As a business owner, you must know the importance of lead generation. It is a highly efficient way to generate new consumers, increase brand awareness and ultimately, increase your revenue.
Lead generation is one of the many ways of digital advertising. There has been a steady growth in the amount of money spent by marketers on it, and this figure is expected to reach US$3.2 billion by late 2023.
Cost-per-lead (CPL) is a metric that businesses use to gauge their lead generation efficiency. It indicates how much a brand spends on its marketing efforts to attract a single lead.
However, not every lead has the potential to be a customer, and you have to qualify them to avoid wastage of time, effort, and money.
Read ahead to see the importance of CPL and how you can calculate the amount you are willing and afford to spend on a customer.
It might seem more straightforward to choose a budget to spend on your leads instead of coming up with a strategy to select the best CPL. While you can certainly do that, a target CPL derived randomly will end up giving you unexpected results.
If you’re looking for tangible results, you don’t want to do that. It is essential to align the business goals you want to achieve with a target CPL as they differ from one to another, and a set percentage won’t be of any good. For instance, a profit-maximizing goal and doubling the annual revenue goal requires separate CPL.
By being aware of your goals, you can decide how much you want to spend on them, according to their relevance and importance. It makes it easy to come up with various marketing strategies and carefully allot its budget.
The target CPL influences several marketing decisions, making it essential to choose it wisely and avoid wrong optimizations.
To calculate an optimal CPL, you have to understand your businesses’ needs. Set the record straight with your goals and then proceed.
Of course, you want to target the right leads and spend money on getting beneficial outcomes, but before that, it is important to look at your marketing budget to check if the cost to acquire a customer falls in that range. To determine this cost, calculate a new customer’s average lifetime value.
Customer Lifetime Value predicts how much monetary benefit your new customer can provide your business with. While companies involving ecommerce don’t see customers returning, things get complicated if your business relies on lead generation. Here customers can subscribe to services like Netflix or continually hire you for your services. Your CLV is based on all of these factors.
For instance, if a customer pays $19.99 every month for three years, that customer isn’t worth the same amount because that is just the money you get initially. In fact, they are actually worth $59.97, making it worthwhile to spend more than $19.99 to add a customer. Of course, you will lose some money initially, but the profits will be worth it as your relationship progresses.
Even though there are various methods to calculate the average CLV, here’s one of the easiest way to do so is:
Mean monthly revenue of a customer/churn rate = CLV
Let’s apply this formula to a practical example. Assume your company is a business widgets supplier with monthly delivery subscription models that other firms can also take advantage of.
In this case, use your company’s mean monthly revenue and divide that number by your monthly mean number of customers. For example, your monthly average revenue from a customer is $70 if 100 customers give $7,000 monthly.
To determine the churn rate, use the data for a specific month by subtracting the repeat customers from the whole number in the same month. Divide this value by the entire customer base of that month. For example, if you get 100 customers in a month and 90 are recurring customers, you get a churn rate of 0.1 or 10%.
Using these values, you can get the CLV with the help of the formula. For this example, the CLV is simply $700 ($70 / 0.1).
After figuring out your CLV, find out the actual profit margin. You have to calculate the cost to look after the new customer you get, for the entire time they’ll do business with you.
For instance, if the cost to take care of an existing customer’s requirements is $7 monthly for spending approximately ten months with you, it will provide fulfillment costs of $70.
Additionally, you have to consider more fixed costs of your business and divide those by the average monthly customer number. For instance, considering the same example, if rent, utilities, salaries, etc., amount to $5,000 monthly, that turns out to be $50 per customer monthly.
To calculate the mean profit per customer, a customer’s fixed and fulfillment costs can be used as in the equation below.
CLV – (Mean monthly costs of a customer / churn rate) = Profit of a customer
In this hypothetical example, the mean CLV was $700, and it costs $7/month to look after a customer for the business to proceed. For a customer, the monthly total average cost turns out to be $57. For a customer’s lifetime, this amounts to $570 ($57 / 0.1).
Subtract this value from the average CLV to get a profit of $130 ($700 – $570).
After calculating the amount, you can spend to convert a lead into a customer, work backward and figure out the cost you can bear to achieve this.
In an ideal world, we could consider the possibility of finding new customers out of all the leads, but those who have chased leads know how hard that can be. Use the following formula to calculate the amount you can spend on every new lead:
(Monthly sales closed / Monthly leads) * Profit of a customer = Maximum CPL
In the hypothetical scenario above, if you get 250 leads every month and close 50 out of those, you can spend $26 on every lead ($130 * (50 / 250)). If you spend more, you’ll lose money on each customer.
In addition, running and tracking metrics on a remarketing campaign means bounced traffic may not yet be a complete loss to you.
Even though you know your budget for a customer, it doesn’t solve the mystery of how much your target CPL should be, which ultimately comes down to your business goals.
Understand what your ultimate goal is. Is it to make tremendous amounts of money or reel in potential investors by showing you can get customers? The target CPL for both cases will be different because you should be prepared to have some loss initially in the former case so you can build a solid customer base. Here, you will have a profit margin that is lower than the target CPL.
Of course, this is not a recommended business practice, but it is a clear indication of the importance of using the optimal CPL according to your goals.
Now that we have figured out how much you can and are willing to spend on your target cost-per-lead, let’s get to an essential part of this process: all the customers are not worth the exact cost.
Using the average CLV to choose a target CPL is a great approach, but what happens when you find more valuable customers to your brand? In this case, you have to assess what the right CPL will be according to the different customer types.
Let’s look at the ACME Widgets case because they sell the best widgets, and their average CLV is a whopping $24,000!
If you use the above hypothetical scenario calculations with the $24,000 mean LTV, a high acquisition cost per lead will be affordable for you.
However, it helps to know what types of buyers you have. In the case of ACME, there are three critical types of buyer personas, including Widgets Classic, Widgets Pro, and Widgets Infinity, with average LTVs of $1,750, $72,000, and $1.59 million, respectively.
These buyers with different LTVs enable you to spend differently on them. You can spend much more on Widgets Infinity leads than Widgets Classic on any day.
Not only this, your entire marketing campaign varies with the different types, which you work on when you decide the optimal CPL.
Compartmentalizing leads makes things simpler and enables you to spend wisely than choose some strict acquisition cost. For instance, Classic, Pro, and Infinity’s acquisition costs are $1k, $12k, and $202k, respectively.
These different buyer personas help you understand the amount needed in turning a lead into a customer. It will allow you to be more strategic in your approach towards the right CPL.
For instance, an Infinity customer may require a target CPL that is 80 times more than that of a Classic customer, but the higher cost shouldn’t budge you too much as Infinity would be a lot more profitable in the long-term.
If ACME Widgets would’ve stuck to an average figure to spend on every new lead, they probably would’ve closed most of the channels and ads that got them Infinity leads which would be detrimental for their business!
For an effective marketing campaign that includes lead generation strategy, you have to invest time, money, and effort to get valuable results.
Picking the right target cost-per-lead requires accurate thought and calculations so you can focus on the customers appropriately and optimize the right aspects of your paid marketing plan. This is particularly true if you’re manually doing the work and not automating your bidding on keywords in PPC. One of the most important things to recognize in this entire process is your business goals to identify the optimal CPL that your campaign requires. Additionally, you have to consider your customer base to make the right decision.
Know the leads you want to focus on because not all of them are the same. Once you have this idea, it’ll be easy for you to make an informed decision rather than picking random figures and wasting your time and money!
Engage our PPC management services today and find out how we can help you dial-in your cost-per-lead!