It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve written a blog. I used to write them in my sleep. But now, almost 10 years after Savy’s launch, our content team manages most of the new content creation. This week we received a question from a client about lead generation software vs Google. It kickstarted a conversation around privacy on the web and what inbound marketing is today. With new inbound marketing and lead conversion software popping up, I looked into a few providers for our client and the pros and cons of using such a software as a service, SaaS.

First off, what is lead generation?

Lead generation is the converting of users, people or prospects into leads. If sales are the fire, leads are the fuel. On the web, leads come in through the form of content, SEO and SEM. They require nurturing and often several interactions before they can convert to a sale. While lead generation is necessary, it comes second. What comes first is building the brand, envisioning the audience and attracting them to you. This step takes place typically on your website, blog, social media, or your physical location.

With the growth of the web, the world has changed from one of information scarcity to one of abundance. This abundance has created the self-educated buyer. This buyer browses the web when and where they want to. They use devices how they want to and most times, wants to browse privately and outside the radar of visibility. We see messaging on platforms from Facebook to the media and sometimes we want to search what we’re searching, and when we find something we’re interested in, we’ll let you know, right? Right. Today’s web has transformed the customer process. As users and consumers, we’re getting better at ignoring messages we don’t want, and through through search, social media and online channels, finding what we do want.

What is inbound marketing?

Simply put, inbound marketing, vs outbound marketing, is helping potential customers find you, often in the early stages of interest, and ultimately converting that interest into brand preference, leads and revenue. As a business, relevant and engaging content is the foundation of your inbound marketing efforts. From your email campaigns to your social media efforts, content is the starting point. Through it, you can engage, gain trust and drive action.

Lead generation software

Lead generation software typically functions through tracking code. This code performs a reverse IP search to match data to a database and backtrace visitors. The database is generated from a variety of sources, including public records, trade references, telco providers, interviews, print, digital, and trade publications. Lead generation software is fine for narrowing down who’s viewing what on your site and seeing what’s performing well.

If used appropriately, lead generation software can provide deeper analytics than Google tools like Google Analytics and Google Adwords, however how the information is used is up to the business. I recently read some content from a lead generation software provider and one of their sales persons called within moments, mentioning they saw I had read some content on their site and wondered how they could help. As a web user, I found this an inappropriate use of tracking – fail for that provider’s brand in my eyes. Certainly, they could have used the data to incorporate my email into their CRM for lead nurturing or into an email list if I would have accepted to receive email or transacted with this provider. In this case, however, I didn’t opt in, so how they used the data was to call me directly – and get me to hang up quickly.

Lead generation with Google

One of the most powerful areas of digital marketing is analytics. Google tools can provide insight as to wether or not your marketing objectives are working, which ones are working and whom they’re working with. Google tools are designed to show us what works and what doesn’t, so we can optimize the prior and remove or adjust the latter so that our time and resources are allocated to performance and action.

For today’s self-educated consumer, traditional lead generation strategies don’t cut it.  Whether it’s on your display or search campaigns through Google Adwords, your landing pages or your SEO or SEM tactics, some performance indicators to watch for include:

  • Conversions and conversion rate
  • Percent of unique visitors
  • Ratio of new vs returning visitors
  • Time on site and bounce rate
  • Most active content; this helps queue you into the what content visitors like and how they engage with it.

When you make changes to your businesses website, email marketing or your paid campaigns, such as with Google Adwords, you can evaluate against these indicators and adjust where necessary. Monitoring and optimization and delivering targeted ads and content to targeted users can make all the difference.

What do you think — Is there value for lead generation software or do we rely on the fact that both decision makers and contributors are now going out to find you vs. you finding them and optimize our website, blog and content and email marketing so you can be where your customers are and create that trust?

Best, Christina