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Acquiring, nurturing and converting leads into sales – Content marketing part 8 (1)

Acquiring, nurturing and converting leads into sales

Converting leads into sales has to be the objective of all this audience development and content marketing activity. We talked earlier about the conversion funnel which is also referred to as the customer journey.  There’s lots of versions of this out there but here’s mine.

 

Customer Journey

 

Just outside the funnel is Non Awareness where the customer is unaware of your company, product or service and is the most difficult to reach.  That however is the start of their journey and you have to generate content that will help them make the next step.  And you have to get that content (or a variation of it) to all the appropriate channels for that particular target audience.

As I’ve said previously the new mantra is “Third parties first, vendor last”, so the target customer is going to be researching the marketplace via search engines, social networks and all other channels appropriate for their interests before they might even visit your website so you need to have content out there across all the channels.  You need something out there that will bring them to your website, so that might be a blog or a tweet that gets shared by people and their networks.

This won’t happen overnight either. As I mentioned in the previous article, you need to develop your audience and court the people who have the most influence and who are likely to benefit you.  When it works however it can really make a huge difference especially when someone with thousands of followers decides to share your blog, Tweet or LinkedIn article. I’ve seen it crash servers.

So assuming you’ve been successful at gaining some level of awareness, you still need to take the customer on a journey from the top of the conversion funnel to the point at which they make the sale.  Don’t get me wrong, some people may read an article and decide that they want to purchase the product or service there and then and you need to make sure that call to action is available to them.  For most people however (and depending on the complexity of the purchase), they will need more persuasion.

Typically therefore a potential customer will need reassurance at an early stage that you are capable of satisfying their interest. Be honest with yourself and ask the question “Would a visitor believe in what I have to offer”. If the answer is anything other than “Yes” you will always be struggling to persuade a person to buy from you.  If nothing else you will put another hurdle in the way which might mean that they need even more reassurance from third parties in their network or other external reassurances.

If you are a virtual company that is not a known brand then you need to deal with one 0f the” Seven Ps of Marketing” – I know there used only be 4 but time moves on. This particular “P” stands for physical evidence. In other words what can you do to persuade a customer that you really exist.  Nowadays companies can create fantastic looking websites without any real infrastructure to support their business so virtual companies need to try even harder.

This can involve customer testimonials & comments as well as product ratings and comparison websites. If you are a member of any recognised professional bodies make sure you include these too. You need to do everything to help a potential customer overcome any doubts they might have about your business right at the outset or they won’t explore the site any further.

Next week I’ll look at the other parts of the conversion funnel and how to acquire, nurture and covert leads into sales.

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