Generating leads is good, converting them into customers is better!
In fact, it's the number one concern for marketers (for 69% of them according to a 2018 Hubspot report).
Acquiring new customers is the step of our conversion tunnel that interests companies the most because it is indeed the customers and not the prospects who pay your bills!
It is therefore important to question the actions to be implemented in order to guarantee a high conversion rate, and to do this, it is necessary to understand the conversion funnel.
The first stage of this funnel is what is called "Top Of the FUnnel", which corresponds to the"awareness" stages. Here, the prospect tries to understand their issues and does generic research. He discovers your company and its content. They are now aware of what you have to offer.
The second stage is the "consideration" stage, here, "Middle Of the FUnnel". The prospect shows his interest by doing specific research on a product or service. He is more advanced in the buying process and there has been contact between the future customer and your company, via a sales representative for example. He is at the stage of comparing your solutions to what is available on the market.
The third and final stage, "decision", consists, as its name suggests, of making a decision ("Bottom Of the FUnnel"). The prospect chooses either to leave the conversion tunnel or to stay and make a purchase. He has become your customer.
At each of the sub-steps, the person can leave the buying path and it is therefore necessary to understand where the pain points are in this path in order to remedy them and keep them until they become a customer of your company.
To identify them, it can be useful to change your perspective and put yourself in the shoes of a consumer to analyze his buying path and what could potentially take him out of the conversion tunnel.
At the first sub-stage, the potential consumer discovers your homepage and navigates on your website. They are only at the exploration stage, and disturbing them at this level would not be effective. If we were in a physical store and a salesman approached to offer his help, his answer would be "No thanks, I'm just looking". Your landing page must therefore be pleasant and easy to navigate. It must also be designed for your target. This is where your buyer persona comes into its own.
In the next sub-step, the consumer has identified an item or service that could be suitable and appeals to him. He enters a phase of comparison with what the competition is offering. He is not yet sure of the path he will take and is therefore not mature. He becomes a lead when he intentionally sends you information and therefore comes out of anonymity. He can do this if you set up a space on your site where he can identify himself.
Once we move into the MOFU (Middle Of the FUnnel), the lead is qualified first by the marketing teams, and then by the sales teams.
An MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) is recognized by the increased interest he shows in your value proposition, either by opening a good number of your newsletters, or by downloading a white paper or by keeping up to date with the various contents you publish. Moreover, they are part of your core target and meet your buyer persona criteria. At this stage, it is necessary to deliver content with high added value.
By the time the MQL becomes a SQL (Sales Qualified Lead), we are at the point where you already have a lot of information about the potential customer and their issues. It is at this stage that a contact with a sales representative is required in order to answer their questions and refer them if necessary. The marketing teams take care of lead scoring, which allows them to know at what stage the potential customer is and what makes it possible to move them from one stage to the next, and lead nurturing, which consists of sending the right content at the right time, according to their position in the conversion tunnel, to engage them.
It is at the end of the funnel that call-to-actions become meaningful. When you get to the opportunity level, it's your duty not to let a mature prospect slip through your fingers. They are only one step away from buying your products or services. So you need to have effective call-to-actions so that they can come forward on the topics that interest them, and you need to make yourself available and ready to answer their questions as quickly as possible. According to a Hubspot study, ⅔ of prospects expect a return within 10 minutes, and another study by Inside Sales, reveals that you are 9 times more likely to convert a lead if you have contacted them back within 5 minutes.
To make sure you don't miss this opportunity, you can even set up special offers to ensure that prospects convert into customers if you feel a real and strong interest from them.
The most important thing at the end of the process is to establish a trusting and lasting relationship with the prospect
Once the prospect becomes a customer, you have succeeded. However, your work doesn't stop there because you now need to keep them among your customers and therefore build their loyalty, a subject we will discuss in next week's article.
Throughout the funnel it is important to ask the right questions, namely, how can the future customer find me, what information does he need at this level of the journey, and how do I know if he has moved on to the next step in my conversion tunnel.
When the future customer is at the stage of visitor, it is necessary to give him the maximum chance to find your site. SEO, SEA and SMO strategies are required here. You can also do display campaigns or use email marketing. You must also offer content with high added value so that during his still vague search, he can find quality answers on your site. You can keep track of your progress thanks to the traffic you generate to your website according to the actions you put in place.
To make him become a lead you can make questionnaires available to glean information about him.
In the Middle Of the FUnnel, the lead is more mature and needs more specific content such as customer cases for example. It is during these stages that a contact is necessary and a relationship with the customer is formalized. People like to feel pampered and privileged, so it's up to you to make them feel this importance by personalizing your exchanges, whether by email or telephone.
You have already started to build a relationship of trust with the prospect at the beginning of the funnel. Here the sales person enters to transform the qualified lead into an opportunity.
In the last phase of the conversion tunnel, you make the sale, turn the opportunity into a customer, and retain them so they will use your services again in the future.
In this graph, you will find the key information about the content to be distributed according to where the person is in the funnel, as well as the levers that will allow you to carry out your actions and the KPIs that will allow you to evaluate your progress at each phase.
Also rely on different analysis data such as the opening rate of your emails for example, the click rate, as well as the response rate. This information will give you a clearer picture of where the prospect is in their buying journey.
To optimize your funnel, many tools can be useful such as Google Analytics to know where your prospects are and thus score them, or Heatmaps, to know if your landing pages are effective and where visitors click the most, scroll or stay on an element. Your call-to-actions must be impactful, visible and effective, as they will help to bring your prospect further. In order to lose as few people as possible in the described path, you can adopt what is called "trigger marketing". This means creating automatic reactions to actions such as sending a notification when new content is made available.
By implementing these different best practices combined with tools, you structure a good conversion strategy.