Attracting the attention of qualified leads so they can be converted into customers is a problem for most businesses. How big a problem?
According to the information contained in the State of Inbound 2018 Global Report, it’s the number 1 problem.
- 69% of the businesses surveyed indicated their top marketing priority over the next 12 months was to convert promising leads into customers.
- 75% indicated that their top sales priority for the coming year was to find ways to close more deals.
This gives you a hint as to how serious the customer conversion problem is for any kind of business, yours included.
Why should this be such a big problem?
The simple (yet very true) answer is that it’s become increasingly difficult to gain people’s attention and convince them to engage with your business.
Again, from the Global Report:
Identifying and prospecting good leads, getting responses from them, and closing the deals is more difficult than was the case just 2 or 3 years ago.
Although the problem can be a big one for many businesses, it doesn’t have to be that way for yours. It’s solvable, and involves focusing on optimizing your lead generation system by taking these two main actions:
- Putting your product where more qualified leads can see it, and
- Engaging those leads in ways that will result in conversions.
There are naturally a few specifics involved if you plan to attract the attention of qualified and ready-to-buy leads and get them to buy into the solution(s) you propose.
So, let’s get started by focusing your marketing efforts on these 7 tried and tested ideas. Most are quite straightforward, and as you start putting them into practice you should find that “number 1 problem” slowly becoming history.
First, it might be helpful to distinguish between qualified leads: those who are ready to buy, and the “others” (average leads who are at least somewhat interested but not necessarily ready to buy). By making this distinction you’ll be able to focus on attracting, engaging, and converting the best candidates and not wasting time trying to get the vaguely interested to come on board.
Qualified Leads vs. Average Leads
Qualified leads are those who will benefit from the product or service you offer. They will fill out surveys or opt-in forms because they feel they have a vested interest in what you’re offering and put themselves in a position to receive lead nurturing emails and promotions. They’ll be interested in reading your articles or blogs to gain more information about your product or service.
Average leads, on the other hand, may be somewhat interested but they are far less likely to follow through. It takes a more intense sales effort to convince average leads to make a purchase. The bottom line is that it’s generally not worth the extra time and effort involved.
Focus on the qualified leads.
In reality, there are two main types of qualified leads, marketing qualified leads who have the potential to buy based on a need, and sales qualified leads who have an intent to buy. It’s important to go after both types.
Sales qualified leads may seem like a “gimme”, although they still need to be pursued and nurtured, whilst marketing qualified leads are nearly as valuable and usually exist in far greater numbers.
Let’s go after both.
7 Ideas on How to Get Your Product in Front of More Qualified Leads
1. Turn Customer Service Into Your Secret Weapon
Everyone enjoys great customer service, but they usually don’t expect to encounter it until after they’ve signed up for something or made a purchase.
Customer service is typically found at the bottom of the sales funnel.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it should not be.
Implementing customer service at the top of the sales funnel approach is a proven and effective way to convert prospects into buyers. Customer service response time is every bit as important here as it is at the far end of the funnel.
When prospects submit questions about your offerings, at least half of them will expect an answer within an hour. The quicker your response, the greater the chance of converting a prospect into a sale, or at least keeping the interest level high.
The quicker your response, the more likely you are to establish a good relationship with the prospect. Wait 48 hours or more to respond, and your chance of landing a prospect drops to less than 1%.
Prospects tend to view a rapid response on your part as a personal attempt to reach out to them by demonstrating a sincere intent to solve their problem.
2. Talk to Your Leads and Customers
A good conversation starter is to place a survey on your website. Ask visitors what prompted them to pay a visit, what they’re looking for, and the price they might be willing to pay for a solution.
Offer a free account, a free trial, or free information if they fill out the survey and return the results. Once you receive the results it’s important to respond quickly; within an hour when possible.
Be sure to send a personalized Thank You – never a sales pitch.
A Harvard study of more than 1 million online sales leads showed that a response within an hour increased the number of lead qualifications by a factor of 7 as opposed to waiting more than an hour, and by a factor of 60 as opposed to having them wait a full day.
Whatever your response says, those leads want to know one thing; what you can do to solve their problems.
Remember the adage, “tell don’t sell”.
3. Marry Marketing with Sales
Are you running a sales campaign or a marketing campaign?
The correct answer is “Yes!”
As one qualified lead generation expert put it: “Marketing and sales have been dating for years, and it’s time they got married.”
Working together, these two business entities make a powerful pair. Working apart, they can have problems staying on the same page. Sales tend to be rather pushy at times, whereas marketing can ramble on while extolling the many benefits and features a product or service has.
Marry the two and you have a matched message rather than a mixed one. You’ll also discover that two can live nearly as cheaply as one; nice to know if you’re a startup trying to get by on a tight budget.
This isn’t a brand new idea. More and more businesses are combining sales and marketing to form a department where everyone works together to drive revenue.
