After days of struggling, you finally came up with the perfect business idea, got the capital and started a business.
Following your marketer's advice, you created a top-notch website to reach the millions of people online. Several months down the line, despite your relentless efforts to have the perfect website, business is not booming. You know your product is right, so it must be the marketing strategy that’s wrong. Your guess might just be correct. Below are some page conversion truths that will change your method of optimisation, allowing you to benefit over your competition.
- There’s Huge Room for Improvement
The fact is that a quarter of landing pages have a conversion rate of only 1%. This means that 99% of the visitors to your website do not turn into customers. The industry average is about 2.35%, whereas the top 25% have a conversion rate of 5.31%. The probability is quite high that your landing page falls under the category of the majority, with a conversion rate of 1-3%. This would explain your low sales. The best strategy in such a scenario is to get your landing page to the category of the top 10% - landing pages that average a conversion rate of 11.45% or higher.
- Conventional Landing Page Wisdom do not Work
Basic strategies like changing the font colour of your website, increasing the line spacing, tweaking the headline and repositioning buttons do not have a significant impact on your conversion rate. Some might argue that they do result in changes, which can be true, but they never get your conversion rate to the top pile. Research shows that their effect is only temporary. It is advisable to go for long lasting solutions.
- Average Conversion Rates Vary by Industry but Follow the 3x-5x Rule for the Top 10%
Research shows that conversion rate of landing pages varies with industry. Finance, for example, has a higher conversion rate than E-commerce, at 5.01% and 1.84%, respectively. It is, however, a common feat for landing pages in the top 10% to have 3-5 times better conversion rates than the industry average. This explains why your landing page conversion rate would be at 5% but you still not performing as well as your competitors.
- Getting Landing Pages 5X Better than Average is Not Uncommon
Getting to the top 10% is not difficult. All it requires of you is to put in a lot of effort testing landing page variations to find the best (font colour or button changes do not count as testing of a landing page because it is just the same page with minor modifications). To succeed, you may have to test as many as ten landing pages.
- The Top 10% of Landing Pages Grab 80% of the Traffic
Statistics show that a small business has an average of three landing pages, with one taking an approximate 85% of the impressions and clicks. This means that the other two manage to rake up only 15% of the clicks. Therefore, the best strategy would be to focus your time and attention to one to get your landing page among the top 10%. It is through focus that the top 10% of landing pages get 80% of the conversions.
- The Standards are boring and not compelling
Although offering incentives is an excellent way to increase your conversion rate, the truth is, it does not work if you offer the same thing as everyone else in the industry. The trick is to try and have creative offers. This is what most high performing landing pages do.
- Higher Conversion is not The End Game
In your quest to have a better landing page, conversion rates should not be your only concern. You also need to work on having better leads to increase your sales. The top notch landing page optimisations are not the ones that will only help you convert more, but rather the ones that will help you build a better firm.
The above truths show that having a website is not a sure way of getting market for your product. You will have to face the reality and apply better ways of marketing to generate more sales.
Facing the Reality: Stages of the Standard Buying Cycle
Now that you have established that 99% of your website visitors will not turn into your customers, it is vital that you start to work on what you are going to do about it.
Visitors not converting into customers is not an indication of their lack of interest. Remember that Google is a research tool, and it’s the habit of people to get information about a product or a service before spending their money on it. To better understand your customers, you need to understand the client's cycle.
This is the first stage of the buying cycle. It is the stage at which potential customers, who have no idea about your product or service, become aware. It mainly happens after they have experienced a problem that needs addressing and your product or service seems to have the potential of solving it. Content that addresses the problem and how to solve it plays a great role at this stage. It usually creates a bridge to the sales conversation around how your product or service will solve their problem.
After learning how to solve their problem and that your product or service will help them achieve that, potential clients tend to develop an interest in what you are selling. At this stage the potential customers click on a link to your website with the hope of learning more about your product. If it is a unique service or product, most customers will want a personalised approach. They will want a way to contact the sales team directly or to receive emails about the product of their interest. With the accurate feedback, it will lead to the trial or consideration stage.
- Trial or Consideration
The feedback from the company might have left the customers with some questions that can only be answered by testing the product. For products without a trial, this is the late opportunity negotiation phase. Most potential clients that plan on doing large orders, usually ask for a smaller item or service to test out the company before going all in. Content at this stage should be planned out in a manner that enables a client answer any questions or objections on their own.
It is advisable that you track the performance and analysis of individual content at this stage. Having knowledge of the content that leads to potential customers turning to clients will help you know how to increase conversions in future.
