How To Perfect Your Online Lead Gen (Without Spending A Fortune)
One of the things I love most about online lead generation is that you don't necessarily have to be great at any one aspect to be great at generating leads. You don't have to write the best sales copy, you don't have to have the best eye for design, and you definitely don't need to be the most technologically savvy person. In fact, one could argue that you could be downright terrible at all of these things and still be a successful lead generator. Why is this the case? Because lead generation is all about testing and using the feedback from those tests to run more tests.
For example, I'm one of the least creative people you will ever meet. I run Facebook Ads to market to Loan Officers, and designing and creating images for my ads makes me want to pull my hair out. I know I'm not good at it, and I know that even the images that I ultimately settle on aren't great. But I also know that getting better at designing the images is a straight-forward process so I design two ads, test which one does better, and then test that one against another ad until I've got a handful producing good results. I don't pull these designs from scratch either. No, actually there is a handy little tool at adespresso.com/adsexamples that allows you to search for keywords, individuals, industry, etc to see what other people's ads look like. I typically go there for inspiration and look at what some of the companies that are spending millions of dollars on research are putting together. Then I take bits and pieces of my favorites and start piecing them together and testing until I have the designs I need. Pretty cool huh?
So how can you use this knowledge to build the perfect online lead generation system? Check it out:
Make Sure You Have Conversion Tracking Set Up FIRST
This is the bread and butter of perfecting your online lead generation. This applies on Google, or on Facebook, or on any other platform that exists or will exist in the future. There are a lot of metrics that you need to track when generating leads, but at the end of the day, none are more important than your conversions. In Facebook, conversions are set up in the "Events" section of your ad manager, but you need to have your Facebook tracking pixel set up on your entire funnel first. If you go to "Pixels" within your Ad Manager, you can get the code you need to install. Landing page builders make this very easy, they'll typically have a section dedicated to "Tracking" where you can paste the code into. The Google Chrome browser has extensions for Facebook and Google code for you to be able to see if your code is set up properly. From here, you can go to the "Custom Conversions" area, tell Facebook what URL your lead needs to hit for it to be a conversion (typically your thank you page), and VOILA conversion tracking is set up. If you've never done this before, you may need more instruction than this in which case a simple Google search for "setting up Facebook conversion tracking" will bring up hundreds of videos and blogs that go into more detail.
NOTE: Facebook lead gen ads allow you to generate leads on Facebook without having a landing page, the form is built in to the ad when someone clicks on it. If you use Facebook lead gen ads setting up conversions won't be necessary as you don't ever pull the traffic away from Facebook. Your "conversions" are just leads as shown in the ad manager.
In Google Ads, conversion tracking is a little more complicated but not too bad. Just like Facebook, you have code you need to install on your entire funnel called the "Global site tag." But unlike Facebook, in Google, you have a separate piece of code that you need to install on your conversion or thank-you page in order to track the conversions. You can set this up by clicking the wrench in the upper right-hand corner of your Ads account, selecting "Conversions", and setting up a new conversion. In your landing page builder, you'll simply want to paste your global site tag inside the header area of the "Tracking" section and you'll paste the conversion code in the footer section. The "Google Tag Manager" Google Chrome extension is a lifesaver here, make sure you use it to test your code when you're done setting it up.
Great, so you have conversions set up, now what? Well, oddly enough, you're not actually going to use the conversions for any feedback right away, so try and keep your mind off of them while you're testing the rest of your funnel. A funnel is a process with many pieces that can influence your outcome, and you have to evaluate it as so otherwise, you can spend A TON of time changing your ads with no real improvements to show for your efforts.
Start With the Top of Your Funnel and Work Down
The easiest way that I've always found to perfect my funnel is to start at the top and work down. So what does your funnel look like? If you're generating leads with Facebook lead gen, there aren't very many pieces to your funnel. You have, in order, your targeting/audience, your ad copy (sales writing), your image/images, and your lead form. If you're driving traffic to a landing page from Facebook, everything is the same except you have a landing page before your lead form. On Google, if you're running search ads you'll have your keyword bidding, then your ad copy, then your landing page, and lastly your lead form before it goes into the rest of your funnel (follow-up).
Your first step is always to make sure you're getting traffic at the cost you need to be getting it. This doesn't necessarily mean it will be at the best cost possible, but you need to make sure that you're going to be able to generate leads at a cost that make sense. One of the things I don't like about Facebook lead gen ads (without a landing page) is that it makes it near impossible to isolate your feedback to one step, so you just have to test a whole bunch. To do this, you would run the same exact ad in 3-5 different ad sets, all with different targeting, and you'll just pick your winner based on cost per lead before moving on to the next piece of the funnel.
