How businesses can reduce their cost-per-lead

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In a blog earlier this week called, 5 Traits of a Strong Lead Generation Strategy, we said that lead generation was the lifeblood of any growth-minded business. 

Generating the leads you need to grow is critical. However, tracking and then managing what each individual lead costs your business in time and treasure is an equally important yet often overlooked aspect of marketing success.

Let's take a look at how businesses can reduce their marketing cost-per-lead. Here are a few tips to ensuring the leads you generate make sense within the context of your bottom line:

Track, Report and Analyze

Yes, this is a topic our blog drills home time and again: businesses need to have mechanisms in place to know what's working and what's not. 

A Facebook ad campaign might produce some leads and your inbox might have several new inquiries. To know if this campaign actually worked with your margin or bottom line, you need to know the following information:

  • Have you tracked the campaign's hard costs?
  • As a senior marketing leader, do you have an accurate picture of how much billable time was put into the project?
  • What are the quality of the leads brought in? You might have generated 100 leads but only 5 were qualified.
  • How many of these leads converted into sales from the campaign? You'll need to look at the cost-per-lead and cost-per-sale to get the complete picture.

The above are just a few examples of items you need to track, review and analyze in order to fully understand if any marketing strategy is producing at a rate that's in line with your margins and bottom line.

If you don't have accurate tracking and reporting, you can't know if your marketing strategy is really working.


Being over-lenient on outbound marketing tactics like direct mail, print advertising and radio campaigns, to site a few examples, will generally result in higher cost-per-lead.  

  • These are higher cost tactics that are less targeted and agile, which tends to result in lower-quality leads that might not be ready to buy, or, might take much longer to purchase or use your services.
  • That's not to say more traditional outbound marketing methods don't have a place. They certainly do, and in some industries, relying more heavily on these traditional advertising tactics makes sense.
  • However, taking a more integrated approach — where digital, inbound marketing blends with outbound marketing--can strike a balance between less targeted, higher cost tactics and highly agile, micro-targeted, lower-cost digital approaches.

Finding the right mix is crucial to managing cost-per-lead. And adopting a more integrated approach to marketing can certainly help reduce costs, particularly if you adopt a more digital approach to reaching prospects where they spend their time online. 

Know Your Buyer's Journey

When your business truly understands the behaviors and needs of its audience and personas, it can reduce the cost it takes to generate a qualified lead.

Knowing your buyer's journey allows for highly targeted marketing that requires less cost to do much more.

  • The more targeted your messaging and offer — meaning the more your marketing reaches a prospect with an offer that matches where they are in the buyer's journey — the faster they'll either exit the pipeline or move along it toward a sale.
  • Your team wants to "qualify" leads accurately and quickly so that time and money isn't wasted on unqualified leads and the least amount of time is spent closing qualified leads.

Matching your marketing efforts to the buyer's journey should compress the time to qualify leads and close them, thereby reducing the time and treasure spent.

Go Organic

Generate great content consistently. Blog, post to social media, leverage fruitful keywords. Streamline your URLs and Google search titles. Get backlinks. Guest blog. 

While there are initial hard costs to building your website and enabling blog functionality, consistent content generation and improving your organic search results by building your company's online presence will generate significantly lower cost-per-lead numbers.

You'll incur soft costs in billable time from staff, but the hard costs are virtually non-existent after a period of time. High quality, organic leads from search are the gold standard for any company.

We offer valuable tips and insights like this multiple times each month via our blog and our monthly newsletter. We hope you found these tips useful.

If you'd like us to take a look at your marketing program and offer you some immediate impact recommendations, sign up for our Immediate Impact Audit today — you'll be happy you did.

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