connect with fans. Videos, Comments and interactions get organically put back on users sites. Companies can ask users for feedback. They can make an offer once a day and make a pitch in the voice of a character
Papa John’s Pizza gained millions of impressions and 130k fans in 24 hours
They thanked the fans with exclusive offers – and the redemption rate was higher than email offers
Built brand loyalty
I’m convinced. Now can I convince my colleagues at work?
Meanwhile, I’ll just have some fun.

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