Lead Tracking: Best Practices and Secrets

Illustration that represents the concepts discussed in this lead tracking article - a person juggling a series of icons (representing concepts).Could lead tracking be the missing key in your marketing arsenal? If you’re like most marketers, this might just be the case. In marketing we often talk about acquiring leads, and converting leads. But we often completely forget to talk about the idea of “tracking leads” as the glue that makes everything else work.

This guide aims to achieve two things. First it will help you understand the role that tracking leads will play in everything from your conversion rates to crafting automations and ultimately your bottom-line profitability.

Secondly, it will give you a good idea about the actionable steps and all the tools you can utilize to leverage lead tracking for a more efficient marketing system.

The customer journey and tracking leads

A lot of people get confused when it comes to these two concepts, because it might become unclear how to differentiate the two, and is there even a difference between the two?

I think the easiest way to look at this is to say that the “customer journey” is the theory, whereas tracking leads is the practical execution based on that theory.

You see, every marketing textbook talks about the customer journey, and stages, and that is all very nice. But that has to somehow get converted into actual, practical action steps. And this is where tracking leads comes into play.

So is tracking leads all about just tracking the stages of the customer journey? Well, no, tracking leads goes beyond that. Tracking leads is about deciding which kind of data you will track, how you will organize that data, and how you will acquire it.

The concept of the customer journey can help you quickly come up with a data structure to gather data for. But you’re not limited to only gathering data based on the “customer journey” model. Though it is a helpful starting point. But more on that later in our discussion on “marketing data structures”.

Lead tracking and automation

The interesting part about automation and lead tracking is that the two are tightly intertwined. And by this I mean that in order to build automations, you need some data to base them on. That is, you will generally have an automation fire if a person gets a certain tag, visits a certain page on your site, or opens a certain email.

So in essence, quality automation depends on quality lead tracking. However, the process of lead tracking itself often relies on automation as well. You will build automations that say “If a person opens this email, then assign this tag here”, or “If a person visits the pricing page 3 times, change this custom field value here”.

Now, this might sound like a catch 22. How are you to start building automations if they rely on data that you gather using automations? Well, the thing is that not all lead tracking is done with automations. It is just one of the ways that you gather data or track a lead.

To start off with, Emercury already tracks leads automatically even before you set up anything. We automatically gather data on all email-based behavior such as opens, clicks, forwards and email-related data such as email provider and more.

You then add to this data by setting up automations to track the lead over time. You can do so based on their engagement with the emails, you can utilize site and event tracking, and you can even integrate cross-stack with other tools you use in your business. But more on that later.

If you want a good introduction on automation that takes all of this into consideration, take a look at our popular guide: The Email Automation Guide for Intelligent Marketers.

Tracking leads with metrics

Do you want to know the number one secret to quickly becoming a better marketer and growing your business as fast as possible? It’s a secret recipe that involves just 3 steps.

First you assess your results, then you decide what to tweak, and then you reiterate. And then you keep doing this until you have a marketing process that converts and sells like crazy.

Now, a big and important part of this whole thing is the ability to easily track your results. It also helps if you can look at your results and easily understand them at glance. And this is where “metrics” in marketing come into play. 

In fact, your overall email metrics are the easiest way to track leads. This might confuse some, as you might associate the term “tracking leads” with tracking the specific actions of individual leads.

However, sometimes the easiest way to grow as a business is to track leads as segments, and look at the metrics of entire groups of leads. That is, to treat them as a “persona” whereby you track their behavior over time based on what you are trying to accomplish.

And here’s another secret, we are constantly getting people moving to Emercury and commenting about how they love the easy and simple metrics. We gather the most important stuff for you automatically, and you can check out and track things with ease.

Furthermore, if you really want to implement this idea of tracking your leads as personas, consider building segments. Feel free to check out this guide to market segmentation

Once you have defined segments and send your campaigns by segment, you can then easily look at the metrics for each one, and get a really good idea of how things are progressing.

Determine your data structures

This is probably the most important part of tracking leads, yet I find a lot of people omit it when they talk about marketing. I believe it has to do with the fact that this isn’t a fun topic, and it will involve you having to do a lot of thinking.

What are we talking about here though, more specifically? Well, as it turns out, lead tracking is just a fancy way of gathering data about leads over time. However, aside from the core data that we gather for you automatically, everything else is business specific.

This means that you will have to think about what data you want to track, and how to organize this data. Now note, this is highly specific to the business, so it will be different for everyone. However, to make this a little less vague, let us look at a couple of examples.

Let’s take a look at customer journey stages for example

The customer journey is an easy place to start, and it is why we often recommend it as the first step when setting up your data structures. In essence, you want to think about the bigger stages that a lead goes through before they purchase from you. 

Now, if you look at general discussions about the customer journey, it will involve very generic stages. For example, something like the AIDA model.

I believe it is a lot more useful to come up with stages that are specific to your business. So for example, let’s imagine that you do marketing for a SaaS that offers a free trial. You might define the stages as such: Subscriber, Free User, Paid User, High-Tier User. Then, you would track as the user moves stage to stage, by updating the relevant custom field.

