Commentary

Unique URLs Vs. Homepage URLs: The Best Method For Lead-Gen?

Choosing the right method for you to achieve and track lead generation all comes down to how rigorous you want to be in assessing results. Are you totally focused on the measurability of the cost to acquire a lead? Is the success of your effort going to rely on a precise ROI goal based on the monetization of those leads?

If you answered yes to either or both of these questions, than a non-homepage, unique URL is mandatory. In fact, not only is the unique URL necessary, but a unique landing page is required as well.

The first issue that you, as the person responsible for the campaign, will have to deal with is answering the inevitable complaint: "Hey, what about the awareness of our brand and the homepage of our website that we've spent millions of dollars to develop? How can we not use the homepage URL www.OurCompany.com and optimize the ROI on our brand?"

The response to this question is driven by a line chart. On the left are the words "Direct Response." On the bottom is the word "Branding." As you move from left to right, you inherently move from immediate, direct measurability to the long-term, indirect effect of the campaign. This is an internal strategic decision that needs to be made and recognized before dollar one is spent!

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By sending responses to your homepage URL, you will be virtually blind to the actual response of the dollars spent. Even worse, your homepage will need to perform multiple tasks - provide the general information for the casual visitor AND instantly allow traffic driven by lead marketing dollars to complete the task without distractions.

A unique URL such as www.PromotionNOW.com has many benefits. First, it allows you to "see" all traffic driven by the exact expenditures placed in the market. A unique landing page is also better designed to maximize the chances that the traffic will in fact complete the information you seek. This optimizing is further enhanced by assuring the unique landing page has no "exits." You've spent the money to get your lead to respond to a strong offer - "10 Guaranteed Ways to Make $10,000 a Month While Watching TV!" Now, after they have actually shown up, why would you give them any other option than to fill out the required info and download the answer? Providing buttons to click on for "about us" or "contact us" just provides the option of NOT giving the info you've paid to accumulate. Your follow-up to the lead and CRM program should be given the task of building the brand and closing the action on the lead.

Also, to fully realize the ROI from an effort, marketers need to track clicks to the Unique URL and Landing Page that come from different sources -- say CPA online activity and DRTV. It's sad to admit that programs are declared failures because no one has placed accurate tracking of offline marketing dollars driving online response.

A unique URL certainly takes care of most of this. But what about TV spots running on one network versus another? How do we know the relative performance of each? Developing unique URLs for literally dozens of media tactics and creative executions becomes impractical. A tracking system that can take the next step and differentiate between variables within the same promotion is critical.

There are a number of ways that this can be accomplished. An example is a system that uses a "prefix" within the URL and is enhanced by predictive software on the backend. Building such a system on the unique URL www.PromotionNow.com generates a further unique element with www.12.PromotionNow.com. Each variable is given a unique prefix with the supporting software accurately allocating responses that do not include the prefix or type in a prefix that has not been used.

Lastly, do not forget SEARCH! We estimate that over 60% of people responding to an offline promotion go to a search engine to activate their online response. Tracking the leads from SEM is often overlooked or attributed incorrectly to traffic that would have shown up without the additional effort.

There are unfortunately multiple case studies reporting failed lead generation ROI because of less than adequate tracking. Unique URLs and landing pages will assure the greatest possibility of fully understanding and analyzing your promotional dollars.

3 comments about "Unique URLs Vs. Homepage URLs: The Best Method For Lead-Gen? ".
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  1. Rolv Heggenhougen, December 11, 2008 at 12:25 p.m.

    Companies seem to ignore the single largest online branding/advertising venue available: their own regular external emails. Why not use these emails to market the senders company?

    You have a website.
    You send emails.

    Why not multiply your sales-staff by “wrapping” the regular email in an interactive letterhead?

    No other marketing or advertising medium is as targeted as an email between people that know each other (as opposed to mass emails). These emails are always read and typically kept.

  2. Matthew Maginley from Maginley & Company, December 12, 2008 at 3:57 a.m.

    You raise two separate points: how to allocate resources to strategic communication goals, and then how to measure the results.

    We use custom branded digital music downloads to handle: the branding needs, the keywords that lead the traffic to the unique URL landing page,and finally to have an email list for continued messaging.

    The small incremental cost of the download is a mere fraction of the CPA.

    www.itcomeswithmusic.com

  3. Pat Mcgraw from [mcgraw | marketing], December 21, 2008 at 2:18 p.m.

    The tactic must be focused - and can have but one primary goal. In other words, you can either sell or brand. The option of trying to do both means you do neither very well.

    If you want to sell Product A, then you focus the effort on those that have a need that Product A solves. Fill that need and then start working on the relationship and building brand awareness with the buyer.

    If you want to brand Company Z and/or Product A, then engage the individual in a dialogue that shares relevant, valuable information - and see if the awareness increases during your next brand tracker awareness study or by the level of engagement created with the individual (do they come back and talk with you?)

    One is focused on an immediate sale, the other is focused on a lifetime relationship that will deliver value in number of ways including sales and information/insight.

    And I would imagine that using www.companya.com/TV12 works for the ROI tracking, delivers the individual to a page dedicated to selling/order taking, and still helps the individual get a better sense of Company A with little (if any) extra effort.

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