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In the latest episode of Business Acumen, Roy Browning and Joe Manns discuss the differences between generating leads and proving ROI to clients and which is harder. This question is inherently flawed however, because it’s like comparing Apples to fruit. An ROI objective may contain the number of lead form submissions. In general, the question may be more along the lines of what is easier; to deliver impressions or to guarantee a number of leads.



It would be beneficial to describe ROI, or Return on Investment.  This is a calculation of cost divided by the result. For example, if an ad campaign cost $5,000 and the results were 1,000,000 impressions, 1,700 clicks, and 17 lead form submissions then the ROI would be shown as:

$0.005 per impression
$2.94 per click
$294.11 per lead

This makes it easier to answer leadership when they ask what were the results and costs of the campaign. We sometimes set a goal of $XXX per lead or per sale. Depending on what medium you are using the price can vary greatly. Also, the objective can define what is an acceptable cost.


Objective Based Costs

It’s important to determine the objective of the marketing campaign before you start buying media. Are you trying to increase awareness or are you trying to get direct sales. In the example above, if you have $5,000 and you are trying to increase awareness, then you might look at $0.005 per impression as a great price and a great ROI. However, if you are trying to sell a pack of gum that costs $5, then $295 per lead is a terrible ROI.


How Do You Get More Leads?

If your goal is to get people to complete a lead form, there are several aspects that should be considered. First, does the person you are advertising to already know you? If not, it will be far more difficult to convince them to give you their information. They will need to be highly targeted and interested in what you are offering. (If you are trying to sell pet food and the person you are advertising to does not have pets, you will not get a lead)

The next area to consider is the value you are giving in exchange for the information. If you are selling gum, as in the first example, and you are giving away a coupon for $0.50 off of a pack of gum in exchange for the information it will be easier than if you are asking to advertise to the person with no value given in exchange. (This is assuming, again, that the person does not already have a relationship with your company. If someone likes your Facebook page already and you want to get more information that is slightly different than an ad campaign attracting brand new customers.)

Lastly, the length of the form will play a huge part in getting submissions. If you ask 100 questions and they are personal, good luck. The main rule that we follow is only ask the bare minimum number of questions in the first engagement. Once you have a phone number or email address you can always send a message asking for more information.


My ROI Stinks...Now What?

There are three main things that we look at when ROI objectives aren’t being met. Each area can have its own problems that can result in conversion issues down the road.

1 Creative Problems

If you see your ads are showing to a lot of people, but no one is taking action (clicking, calling, etc) then you may need to adjust your creative. Maybe the colors are wrong, or the people in the ad are not relating with your audience. Or maybe it is too cluttered, confusing, or just not giving the right information.

2 Distribution Problems

Another issue is when people don’t do what your ads asks them to do. One big cause for this is that it might be seen by the wrong people. Remember the pet food example... If I don’t have a pet, I don’t care about your ad. On the other side of the same coin, if a lot of people are clicking on your ad but not buying then it might still be the wrong audience...or your audience might be in a different part of the buying process. Maybe they are just learning about your company and they aren’t ready to buy. Awareness is great, but sales are not. Your ROI objectives may need to change for this “group”. Or you may just need to target different people. Also, consider a different tactic or a different location to display your ad.

This is one of the more complex areas and it really helps to have a partner like JMC Brands to help you identify the causes and can identify solutions. There are many variables that come in to play and A/B testing is essential to helping identify the root causes.

3 Landing Page Problems

The last area we consider is the landing page. If you are getting a lot of action on your ads, but no one is buying or filling out your lead forms then the landing page may be the problem. Does it provide enough information for the user to take action? Is it clean and easy to understand? Does it make it easy to buy? Each element of the landing page can have a huge impact on the conversion. If people are staying on the page for a decent amount of time, but not taking action then the landing page probably needs to be addressed. Don’t forget to review the user experience from a mobile device AND desktop perspective!


Summit Up

At the end of it all, it may be easier to show ROI than generate leads, but it really depends on the goals set before the campaign even starts. It’s important to identify the objective and set realistic expectations. It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at a campaign, if someone doesn't own a pet they won’t buy your pet food. If your audience has never heard of you they will be less likely to give you their information. If your creative, distribution, or landing page are subpar it will be hard to complete the ad campaign goals.

So, is it easier to prove ROI than generate lead? Yes, because it can be defined before the campaign starts. But really, leads are an ROI metric at the end of the day, so it really isn’t a good comparison.


Stay tuned for our next episode of Business Acumen where we talk about the difference between Instagram and Facebook. Which is best for 2018?

Thanks for reading, and for listening. Do you have any questions or comments? Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think and we may talk about your comment in a future episode!