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Marketing Strategy

How to Setup a Lead Attribution Model

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The first step in a 5-step process to properly track ROI from your marketing is setting up a lead attribution model.

A lead attribution model is like turning on a GPS locater for everyone in your audience. It enables you to put a worth on every effort in your marketing to assure its worth the effort.

Setting up a lead attribution model involves 3 steps:

  1. Define Key Performance Indicators
  2. Update campaign tracking parameters
  3. Translate lead data into your customer relationship management system

Step 1: Define Key Performance Indicators

Your marketing strategy most likely involves multiple channels including:

  • Social media channels (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, etc.)
  • Paid media channels (e.g. Google Display, Google Search, Bing Ads, etc.)
  • Yup, even traditional (e.g. Direct mail, billboards, TV, etc.)

The goal of your lead attribution model is to measure key actions in each marketing channel that impact movement through the marketing funnel.

Channel Marketing Funnel

The key actions in each marketing channel that impact movement are defined as Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). The key actions that move people further down the marketing funnel.

For example, a person that completes a lead form on Facebook to download a white paper would move them from Awareness to Interest. The KPI’s that could be attributed to this key action might be:

  • White paper downloads
  • White paper download rate (volume of downloads / impressions)
  • Cost per white paper download (campaign cost / volume of downloads)

Obviously the specific actions people need to take are going to vary based on your business, but the general concept is the same.

You need to define exactly what your KPI’s are and how they impact movement along the marketing funnel. This is where market research, competitive intelligence, experience and data comes into play.

Step 2: Update Campaign Tracking Parameters

Once you’ve defined your KPI’s, you need to setup the system to “tag” people throughout their journey in your marketing funnel. This will assure that any subsequent action they take in your marketing funnel is attributed back to the previous efforts that got them their in the first place.

For example, let’s imagine a person named Sarah is looking for an attorney to assist her in setting up a Will.

Here’s what Sarah might do:

  1. Go to Google and search for an “Estate Planning Attorney”
  2. Clicks on a Google Search ad using the following tracking URL: https://yoursite.com/?utm_campaign=estate_planning&utm_medium=cpc&utm_keyword=estate planning attorney&utm_content=estate_planning_guide
  3. Visits your landing page that focuses on downloading an estate planning guide
  4. Completes a form to download the guide
  5. Enters a drip email follow up campaign focused on getting Sarah to schedule a call using a calendar software such as Calendly
  6. Schedules a time for a call
  7. Becomes a client

The KPI’s in this example might be:

  • Estate Planning Guide – Click Through Rate
  • Estate Planning Guide – Downloads
  • Estate Planning Guide – Download Rate
  • Estate Planning Guide – Cost Per Download
  • Estate Planning Guide – Appointments Scheduled
  • Estate Planning Guide – Appointment Scheduled Rate
  • Estate Planning Guide – Cost Per Appointment
  • Estate Planning Guide – Cost Per Client

Notice how the KPI’s are defined by the campaign so you can easily attribute the KPI’s against the effort.

The tracking URL in this example (https://yoursite.com/?utm_campaign=estate_planning&utm_medium=cpc&utm_keyword=estate planning attorney&utm_content=estate_planning_guide) provides the data we need from the Google Search Ad campaign to know where Sarah came from and what she did.

The form to download the estate planning guide would need to be programmed to capture each value coming from the click. If your website/landing page is built using WordPress, you can setup hidden fields that capture parameter name values using form plugins such as Gravity Forms or, if you don’t want to get too technical, use add-ons such as this one. Ok, enough with the techie details. If you have more techie questions, feel free to contact me directly.

Using this example, by setting up your tracking URL with key campaign tracking points (i.e. parameters) and your form to capture the values coming from the URL upon form submission, you’ll be able to:

  • Determine where Sarah came from (Google Ads)
  • What she did (Searched “Estate Planning Attorney” – or a variation of that phrase)
  • What campaign led to her taking action (Estate Planning)
  • What part of the campaign contributed to her completing the form (Estate Planning Guide)

Step 3: Translate lead data into your customer relationship management system

The problem with just tracking Sarah to this point is that it won’t tell us what she did after she downloaded the estate planning guide.

We need to setup marketing automation between the estate planning guide form and a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. A CRM system is going to enable you to trace a lead all the way through the sales process and attribute the revenue portion of your ROI calculations.

CRM systems come in all shapes and sizes. There are general CRM systems that can be customized to fit your needs (e.g. SalesForce, PipeDrive, HubSpot, etc.) and there are CRM systems that are already tailored to specific industries (e.g. Clio is a CRM system tailored specifically to law firms).

My point here is that to track ROI and attribute it back to it’s original source, you need a way of pushing lead data into the CRM system from your marketing platforms. This will require your CRM system to integrate with your marketing platforms through an Application Programming Interface (API).

API’s allow platforms to talk to each other. The good news is you don’t need to be a programmer in most cases to setup API connections (e.g. website form submissions to your CRM). You can utilize intermediary Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) platforms such as Zapier to handle the connection. Many CRM systems (such as HubSpot or PipeDrive) offer you the ability to embed forms on your website without having to setup API connections.

The point here is that you need to setup a way to transfer the lead data coming from your lead forms, or phone calls (using call tracking software such as CallRail or Call Tracking Metrics), to CRM fields that are attached to each opportunity.

Using our example, we would want to setup a connection between the Estate Planning Guide form and CRM.

This would require us to setup CRM fields such as:

  • Lead Source: Google Ads
  • Lead Type: Estate Planning
  • Lead Campaign: Estate Planning Guide

When Sarah submitted the form to download the guide, the form could trigger a workflow (using a tool such as Zapier) to create an opportunity in the CRM and translate hidden values from the form that were captured from the URL coming from the Google Ad to the fields in the CRM (e.g. Lead Source, Lead Type, Lead Campaign).

Now, any additional movement through the sales process (e.g. booking an appointment, signing letter of engagement, etc.) can all be traced back to the original marketing channels and to the various aspects of the campaigns (e.g. keywords, ads, etc.) under each channel.

When you have this setup for all of your marketing efforts, you’ll be one step closer to measure a true return on investment from each effort.

I will be creating a post shorty that will outline how to compare your lead data against your marketing cost data to generate a true ROI number for each of your marketing efforts.

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About Author

I believe you need to pour all your passion into something that you truly believe in. You become better at it. Branding, digital marketing and technology is to me what a cabinet is to a carpenter. There are many aspects of it that need to be carefully planned, measured, created and combined in order to get the finished product you want. You live for the end result. You treat your work as a craft, and not a job.