Begin at the Beginning – Setting Your Digital Marketing Goals (Part 2)

Note: if you missed part one of this blog post, please check that out first. I think you’ll find valuable information there that will set up what you’re about to read here.

Now that we’ve discussed why having predetermined goals for your marketing plans are important, and covered things like awareness and engagement goals, it’s time to talk the true end goal: how do we convert prospects to actual customers?


First, let’s talk a little about what “conversion” truly is. This answer could be different for everyone. If you sell a tangible product, in stock and ready to ship, you may very well count ecommerce sales as your primary goal. However, in most cases, the clients I work with sell custom solutions, or products that need an in-depth consultation before a sale can happen. For those types of clients, a “conversion” in terms of a marketing campaign can vary greatly. I like to tell clients that I want to measure the closest thing possible to a cash register ringing that can happen on their site. Let’s explore some of these conversion possibilities.


As previously mentioned, some industrial companies do sell products, or even replacement parts, online. This is a marketer’s dream, as it allows us to truly place an ROI on a campaign. Through analytics tools, we can track what type of user created a sale, what brought them to your site originally, how many visits it took them to buy, and what the value was.

If you look at your own company and determine that selling direct online is a viable goal, there are a hundred do’s and don’ts to consider (which would be a whole other blog post!) But the short and sweet answer – make sure your ecommerce platform is mobile-friendly, has an easy checkout process that allows the option to check out as a guest, and not only takes credit cards, but allows for PayPal or Amazon Pay options.

Form Fills

For most industrial manufacturers, a form fill is the closest thing to a cash register ringing on their website. Because forms are trackable, with a good CRM system you can track leads from the form all the way to proposing a solution to the customer, which hopefully results in a sale. It should be your goal for every site user who might be interested in your product or service to fill out a form when they are ready to go. This form may even be something as detailed as a request for quote form.

As was the case with ecommerce, form fills are able to be tracked by what drove them there. In many cases, I see paid traffic campaigns convert higher than organic traffic, because people that use search engines to do their research are usually in a data-gathering mode, and eager to learn about you. Surprisingly, I see trends where traffic driven by social media converts nearly as high as the site average, which would have been crazy to think just a few years ago.

A few more quick tips here – first, ensure the form as is easy to find as possible. It should be, in some fashion, on every page of your site beyond the home page. It should be “above the fold,” or able to be seen without scrolling. And please, keep the required fields to a minimum. Name, email and phone should be required, but beyond that, a monotonous form fill, especially when people are frequently visiting from a mobile device, can be a killer. I’ve seen form fill conversion rates double by tweaking a site with these few ideas. And of course, ensure you have a foolproof way to deliver these leads to your sales teams!

Phone Calls

Here, things get a little tougher, but with some work you can still measure how a marketing campaign could affect your inbound phone calls.

The easiest way to track calls is to utilize an actual call tracking service. Most companies that provide pay-per-click (Adwords) management can implement call tracking and call recording to get a handle on what the campaign generates. For instance, my best B2B national campaigns generate multiple calls each day, and somewhere between 60-80% of these calls turn into viable leads. When we’re talking about selling $20,000 machines, that’s a difference-maker.

There are other call tracking measures you can take, such as custom numbers for your trade publication advertising, display advertising, or even mass marketing. The biggest tip here – if you want your customers to call you, make sure they can easily find your number, no matter what page they are on. In most cases, this means having your number in the top, right hand corner of every page of your site.


We’ve covered the primary ways that a prospect can reach out to your business as a converted customer. However, we know things aren’t as easy or linear as a direct conversion. There are many leading indicators that organizations find helpful to track, to get a feel for the steps that happen before the sale. Again, in a digital fashion, it’s possible to tell what drove these leading indicators, or micro-conversions.

Let’s put some thought into what your business may want to track. Do you host product spec sheets online? We can track PDF downloads for each product. Do you have a link on your “contact us” page to send a sales rep a direct email? Let’s learn how often that really happens. I always highly recommend not only tracking how many or request for quotes are completed, but how many people actually visited the RFQ page, so we can start to track visits-to-completions percentage. We’ll talk more about a conversion funnel at a later date, but this is a great place to start looking at that type of data.

Questions about how to choose your company’s goals, or even how to set up tracking around these goals? I love to help. Let’s chat. 

In the next blog, we’ll discuss how return visitors to your site convert at 50 – 100% higher rate than your first time visitors, and what we can do to bring people back to the site as much as possible. Thank you for reading.