“Running ads to lead capture pages isn’t enough anymore…”
If you’ve ever run PPC ads for your service business, odds are you’re familiar with landing pages and funnels.
If not, they’re a series of lead capture pages designed to immediately move a stranger from clicking on an ad to becoming a prospect for your services.
And in the past, these systems worked well. These days, not so much.
And here’s why.
Consumers Are Savvier Now
When it comes to human behavior, and in particular relationships that require trust, there isn’t a perfect step-by-step system for progressing a relationship. For example, trying to get a stranger to fall in love with us by using a script probably won’t go over too well.
Along the sames lines, convincing an ice cold prospect to spend thousands of dollars with you doesn’t happen as the result of a perfectly sequenced set of web pages.
Instead, it’s a dance of seduction and trust building. Which means you need to understand how you’re prospects are researching you online.
The Buyer’s Journey
As an example, I have a friend how teaches LinkedIn marketing. In a recent article, he explained how beginners always want their LinkedIn marketing to follow an exact, step by step sequence.
In particular, they want everyone to flow through a set of steps that looks like this:
Send a Connection Request –> Send Message #1 –> Back and Forth Communication –> Sales Call –> New Client
In reality, however, the process of marketing through LinkedIn looks more like this:
Connection Request –> 3-6 months of the recipient ignoring your messages –> One day they accidentally stumble upon your content –> A month they click on one of your ads –> Later that night they spend hours researching you –> A week later they book a sales call –> New client
Gone Are the Days of A – B – C Marketing
In reading this, I couldn’t help but think how the same principle applies to professional services marketing.
Ya see, the experts who sell these “List Building” services want you to believe your leads will follow a perfectly linear path:
They see an ad –> They type in their contact information on your lead capture page –> Your team calls them –> That person becomes a paying client.
And as you know if you run paid advertising for your business, a small fraction of people will follow this path. Most, however, will not.
In reality, the steps involved in someone going from seeing your ad – to becoming a client – is more like:
#1 – Someone sees your ad, puts in their contact information, then ignores your calls
#2 – A flurry of near stalker-like activity where these people Google you / check out every social profile that even remotely resembles your company’s name
#3 – The same people who just stalked you ignore ALL of your follow up
#4 – In a desperate moment of loneliness, they scroll deep into their inbox and stumble upon one of the emails you sent them
#5 – With nothing better to do, they click over to your blog
#6 – Unconvinced, they still don’t book a call with you
#7 – But because they have a problem, and you appear to have a solution, they follow you on Facebook
#8 – Immediately after following you, they see a dancing bear video and forget about you entirely
#9 – After causally observing your content for a few weeks, they look up your website to book a call
#10 – Then their babysitter cancels and they have to reschedule
#11 – They show up for the call, schedule an estimate, and you land the client
Perfectly Liner Marketing is Dead
This is something Ryan Deiss, head of Digital Marketer, talked about at their 2019 summit:
No matter how perfectly linear your advertising system is, human behavior says most people will *not* go through it in a perfect, step by step sequence.
This, in turn, has some serious implications for professional services businesses.
Ads + Multi-Platform Content
First, if your advertising is limited to a two-page lead capture sequence, odds are you’re losing out on the lion’s share of your prospects (and therefore $$$).
The better approach?
Continue running ads, but supplement those ads by publishing content on a variety of platforms, doing organic marketing to nurture the people who opt-in for more information, etc.
How to Measure Ad Profits
Second, if the success/profitability of your ads is measured strictly in terms of the numbers you can see inside Google or Facebook, odds are you’re missing the big picture.
Instead, it’s likely your advertising is driving leads that take weeks – if not months – to convert into clients.
And since the ad platforms can’t reliably track activity that takes place more than one week after someone clicks on an ad, focusing on the numbers you see inside your dashboard is short-sighted.
At the end of the day, it’s impossible to track the overlap between how paid advertising and organic / content marketing affect each other.
Because of this, many marketers have moved beyond the typical Cost per Lead you can see in Google or Facebook (which has never been 100% accurate), and now measure success in terms of Total Marketing Dollars Spent relative to Total Sales Generated.
Admittedly, this system isn’t perfect. And you can rest assured there are some advanced (and very expensive) software programs that attempt to solve this dilemma.
But with more and more ad blocking technologies coming out, not to mention people logging in from a variety of devices and IP addresses, it’s unlikely this is a problem that will be solved anytime soon.
Given this, comparing dollars spent on lead gen / advertising against total new revenue generated (excluding referrals) is a much more accurate measure of paid marketing success.