We all know the saying, nature over nurture; however, is that true when it comes to the customer journey? Does natural instinct kick in when a customer comes to your website and they automatically know exactly what they are going to buy? The answer is obviously no, we have so many digital distractions on our websites now a days that a customer, unless they have been there before or knows exactly which model or services they are going to buy is going to get lost. There are millions of businesses on the internet and the way you make your visitors feel on your site and through your other digital presences will make the difference between converting them from leads to customers. The customer journey is not a simple one, but as a business it is your responsibility to help them through the journey.
As businesses, we like the fact that most customers don’t come to an online store knowing exactly what they are going to buy because of the fact it often leads to customers buying additional products from us.
Come on, we have all been there with Amazon, we go for one thing like a new phone charger (the nature factor) and then $100 dollars later we now have a new cutting board shaped like a fish made of bamboo and four other things we didn’t intend to buy and chances are you forgot the phone charger.
But Amazon didn’t just allow nature to put $100s worth of products in your cart, no they nurtured you through different call to actions like New for You or my favorite Inspired by your Shopping Trends.
But how as business owners who may not have the wide-variety of inventory that Amazon has, be selling a service vs. a physical product, how can we turn site visitors into converted customers?
First you will have a little pre-work:
- For Retail Businesses:
- Do you know what percentage of your site’s visitors put items in their shopping cart but don’t checkout? We have all done it, gone to a website put items in our cart and for whatever reason, whether we decided we didn’t want the items or simply walked away from our computers and closed the tab and just forgot it doesn’t matter – the potential customer still did not convert.
- Do you know what percentage of those who put items in their shopping cart actually checkout? This number is hopefully much higher than that of the above. A Moz study of retail clients found on average visitors who put items in their cart checked out approximately 30% of the time that means 70% of visitors who had something in their cart did not check-out.
- For Service-Based Companies:
- Do you know what percentage of leads are converted into customers who use your service? This is important to know and then dive deeper into the why behind the leads who aren’t being turned into customers? Is it due to the call to action, the copy overall on your website, the customer service delivery, or even reviews on external websites.
- For All Business Types:
- Do you know what percentage of visitors to your site walks through the digital door with a purchase in hand? It is important to note, there are a lot of factors that can skew this number so be prepared for it to be low. You may be surprised to learn that ecommerce as an industry only converts between 2-3% of visitors.
- Now that you have your benchmarks, you will need to set objectives for where you want to be. For example, do you want to increase the percentage of visitors who put items in their cart but don’t check out or is your objective to increase your total site visitors who convert? Be specific when you set these goals.
Now that you know what your benchmarks are and you have determined what your metrics for success are going to be, we can focus on four techniques for getting visitors through the customer door.
- General Email Campaigns
Now, not everyone collects emails on their customers, so if you don’t feel free to skip ahead but consider why you don’t have an email list of subscribers, leads, blog followers, etc?
Other companies have massive email lists and the more information you can utilize to develop targeted campaigns the better.
Not everyone has the luxury of having detailed information on their email list but you probably have more information than you think. For example, where did the lead/email come from? Was it through a contest; the website, or an in-person collection? Where was the form filled out? Location and source of lead can be great ways to start your targetted email campaign.
When sending out an email campaign, make sure it is segmented by a specific category/customer profiles and then personalized. Email campaigns that utilize segmented lists have a 50% higher click-through rate. Utilizing segmented email campaigns will also help achieve a higher conversion rate with the next technique.
- Automated Email Campaigns
We all get them, emails on a seemingly random basis that offer us different deals for retailers, conferences, products and services at different times of the year. These emails can come in the form of offering free promoted content such as a whitepapers or eBooks to get us to click to a website or a 40% off coupon. These deals are extremely effective at making a customer feel personally tied to the brand as they appear to be completely customized to them.
If you plan to run a success email marketing campaign you have to remember you are trying to nurture your customers and show them that you care about them personally. Automated campaigns can feel extremely cold if you don’t target them to the specific audience you are trying to convert with a specific message that appears personal.
