STEP 5 – FOCUS ON TRANSFORMATION AS MUCH AS DISCOVERY
The fourth step is not just about getting found or discovered it is in equal measure about transforming those who discover you into customers and sales. Even more important is transforming the right visitors into customers and sales. Eventually you should aim to turn your happy online customers into advocates of your brand, so that your name spreads virally.
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is the first step within the transformation process. Essentially by adapting, tagging and linking your content to appear high up the search engine rankings of for example Google you will drive interested or semi interested traffic to your website.
To maintain the interest level and to get return visits you need to nurture your visitors or leads. Lead nurturing is about building relationships with qualified prospects from interest to buying and further onto brand advocacy. Through all phases of B2B purchasing – awareness, research, negotiation, purchase - customers today are overwhelming going online to find products, services, gain recommendations etc. This means an initial inquiry may not turn into a sale for many months, and this is where lead nurturing becomes a vital component in the transformation process from inquirer to customer. According to Tomorrow People’s survey 50% of leads are not ready to buy, but through lead nurturing 3x more qualified leads can be generated than without nurturing.
Understanding the buying cycle of customers and target consumers gives you the power to nurture. The objective here is to help prospects to buy (pull) instead of selling to them (push). Understanding buying cycles means you can implement contact strategies to help the prospect throughout their buying process. A contact strategy should recognise that support and nurturing through the buying cycle involves education, specific target information and answers to questions. From this insight you can establish content to support like white papers, webinars, online demos, comparisons, case studies etc.
Sorting your leads into ready-to buy or ready-to-be-nurtured can be achieved through setting up a system of lead scoring. Effective lead scoring drives marketing and sales productivity and increases revenue more quickly. According to Tomorrow People’s survey a 10% increase in lead quality translates into a 40% increase in sales productivity. Effective lead scoring systems use explicit and implicit scores. Explicit scoring is based on what information the prospects shares with for example from registering or filling an online form. Implicit scoring is based on online behaviours that shows the prospects levels of interest in content, and reveals the stage they may be at in their purchase process.
In terms of completing nurturing campaigns or successful nurturing of individual prospects you need to carefully consider the customer’s journey and build a buying funnel to represent it. For example a customer may start by being unaware that they want or have a direct need for your products or services. Another customer may be in a stage where a need has developed, and then they progress to researching solutions and then choosing a shortlist of suppliers. To nurture a customer from an unaware state to shortlisting you demands both involvement and content.
Involvement is about developing a real relationship with your prospect, and content is about engaging the prospect at different phases in the buying funnel. In developing the relationship it is important to let the prospect tell you where they are in the purchasing process, so that you can supply the right content to hep them. You can do this by offering prospects multiple calls to action at every touchpoint, which will keep them interested rather than pushing them away because they are not ready to buy. Calls to action can include invitations to webinars, sending case studies, whitepapers or an invitation to a live event. At the end of the day it is about providing prospects with relevant, timely communications that help them to find out more, when they want to and which build trust to the point of action, be that to short list you or buy directly.
Stay tuned for the final Part 6...