Convert: The Second Phase of Inbound Marketing
by Tony Shannon
Authors Note: This is Part 2 of a four part series where we explore each stage of inbound marketing.
Before you even start attracting leads to your site, you need a conversion strategy. It's not uncommon for businesses to attract as many leads as they need, yet only be able to convert a few of them.
The are two major aspects to lead conversion. One is that you need to give leads multiple options to convert. Everyone has different browsing habits and you need to accommodate each lead.
Furthermore, you need a way of evaluating your efforts so that you can improve and tweak your strategy. Conversion or Convert is the second phase of inbound marketing.
Filling out a form is one of the easiest ways to get a user's contact information. Here are a few tips to create effective forms:
Create multiple landing pages
Landing pages shouldn't begin abruptly. They should continue the user experience to maintain consistency.
The problem is that users will stumble upon your website in a variety of different ways. Therefore, you should consider having a corresponding landing page for each avenue that leads to your site. Social media users, for example, should be directed to a different page than users coming from a PPC ad.
Optimize the number of fields
If your form has too many fields, then some users will walk away before they submit it. On the other hand, if it has too few fields, then you won't learn enough about your prospects to send targeted messages.
This Forbes article recommends choosing somewhere between 4 to 7 fields, though you should review each form on a case-by-case basis:
"Research has long suggested that keeping your form between 4 and 7 individual fields (first name, last name, email, and at least one qualifier for more customized follow-ups) generates the best conversion rates. But in reality, there is no magic number. Keep it short, and make sure that each field actually adds quality, actionable information to your contact base for further marketing efforts."
In general, the quicker it is to fill out a form, the better. You can always find out more information about leads later on with your marketing emails.
Offer gated content
You may want to offer an incentive to users for filling out your form. Ebooks, white papers, and surveys are great candidates for gated content. While you can advertise them as free, you're really getting valuable contact information in exchange.
At some point, you'll need to host a meeting with a prospective customer. The two main considerations here are scheduling efficiency and cross-channel availability:
Use a meeting scheduler tool
Going back and forth with dozens of leads at a time will drive you crazy. That's why HubSpot recommends using a tool like HubSpot Messages to simplify the process:
HubSpot has a simple and inviting UI and will help keep your calendar full. It's much more efficient than having to schedule each meeting via email conversation.
Here is a link to the free HubSpot Meeting Scheduling Software. We use it and its awesome.
Make yourself available on multiple platforms
Whether a lead prefers to make a phone call, video chat on Skype, or talk on social media, you need to make yourself available on that platform. The more options you give prospects, the more meetings you'll schedule.
As soon as a lead visits your site, the time is ripe for personalized messages. Nowadays, it's both feasible and effective to talk to individual leads one-on-one before they convert.
Make use of a chatbot
Many marketers predict 2018 to be the year of the chatbot. This tool has already been around for some time (you've almost certainly come across one), and businesses are now ready to adopt it.
Whether the chatbot is powered by AI or a human, reaching out to a lead on your site has proven to be effective. According to this VentureBeat, it can even change the way prospects perceive your brand:
"Chatbots can really help revitalize proactive brand communications by acting as an interactive companion and readily available customer assistant. In this role, chatbots deliver value as a personalized tool that's actually fun to use — almost like a fun friend to go shopping with."
As tempting as it is, try not to come off as promotional when using or programming a chatbot. They're there to assist leads, which in turn will make them more likely to convert. Save the promotional talk for the next phase of your inbound marketing campaign.
Respond to users on social media
Comments and personal messages on social media are underrated. If a user comments on your content or sends you a message, respond and follow up. You can start a ton of conversations just by sincerely responding to users and answering their questions.
Leads come and go. The important thing is that you keep track of each individual interaction and learn from your past mistakes and successes. CRM helps you identify trends in your data and evaluate your lead conversion campaign.
Organize your data
The more leads you attract, the harder it is to stay organized. With CRM, you can keep all of your marketing data in one place for your marketers and sales representatives to contribute and refer to.
In addition, you can use CRM to prepare reports to help you better understand your data. By looking at charts and graphs, you can get a good idea of your prospects' behavior and your campaign's performance within minutes.
Learn from your past
By collecting all of your data in one database, you can review your past interactions with leads.
This will help you identify common characteristics and behaviors among your target audience. You may find, for example, that you convert more leads when chatting via Skype as opposed to email. In the next iteration of your campaign, you can test that hypothesis by pushing Skype when scheduling your meetings.
Being able to attract leads doesn't mean you'll be able to convert them. To open up a conversation with prospects, you need to give them multiple opportunities and channels to contact your business. Over time, you'll learn how to best engage prospects from your target audience. In the next phase of your inbound marketing campaign, you'll focus on closing sales.
Check out the first phase of inbound marketing here.
For more information about inbound marketing, contact us today.