Nurturing your leads is key to an effective marketing strategy. Indeed, a large part of your leads may be a qualified buyer for your product or service, but may not be ready to buy just yet. We can break down the process involved to turn a stranger into a buying customer into 3 key steps:
Step 1: Awareness
Step 2: Evaluation
Step 3: Purchase
In other words, marketers need to act on the principle that consumers will not buy from their business if they have not positively evaluated their offering first, and, quite obviously, they can’t do so if they are unaware of it. This process, also referred to as The Purchase Funnel, is key to businesses in both a B2B or B2C context. Just as a little food for thought, note that according to a study conducted by Gleanster Research, 30% to 50% of B2B leads entering the pipeline can lead to future opportunity, but may not be ready to buy yet. That’s a lot of money left on the table if these leads are not nurtured towards the point where they are ready to buy.
So let’s have a closer look at each of the stages of the purchase funnel.
Or the point where a user enters the funnel. There are two things your potential customer might not be aware of: the fact that they have a need you can fill, and the fact that your company exists. People at this stage will not respond to a discount offer, and will most likely be irritated by a salesperson trying to close a sale. Do you ever respond to promotions for a product you’ve never heard of? Neither do we. So it is really important to understand where in the funnel your customers are and to target them with appropriate advertising.
Examples of marketing material to use at the Awareness Stage
- Whitepapers & useful documentation: if you are a services company aiming to sell a solution, giving free and useful information in exchange for someone’s contact details is a terrific way to add prospects to your funnel and qualify them as potential users of your service. For instance, the popular landing page builder Unbounce provides a free “Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing”. This is a great lead nurturing tactic because individuals that use landing pages for their business will most likely be interested in how to best perform A/B tests and improve their results.
- Brand advertising: this includes any online and offline ads you see on a day-to-day basis – for example billboards like the one below. In our example, Lyft is not explicitly communicating what its services are. Rather, the billboard is capturing the audience’s attention with an intriguing sentence “Love traffic jams”. A key goal of this campaign is to be remembered by the audience with this unexpected tagline.
- Press coverage of any kind that puts your business in front of people.
- If you are a B2B business, you may want to prepare a free webinar that provides value to your target audience.
- Sponsorships and partnerships – for example, the fantasy sports platform Draftkings has partnered with Arsenal, Liverpool and Watford back in 2016 as part of its plan to enter the UK market. UK customers were not yet familiar with this brand so this type of partnership is a good way to gain awareness among sports fans.
Social Media: in the below examples, Airbnb regularly engages with its audience by sharing its most unconventional and unique rentals available. This type of content is great because it is bait for social engagement that will put the brand in front of a large audience.
Now that people have heard about you, it’s time to convince them they should buy from you. In other words, it’s time to make every effort to drive positive evaluation of your offering. You can start nurturing your leads by regularly sending them bits of communication that positions you as the right company to buy from. You can do that via email, your blog or social media for instance.
Examples of marketing material to use at the Evaluation Stage
- Testimonials and online reviews: leverage social proof as much as possible. Show your prospects how happy the people that have already bought from you are with their decision. A great example of this type of promotions can be seen in the video below. In this video, the all-on-one HR platform Zenefits provides a testimonial of a customer company, outlining the problems the platform solved for them. By showing all the benefits Dot & Bo got by using the platform, Zenefit works towards a positive evaluation in the minds of potential new customers.
- Expert opinion: showcase your expertise to the world! Put useful blog articles and case studies out there that communicate you are an authority in your industry, and you are the person who can best help your prospect.
- Partnerships & endorsements: if you work with other organisation, leverage their notoriety. Show you are backed by reputable entities.
- Awards: You’ve done such a good job you won an award? Great! Let the world know you are the best.
Finally, you’ve reached the final stage of the funnel. Congratulations, your prospects are ready to buy. To facilitate that conversion, make sure you leave your contact details or a link to place an order across your communication at the Evaluation stage. However, sometimes your prospects may still need a little push to get them over the line. This is where we present them with offers or encouragement to buy.
Examples of marketing material to use at the Purchase Stage
- Discount codes or ‘buy one get one free”: This type of promotions can be effective in pushing people who are on the fence. They may have been thinking about buying from you for a little while and an offer that allows them to do so while spending less money than expected can make all the difference.
- Free trial: This type of offer allows your leads a chance to check whether your offer really is for them without the need to open their wallet. Uber encourages trial of its services by providing a free first ride to new customers.
- “Money Back Guaranteed” offer: Buying something always comes with the risk that you will be disappointed by your purchase once acquired, leading to buyer’s remorse. With a ‘money back guaranteed’ offer, you are effectively removing the risk associated with purchasing your product.
But just because you get the customer, doesn’t mean that your work is over. Rather, you need to work harder than ever to make sure that your customer remains a customer. Keep them happy by fulfilling their orders, answering their questions, and providing top-notch customer service! It is a lot less expensive to get an existing customer to purchase again from you, than to take a fresh lead all the way down the funnel.
For any comments or questions, contact Hyphen now.