4 Steps to Maximize Lead Value Instead of Lead Volume

min read
4 Steps to Maximize Lead Value Instead of Lead Volume

Today there’s more pressure than ever on marketers to demonstrate ROI and drive long-term growth. Early-funnel metrics like click-through rates, ad engagement, and lead volume don’t hold water with CFOs and CEOs who are now laser-focused on the bottom line. This is pushing marketers to look further into the funnel to see how they’re influencing the entire buying journey from the first click to the final sale — not just to the point where they pass off leads to sales. 

We previously covered why marketers must tie marketing optimization to lead value instead of lead volume. Before we get into how you can maximize lead value, let’s revisit why you need to do it. Focusing on lead value enables you to:

  1. Drive more customer lifetime value
  2. Prove your marketing investments drive revenue
  3. Make the sales process more efficient
  4. Improve the customer experience
  5. Align and collaborate with the sales team

All great stuff, right? If it also magically kept your bathroom clean there’d be nothing more to ask for, but that’s an entirely different conversation. Today we’ll show you three steps to creating a lead value-focused marketing strategy that will help you drive revenue growth. You can also check out this webinar to get some tips straight from the experts at Google and Invoca.

1. Map Your Lead-to-Sale Journey 

Today’s buyer journey is a winding road with many stops along the way to a purchase. According to Google, consumers average 5.5 touchpoints before they fill out a lead form, and more touches will happen before a sale occurs. These touchpoints include online interactions like ad clicks, social media interactions, and form fills. It likely also includes offline interactions like phone calls where your customers get quotes, set appointments for in-person visits, complete applications, and make purchases. 

Mapping these touchpoints to stages in the buying journey is the first step in understanding how to improve lead quality and drive more growth for your business. By visualizing and assigning value to every step of the buying journey, you can see further down the funnel and focus more on marketing actions that result in revenue.

When mapping the buying journey, consider that each action your buyer takes has a different value to your business. Filling out a lead form, for example, would be a more valuable conversion than an ad click. A phone call where a customer sets an appointment would be even more valuable. The closer the action is to the bottom of your funnel and the more likely that it will lead to a sale, the higher the value that you will assign to it. This enables you to optimize programs to move leads down the funnel, not just what creates the leads.

You’ll first need to identify the most important actions to drive revenue and the conversion rates for each action. Then you can identify how they align to the key stages in your funnel (e.g. MQL, SQL, closed/sale) and determine the value of each one. You can use Google’s conversion value calculator to nail down the most valuable events in your conversion funnel. 

Knowing your conversion rates and values helps you more accurately measure and optimize the true business impact of your ad campaigns and enables you to use this data for value-based bidding strategies in Google Ads.

Check out these handy industry-specific buying journey mapping templates from Google to get on the road faster.

2. Build Your Measurement Foundation and Benchmark

Your foundation for revenue growth begins with making sure you have visibility of the complete buying journey from the first click through the final sale. To connect your marketing programs directly to revenue, your measurement process can’t end when a lead is generated. You need to see it through to the sale to connect your marketing programs and spend directly to revenue. 

This is easy enough to do when all of your sales occur online, but this is different for marketers in high-stakes industries like healthcare, home improvement services, automotive, telecom, and others where leads leave the online flow and ultimately end up converting over the phone. When a lead calls instead of converting online, most marketers lose track of the buying journey.

In these high-stakes purchase industries, upwards of 60% of customers call before making a purchase. They’re often calling to get quotes, set appointments, and make purchases, and their calls are usually driven by your marketing programs — and your budget. If you can’t connect calls to the rest of the buying journey, it’s impossible to connect revenue to your marketing efforts. It also prevents you from getting your hands on the conversion data you need to feed value-based strategies in your ad platforms.

But the buying journey trail doesn’t have to go cold when leads call. With a revenue execution platform like Invoca, you can continue tracking the buying journey until the conversion occurs.  

With Invoca, marketers can attribute every phone call conversion to the marketing source that drove it down to the campaign, ad, and keyword. It works whether the lead calls right from the ad or content — like click-to-call, paid search, or social media ads — or from a website visit because Invoca tracks the entire digital journey that drove the call. This means you can accurately prove the ROI of your marketing efforts that drive sales and defend every cent you spend with hard data. 

Once your measurement foundation is in place and before you begin any optimization efforts, you need to benchmark your current performance. It’s tempting to go in hot and start feeding conversion data to your ad platforms to optimize for revenue, but you’ll never be able to prove your performance if you don’t know where you started. 

Build time into your new revenue-driven marketing plan to gather and analyze data — this can take a month or more to get a clear picture — and you’ll set yourself up to quickly prove your effectiveness when you begin optimizing campaigns to conversions instead of leads.

3. Use a Revenue Execution Platform to Activate Offline Conversion Data

When you are optimizing for lead value, you need to unify all of your conversion data, whether those conversions occur online or offline. This is especially important when you’re using value-based strategies and AI tools in Google Ads, as they only work as well as the data you give them. 

