What would it mean to your lead-generation strategy if you knew that more than two-thirds of the people downloading your white papers and ebooks were lying on those carefully crafted landing pages?
How would conversations about lead generation between your Sales and Marketing teams be different if you knew that, more often than not, you don’t have a prospect’s correct phone number?
Last month Touch Point City posted on Poll Daddy an extremely brief, highly unscientific survey which basically posed this question: “How Much Do We Lie on Landing Pages?” Although survey responses were few (only 26), the findings are still worth a close look by marketing and sales leaders.
It turns out that when we’re asked to exchange our contact information in return for downloading something we find of interest, we lie quite a lot. Perhaps as much as 69 percent of the time.
1. How often do you provide intentionally inaccurate name and contact information when completing a content download registration form?
More often than not 15%
About half the time 4%
When we mislead on landing pages, more than half the time it’s our phone numbers we’re faking. And 20 percent of the time it’s our e-mail addresses.
2. If you sometimes provide intentionally inaccurate information on a download registration form, which of the following are you MOST likely to fake?
Phone number 56%
Email address 20%
Job title 16%
Mailing address 4%
Company name 0%
Why do we shade the truth? Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s to avoid follow-up sales calls and marketing contacts.
3. If you sometimes provide intentionally inaccurate name and contact information, why?
Avoid follow-up sales calls or marketing contacts 72%
Protect my personal data privacy 16%
Chalk it up to the prankster in me 0%
- “I do not give false information because I only fill in my information to companies I trust.”
- “I don’t do this but if I did, it would be to avoid follow-up phone calls, primarily.”
- “Avoid being inundated with what’s potentially junk mail afterward.”
The Big Lie of Lead Generation
Again, as surveys go, this admittedly was no Gallup or Roper. Still, let’s concede for a moment that more than two dozen people (adults, presumably) did take the survey and provided honest answers about their propensity to become liars on landing pages.
If their responses are close to what a real, professionally executed survey might find, then what are we to make of this apparent Pinocchio Principle when it comes to leads born of landing pages? I think the clear takeaway is this:
A lead isn’t a lead until someone is engaged enough to be honest with you.
How will you know when they’re being totally honest? You probably won’t. At least not until one of your sales reps actually gets them one the phone, connects with them via e-mail or shakes their hand across a desk. Or maybe not even until they call or e-mail you to say they’d like to have a conversation about your product or service.
For decades, marketing and sales teams have argued about whether someone who visits a trade show booth should be considered a lead. Marketing would often say yes. Sales would often say no, not even close.
Now, that same argument is playing out online. Some marketers are tempted to say that someone who’s registered for a newsletter, or downloaded a white paper, is a lead. Sales is likely to argue that those are mere inquiries. To be true leads, Sales would say, those initial contacts need to be nurtured. Qualified. Scored. To the point where those individuals are more demonstrably interested in the company’s product or service, and thus potentially more ready to buy.
If this is an argument playing out inside your organization, the survey says Sales is right. A landing page registration is not necessarily a lead. An e-newsletter subscription is not necessarily a lead. A discernible pattern of engagement over time (e.g., multiple downloads, an e-newsletter sign-up, a webinar attendance, multiple visits to your website) could well be a lead.
It’s our challenge as marketers to elicit those patterns of engagement from customers and potential customers. And the great thing is, we ‘ve never been more clear about how to do it (relevant, compelling content). We’ve never had more tools and channels by which to do it. And we’ve never been better equipped to measure that it’s truly happening.
So if you’re in the middle of a lead-generation program, or about to embark on one, here’s a suggestion: Assume that people are mostly going to lie on your landing pages. And then go about your business with the mindset that you’re going to earn their honesty. Over time. By offering great information, interactions and experiences. In other words, great content.
The lead numbers might no pile up quite as quickly. But, honestly, they’ll be solid leads when they do.
Where do things stand with lead generation in your organization? Are you still treating trade show visits and newsletter subscriptions as leads? Have you found your way to a more sophisticated lead scoring system and process? Or do you think this whole way of thinking about leads is due for some serious reinvention? Would welcome your thoughts and feedback.
Thanks to Ardath Albee (@ardath421), Achinta Mitra (@Achintamitra), Pam Kozelka (@pamkozelka), Mary Bunnell (@mbbunnell, @ymmlistens), D. Steven White (@dstevenwhite) and Chris Bailey (@baileyworkplay) for sharing our “How Much Do We Lie…” survey with their followers. Voter turnout was light, colleagues, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of your support.