Take Back Your Leads & Revenue: How Lead Source Attribution Can Reveal Lost Online Opportunities

We’ve had the distinct pleasure of speaking to or working with thousands of organizations, big and small, from coast to coast, but the same issue seems to surface time and again: seldom does the organization have any knowledge of where its leads are coming from.

Lead-source attribution is a common source of pain for many business owners. And senior living communities, unfortunately, are not immune to this troubling trend.

What we’ve learned, specifically, is that communities are not only unaware of or unable to identify the source of a majority of their leads, and in some cases a community feels that the Internet isn’t really a driver of many of these engagements.

digital marketing channels

For many in the industry, a bulk of their leads originate from community directory websites like A Place for Mom, Senior Living, Caring Advisor, and many more.

Which begs the question: If these communities were properly educated about the immense potential of the Internet and then took the steps to implement proper lead-tracking to learn more about the origins of their leads, how many opportunities would be uncovered to drive further engagement through their own websites?

When it comes to the potential of your community’s website, do you know where your opportunity for growth exists?

As a data-driven agency, Digital Strike has always made it a priority to properly set up channel attribution for all digital marketing channels because, without accurate lead source data, it’s tough to make map your business’ customer journey and make strategic decisions that are crucial to long-term growth.

Attribution Modeling

First-touch or last-touch attribution modeling can throw entry-level marketers for a loop. Metrics may be fuzzy, depending on which attribution model each tool is using. Using multi-touch attribution tools to track each digital touchpoint contained within the customer journey across all campaigns is easier when you understand the difference between attribution models.

First-Touch Attribution Modeling

This attribution model is simply tracking the first digital touchpoint that a customer interacts with and claims credit for any action taken on-site. For example, if a user has never been to your website until clicking on a paid search ad, this source would claim the credit for the conversion, even if the user came back via organic search to make the official conversion.

Last-Touch Attribution Modeling

Very similar to the aforementioned, this attribution model is simply tracking the last digital touchpoint that a customer interacts with and claims credit for any action taken on-site. Following the above example, organic search would be credited with the conversion in this model.

Other attribution models include linear, position-based, last non-direct click, and time decay. You can test out different attribution models using Google’s Multi-Channel Funnel Model Comparison Tool within your Google Analytics account.

Find the right attribution model that fits your business goals and marketing activities and use it to your benefit. But before you start claiming all new leads to a specific source or a new campaign, make sure there are proper UTM parameters in place and each marketing effort is properly tagged in your Google Analytics account so you can clearly see the conversion funnel in place.

How Lead-Source Attribution Can Help Your Business Grow

This attribution does two things: It allows you to see where all your leads are coming from and keeps us accountable as a marketing partner and organization.

Here are a couple of scenarios in which proper tracking and lead attribution can provide greater insight:

  • Sending out a mailer? Great, let’s use a tracking phone number and create a designated landing page
  • Running a Facebook ad campaign? Super, properly tag the URL in the advertisement to track within your Google Analytics account.
  • Advertising an event at your facility next week within your Google My Business Listing? Again, let’s tag the URL and assign a number to your Google My Business listing.
    You’re putting time and money into lead generation efforts, so why not hold everyone accountable?

Attribution models provide three crucial benefits to your organization:

Justify the success (or failure) of channel performance

Bolster (or uncover flaws in) your sales team’s performance

Help you identify — and leverage — trends in channel performance

sales by lead source graph
Let’s discuss these three benefits, the insights you can gain, and an example of how eye-opening these insights have been for one of our assisted living communities.

Strategic Decision Making

When any organization, in any vertical, engages with us, we always start with both a website audit and a marketplace audit.

We generally see the same issues across the board – lack of information for discovery within Google Search on the website & lack of proper tracking for lead engagement.

We always ask ourselves, and any organization, some variation of these three questions:

  1. Do you have form tracking setup via a Google Analytics goal?
  2. Do you use a third-party tool to track where all your forms come from?
  3. Do you use call tracking on your website to record calls and track which channel the phone call came from?
    If you don’t have this type of in-depth tracking for your website, don’t worry – we always set up all the tracking within the first month of engagement.

Once call tracking and web form tracking is set up, the data starts flowing in with each new engagement. The third-party tool we use will tell us whether that call originated from a user searching in Google and then visiting your site. Or, if you are running a Google Ads campaign, you can see what term was used to see and click on your ad, visit your site, and then fill out a form.