Some techniques that help to drive successful campaigns:
- Vary your content, this can be through different offerings, different incentives or different calls to action
- Create a calendar of when your email campaigns are scheduled to run this can be part of your overall digital calendar you create that includes social postings or promotions
- Utilize an automation tool and set up your varying campaigns through that
- Promoted Content
Just like an email campaign can work from some, other business find that promoted content works best. Case studies, whitepapers, e-Books are all great examples of content, but they can’t stand alone. Having great content is not the challenge it is getting it seen by your target audience that is the real challenge. The reason you created this content, free or paid is to drive people to find out more about you and you can do that through a variety of means.
Promoting posts on social media channels in a targeted way can be a great way to introduce you content to a new audience. Promoted posts can be either paid or unpaid.
If you are sharing content with an Influencer, it is highly recommended that you put a . before the @. Why you ask? If you tweet something at someone without the period, the only people that will see it are people that follow both of you, great if you want to tweet something amongst friends, not so great if you are trying to great viral content. For example, if I wanted to tweet out the whitepaper I just created on Nature vs. Nurture to someone I think may retweet it and expand my reach but not have the reach I could say:
- .@SreWebSolutions check out this new whitepaper I created on #naturevsnurture in #business #internetmarketing
Another technique involves piggybacking on viral topics, trending posts or articles, or feature content. There are several different ways to do this; however, if you are trying to promote content you have already created there are several tools out there. I prefer to use Sniply to promote my content within others content because it is simple and I find potential leads are less turned off because the misdirection is less noticeable. This is the nurturing factor, you want to put your content in front of potential leads without them feeling like you are trying to sell them something.
Keys when you are developing promoted content:
- Make it skimmable
- Use headlines that encourage someone to pause and read
- Stick to one problem you are identifying a solution for
The Call to Action (CTA)
Whether you are talking about body copy in your email or copy on your website, a call to action must be specific and must be utilizing the old newspaper term “above the fold” meaning a reader should not have to scroll in the email or on the website to find what you want them to do. If you take a look at Amazon’s website, New for You is always above the scroll.
You never want to confuse your readers/visitors about what you want them to do because a confused customer is more likely to bounce from the site or not delete the email without clicking through.
Calls to Action must be:
CTAs that are original and directly state what you want the customer to do have a higher CTR and conversion rate than those that are indirect and unoriginal, don’t let your customers find out you borrowed copy from a competitor. Customers will shy away from CTRs that have “the fine print” at the bottom especially if they feel suckered into paying for something. Instead you want to go back to the nurturing mindset, make sure they understand there is no commitment this helps build trust. You also want to make them feel like they are special and you want them, encouraging them to click with an incentive is important. Remember you are telling them why they should waste their time and even more importantly in today’s day and age, their data, getting to another page.
Your call to action should avoid asking for money until it absolutely necessary
You want your potential customers to ultimately come to the conclusion of buying before you ever have to ask. Think about it like this, when you go and buy a car you ultimately want to believe you decided what car is right for you and your situation, not have a sales person directly tell you what car you should drive and charge you for features you don’t need, the same should be said online. It is more challenging to be the guy that gets a customer to buy online because you aren’t typically sitting with the customer and they have the world searchable at their fingertips to find reviews and your competitors. But your call to action in an advertisement, mailer, email campaign, or direct content your website can help by making the customer question, “Why not you?” for the service.
It’s All About Nurturing your Leads
It’s easy to say you are going to be able to write effective copy, unfortunately not everyone does it. Internet marketing is about making your connections feel special, making them feel like the offer or Call to Action is just for them, internet marketing has to have the personal touch of in-person customer service. Remember, it is simpler to nurture a lead that is on the fence about buying your product than it is to try and nurture your way into someone’s heart from the get go. Allow nature to kick-start the process for you and then add the nurturing factor in to seal the deal.