This is the stage that every business wishes their potential customers get to. If a client makes a purchase, it means that you probably did everything right in the first three stages. Content at this stage should be easy to complete and intuitive. Remember that you need to create a proper base for the steps that follow. That is support, loyalty, and advocacy.
After purchase, most customers need the support of the seller to better use their product or service. This stage is very crucial as it determines if the client will continue giving you more business. Content at this juncture should help the customers get the most out of their product or services. Good examples of content that will keep the customers coming back are, customer forum posts, success kits, tutorial videos or blog posts.
The loyalty stage is the stage where the customer keeps coming back. The repeat business may be for the same or entirely new products. The loyalty of customers, especially to software companies, helps increase the sales of their subscriptions and annual maintenance plans. To other businesses, it helps reduce cash outflow. It is more expensive and time-consuming trying to get a new customer compared to maintaining existing ones.
To keep your business growing, it is vital that you identify the clients who can act as your referrals. References help boost other people’s confidence in your product or service. This will help increase your conversion rate immensely.
This is the last stage of customers buying cycle. When a customer is at this stage, it means that they are totally satisfied with your product and services and your way of handling business, and they are ready to recommend you to their friends. Now you need to help the customers help you. Content at this stage should be designed to make it easy for them to market you through their social media. You should also recognise and reward them.
Once you understand the buyer cycle, you now need to put that information to good use and better market your product or service on your website.
The Better Way to Market
Many marketers want to target conversions which yield little result compared to the effort. Let’s face it, when it comes to conversions, only two out of every hundred visitors will buy. On the other hand, if you place some focus on the other 98-99% and help them through the awareness, consideration and purchase period of the buying cycle, there is an excellent chance that you will get better results in the long run. Let’s face it; 5-10% of other 98-99% of the shoppers is better than 1-2% of the active buys.
As a sales person, you should have the ability to distinguish between the three stages that you need to help the other 98-99% through to convince them to purchase. The awareness stage represents a stage where all a customer wants is to become educated on the products that you have to offer, or it could also represent a stage where they come to the realisation that they have a need that they want to fulfill. The consideration stage is the stage at which a customer starts to look at the different potential options to cater for his needs. Lastly, the purchase stage is where the customer has now made up their mind on the product they require and wants to buy it. The buying cycle will impact the sales approach that is to be used.
Imagine that you are taking a stroll around the neighbourhood and wandered into a clothing store. Your interest is not buying clothes but rather window shopping. While at it, you are approached by an ambitious salesperson whose aim is to get you to buy something. The push for you to buy clothes will get you annoyed and leave you feeling that the seller is ruining the peaceful window shopping experience that you hoped to have.
Now imagine that you got in the store with the aim of purchasing a black sweater urgently. To get the best sweater in the shortest time, you need the help of a salesperson so that you do not waste time looking for a sweater that will suit your demands. However, this time, you do not seem to get the attention of any salesperson. This will leave you irritated and feel that the service at the store is lacking.
What is the difference between the two scenarios? The two scenarios are different stages of the buying cycle. In the first example, you are at the awareness stage whereas in the second example; you are in the purchase stage.
Being at different stages in the buying cycle led you to have different expectations of the sales people. While at the awareness stage, you hoped to be left alone to look around and get informed about the various products that the store had to offer. Whereas at the purchase stage, you already had the information that the clothing store stocked black sweaters and all you needed from the salesperson was to help you quickly complete the purchase.
The above examples show that not all marketing yields into sales, especially if the seller does not consider the customers' stage in the buying cycle. The wrong approach leads to frustration and potentially lost sales. It would be best if every salesperson first analysed the stage at which the customer is before making an approach. This will enable them make the right approach and will help get the 98-99% on board. Treating every customer the same way will yield little or no result. This way of marketing should be applied to not only face to face marketing but also digital marketing.
How do you adapt Marketing to a Buyer’s Stage in the Cycle?
It might seem easier to adapt marketing to the buyer’s stage in the physical world as compared to the digital world, but this isn’t true. All you have to do in the online world is provide paths through your website that are appropriate for each particular stage. Most visitors will follow the path that suits them if they have the option to do so. For those that are at the awareness stage, you need to describe the problem that your products or services solve. This will assist them to establish if they have a similar problem. If your description of the problem your product solves is in line with their current problem, they will move on to the consideration stage.
For the consideration stage, you will need to introduce your solution. At this juncture, content should focus on the advantages of using your products. It should explain what the customer should expect after using your product or service. Make sure that your content is a detailed as possible and if possible, includes examples. It is also necessary that you increase the customer’s interest by directing them towards external testimonials about your product or service. This will act as a proof that the product solves the problem and is a worthy buy.