It’s important to be able to separate out where these two engagements came from because they both came from Google but from two different channels: organic and paid.

Why does this matter?

While organic traffic from Google is indeed free, this does not account for the time, effort, and money put into content creation and authority building for the website to get that visitor through a regular search. In the case of Google Ads, you simply pay for the visitor to click on your ad and come to your website.

And this premise applies to any type of traffic your website receives. Are you generating leads from social media posts, a webinar hosted by your sales team, or referral traffic that’s coming from a different website?

Given that every organization has a limited amount of budget to allocate to marketing, the level of insight that proper tracking and attribution allows arms you with the knowledge you absolutely have to have to justify crucial decisions regarding marketing objectives and budget.

And what if your business is a brick-and-mortar storefront that processes limited or no business transactions online? Well, proper attribution of online leads can still give you a great idea of what activities took place leading up to the time those offline — or in-person — transactions transpired.

In other words, the data arms you with the necessary information to make sound, strategic decisions for long-term growth.

Improving Your Sales Performance

“The following call is being recorded for quality assurance.”

This is the ever-present opening line of any call to a customer service line – but who is actually listening to the quality of the interaction of the call? Every marketer’s worst nightmare is reviewing and organizing a client’s CRM, but the results could be extremely beneficial to the marketing campaigns’ success.

When you engage with us – WE DO!

Last year, we listened to over 1,000 calls for one of our assisted living clients and we learned an unbelievable amount of invaluable info.

As an individual in charge of occupancy, you are spending quite a bit of time and money on the acquisition of a new opportunity. Shouldn’t the people answering the phone do their best to provide the best experience possible?

In the process of evaluating the data, we discovered a large number of cases in which sales calls were going straight to voicemails — or go completely unaddressed — so that the caller had absolutely no chance to engage with the business or even leave a voicemail.

Having the ability to record and listen to these calls, and the additional insight the tracking process provides, arms communities with the data they need to make critical decisions regarding where to allocate marketing dollars, as well as how and where to improve internal processes and address potential issues in personnel performance.

Identifying Positive & Negative Trends

The last advantage we want to discuss when it comes to setting up appropriate tracking is something that we continually get asked, which is whether or not we see any trends in a client’s digital marketing efforts.

We subscribe to, or have used, almost every digital marketing tool ever created – seriously – but what these tools tell us is what is happening within search itself, not your business.

While you can see that your competitor has set up engagement tracking, is running Google Ads in your market, or is paying for Facebook advertising, it doesn’t tell us how these marketing campaigns are performing.

You can’t make competitive decisions based on assumptions and speculation.

By establishing of process of reliable tracking and attribution, we can evaluate trends in search and in competitive strategy – thus allowing us, again, to allocate marketing dollars to the appropriate channels based on the trends in data over the course of 3-6 months.

Trends could also exist within the internal sales process, too, and not just from a lead generation standpoint.

Let’s assume we are running a Facebook Ads campaign to generate new opportunities. All of the proper tracking and attribution boxes have been checked, including funneling lead data into a CRM like SalesForce, but the sales team is having a difficult time closing leads. We can listen to the calls and learn that most of these new opportunities aren’t quite ready to close; they’re just beginning the decision-making journey.

One of the strategies that we could employ with regards to this negative trend is begin an email nurturing campaign to stay in front of these “shoppers” until they are ready to make a decision. If you didn’t have call tracking set up, you might have considered pausing all Facebook advertising and eventually missed the opportunity to be in front of these users as they start the process.

Preparation Is The Key To Success

Strategic decision-making doesn’t just happen – you have to do all the heavy lifting up front by collecting as much knowledge and data points necessary. This all begins with setting up tracking and attribution for your website and marketing efforts.

As we’ve seen with plenty of organizations, not just senior living organizations, a lot of value can be gained from even the slightest bit of data in the right hands. Through our combined years of digital marketing experience, we like to think we have just the right hands.

Stop buying YOUR leads back from lead generation websites and land those opportunities on your own website – learn how we can start you down the path to smarter growth through digital marketing.


Natalie Coyne

Natalie is a digital strategist and paid search account manager. She loves breakfast food, podcasts, and wine.

Learn more about Natalie Coyne