And this alone, whilst simple, can be quite powerful. In fact, if you do nothing else but send different marketing based on the subscriber stage, you will do pretty well. However, you’re probably here because you are looking into implementing even finer levels of lead tracking, so let’s look at that next.

Taking things up a notch, and implementing finer lead tracking

The part that a lot of people get excited about is the fact that with a powerful platform like Emercury you can track every little event and detail about the lead’s actions, movement and behavior.

That’s the fun and exciting part, however, the prerequisite is that you have to really think about how you will organize and structure all of this data. You have to decide what certain actions or sets of actions signify.

Let’s say that you’re tracking engagement, and want to market differently based on engagement. For example, what does it mean if a person opens up your emails more than 10 times a month? Is this someone that you refer to as a highly-engaged lead? 

The technical part is easy, especially with Emercury. Just set up a smart segment and we’ll automatically track which leads enter and exit this segment. But you have to decide what you are tracking, and what it all means. 

Additionally, you have to decide how to structure this. Is it going to be in the shape of a segment, or a tag that you assign to such subscribers, or even a custom field value?

Now, I know this is all somewhat vague, and I wish I could be more specific, but it all depends on your specific business. It really depends on a lot of things that are unique to you and your business. I would, however, love to have a one-on-one conversation with you where we can discuss things in a more personal way. So feel free to book a free demo whilst I still have time for those.

Utilize site and event tracking

This is the fun part, but it does work best when you set up your data structures (categories and organization), which is why we took the time to discuss this point first.

However, once you know what you are aiming for, you can go ahead and set up site and event tracking in your Emercury event, and really you can track anything you can imagine.

Perhaps you want to track when a person clicks a button on your site, or visits the pricing page more than 3 times? You can do that. Do you want to create custom events such as “Added to cart”, “Signups for membership site” or even “Watched video”? You can do all of this.

But again, you have to decide what those events lead to. You can use them as they are in their raw form or store them inside of predetermined data structures. 

By this I mean you can have an automation that performs actions based on an event, or converts it to other type of data first. For example you might have a “visited pricing page” event.

You can have an automation that triggers on this event, and instantly sends the person a coupon for a discount. Alternatively, you can have the automation only change the custom field called “interest level”. And then have another automation that emails people when their interest level changes.

So again, it depends on how you’ve chosen to do lead tracking. If it is important for you to track interest level, then you will have the automations assign track the interest level for you. This might be based on a combination of actions like email opens, site visits and custom events.

To learn more about site and event tracking, be sure to check out the announcement post over here.

Integrate cross-stack tracking

At this point you might be wondering what a “stack” is, and what it has to do with marketing or your business. Well, the chances are that you already do have a stack, and understanding it better will help you quite a bit.

You see, a few years back there was a big push towards the idea of the ‘all-in-one’ platform. The idea was that you could get a single account on a single platform, and you would be able to do everything in your marketing, and even business in just one central location.

That never panned out, and people learned that you just end up with a platform that is overpriced and charges you quite a bit so it can do “most things in a mediocre way”. 

This is why smart marketers have figured out that the solution is building your own “stack”. Instead of a platform that does everything poorly, you can combine and integrate multiple specialized tools on a per-need basis.

Emercury is a favorite for such smart marketers

We have veterans with big lists moving to Emercury on a daily basis, and they tell us that they love how Emercury is really good at doing the core stuff well, and able to integrate with everything else. 

Now, on the one hand, we have a lot of native integrations ranging from Calendly or Elementor all the way to Woocommerce. However, we worked hard to make it possible for you to integrate and glue things together in any way you can imagine. This can be done with the help of incoming webhooks and outgoing webhooks.

With this, you can easily send data across your stack, as you need to. Perhaps you want it where if a salesperson updates something in the sales-tracking tool, this automatically updates the same lead in Emercury. That’s easy with incoming hooks.

And you can do the opposite as well. For example, you might be tracking “interest level” in Emercury, and want to send it off to to another tool whenever it changes. Doing so is easy, just use outgoing webhooks.

Why this is important for lead tracking

Even though most of your lead tracking will be happening inside of Emercury, you might want to track the lead for any actions or events that happen outside of it. For example if your sales team has their favorite CRM and you want to track sales actions, which are a subset of tracking the lead. You can then send that data back to Emercury as needed.

Get A Partner On Your Side

There’s no need to go at this alone. While we do put out a lot of free content to help you, nothing beats a one-on-one conversation. In these articles we try to help clarify things as best as possible. However, every business is different, so we have to generalize.

If you want to understand better how to implement email marketing in your specific business, let’s have a chat. At the moment I am still able to do some free demos, so be sure to book one while I can still do these.

I would love to hear about your specific needs, challenges and any confusion you might have about best practices. And then, help you see how you can use Emercury to improve your bottom-line.

Alternatively, or in addition to booking a free demo, you can also grab a username for our forever-free-plan while we still have it. It’s probably the most generous email marketing automation plan on the planet. We include almost every feature in this plan, with very few restrictions.

Remember, you get to keep this plan for life, for free… Provided that you grab a username while registrations are still open. Be warned, we might decide to pull this way-too-generous offering at any point. So click that link to check if we still allow registrations.

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