Marketing attribution isn’t just for
large businesses anymore.

Recently the number of ways a business can communicate with their customer has exploded with new marketing channels seemingly opening up every year. All of the tried and true methods such as billboards, TV ads, and mailers are still around and relevant, but on top of that you’ve got emailed newsletters, social media, Google My Business, display ads, organic searches, and more. With all of these options at your disposal how are you supposed to know where your marketing dollars are being best spent?

Marketing attribution is the science of answering this question, identifying which marketing channel is providing you with the best return on investment (ROI), and thus letting you spend future ad dollars most efficiently. Big businesses have been taking advantage of this for years, but many of the ideas and practices of marketing attribution apply equally well to small businesses and allow you to reap significant rewards.

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What do I need to do to start tracking where my leads are coming from?

At the heart of it, marketing attribution is about collecting and analyzing data. Technically there is nothing stopping you from simply asking each customer for a description of their customer journey which led them to discover and contact your brand – but there is a better way!

Setup lead tracking/attribution software

Here at Cut Throat Marketing we use a piece of software called WhatConverts. This is a one-stop-shop for all things lead tracking, and allows you to track calls, chats, emails, e-commerce, and form-fills.

Beyond compiling all of this data, the software offers powerful analytics tools and easy to understand visualizations allowing you to see at a glance where your leads are coming from.

Setting up WhatConverts is a straightforward process and the software integrates over a 1000 different apps, calendars, CRMs, site builders, and e-commerce platforms allowing you to pull your data from every channel you utilize.

Install the scripts on your website

After installing the software you’ll need to make sure that you’ve also implemented the necessary scripts on your site. These scripts allow the software to keep track of user engagement on your webpage – letting you see which of your marketing activities is generating the most engagement.

Update phone numbers on other platforms you want to track leads from.

One important step you can take to generate more meaningful, granular information about your marketing efforts is creating unique phone numbers for each of your marketing channels. By providing Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business each with a unique phone number the software will be able to automatically detect where inbound leads are coming from. This in turn will help you better understand where your marketing budget is being well spent and where it could be further optimized.

Update your Google My Business profile with any additional phone numbers you’ve added for attribution

One important thing to consider when employing marketing attribution techniques is to make sure you don’t inadvertently sabotage your local search engine optimization efforts.

Google My Business is an essential component of local SEO  and Google’s ranking algorithm checks that your company’s name, address, and phone number are consistent across different directories.

Google assumes (generally correctly!) that inconsistent information is likely to include outdated contact details and thus down ranks these listings. However, GMB has provisions for businesses to add each of their numbers, allowing you to take advantage of marketing attribution methods without taking a hit on Google.

How can I track offline leads?

While the significance of marketing attribution has come to the forefront because of digital marketing channels, this does not mean that offline marketing channels are exempt from tracking! In fact, traditional marketing has benefited tremendously from new techniques developed in the digital age, allowing you to track new leads with much greater precision.


It may be hard to believe, but QR codes first came out in 1994. When QR codes came out they were hailed as the future – but their adoption was slow and many were puzzled by them at first. However, in the past couple of years they have become a part of the mainstream and are now used for everything from restaurant menus to product instruction manuals.

One way you can put these quirky barcodes to use is by including them in your mailers. This gives customers a quick and convenient way to access your website (ideally dropping them straight into your sales funnel!) and provides you with attribution data about each new lead.

Basically the QR code will include a URL that includes a UTM tag, allowing Google Analytics to identify the inbound click as being generated by your mailer.

QR codes offer tremendous flexibility, directing customers in different regions to different sales funnels, or tracking the progress of different seasonal marketing campaigns.


Ah, the venerable billboard. While times have changed these highwayside staples have remained basically the same since the 1920s. In fact, those 1920s billboards were themselves quite similar to the original billboards of Ancient Egypt nearly 3000 years ago. However, even an old dog can learn a new trick if you take the time to try!

First, when you are designing your next billboard, skip the phone number. In an age of smartphones and saved contact lists no one takes the time to remember strings of 10 random digits anymore. And, while a driver stuck in traffic may seem to be the perfect captive audience to reach out and call you, the reality is this just isn’t how people engage with billboards.

Instead, buy a simple domain name, something that is easily remembered, and have it redirect to your actual website. Longer, but memorable domains like are inexpensive, rarely taken, and are easy to remember even after a mind numbing commute.

Your site will then automatically register the URL that the customer used, and file it away as a lead generated by your billboard.

TV and Streaming TV (OTT) ads

TV ads, like billboards, harken back to a simpler era in advertising. However, they are still a powerful way to increase brand recognition and drive conversions. With TV ads phone numbers are still acceptable, again using a unique number (registered with GMB of course) so you can track the lead’s origin. However, there is nothing stopping you including your website’s URL or even a TV specific URL like in the billboard example.

You may even want to consider a QR code on your TV ads – with DVR technology and streaming services offering the ability to pause nearly any media your customers can use their smartphones to quickly and easily access your site.

How does collecting this information help my business?

Ultimately information is only worth collecting if it can help you make actionable decisions which offset the time and effort of gathering the information in the first place. The good news is that marketing attribution is great for telling you which of your marketing channels creates the best conversion rate, allowing you to decide where to invest your marketing budget.

Calculate accurate costs per lead or sale

The value of marketing attribution is allowing small businesses to make meaningful comparisons between different marketing channels. It’s undeniable that email marketing and social media marketing target different audiences and each should play a role within your marketing mix, but without knowing how many leads each channel is generating, it is hard to know which is worth investing in more heavily.

The simplest way to compare different channels is by dividing the amount of money spent on a given marketing channel by the number of leads generated. You may find that for your business email marketing generates fewer overall leads, but does so at a significantly lower cost than social media advertisements or sponsored search results.

If this is the case, then these metrics should suggest more of your marketing dollars be invested in future email campaigns, since each of those dollars will yield a greater return.

While there are some general assumptions about which marketing channels offer the best bang for your buck, nothing beats hard data for making informed decisions.

Determine if specific marketing channels aren’t generating good leads.

While we’ve been discussing leads up until this point, a lead is only valuable inasmuch as it leads to a sale. Marketing attribution will let you see which of your channels are producing leads that generate sales, and which are producing traffic that fails to amount to anything.

If you spot a marketing channel that produces lots of leads but few sales this is a sign that it isn’t targeting the right audience, or perhaps that this particular channel isn’t offering a good ROI.

Optimize marketing spending

Once you’ve determined which of your channels produces the most and best leads per dollar you can invest accordingly. You’ll still want a diverse portfolio of marketing channels, but with an emphasis on the channels which perform the best for your business and less on those which underperform.

Plan a more sustainable growth strategy

Ultimately the data gleaned through marketing attribution will help small businesses create a powerful digital marketing strategy. Once you know your cost per lead, growth becomes a math equation. You’ll be able to create a digital marketing strategy which aligns with your goals – matching your advertising budget with your company’s capacity.

Knowing which marketing channels to use and being able to predict the sort of results you will get will mean that your marketing budget isn’t just a guess, but is instead part of your business’s overall plan for growth.

Stop wasting your ad budget

Anyone who is doing their marketing without paying attention to attribution is basically playing darts in the dark. Some of your efforts are hitting their mark and others aren’t, but without the metrics to back it up you’re going to be none the wiser as to which is which. Why should you be spending money on channels which aren’t performing? Why aren’t you prioritizing the channels which are creating the most conversions?

Cut Throat Marketing offers digital marketing strategy development services  so you get the most from your marketing campaigns. If you’re ready to start maximizing your ad budget then schedule your consultation today !