I know: it’s heresy.
I’m very much a stat guy, and clicks make the world go ’round. At least that’s what the industry is selling, right?
At Red House, we sell something that just might come back into fashion soon: measurable results—and we’ve been doing it for over a decade, before it was popular. That sounds ridiculous, but it’s true: since the dawn of internet marketing, “results” have been sold as a pleasant consequence of clicks.
Sounds awfully perverse to me. If your marketing initiatives don’t have a direct correlation to sales, why spend money on them? For clicks? In today’s hyper-measurable environment, if you’re not tying results to sales, you will be held accountable—sooner, not later.
To wit: If I have 100 clicks and five of those end up as sales, would I care if I only had 10 clicks with five ending as sales? No. (But I’d like to know why I attracted the unqualified clicks, and where to get more of the qualified.)
The goal of any marketing tactic isn’t to attract everyone. It’s attracting the people you want. The buyers, not the tire kickers.
There’s Strength in (Smaller) Numbers
The same theory applies to the rest of the process. Let’s say you’re measuring the conversion of visitors to Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and you have a goal of increasing this percentage. You should actually be figuring out how to attract fewer non-qualified leads, not simply increasing qualified leads. Using the example above, if I have 100 visitors to my link and 20 of them meet my criteria, I’m converting at 20%. If I can cut the visit rate by half, and keep the qualified number the same, I’d have a 40% conversion rate.
If I can see the source of my 40%, that goes further than spending more to acquire larger lists, adding more media, and so on. One approach uses a “broadening” attitude while the other requires a “narrowing” attitude.
Here comes the important part: This is equally true for Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). As you measure conversion from MQL to SQL, ask yourself: How do I reduce the bad MQLs to increase conversion to SQL?
It’s quality over quantity. Use it and you’ll create a lean, clear system to drive sales. Yes, there are many points along the (pipe)line that can be refined, but if you start with SQLs and work backwards, you should begin to reduce the time and wasted touches you may be spending today.
Dan Hansen is a Senior Partner with Red House and a 30-year veteran of the marketing industry. In addition to holding a master’s degree in advertising from Syracuse University, he works in a marketing consulting capacity with Red House clients such as McKesson, Elsevier, Equifax, and AT&T.