Are you not able to identify where your leads are coming from? Can you not measure the value of your Web visitors?

Regardless of how prospects find out about you (a referral, an ad on Google, a tradeshow, or any other means), the next thing they are most likely going to do is visit your Web site to get more information.

The Internet has become the de facto choice when doing product research. Therefore, your Web site has essentially become your frontline sales person… or one big lead-generation funnel.

For businesses with products or services too complex to be sold online (such as most business software products), the goal of the Web site is to provide as much product information as the prospect needs to take the next action—contacting the vendor directly.

More specifically, the goal is to guide the prospect to the Contact Us page so that the salespeople can take over and win the sale! While most marketers fully understand this, problems arise in measuring the success of individual ad campaigns.

The following six recommendations target this measurement problem and help marketers decide where to allocate future ad dollars:

1. Use a tracking tool on a daily basis to see where your Web site visitors are finding you, and the path they are taking once they enter your Web site. If your Webmaster has already installed one, make sure that you are able to access the latest information on a daily, if not hourly, basis. In other words, do not wait for a weekly or monthly meeting for the Webmaster to provide the information. It is much too valuable to you as a marketer.

2. Make your Contact Us page easy to find and easy to use. Since you cannot dictate how a user will want to contact you, include both an online form for the prospect to complete as well as your phone number.

3. Track your total number of visitors versus the number of ones who accessed your Contact Us page. This will help you to measure your success rate for each of your campaigns. You can regard any visitor who did not navigate to your Contact Us page to be a failure and anyone who did as a success.

Determine the percentage of visitors who accessed the Contact Us page for each campaign and apply this measurement to the number of total leads for the period. This will be the most accurate way of determining the actual number of leads from each campaign

(Note: Some visitors who do not navigate to your Contact Us page will actually turn into a lead at a later time and are in fact successes. Likewise, some visitors who do navigate to your Contact Us page will fail to either complete your form or call you. They are in, fact, failures. Generally, you can count on those “failures” and “successes” to cancel each other out.)

4. Do not count on prospects to tell you where they found you! They will generally provide a vague answer such as “doing a Web search.” Therefore, the success of a particular marketing campaign should be determined by whether the visitor accessed the Contact Us page.

Do not bother having users enter where they found you on the Contact Us form. Why? Because they most likely have tried three or four search engines or directories before finding you and simply forgot which one it was that worked. Similarly, if prospects call you, do not trust them to know exactly how they found you.

5. Calculate the value of a Web site visitor. Here's an example. Your product sells for $10,000, you are willing to pay $1,500 for a lead that results in a sale, your close rate (percentage of good leads that your sales people are able to close) is 10%, you determine that for every four people that access your Contact Us page one turns into a good lead, and one out of five Web visitors navigates to your Contact Us page:

$1,500 x 10% x 25% x 20% = $7.50

This is the value of a new visitor to your Web site (and should be able to help guide your upper limits in Pay-Per-Click advertising). Perform this calculation for each of your marketing campaigns!

6. Determine the number of leads generated by each of your campaigns. Say that in a given month the number of new people that visit your Web site is 2,500 and among these 500 navigate to your Contact Us page. You determine that these 500 people who accessed your Contact Us page originally found you at the following sites:

Google: 150 (30%)
Yahoo: 100 (20%)
MSN: 50 (10%)
Referral: 200 (40%)

You also determine that you received 140 total leads during the month and assume that the vast majority of them (90%) navigated to your Contact Us page to contact you. (The other 10% were given contact information by their referrer or some other means). Therefore, 125 out of 500 people who navigated to your Contact Us page either completed the online form or made a call into your sales team and became a legitimate lead.

Of these 125 people, you can now calculate that 30% found you at Google, 20% found you at Yahoo, etc. This is what is meant by measuring the success of a campaign at the point at which the prospect accesses the Contact Us page. Since you will never know where the majority of your leads actually found you (since many of them will call or email instead of completing an online form), the best you can do is apply the percentages determined at your Contact Us page to your number of leads.

Now if only you could convince everyone to actually complete that online form instead of calling or emailing you….

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Michael Ortner ( is president of Capterra (