When you first launch a new site or even a new digital marketing campaign, traffic seems like the Holy Grail. All you want is to see those numbers climb in your analytics data, so you sweeten the deal for prospective visitors. Maybe you run a free iPad giveaway or a car sweepstakes. Everyone likes free stuff, and those shiny contests will bring people to your site in virtual droves.
But somehow those droves turn into barely a trickle when it comes to conversion numbers. Your brilliant marketing strategy brought in lots of eager giveaway participants and very few actual prospects. The sales team often takes the blame for those low conversion rates, but the fault actually lies with marketing. Your sales representatives can’t do much with leads who are only interested in freebies.
The Price of Traffic
There’s traffic and then there’s good traffic. Free stuff draws traffic. Anyone can give away an iPad in exchange for 20,000 hits. But good traffic, like a good partner, is a little harder to find.
Using broad giveaways to generate leads is like hoping your guests will stay for dinner when you’ve already served them dessert. You end up with a heap of soggy food and an alarming grocery bill, with no hope of recouping the cost. Similarly, a directionless marketing strategy costs far more than you realize initially.
Here are some of the costs incurred when you bring unqualified leads into your sales funnel:
- Marketing dollars: Every lead costs something. Each keyword-driven ad campaign, email follow-up, and sponsored post requires time and energy from your marketing team, not to mention the costs of running ads or paying for accounts on analytics and management platforms. Even if the cost per lead is low, those small amounts add up and impact your bottom line.
- Sales resources: Once a lead comes in, someone needs to qualify them – and that someone is usually a member of the sales team. When your sales representatives chase down people who were looking for a freebie and have zero interest in your product, they expend time and money that could be spent on serious prospects. But because marketing hasn’t vetted those leads, sales has no way of knowing they’re wasting time until it’s already gone.
- Conflicting feedback: When conversions are low, companies often assume that customer surveys will help them improve their sales rates. But if you survey the wrong leads, you get skewed information that leads you further away from your target audience. It’s like monitoring Pinterest and Instagram for information on your 65-and-older demographic. You might get a few useful responses, but you’re looking in the wrong place. When you fall into this trap, you invest in products no one actually intends to buy, which puts you deeper into the budget hole. Instead, listen to your core customers and respond to their needs.
- Opportunity costs: While these misdirections snowball, your competitors are jumping on your lost prospects. Other companies in your industry will gain traction and eat into your market share while you’re still trying to determine what went wrong.
Reclaim Your Qualified Leads
Attractive as they are, those free iPad giveaways aren’t helping your company. Instead, create offers relevant to your target audience. Free e-books or access to a webinar draws people to your site and helps you capture their information. And because the giveaway is specific and relevant, you know these leads are genuinely interested in what you’re offering.
Focus on creating unique ways to appeal to the right customers with the right offer at the right time. You may drive less leads overall, but the ones you do generate are viable conversion prospects. Hitting that sweet spot allows for a clean hand-off of leads from marketing to sales, which increases your funnel velocity.