In a St. Louis dive bar, a financial advisor recognized me as the next day’s speaker and posed a critical question: “How do I know which of my digital marketing tactics actually bring in clients?” This encounter sparked the idea for this article.
The Attribution Challenge
The sales process is a complex, multi-dimensional journey. Prospects might first hear about you from a friend, visit your website, and watch some videos. They might return via a remarketing ad or after a conversation with their accountant.
Every purchasing journey is unique and identifying which interaction was key in their decision-making is challenging, especially as digital tracking becomes more difficult due to evolving privacy regulations and the phasing out of cookies.
The Solution: Direct Feedback
The solution lies in direct feedback, asking every prospect, “How did you hear about us?” Sometimes it will be straightforward, sometimes it won’t. Either way, you’re gathering helpful feedback that makes your marketing more effective. If you never have anyone mention your billboard, maybe that’s a “sign” it isn’t working.
You’ll need to decide which categories make the most sense for your business based on the marketing activities you commonly deploy, but here’s a good starting point:
- Referral (friend or family member)
- Professional Referral (accountant, attorney, etc.)
- Seminar or Client Event
- Community Involvement
- Social Media
- Google Search
- Advisor Videos
There are times when various factors played a role in their decision to work with you. That’s OK. If they said you were recommended by their accountant and then watched some of your videos, you’d mark both of those as factors in your selection.
There are a variety of ways to gather this data. Think of this as a six-month campaign to gather as much intel as possible. Consider the following people and techniques:
Initial Talks with Prospects: Make it a part of your initial discussions with prospective clients. Begin each discovery meeting with a simple “How did you hear about us?” It not only gives you the data you’re looking for, it’s a great way to get context around their perception of you.
New-ish Clients: For new-ish clients (within the last 2-3 years), ask them how they discovered you. You might say, “Before we dive in today, I’d like to ask you a quick question. We’re trying to get a better idea of how people are finding us. Do you recall how you initially heard about us? Was it through a friend, an online search, an event, or perhaps another way?”
Website Forms: Include the question on forms where clients schedule appointments or interactions. Below is an example from our website’s Calendly form.
Surveys: Many advisors send client satisfaction surveys on an annual basis. Make sure to incorporate the question into your next survey.
Events and Webinars: Ask during live event registrations and when clients and prospects register for webinars.
Subscription Forms: A little side question when prospects sign up for your newsletter or download a lead magnet can give you great insight.
Centralizing and consistently analyzing your responses is crucial. As your data pool grows, it becomes a richer source of insights, ultimately guiding where to allocate your marketing budget effectively. Every data point collected enhances your understanding of your Ideal Client Profile and informs smarter marketing decisions.