Lead stories are small, quick to create user journeys that show clients and stakeholders how marketing works. Leading marketing agencies use them to supplement their monthly reports and offer something concrete and easy to understand for clients. These individual stories are typically a high-quality lead picked out from the previous month. They’re used to demonstrate:

  • How a digital marketing channel works to drive business success
  • How real users use your website
  • Typical marketing touchpoints for prospects

They can be built-in text or you could build a quick little summary page like this:

Ideally, you can use these lead stories to show your client why you need more budget for a specific marketing channel, why a particular webpage is important and needs some love, or why you’re asking for marketing strategy changes. With a real prospect name in front of them, it’s harder to “hand wave away” your recommendations to your client, and you gain credibility. Your point of contact may have even seen the prospect lead come through, or they may have even met them.

While clients can sometimes ignore or make up their own ideas about digital marketing stats, lead stories are easy to understand and harder to refute.

Building Blocks of Great Lead Stories

Great lead stories need lots of real data. To get solid data, you need to collect data at as many prospect touchpoints as possible AND it can’t be anonymous. Collect from places like:

  • Website pageviews
  • Ad platform click details (campaign, ad group, keyword, content, etc)
  • Website conversion points
    • Form submit
    • Phone call from website
    • Live chat
    • Appointment booked
  • Phone calls
  • Email campaign interactions
  • Text messages
  • Short links clicked
  • Social media engagement
  • CRM deals opened/won

As you can see, there are a lot of places where data can be collected to help build a great lead story. This is why platforms like ActiveDEMAND are key in getting deep insights into prospect behavior. ActiveDEMAND takes data from all these points and puts it into the contact activity timeline.

Activity Timeline -> Lead Story

ActiveDEMAND contact activity timelines store a LOT of contact data in them. When I’m building lead stories, I like to sort the timeline by “oldest first”, and then take notes of major milestones as I jot down the lead story. Here’s an example of one I wrote last week (de-anonymized for you)

  • Prospect from Texas
  • Searched for “Act-on competitors”, clicked on our Google ad.
  • Landed on our Act-On Alternative webpage
  • Went to our white label features page
  • Checked out the email marketing pricing page
  • Checked our Hubspot comparison page
  • Searched for Woocommerce integration
  • Signed up for a free trial
  • Almost signed up for a demo, but didn’t.
  • Later, the nurture trial email drove them to sign up for a demo
  • We did the demo and found that it’s an incredibly strong fit for what we offer.
  • They went through onboarding and purchased

It’s easy to gain insights from quick little lead stories like this. Anyone can read the above and identify buying behaviors and see how our Google ad campaign and website matched well and helped that prospect out. You can even see how post-lead marketing helps to influence behavior by driving the prospect to a demo.

Add Lead Stories to your Monthly Reports to Build Trust

Lead stories build trust with your clients and stakeholders. That trust reduces the odds that they’ll doubt your marketing is working, it increases the odds that they’ll listen to your recommendations, improves client retention, and ultimately it lets you do your job as an expert marketer.

With ActiveDEMAND, it’s easy to add these lead stories to your monthly reports. If you’re not using ActiveDEMAND yet, try out our Agency Reporter package. It’s easy to get started with and the lead stories you build will help you establish a rock-solid foundation with your clients.