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Digital Marketing Evolution: Lead Quality vs. Quantity

I’ve been in the digital marketing industry for a long time. My brother (who also happens to be Adster’s fearless leader) has been in digital marketing since the beginning. I remember Dave coming home one Christmas after he finished touring in Sin City with his cover band (circa 2001) and he asked me to help him out with some ‘website stuff’.

Robins DonutsAt the time I was taking a computer science course in high school (which I was failing, just ask our lead tech Sunny!) and was beaming from a website I built for my then employer, Robin’s Donuts (eat it Timmies).

The website was built using HTML, frames and it was as bad as you’re picturing in your head. Dave brought a crusty laptop to work on, and I had converted our family PC which was primarily used to play minesweeper into a gaming rig. I retired my Playstation, and traded it in for a Sapphire AGP graphics card, officially making the switch from console gaming to PC, of which, I’ve never looked back #PCMASTERRACE (may our framerates be high and our temperatures low).

From what I can remember, we were building a network of content websites that all interlinked one another via heavy use of anchor text and the websites were located on different servers. From a hierarchical standpoint, it looked like the internet equivalent of a pyramid scheme, with all the lower tier websites feeding the more important ones, which inevitably pointed to the flagship site that we were trying to build the most authority to (old school link building). I also have a fond memory of seeing an Adsense receipt, showcasing he made more revenue in one month, than I’d make in an entire year slingin’ donuts (or slingin’ anything for that matter). Dave explained, “It’s not about the click, it’s about the conversion”. What does that even mean? Oh, how right he was …

A History of Performance

In my opinion, our agency has always been forward-thinking when it comes to digital marketing and lead generation, primarily because our core founder only made money when sh*t got done, not while providing lip service. Didn’t sell something? Didn’t make his mortgage payment. Site not converting? No one to blame but himself, time to roll up his sleeves. This mentality has driven a lot of our core processes here at Adster and is also the reason our clients enjoy as much success as they do. It’s also the reason another company exists on the publishing side that has had, and will continue to have exciting growth opportunities for Adster and pushing the boundaries for our clients (CollegeBasics & Oilfield Job Shop we’re looking at you!).

At Adster, I believe we’ve always been about five years ahead of our competition, in terms of our approach to digital marketing, as well as how we quantify it to our customers (hello SuperDASH!)

For example:

  • 15 YEARS AGO it was about having a website

  • 10 YEARS AGO it was about getting the most clicks

  • 5 YEARS AGO it was about increasing conversions

  • 3 YEARS AGO it was about increasing leads and lead acquisition cost (LAC)

  • TODAY it’s both about leads and lead quality (quality over quantity)

I had a client ask me the other day, “Leads are great, but what about the quality?”. At the end of the day, I feel the pain (having personally had dozens of long conversations with prospects that were never going to buy anything); however, buyer intent is always a tricky matter. Inbound leads are fickle beasts, and there is a clear line between the generation of a lead (e.g what digital marketers are supposed to do for their clients) and the subsequent handling of that lead (what our clients are supposed to do for themselves).

Business Evaluation:

  • Does your business answer the phone or do you always let it go to voicemail?
  • Does your business use a CRM?
  • How do you handle ‘hot’ prospects, vs. prospects that need more nurturing?Do you treat them the same?
  • Do you have a drip campaign?
  • Do you understand your own industries buyer personas?
    • Are your customers mostly emotional buyers, are they pragmatic, are they a mix?
  • Do you respond to inbound leads within 5 minutes?

Lead Quality

Lead Quality vs. Quantity

At Adster, we help businesses get more leads and build a stronger online presence. To ensure we help our clients get the best quality leads, here are some of the tactics we utilize in Google Ads to ensure lead quality:

  1. Negative Keyword Lists
    • Omitting words like ‘cheap, ‘free’, ‘Kijiji’  weed out bargain shoppers and tire kickers (unless conversions prove otherwise)
      Does your agency or the client already have pre-built negative keyword lists ready to go
  2. Bid Adjustments for ‘buy’ words vs. ‘shop words’.
    • Bid adjustments based on keyword targeting “iPhone XR” vs “Buy iPhone XR”
    • Example, for Adster, the phrase [best SEO company] might have a +25% modifier while “SEO company” (broad match) may be a default bid and “link building” may have a -25% as its either an informed price shopper or another agency
  3. Ad Language and Meaning
    • If our language says “if you’re looking for SEO that works at an incredible price point, we’ll beat any price in town‘ you’re asking for possibly lower quality leads (you may get higher volume, but a lower chance of closing)
    • The language you use along with how you present info (ie: if you work with Coke or another major brand, you may not be cheap) e.g. implied versus specific tone

The above are only a handful of strategies we enjoy using for our clients (and for ourselves) to maximize the quality of leads. It’s a great starting point, but education is paramount on how to handle inbound leads and we do our best to educate our clients within reason. We don’t have a crystal ball and we’re not miracle workers, however, I believe with 100% certainty, if there’s a way to make your business successful online, we’ll find a way to make it work and make incremental improvements and/or suggestions to help move the needle. At the end of the day, no amount of enhanced calls to actions, bid adjustments or optimized copy will improve weak internal processes on how to run your business. My statement is not a cop-out, it’s one of mutual accountabilities.

Questions? Let me know in the comments below!