Are You Sabotaging the Success of Your Online Advertising Efforts?

The well-known advertising adage by John Wanamaker states “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Though many have felt the reality of this statement throughout the history of advertising, today, local businesses now have the ability to track the success of virtually any source of online and offline advertising thanks to the power of lead conversion software like ReachEdge.

But, interestingly enough, it’s not always the advertising medium that is at fault when businesses don’t get the customers they want. They often believe that simply because they build it (advertising) they (customers) will come flocking to them in seamless order one after another.

However, what is commonly overlooked is the fact that doing advertising alone doesn’t generate revenue.

The truth is, there are a lot of poor business practices that can sabotage efforts to achieve online advertising success. Let’s look at three areas in your company that can cost you new business from your advertising, and how you can improve them.

Call Handling

What happens when someone calls your business from your online advertising? Now’s a good time to find out, because it could be impacting your ROI.

For instance, how much business do you think you are losing when callers get a busy signal instead of being routed to a voicemail system when you’re on another call? How many leads are you missing because no one wants to listen to a 3-minute automated greeting to figure out how to talk to a real person? And how many leads are you missing after business hours for callers who leave a voicemail message but you forget to check it and call them back?

And it’s not just about the phone system itself. When was the last time you listened to how your employees are answering inbound calls? Are they welcoming, helpful, and asking the right questions to qualify the lead? Or are they treating new callers like an interruption instead of an opportunity?

If you think prospects getting the cold shoulder from your business will forgive you and try again later, think again. They’ll just go to the next business that can provide them with the services they are looking for – your competitor.

No matter how great you think you or your team is at getting new customers via phone, there are always ways to improve. But if you don’t know where the weaknesses are in your systems, processes, or staff, then it’s impossible to get better and close more business. If most of your leads come via phone, you can’t afford to leave prospects with a bad first impression — whether they can’t get a hold of you at all or have a poor experience with the person on the other end of the line. These factors may seem small, but they can easily make or break your business by either converting those calls into customers or by repelling callers from ever wanting to do business with you.

Tip: If you don’t know how many calls you are missing due to phone system errors, or how your employees are talking to prospects, opt for advertising programs that track and record phone calls so it’s clear what exactly is making you – or costing you – money. Then, take steps to improve what’s not working such as by staffing up after hours or training your staff on how you want them to handle calls from your prospects.

Lead Management & Qualification

How confident are you that your business is managing and responding to your contacts effectively? If someone visits your website from a search ad, then completes a form, how long does it take your company to respond – 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days? Then, what do you do with their information after you contact them? Do you have a way to qualify them as a lead so you can follow up to close the sale down the road?

Even the hottest leads can cool quickly, which is why it’s so important to respond as quickly as possible. A study by the Harvard Business Review discovered U.S. companies are 7 times more likely to qualify a lead when initiating a contact within an hour and 60 times as likely as companies who waited 24 hours or longer. The key takeaway: the longer you wait, the less likely you are to qualify and convert a lead.

Not only is it important to contact new leads as soon as possible, but it’s also important to classify leads so you can follow up with them later on. Not all leads are created equal. Only about 25% of leads are ready to convert to customers immediately, another 25% probably won’t ever convert, and the remaining 50% require nurturing and personal follow up over time in order to convert.

Tip: Managing and classifying your leads allows your sales team to easily know which leads need immediate attention and which leads currently only have minimal interest and need attention over a longer duration of time. Make sure you create a lead management process to accurately classify leads, assign them to team members, and store the details all in one place. Having a great lead management system in place can help you keep track of all your leads and stay in front of them throughout their decision-making process, helping you close the loop between the initial contact and the sale.

Lead Nurturing

How do you follow up with potential customers who didn’t purchase the first time they contacted you from your online advertising? Do you even have a plan in place to get back in front of those people? Or do you keep your fingers crossed and hope they’ll remember your business when they are ready to make a purchase?

Unless you have an emergency-based product or service, why would you not follow up with people who have already contacted you from your advertising efforts and said they are interested in your products or services? It’s naïve to think that they’ll simply store your contact information and reach back out to you when they’re ready ­– days, weeks, or months later. If you don’t have a way to remind these leads of your business, they’re likely to forget about you soon after they first saw your ad and contacted you.

Tip: Implement a lead nurturing strategy to make sure you stay in front of interested people with high-value emails like coupons, testimonials, and helpful tips. If you are spending advertising money to get a lead in the first place, it’s vital to to continue to stay top of mind if they’re not ready to buy right away. That way, when they are ready to purchase, they’ll come back to you, getting you get more revenue from your online advertising.

Get More From Your Advertising Budget

If your online advertising strategy is doing a great job at generating leads for your business, don’t sabotage the results of those efforts with poor internal practices. Make sure you have streamlined processes in place that includes great call handling, lead management, and lead nurturing so you can close every possible opportunity from your online advertising and maximize their results.

Leslie Whittaker

As an Account Executive at ReachLocal, Leslie partners with small- and medium-size businesses to help them increase new customers and revenue. She specializes in digital marketing for B2B and B2C companies. For over 10 years, Leslie has been streamlining advertising investments, building solid marketing strategies that yield profitable results and empowering businesses to thrive. In her spare time, she likes to write and explore NYC with her dog, Ollie.

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