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February 09, 2011
Case Study

B2B Lead Generation: Increasing leads 296% by analyzing Web traffic

SUMMARY: Your website gets traffic 24 hours a day. Can you turn those visitors into leads to be nurtured with specific campaigns based on the pages they visited and their actions on your site?

Read about how one B2B marketer employed a tool that used website visitor information to create 296% more leads over a ten-month period, and to increase both email nurturing campaigns and telesales efforts.
by David Kirkpatrick, Reporter

CHALLENGE

Is your Web traffic also a sales lead? Your website is most likely getting hits from PPC campaigns, email marketing efforts and natural search traffic. Can you shift those visitors from the "traffic" category directly into the "leads" category? The answer likely depends on several factors that are unique to your business, but here is an option to consider.

In this article, we take a look at a website lead generation tool that helps you gain more data about your website traffic. An ideal way to use such a tool is to tie this new knowledge into something you already know. For example, connecting inbound traffic info about your visitors with information you already have in your database.

Another approach is to use marketing technology tools to grab the incoming ISP address of your site's visitors and tie that information into a cloud database to pull a list of contacts at the company employed by your visitor.

Depending on the particular Web page visited -- the home page or individual business area landing pages -- a lead can be targeted from the Web session and nurtured for potential conversion.

We spoke with Jennifer Alspach, Marketing Director, I.B.I.S. Inc., a firm that implements business solutions for ERPs and CRMs, about how her company increased lead generation by almost 300 percent in 10 months last year utilizing this technology tool.

This information has improved I.B.I.S.'s marketing efforts in two key ways:
o The company can better analyze website traffic
o The company can better determine visitor's search result topics, desired landing pages, and products/solutions of interest

CAMPAIGN

Alspach said Internet ports were set up for personas the company wants to see and that different pages on the website were classified for different campaigns.

"Maybe the industry [the web visitor] is in would typically be serviced by one product over another," she stated on how Web traffic is analyzed at the time of the visit. With this information, Sales is given background on the Web visitor and weekly reports are sent to the telesales staff with contact information on the Web visitors to be uploaded into the CRM for calls to targeted contacts. The idea is to ensure Web visitors get a human touch after the online session.

Step #1. Getting the lead

While grabbing the ISP information of Web visitors doesn't give you precise lead data, it does provide a starting point with:
o The page visited on the website
o The visitor's place of employment based on the ISP information from the session.

At I.B.I.S. the overall lead generation is broken into two separate parts:
o Visitors to the main page go into a general marketing campaign
o Visitors to specific business areas of the website are put into nurturing campaigns that are dedicated to that sector.

To provide an example, Alspach said, "If they come from the industrial equipment manufacturing section of our site, then we are going to drop them into a nurturing campaign that specifically targets industrial equipment manufacturers. If they don't necessarily come from a specific industry page, but a page or area that we feel is still valid, and they were searching for actual content, then we will drop them into our 'general likes' campaign."

The Web traffic comes from:
o Search
o Direct traffic
- Inbound traffic metrics

Alspach stated traffic to the main site was 89 percent visitors directly typing the URL in their browser, and the remainder coming from search and referrals. The traffic to the supplementary sites is almost the opposite with 70 percent coming from search. I.B.I.S. is also able to track what keyword searches led to page visits, and the search engine used to get to the website.

When Web traffic is turned into a lead, the system:
o Identifies the company for the visitor
o Looks at potential contacts from that company
o Creates a report to provide leads to the telesales team
o Adds those contacts to an email nurturing program.

Alspach said that even though these contacts are automatically added to the email campaign, the company hasn't had a problem with spam compliance because:
o The B2B marketplace is not as sensitive to the issue as is the case with consumer marketing
o The company offers opt-outs with all its email marketing efforts.

Step #2. Email nurturing and telesales

Once the lead is generated, that contact goes into an email nurturing program and potentially into a telesales program as well. A Web visitor who is clicking around, or acting more interested than a casual Web visitor, might go into a more "full-blown" nurturing campaign or even get sent directly to Sales.

Web traffic that goes into the general campaign receives email on a monthly basis that provides information and content on solving business problems the contact might be seeking answers for.

Traffic that goes into industry-specific campaigns get email with white papers, articles or other content that addresses specific pain points the visitor is likely experiencing in their business, and if these visitors don't respond to the email campaign, they also get a touch through the telesales efforts.

Alspach said if email recipients don't show interest they still receive follow-up email as part of the overall nurturing strategy, and recipients who do follow links and downloads in the messages are turned over to Sales and tracked through the CRM.

Step #3. Segmentation

Along with specific Web pages, I.B.I.S also breaks Web visitors down by geography, targeting the Southeast in their case. Visitors are placed in different marketing categories in two different ways:
o Product-driven
o Industry-driven

Both of these categories have triggers set up to allow for more immediate follow-up for visitors showing a high level of interest based on their website actions. There is a certain amount of delay because the reports are prepared on a weekly basis, but using Web traffic to create leads caused I.B.I.S. to tweak its email marketing with a more coordinated follow-up strategy as part of the overall nurturing effort.

Leads generated from the high-interest categories are compiled in the weekly reports and go to the telesales team to get a phone call within a week of their visiting the website.

Explaining how a visitor's website entry point determines if the contact is placed in the general email nurturing campaign or into a specific category, Alspach said, "If [a Web visitor] arrives on Advanced Distribution, Field Service or Professional Services, they will go to our general campaign. If they arrive on Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, they will go to our specific manufacturing campaign."

The end result of this marketing effort is that I.B.I.S. is turning what was once relatively anonymous traffic to its website into leads to be nurtured with varying levels of intensity based on their activity on the website.
RESULTS

The key result of this marketing initiative is that leads at I.B.I.S. increased by 296% in the first ten months of grabbing contact information from Web traffic.

The other measurable result is the combined lists for all of the email nurturing campaigns associated with this marketing effort grew by 3.3% during that time frame.

One possible drawback is the quality of leads from this effort was described by Alspach as "slightly lower than average."

She added, "How we look at things is, just because they are on your website, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are ready to buy. They could be on your website for a number of reasons -- they could even be a competitor."

She stated this is not a problem at I.B.I.S. because Sales is good at handling the leads, and everyone on the telesales call list gets at least one phone call. There's not any wasted time or effort and the entire marketing campaign comes at a very low cost compared to the number of new leads generated.

Useful links related to this article

Creative samples
1. Follow-up email
2. Original email

I.B.I.S. Inc.

netFactor

Members Library -- How to Support Field Sales and Telesales with Your Web Site

Members Library -- MarketingSherpa’s Take on B2B in 2010: Part two -- marketing automation and lead generation content

2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report

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