If the content is written well, it will get the customer to the purchase stage. At this stage, not all clients will be ready to buy. Some of them will still have doubts about your product or service. The best thing to do would be to give them a free trial. The aim here is to get them to purchase a product and if possible, also refer it to their friends. After trying the product and proving that all the content about the product was true, they will purchase. You are bound to have very loyal customers in the future. Aligning marketing with the stage at which your client is currently at, will help more customers buy.
If, after applying this marketing strategy some buyers are still not willing to buy, then you need to turn to lead nurturing.
What is Lead Nurturing?
It is probable that visitors to your site who are at the early stages of the buying cycle will not become your customers, even if the content on your site is right for them. There is always that group of clients who you will need to work on a bit harder to convince them to buy your product. Most companies do not go the extra mile leading to lost sales in the long run. Remember, the aim is to try and capture the whole 99% who are not buying from you, so you need to continue pressing on.
The key to getting the customers who are at the early stages of the buying cycle and are still not convinced of the need for your product and services, is to employ lead nurturing.
Lead nurturing is a marketing methodology that aims at building relationships with clients even if they are not willing to buy a product from you. The goal of lead nurturing is to continue to inform the customer about the company, increasing the probability that they will purchase the business’s product or service when the time comes.
Leading nurturing is a marketing process that initiates when a firm manages to get a potential clients contact information and can communicate with them. For simple lead nurturing, the customer can simply opt to send an occasional email informing the client of price changes in the product, updates to a service or a product. A company can also opt for complex lead nurturing which involves informing the client about the advantages and disadvantages of using a particular product, or pitches that encourage the customer to go for the product real soon. Lead nurturing is a form of marketing that has been utilised for some time, but it took on a new angle with the advent of social media.
Now that you are ready to do some lead nurturing, how will you get the much-needed email addresses? Most website visitors are very reluctant to dish out their email addresses, so you need to find a great way of encouraging them to give it to you. There are different strategies to employ, but the most efficient is to entice them with something they value. Once you get their email address, you can nurture them through not just the first buying cycle, but also the remaining stages up to purchase.
Lead nurturing can be a very tiring process. Thus you need to apply some technology to do it right. You can go for automation software like that provided by Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua et cetera. These solutions offer a myriad of benefits to clients looking to utilise lead nurturing. One of the advantages is that they can help you categorise your potential customers and as a result have the ability to send relevant content directly. Relevant content contributes to increased chances that the emails will be read, and hence a higher probability that the client advances in the buying cycle. The software also allows the client to track those that are advancing in the buying process by following the pages they visit on your site. For example, if a buyer who was not interested in the product suddenly starts visiting the pricing pages after a couple of emails, it means that they have advanced in the buying cycle. For these kinds of potential clients, you can opt to apply more time consuming and expensive sales resources with the knowledge that you are not wasting your resources.
It is important to understand that lead nurturing is all about accelerating the client through the awareness and consideration process. It is about feeding them more information not just what is contained on the website. And if it so happens that the data is already on the site, it is a way of getting the information closer to their reach. People are more likely to read what is in the emails than go to a website every day to check for content. Filtering through your website can be a tedious process for a client who is not willing to buy. Remember, they are not motivated.
Feeding potential customers with product comparisons, customer success stories etc., will help provide them with info that they did not think they needed. In the long run, you might send the right buying trigger that might get them to get to the end of the buying cycle. After a couple of emails, your product might top their shopping list.
Ways to Nature Leads
With the belief that lead nurturing will work, appropriate software and contact information, you now need to know the different methods you can employ to be effective at lead nuturing.
Before applying any method, you, first of all, need to establish how your online lead sources apply to the customer buying cycle. Each particular lead source provides buyers that are in different stages on the client buying cycle.
A lead source like Google review sites tends to present buyers that are at a later stage in their buying cycle. The potential clients often have a high intent of buying the product thus should be highly valued. They are usually at the purchase or consideration stages of the cycle.
Other lead sources like Facebook, or stories, banner ads, social referrals and educational presentations at conferences tend to present buyers that are still at the awareness stage. These clients have just learned of the product and thus need to be appropriately directed.
When choosing the method, you are going to employ to do your lead nurturing; you need to select one that is not only suitable for you, but also for the category of lead source you are dealing with. Read on to learn ways of nurturing leads.
- Content Marketing: Content marketing can best be described as a marketing approach that involves creating and distributing content that is consistent, valuable, and relevant to attract or retain a unique audience and ultimately to increase profitable client action. Content marketing is known to be an effective lead nurturing tool if applied correctly and below are tips that will help you use it appropriately.
