The #1 Thing That Can Destroy Your Local LeadGen Advertising Campaign ROI (and how to fix/outsource it)

Action Ad Agency

There’s butterflies in your stomach. You’ve got feelings of excitement and nervousness racing through your head. Perhaps you might also be pacing back and forth, taking an occasional break to glance at the computer screen, as you continue a pre-determined pacing track, while experiencing every emotion known to mankind (and perhaps some you’ve never felt before).

As you pace back and forth like a metronome, you start to feel a tinge of panic set in.

“What if we don’t get any leads?”

“What if this whole advertising campaign thing was a waste of time, energy, and money?”

“What if [gasp] this digital advertising company I hired is gonna run away with my money, ending up giving me nothing in return for the hard earned dollars I invested into them!?!”

Suddenly…. you see a lead come in.

Then another one.

And another one…

EUREKA! You’ve just hit the advertising jackpot!

[Fast forward to 2-3 months later]

You’re sitting at that same computer where, just a few short months earlier, you were feeling like you just hit the jackpot. As you begrudgingly type an email to your ad agency requesting to cancel all ads immediately and a refund for the current month’s retainer and ad money, you ask yourself,

"I got a bajillion leads at practically nothing, and ended up somehow losing money. Where did I go wrong?"

Being that I run a digital advertising agency that focuses on growing Chiropractic & Dental practices, I have seen this exact same scenario happen over and over again. I know the #1 likely culprit (and I know this because it’s also the #1 reason I’ve lost clients over the years)…

Poor Lead Appointment Schedule Rate: The Nemesis of ALL Advertising Campaigns

For the sake of this article, we’re talking about leads who become a form submission on a landing page, website, lead form, etc. In other words – leads that require someone to follow up with them after they submit information.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “wait a minute – if someone fills out a form somewhere online, they clearly are interested and don’t need a whole lot of follow up to get into my business, right?”

I wish that were the case.

According to Forbes, the average American is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. Each. Day.

Your future potential patients (and customers) are like a bunch of un-medicated people with ADHD, jumping from your offer, to a cat picture, to instant message, to Facebook Group, to Instagram, to text message, to email, to Youtube, and back to Facebook again – all while seeing advertisements each and every step of the way.

While you future patients & customers have all the intent in the world of coming into your business when they opted into that campaign, the fact is that they get distracted easily and quickly – and something as simple as scheduling that lead to come in for an appointment can feel like you’re running a marathon on a road paved with quicksand.

Why is this such a big deal?

For all of my clients, I set the expectation that we need to schedule at least 50% of all leads that come in from direct response ad campaigns. However, without setting this expectation up front (and training them & their staff on best practices), most clients will usually only schedule 20-25% of all leads, instead of 50%.

If we were anticipating $5 in revenue for every $1 in advertising costs, and assumed a 50% schedule rate – then suddenly that 25% schedule rate will yield $2.50 for every $1 in ad costs instead of $5. At scale, this can add up to a LOT of money lost over something that is entirely controllable and preventable.

Let’s assume that you spent $4,000 in advertising – at a 5 to 1 ROI, you’re expecting $20,000 in revenue for that $4,000 investment. But at 2.5 to 1, that will yield $10,000 instead of $20,000 – and you just lost $10,000 in opportunity costs.

As such, the single biggest ROI killer with any leadgen ad campaign is actually entirely centered around elements within the conversions process – everything after the lead comes in (including the appointment scheduling rate, no-call/no-show rate, sales closing %, and customer lifetime value – the biggest issue usually being the schedule rate).

So, how do we fix this?

The solution(s) is/are actually very simple here:

  1. Follow up – generally, most employees don’t like calling people at all (gosh darn millenials… we ruin everything, including using our phones to make phone calls). A low schedule rate is almost always due to only calling leads back once. To be done correctly (and hit the 50% schedule rate expectation), follow up with leads 3 to 5 times within a week. If this is done consistently, you will schedule at least 50%. It happens every single time. [Bonus tip – if you can call back leads within 15 minutes of the leads coming in, you’ll usually schedule 90% of those people – and it negates the need for follow up, and saves a lot of time in the long run]

  2. Use multiple follow-up & tracking tools – leave voicemails, and always send a follow up text after you leave a voicemail (because most people don’t pick up phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize, and the text will let the lead know that you’re not a telemarketer). Also, keep track of follow ups with some sort of tracking tool – google sheets, spreadsheets, CRM system, etc.

  3. Accountability – hold yourself and your staff accountable. Track everything, and make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to this whole process. Make sure that you have the right staff making these calls (because, as you saw earlier, having someone who doesn’t follow these instructions can potentially cost you $10k or more per month in lost revenue… and the cost of hiring the right person to do this job is far less than losing $10k in potential revenue ).

  4. If all else fails, outsource – there are companies and outsourced call centers that you can hire for a very low price – and all they do is call people all day long, so you can focus on your business. If your staff struggles to call back leads, OR if you keep dealing with employee turnover, then it makes more sense to hire an outsourced call center to schedule leads instead. I personally have my clients use Jills Office if they struggle to do this in-house. They charge either per minute (or flat fee per call), and will typically schedule at (or above) the 50% schedule rate we’re looking for.

In conclusion, while a low lead schedule rate can be the biggest contributor towards a lower advertising return on investment, there are relatively easy ways to fix these issues – and they can be deployed very quickly. It is worthwhile to invest into systems & people to improve the schedule rate, because avoiding this will likely mean that running paid ad campaigns to generate new leads for your business will all end in failure. 

Originally posted by me at: 3rd-party-data-targeting-facebook-never-ever-getting-back-carroll/