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Acquiring, nurturing and converting leads into sales – Content marketing part 8 (2)

So back to acquiring, nurturing and converting leads into sales – part 2. A quick reminder of what we looked at before in the previous article:

Customer Journey

 

We looked at the Non Awareness and Awareness part of the customer journey and now I’m going to explore Understanding and Interest.

You won’t see understanding in every customer journey model but I think it’s a really important trigger point in terms of what content the customer should get next.  If the customer understands the product or service that you are trying to sell then the next parts of their journey will be straightforward.  If they don’t understand then you could be wasting a lot of time and effort promoting content that will not influence them. So how do we know whether they have understood?

There are a number of ways to look at this: self selection is the most straightforward. If the customer has understood what you are trying to promote then give them a choice of what content they would like to see next.  If they have truly understood then they will select the content that is a progression of this understanding.  If they choose something else then it probably means that they are still in the understanding part of the journey.

Another way is to not let them progress to other content unless they have successfully answered a number of questions that demonstrate they have understood.  This could be done as some sort of fun quiz complete with incentive or even as a more serious piece of continuous professional development (CPD).  Either way, if you can establish that they have understood what you are trying to convey then the next part of the journey will become much simpler.

So having understood, then the potential customer now needs to demonstrate that they are interested in what you have to offer.  So only now might you be provide content that demonstrates the features and benefits of the service or product that you offer.  Think about this, you are already half way down the conversion funnel and this is the first time that you are actively trying to sell. Most traditional marketing approaches will start with the website and the brochure and not think about all the stages before which is no longer appropriate to meet the changing requirements of customer buying behaviour.

At this point however the content is definitely about what you want the prospect to think about your products and service as part of their decision making process on whether to buy or not and the calls to action must reflect that e.g. add to basket, request a sales call, make an appointment etc.

It is worth mentioning at this point that, of course, not all journeys down the conversion funnel are nice an linear following a predictable path.  Some people will start the journey then leave never to return while some might want to buy right from the very start because it happens to be exactly what they want at that moment in time.  I mention this because you do need to give the customer these options too at all points of the journey.  In other words you must not prevent a prospect from making a purchase just because they haven’t been on every step of the journey.

Next time I’ll look at the final two stages of the conversion funnel and start to look at lead scoring.

 

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