By now, you’ve no doubt plunged into your 2016 projects with high hopes for a successful year. You’ve filled spreadsheets and docs with quarterly and yearly goals and plans, and you’re feeling pretty good about where you’re headed.
But should you take a step back?
We recently surveyed marketers from over 219 small and midsize U.S. organizations in the business-to-business (B2B) (55%), business-to-consumer (B2C) (34%), and nonprofit (11%) sectors. Our resulting research report—“The State of Lead Capture in 2016”—reveals that many marketers are struggling to reach central goals and prove return on investment (ROI) because they are tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) that are not aligned with their goals.
If you’re not sure you’re on the right track to hit your 2016 targets, this post is for you! We’ve gathered some tips to help make this a great year for your business.
But first, let’s take a look at what marketers are hoping to achieve this year. According to our research, B2C and B2B marketers are, above all, looking to generate better quality leads, increase lead volume, and increase sales. Here’s a quick look at all the top-reported goals:
Do these reflect your own ambitions for 2016? If so, here are three tips to help you succeed:
#1: Pay attention to sales.
Our research found that 42% of B2B and B2C marketers are hoping to generate more sales for their business in 2016. But many of these marketers are tracking the wrong metrics or missing other opportunities to gain vital insights about which leads are ending in sales.
Only 39% of the marketers we surveyed are proving ROI on their paid campaigns by measuring the number of new customers brought in or the number of sales resulting from lead generation efforts on paid channels. Our survey respondents ranked new sales fifth among the metrics they report on regularly—below vanity metrics (like lead volume) that don’t reveal anything about lead quality or purchase intent.
Additionally, most marketers use analytics and conversion rate data to inform their paid campaigns. Only 12% reported using feedback from their sales teams. And only 19% reported tracking their best quality leads using sales customer relationship management (CRM) software.
If you’re hoping to increase sales this year, you must pay attention to what is leading to sales. Talk to your sales team to learn more about the website visitors who are converting. And start tracking sales KPIs to determine which campaigns are driving the best leads (100% of the marketers we surveyed who track sales and new customers as primary KPIs said they feel confident in their ROI).
Quick Tip: One way to better track sales data is to make sure your data collection and distribution efforts are aligned. With Formstack’s CRM integrations, you can collect lead information via an online form and automatically route it to your preferred CRM.
#2: Reallocate social media advertising funds.
Generating better quality leads is a top goal for 54% of the marketers we surveyed. But many marketers appear to be putting spend behind the wrong channels and efforts.
Social media advertising is a popular practice among marketers—with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounting for 48% of the most commonly used platforms for paid advertising. However, the time and money marketers are spending on paid social media campaigns might be a bit misguided. According to our research, the best leads come from organic website traffic, referrals, and email marketing. Our survey respondents ranked social media fifth among sources of high-quality leads.
If you want your lead generation efforts to garner better leads in 2016, try reallocating a portion of your paid social media budget to other efforts. For instance, since organic website traffic was reported as the best source of quality leads, you might consider investing more in conversion rate optimization (CRO). CRO strategies like A/B testing can help you pinpoint flaws in your messaging or design that are halting conversions.
Quick Tip: As you work to generate better quality leads, make sure you know your form conversion rates and how they compare to others in your industry. If your forms are converting well but your leads are poor quality, it’s time to take stock of your messaging and campaign alignment to make sure you’re attracting the right visitors.
#3: Ramp up email marketing.
Forty-six percent of marketers have a goal to increase lead volume in 2016. But what’s the best avenue for generating more leads?
According to our research, email marketing is a good place to start. Survey respondents listed email efforts as the second biggest generator of high-volume leads (behind on-page website conversions) and the third biggest generator of quality leads (behind organic website traffic and referrals).
If you’re hoping to generate a higher volume of leads in 2016, consider spending more time developing email campaigns. Email marketing is versatile because it can be used for both lead capture and lead nurture.
Quick Tip: If you want to quickly ramp up your email marketing efforts, automate some of your email processes. With Formstack’s Email Logic feature and email integrations, you can automatically send confirmation and notification emails upon form submission and also route collected data to your preferred email marketing platform.
Want to read more about the top goals and obstacles for marketers in 2016? Click below to check out the full “The State of Lead Capture in 2016” report.