4. Get Into Video Marketing – NOW
Another State of Inbound 2018 Global Report finding: When asked what content distribution channels businesses intend to add to their marketing efforts in the next 12 months, the leaders were YouTube at 45% and Facebook at 43%.
In other words, they’re using video marketing strategies to create more qualified leads.
Videos are excellent ways to provide information about your company, products, and services. Rather than a 2-minute video on your website (which is about as long as a visitor is willing to sit through), you can conduct a webinar, or a series of webinars, and record them for future viewings.
Better yet, do some of both.
Bear in mind that more people would rather watch a video than read a blog page, and an embedded video in a landing page can increase its conversion rate by 80% while helping 9 out of 10 visitors make purchasing decisions.
An important point: A webinar should not be looked upon as simply a one-shot deal to generate new leads. Record it, and it can be used again and again to generate leads as long as the information is current.
Unlike TV infomercials that tend to lean in the direction of a hard sell and exaggerated claims, your videos should definitely be soft sell, while creating comfort, hope, and eagerness to buy. They should emphasize the problems you can solve and the benefits your products or services offer that can make the viewer’s lives easier – as compared to others’ products or services.
Let the viewer make the sale – in his or her own mind.
5. Ask for Customer Referrals
If a customer is genuinely interested in a product, he or she probably knows someone who shares that interest. Whether that customer actually tells that someone about the product may or may not happen; which is why it never hurts to be proactive and ask.
Being proactive about asking a person to refer your product or service to a friend is a powerful sales and marketing strategy and a good way to expand your customer base.
The most significant retail revenue drivers are (a) customer retention (52%) and (b) customer acquisition (45%), followed by (c) product innovations (30%), (d) new merchandising strategies (25%), (e) pricing and promotion strategies (24%), and (f) adding new sales channels (16%).
You can see from these figures that (a) and (b) are where the greatest benefits tend to occur.
Offering rewards for customer referrals is a great approach.
- Telecommunications company Koodo Mobile needed a way to acquire new customers at less cost, while at the same time keeping their existing customer base happy.
Their offer to take $25 off a customer’s billings for each referral accounted for a 75,000 additional increase in their customer base over a 2-year period.
When they doubled the reward to $50 per referral, the average number of referrals immediately quintupled, and the average new customer acquisition cost declined accordingly.
- In 2016, Elon Musk capitalized on customer loyalty and satisfaction by offering invites to Tesla’s factory tours, and the right to purchase a seldom offered model. Customers who contributed to 10 orders through referrals received a free SUV.
Do the math.
6. Nurture Free Trial Users
People are more eager to buy something once they know it will work for them. Clothing stores have changing rooms, car dealerships offer test drives, and tech companies offer free trials for a reason.
Free trials are therefore a good way to generate leads.
A landing page provides an excellent vehicle for offering a free trial.
What you don’t want to do is offer a free trial, and then get pushy. The right approach is to thank a visitor for taking advantage of your free trial and follow up by offering tips or additional information about the benefits or usefulness of your product or service.
It all gets back to cultivating a relationship while trying to show someone how you can solve their problem or fulfill their need.
A sequence of e-mails can be a good approach here.
Be a problem solver; not a product pusher.
7. Build a Foolproof Customer Journey
A customer journey is a path a customer moves along, that features awareness, interest, decision, and action as its principal touchpoints. Your job is to help the customer successfully move past each touchpoint on his or her progression down the sales funnel.
Recognizing that the vast majority of those entering your sales funnel will never buy anything, you want to design it such that you can monitor what is happening at each touchpoint.
You want to determine which visitors are potential leads; and which show the greatest promise of becoming qualified leads and worthy of the bulk of your investment in time and energy.
Summary and Conclusion
It’s become increasingly more difficult to gain peoples’ attention long enough for them to engage in your business and what you have to offer.
Couple that with the fact that only a small percentage of those you can engage is likely to make a sale, and you have your work cut out for you.
Success involves monitoring your sales funnel at key points to see who your visitors are, which ones are likely to become leads, and which of those leads are likely to become qualified leads.
It’s the latter group you want to focus on and get your product in front of, because it’s that group who will be responsible for nearly all of your revenue.
How to capture that revenue?
We’ve shown you how in 7 simple steps.
- Turning Customer Service Into Your Secret Weapon
- Talking to Your Leads and Customers
- Marrying Marketing with Sales
- Getting Into Video Marketing
- Asking for Customer Referrals
- Nurturing Free Trial Users, and
- Building a Foolproof Customer Journey
How will you benefit?
There’s a certain synergy here. Everything you do to help a visitor, lead, or customer, will help you as well. Leads are given solutions to their problems, and you receive revenue when they do.
Please a customer and that customer may reward you by becoming a repeat customer or referring your business or products to others.
Another reward: The more you work at generating qualified leads, the more you’ll learn about what people want, how they think, and how they act; and the more you’ll learn about different ways you can make your business grow.
If you have questions about the various steps involved in attracting and converting qualified leads or would like us to help you put a process in place, please give us a call.
We will be more than happy to help.