For the users that are in the awareness stage, the content created for them should have the aim of creating brand awareness. It should cast a wide net, cover relevant topics and evoke emotions. Some of the to go to types of content for buyers at this stage are eBooks, white papers, infographics, blog articles, FAQ page and videos.
The eBooks can be used to cover topics on what you are offering. Downloads of the different eBooks will help you know what the particular user is interested in and help you to be more targeted with your future content. For the blog articles, it would be best to provide information that is more geared to an emotional appeal. It helps build a brand personality. The FAQ page helps at providing more information about the company and the products. Lastly, videos help in dishing out content that is more engaging, thus more likely to be viewed and ultimately get more people informed about your product.
For those in the middle stage, it would be best to use newsletters and emails, product buying guides and client reviews. Remember the potential clients at this juncture are now at the consideration stage, and all they need is a slight push, and they will buy the products. The product buying guides should offer the client with several ways that they can use to purchase the product. While writing the guides, try to make it seem easy to get the product and begin its immediate use. For the client reviews, your role is to ensure that the potential customers can access them quickly and easily. You can do this by providing a link to them on the emails you send. The newsletters and emails should be used to inform the client of any changes in price or technology in the product or services. More knowledge about the product will make them more likely to go for the product or service. Remember to keep them short and within the user's specified interests.
Those at the last stage will need to be nurtured through coupons and custom proposals. Clients at this stage are ready to buy, and all they need is a smooth process or motivation to get the money out of their pockets. For the coupons, all you need to do is offer some that are peculiar to a client’s preferences. Custom proposals are also an effective way of closing a deal. You need to ensure that they provide the user with the information that is required to make a purchase. Well written proposals often portray a firm as a professional organisation with proper client skills.
Properly written content for your lead nurturing can lead to the 99% potential customers becoming actual customers.
- Remarketing: Remarketing is another great option that you can go for if you are keen on lead nurturing. Remarketing involves connecting with clients that have visited your site but did not make any attempt to purchase your product or services or make an inquiry. This strategy allows you to place target ads elsewhere on the internet for clients who previously visited your site.
It is the responsibility of Google Ad Words to manage the ads and ensure that they are displayed on sites that your target audiences visit. For the ads to be displayed, the website visited by your target audience must accept Google advertisement placements. The remarketing ads can be either in text, image, or both text and image formats.
Google remarketing is ideal for firms whose sales process is long and very competitive. The ads act as a constant reminder to your potential clients that you offer certain services and products. Your company will always be on their minds, so to speak.
So how does Google remarketing work? The process is quite simple and involves placing cookies on the on the machine of the website visitor when they meet certain criteria set by you. If they fit the criteria that you set, their cookie identification is added to your remarketing list. You can opt to have just one list with a particular standard or multiple lists with different criteria. For example, you can choose to add to your remarketing list all visitors who visited the FAQ page but did not make any purchase and so on.
For your remarketing to be efficient and yield the results that you are looking for, there are certain controls that you can employ. For example, you can choose the length of time a cookie ID remains on your market list, the ability to block your ads so they don’t appear on certain sites, or the number of ads that will be shown to a particular individual within a certain given period.
To enhance remarketing, Google has gone on to add more controls and features for advertisers. For example, the remarketing feature now allows the use of Google Analytics code that gives advertisers more flexibility. The flexibility enables advertisers to create more lists and manages them without inputting a specific code on the site.
To effectively use this strategy, there are several things that you need to be aware of. One of them is to ensure that your ad is relevant. It needs to focus on what the clients are looking for. In line with that, it needs to encourage the customers back to your site. Otherwise, it is of no benefit. To get your customers back, you can choose to add some form of enticement to the ad. For example, you can display a discounted item that your target audience wants.
You also need to know that before a particular campaign can become active, the remarketing list needs to have a minimum of one hundred cookie IDs. So fill up that list with as many potential clients as you can, who fit your criteria.
- Social Media: If you are confused about how social media can play a role in lead nurturing, then you’re not up to date with the statistics regarding the use of social media. According to research, approximately 74% of adults use social media. This means that if you are an advertiser that ignores the use of social media, you are losing out on the most economical and efficient way to boost your demand. Check out some techniques you can employ to integrate lead nurturing with social media.