Revenue execution platforms like Invoca enable you to bridge the online-to-offline gap and account for every conversion that your marketing drives. Invoca provides a complete solution for attributing and analyzing phone call conversions from Google Ads and other marketing channels, making it easy for you to get the right data from calls in their Google Ads accounts for use with value-based strategies and AI-powered optimization tools like Smart Bidding and Data-Driven Attribution (DDA). Invoca’s solution for Google Ads includes:

100% Attribution for Google Ads Calls: For every call from Google Ads (Search, Shopping, Display, and YouTube), Invoca attributes the ad and the campaign that drove it. For calls from Search ads, Invoca also accurately attributes the keyword, regardless of whether the call came from a call extension, call-only ad, location extension, or website visit after an ad click.

Intelligence on Conversion Outcome and Value: Invoca automatically analyzes the conversation between the caller and your business in real time to measure the signals that matter to you, including call intent, product/service interest, and conversion outcome. For every call, Invoca accurately detects if it matches your business’s specific definition of a conversion (sales lead, new patient, appointment booked, order placed, etc.) and can assign a revenue value to the call based on its value to your business.

Conversion and Revenue Matchback: This is critical for marketers moving to value-driven optimization. If you have a CRM or lead management system, Invoca can also ingest data on the call’s lead stage or conversion outcome along with any revenue it generated for your business, matching that data to the caller and ad/keyword that drove the call.

Real-Time Google Ads Integration: Finally, Invoca activates accurate data on the volume and value of your phone call conversions in Google Ads in real time. That data can be used with DDA for accurate reporting and insights, and you can include phone call conversions captured by Invoca in Google Ads Smart Bidding with confidence, knowing that you have the best data on calls to drive the best results.

4. Use Google’s AI Tools to Optimize for Revenue 

From Data-Driven Attribution to Smart Bidding to Performance Max, Google now offers a wide variety of AI-powered tools that can help you drive better results from your campaigns. As we said before, they only work as well as the data you feed them, so make sure you’re including conversion data from every channel, including calls. When you’re using Google Smart Bidding, it’s also important to choose the right bidding strategy. 

Choose a bidding strategy that aligns with your revenue goals

Google Ads Smart Bidding offers various goal options available to cater to your different marketing objectives. Maximize Conversions, Target ROAS, or Enhanced Conversions are value-driven bidding strategies that allow you to optimize your campaigns to drive more high-value conversions. Choose the strategy that best fits your budget and goals. Here’s the breakdown:

Maximize Conversions: This Smart Bidding strategy sets bids to maximize the number of actions taken by users, such as sign-ups, purchases, or form submissions. This is a useful bidding strategy if your main goal is to maximize valuable actions taken on your website.

Target ROAS: Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is a popular metric for measuring the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. The target ROAS strategy allows you to set a specific ROAS goal, and Google Ads adjusts bids based on expected conversion values. This option is suitable if your primary focus is maximizing revenue while maintaining a specific level of return on investment.

Enhanced Conversions: Employ the Enhanced Conversions bidding strategy to optimize for specific actions or events that hold significant value for your business. This strategy leverages machine learning to predict and adjust bids based on the likelihood of driving valuable conversions, thereby improving the overall return on ad spend and enhancing the efficiency of your marketing campaigns. According to Google, marketers who use this strategy see a 5% average conversion rate improvement on Search.

2. Use Google’s most advanced AI to find valuable customers and expand your reach

Google recently launched two new AI tools to help marketers take Smart Bidding performance to the next level. You can pair these tools with your desired bidding strategy to expand your reach. Here’s what they are and how they work:

Google Broad Match: Utilize the broad match keyword match type to reach a wider audience, capturing variations, synonyms, and related searches. Craft a comprehensive keyword list, incorporating Broad Match keywords to increase visibility and attract potential customers who may use different search terms. According to Google, marketers who use Broad Match in Target CPA campaigns see 35% more conversions, on average.

Performance Max: Implement Google's Performance Max bidding strategy to maximize campaign performance across various ad formats and networks. With Performance Max, the AI technology automatically adjusts bids to achieve the best possible results, making it ideal for driving conversions and optimizing ad spend across Google's expansive network. According to Google, marketers who use Performance Max achieve 18% more conversions at a similar cost per action.

By pairing Broad Match with your chosen Smart Bidding model, you can maximize your query coverage on Google search. By adding Performance Max to the mix, you can expand beyond search to Google’s vast advertising network, which includes YouTube, display, Google Maps, and more.

The Results of a Revenue-Focused Lead Generation Strategy

A great example of aligning marketing to lead value to drive more revenue comes from Rogers Communications, Canada’s largest telecom company. Rogers used Invoca’s AI to understand not just which customers converted over the phone, but the average value of the conversion for each customer type.

With this data, they were able to understand the revenue that each paid search campaign, ad, and keyword was driving — both online and over the phone. They could then feed this revenue data into Google Ads to inform Smart Bidding. Smart Bidding weighs their bids in proportion to their returns, decreasing their cost per acquisition by 82%. They also achieved an 18% lift in net revenue from paid search.

“The results with Invoca have been phenomenal, to say the least,” said Farrell. “The benefits are constantly compounding with such minimal lift for the returns. I’ve never had a product where I spend more time selling people on the results than doing the work to get it going.”

Read the full Rogers Communications case study here.

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