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Online Leads and Offline Conversion

May 5th, 2009
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I recently talked with Chris Knoch, Principal Consultant in the Best Practices Group at Omniture, about how to best measure and monitor a site’s SEO results (keep an eye out for the article in our search newsletter).

Knoch provided a wealth of information. One bit I found particularly interesting was about connecting offline conversions to online behavior. Many marketers invest loads of time and effort into search marketing to generate leads that will convert offline. Most of these marketers are certain of how many leads they’re getting, but are less certain of which channels generate the best leads; those most likely to convert.

A rental car company, for example, might collect leads online by pointing traffic to an online registration form. The customers convert and pay when they arrive on-site to pick up the car. So leads are generated online, but not all of them will arrive on-site to complete the conversion.

For marketers in this boat, connecting online lead gen to offline conversions is essential to determining which efforts are pulling in the best leads. Is it paid search? If so, which keywords? Is it natural search? Is it display advertising? You should strive to segment the performance of each channel, Knoch says.

“If you’re not mapping your online [lead gen] to your [in-store] conversions, you may be judging your natural search just the same as your display–which is not a good thing to do,” Knoch says. “If you’re not optimizing to offline data metrics, then you’re missing the full picture and you may be spending money on the wrong keywords or the wrong channels.”