When you're driving traffic to a landing page, this is easier because you just need to make sure that based on a reasonable landing page conversion rate (when you're just getting started, assume 10-15%), your lead cost is scalable. So whether you're on Facebook or you're on Google, you take your max cost per lead and work backward from there. Trying to get leads for under $5? Then to start off you want to make sure your cost per click is less than $.50. On Google, you should initially set your target cost per lead at about $15 so you need to make sure you're getting clicks for between $1.50-$2. If you aren't getting the clicks at a cost that makes sense, you'll need to make some adjustments. On Google, you'd start with making sure you have enough keywords and that you're bidding properly on each one, while on FB you'll want to test your audiences in the same way I mentioned earlier.
Then, you just keep working down from there. If your ad is good on Google you should expect at least a 3% click-through rate or CTR. If you don't have that, create multiple ads testing different value offers and sales copy until you get there. I'm not experienced enough with Facebook ads to have dialed in expected CTRs because I don't have the variable of keywords to worry about so I use a different strategy altogether. I simply start testing by running multiple ads that are identical except for the ONE aspect I'm testing. I start with the image, then the headline, then the ad copy.
MAKE SURE that at least during your testing phase, you aren't including "Audience Network" in your placements. Facebook will give you the option of automatic or manual placements, you'll want to choose manual placements and exclude the audience network. The Audience Network is an unpredictable source of traffic and can make you feel really good with low cost per clicks, but the conversion rates are typically much much lower than your standard news feed or column ads.
Once you have clicks at a cost that's scalable, that's when you bring your conversions into play. Measure the number of conversions vs the number of clicks you have. As I said before, when you're starting out you should be aiming for a 10-15% conversion rate on your landing page. So if you have 200 clicks and only 10 conversions, you've got some work to do on your landing page. Proper split testing practices would tell you to isolate parts of your landing page just like I advised with your ad. Change one image, test. Change one headline, test. Change one section of copy, test, and so on and so forth. When you're just starting out, I wouldn't go with this practice. I would split test your landing page on a much broader level. You want to make sure your pages look as polished as possible, no matter how simple or complex they are. Then, just test different ideas and concepts until you have a clear winner. At that point, then you can focus on the finer details and test those as well.
Is Speed or Cost More Important To You?
First off, if money isn't an issue then, in my opinion, you shouldn't be doing this yourself. Unless you have plans to become a marketer, pay someone else to do it and you can still monitor closely enough to learn anything you'd want to learn while skipping what can be a grueling testing process. The point is though, if you're okay with spending some money, you can knock these tests out in a day or two for each stage. You just need to make sure your ad budget gets you enough results for a decent test. I've found that when you're just starting out, most of the time the tests yield wildly different results and are pretty easy to identify winners.
If you'd rather take it slow because you don't have the money to go all in, or you just don't have the time to be messing with ads every day, you can spread your budget out over a weeks time and measure your results on that timeline. Either way, it just comes down to having a high enough volume of events taking place that you can choose an obvious winner before moving on to the next stage.
Either way, follow this strategy, and no matter how bad you think you are at lead generation now, you can become just as good or better than me or any of the self-proclaimed "experts" pushing Facebook ads down your throat all day.
Remember, Facebook Still Sucks for Mortgage Leads Except in Cases of Retargeting
I talked a lot in this article about Facebook Ads in this article because I know that's where a lot of my followers are comfortable at the moment. Don't get it twisted though, I still don't think you should be trying to generate mortgage leads on Facebook. It's a giant waste of time and money for the most part, and worse, it will make you feel like you're being productive because you're getting leads, but the leads lack the #1 key to successful lead conversion: intent.
I said earlier that I use Facebook Ads for Empower Funnels. I'm sure you've seen them, and if not, you'll be seeing them soon after reading this blog. Why would I use Facebook as a medium to dissuade others from using Facebook Ads? Because that's the easiest place to access my target market, and my product is unique enough that I need to create intent. You're not going to create the intent to buy a home. Somebody is either in the market to buy a home, or they aren't. It's not like someone is going to see your ad and say, "Oh look, that's a pretty house. I think I'll take 2 of those." Just know that different traffic sources make sense for different products or services, and Facebook is not a good one for mortgages unless you have very strong custom audiences that are constantly being updated in real time. How do you do that? Run Google Search ads with a tracking pixel on your landing page and have a perpetual ad on Facebook running to that custom audience. Qualified home buyers don't have a hard time finding a loan so this will make it so that if they leave your page without converting, the next time they log into Facebook they should see your ad in their timeline giving you a second chance to convert them.
I hope this helps on your journey to creating a lead generation system that works for you and your business. I apologize if the article was overly technical, sometimes I forget how much really goes into this stuff. It's a lot of details, but with time and experience, I promise it all becomes second nature. Remember, if you ever get to a point where you feel like you'd be better off having someone else building a system for you, there's no one better to do that than my team at Empower Funnels. Click the link below to schedule a free consultation, and at the very least you'll get some priceless feedback to help you on your journey towards generating your own leads.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you at the top!