Advanced Internet Marketing: Turn The Pareto Principle On Its Head

Brian Halligan
Brian Halligan



You are probably familiar with the Pareto principle which states that for many phenomena, 80% of the consequences stem from the 20% of the causes.  Other people call it the 80-20 rule and end up applying it to all sorts of things ranging from 20% of your company's sales reps doing 80% of your revenue to 20% of your work time spent creating 80% of your value to your business.

I have worked in and with a lot of marketing organizations and they all have the Pareto principle on steroids going on.  First of all, most marketing leaders in an honest moment will tell you that they suspect 20% of the marketing programs they are doing are creating 80% of their qualified leads.  The reason I say they have this problem on steroids is that an honest marketing executive will tell you in the very next breathe that he doesn't know which 20% is creating 80% of the qualified leads.  What can be frustrating for marketing executives is that much of marketing is a bit of a black art that is hard to quantify and nail.

One of the things a lot of marketing executives like about the internet is their online marketing programs can be quantified in terms of traffic.  There are a myriad of analytics packages available that can tell marketing executives about unique visitors, return visitors, rss subscribers, geographies, etc.  Most marketing execs think of this as the very top of the web channel sales funnel, as they should.  Unfortunately, for most businesses, the very top of the funnel is where the science stops and the guessing starts.    As a marketing guy myself, here's the information I need to turn marketing black art into marketing science.

  1. What percentage of the website visitors ended up filling out a form that would qualify them as a sales "lead."  This helps determine the shape of the middle of your web channel funnel with the top being traffic.

  1. For the people who filled out the lead form, in addition to the information you asked for, I want to automatically know where they came from the first time they visited the site (i.e. a link from a blog article, an adwords campaign, a link from a whitepaper, a search term on Google, etc.).  It is common that people will visit your site multiple times before "self-selecting" into a lead form, so it is absolutely critical that you figure out what triggered their first visit. 

  1. With regard to that first visit information, I want to be able to look at it across all of my leads and quantify which programs, links, search terms, etc. are driving not only traffic, but traffic that eventually self-selects into leads.  Lots of marketing activities and blog articles produce boatloads of traffic which are easy to croon about, but at the end of the day, I really only care which activities produce traffic that converts to leads that end up buying something.

  1. In addition to the first visit and the information the self-selector filled in, I also want to know which web pages she looked at (particularly which ones she looked at more than once); which blog article or discussion forum comments she made; what searches she did on my site or to get to my site; etc.  This information is a tremendous help to the company representative assigned to "solution sell" this individual.  Armed with this information, that first conversation is far less awkward because you go in really understanding what that potential customer is interested in whether they filled in that part of your form or not!

  1. Lastly, I want to see an uber graph that has 3 lines plotted:  one for first time visitors, one for repeat visitors, and one for self-selectors (leads).  Overlaid on top of that graph, I want to see marketing events displayed in a similar way as the events shown on GoogleTrends .  Basically this graph would be like Google Trends for your business with custom marketing events listed and with information not only on visitors, but on self-selectors.  Here's the particularly impressive Google Trends report on YouTube:

    Those of you who are internet entrepreneurs or marketing folks with an internet presence, are you also looking for this type of information?  What else am I missing in my description of how I would turn marketing black art into marketing science?

    Here's what we at SB2.0 are doing about it.   Do any of you have any other interesting methods at nailing the conversion of traffic to qualified leads?


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