1. Use marketing automation to your advantage
Social media has the advantage of allowing advertisers to identify, and build relationships with the online community. You need to maximise on this benefit that social media offers and create as many connections as you can. You will then take advantage of the marketing automation of social media to start, lead nurturing by sending an email each time one of your many friends mentions your company. These relationships will increase the probability that your company name or products and services are mentioned. Marketing automation in social media also allows you to set up alert keywords. This means that each time a client says a particular keyword; you will know which stage they are at in the buying cycle.
2. Segment leads based on social media personas
People regularly express their personalities on Facebook and as an advertiser; you can take advantage of this by using the information to segment your different customers. The views expressed by your different followers about your company and its products and services will help you know what their position is regarding your business. You can then group the members who are at similar positions and initiate your lead nurturing. The grouping will help you feed them with the most relevant information.
3. Use email to invite more action on Social Platform.
The easiest way to do this is by including social share and social follow buttons in emails that you send to clients who had given you their contact information. This strategy works especially if your company is new, and your main aim is to make people aware of your business and the products and services that you have to offer. It also works for the companies that have been there for a while, because the more information that is out there about your business the higher the probability that those potential customers will end up buying goods. The increased popularity of a company also tends to boost consumer confidence. This means that those at the consideration stage will be more likely to make the move to the purchase stage.
4. Respond to Social Inquiries
Social media also presents an easy opportunity for potential customers to ask questions about your products and services. It will be beneficial to you if you do not leave these questions unanswered. Answering questions will help customers move through the buying cycle, so it is a perfect way for you to do your lead nurturing. It is also a perfect way of offering client specific information. While answering the questions, you can also try to refer the clients back to your website.
- Email Marketing: Just as the name suggests, email marketing is the use of emails to market products and services of your company. The tricky part to email marketing is getting the email addresses of potential customers. While there are those that will give you their email willingly, the majority will not do so easily. Their biggest fear is of having their email inbox filled with spam content or that their personal email will be shared with other people. Since email marketing is not possible without potential clients’ emails, you will need to find a way of getting them.
The best approach to getting the emails is by enticing the potential customers. For example, you can decide to set up a discount for any registered member of your site. Also as a form of encouragement, it is advisable to let them know that you will not be sharing their personal information with anyone and mention that this includes their email addresses.
After getting the email addresses, the next step is to input all of them in your CRM database. Make it a habit of exporting the list of emails regularly. You then should decide how often you will be sending emails to the potential clients. When using this technique, there are several things that you need to keep in mind:
- The first thing that you ought to do is design an email template. Remember that most people have very little time to read emails and that you are not the only person that is sending emails to them. Therefore, you need to entice your target audience to read your emails. One way to do so is to have a template that will make your emails looks organised, easy to read and attractive. Templates make emails look professional. Professional emails have a zero chance of being considered as spam by readers and thus the probability of them being read is higher.
- You will need to use an email program. Great examples of email programs include Constant Contact, Vertical Response, and MailChimp. These programs help you know the recipients of your mail and what specific content they love reading once they have opened it. With this information, you will know more about who to send an email to and what kind of content to include.
- Lastly, you need to always address relevant topics. Remember that the information should always be about the company. It should also relate to the stage of the buying cycle where the client is. Remember, a customer will not continue opening emails from you if they do not benefit them in any way.
Once you have your tactics right, you can use the emails to market your products and services vigorously. Always remember to provide a share button to social sites so that readers of your content can share the information with their friends. You should also provide a link to your site just in case the reader wants to learn more about a particular item. The advantage of email marketing is that you are confident the information will get to the recipient.
Landing pages have for a very long time being exaggerated as a great way of marketing. Seminars and workshops on marketing tend to feed people with a long list of advantages of having websites to the point that business owners believe that with an attractive internet site, you do not need to do more marketing. It is true that sites do increase sales, but they also tend to lose a lot of potential sales. The conversion rate of a site performing at its peak has an average conversion rate of about 12%. This means that over 85% of potential clients go to other businesses. It is, therefore, a necessity that a company puts extra effort and focus on the 85% who are not buying their products.
As it has been seen, understanding the market cycle will help a business market its products better. It is evident that the best way to promote your business is to align your marketing strategy to the customers’ stage in the buying cycle. If you do not get more clients through this method, you can encourage it with lead nurturing.
There are different methods a business person can employ to nurture their leads. Each has got its own technicalities, but they all lead to the same result. A company can opt to apply all the methods or concentrate on one. The only thing that will matter at the end of the day is that the number of conversions rises from a 1% to almost 100%. Although trying to convert the 99% is a daunting task, it will pay off in the long run.
Facing the reality will help you break away from the belief that a website will get you customers without you going the extra mile. Go ahead and try to lead nurturing.