The Lead Source
Evaluating your marketing’s effectiveness by asking the right questions consistently.

At the beginning of our relationship with a client, we spend time at the client’s office learning about their existing marketing and their operations. We look at information from customer data that will tell us how well marketing efforts are working. The most widely used tool to track marketing effectiveness is the Lead Source. The sad part is that most companies don’t use this tool very effectively.And if they do collect the lead sources, no one follows through to review the lead source lists and make necessary changes to capitalize on the marketing methods that work. 

Evaluating your marketing’s effectiveness all starts with gathering accurate and consistent information. When companies collect lead sources, often they only write down certain lead sources and they only ask certain people. For example, they may only write down a lead source if the person mentions major media, yellow pages, the internet, television, the radio, etc... Or they may only ask their new customers. 
Why do most companies only ask their new customers about the lead source? We often find that they use “Repeat Customer” as the lead source. “Repeat Customer,” however, tells you nothing about what caused the customer to call again. Many companies believe that a customer will automatically use them again, and they don’t have initiatives in place to bring them back. So the first step when reviewing your marketing’s effectiveness may be to create initiatives to continually bring customers back in, then the next step is to track these initiatives that keep them coming back. 

Another common problem in collecting lead source information is that companies ask vague questions. “How did you hear about us?” is the most common. The customer may think, hmmm, how did I first hear about this company? If it was a long time ago, it may be difficult for the customer to remember. And don’t you want to find out what brought the call now? How they originally heard about you may be quite different than how they get your number when they need you. Better questions would be:

How did you get our number today?

What brought you into the store today?

What made you decide to visit our site today?

How did you get to this page of our site today?

Notice the common word?  TODAY.

Let’s say you are a residential plumbing company and you decide to develop a brochure about new services your company offers. You then mail it to all of your past customers. Then they see the number, call you, and you never ask them how they got your number. How would you know that mailing that brochure had any impact?  

Today is a good day to start collecting the right lead source information. And, tomorrow is a good day to start looking at it. You’ll be amazed at how much information you receive that you can use to decide whether to renew or change your advertising in various media. 
Analyzing the lead source information properly will be the subject of our next article.