On average, a prospect doesn’t become a customer until he/she has been ‘touched’/contacted at least seven times by the brand/your sales team.
You can’t expect an impulse sale. You need to build a relationship of trust. Only then, and usually only after some time, will they become a customer.
But first you need to capture their contact details...
How to capture their contact details
It doesn’t matter where you are trying do this, for example off your website or face-to-face at a trade show, you need to do the following.
- Grab and hold their attention
- Give them something they want in return for their contact details
Nobody wants more emails arriving in their inbox so your prospects will only give you their details if they are getting something that they really want or need in return.
Find out what you can about your target audience. Once you know what they are like and what needs/problems they have, you will be better placed to offer them something that they actually want.
What incentive can you offer that is particularly interesting and valuable?
Have a brainstorm. What can you offer that’s free - a discount voucher? An e-book? A template? A free consultation, a free prize draw?
- Make the offer eye-catching
For your offer to work your target audience have to see it.
How will you make it stand out and grab their attention?
On your website it must catch your eye. Look at the web page below. Note the way that the £899 course on the cork board does this so well.
- Use a clear and concise call-to-action message
- Make the application form really easy to complete
The more complex the form and the more information you ask for, the less people will participate. Try to limit this to just asking for their name and email address.
With most database marketing systems, the details collected on your website will be automatically added to your database and you can automate an instant email to be sent to them.
Now use lead nurturing to convert these prospects into customers
To convert your prospects into customers you will need a lead nurturing strategy/plan.
Here's the rationale for this:
Customer recruitment is increasingly about building the relationship first. It’s about establishing rapport and value and only selling once a trusted relationship has developed between you and your prospective customer.
In many companies the marketing team spends the majority of their budget and time bringing new names (or leads) into the database, and the sales team then disqualifies about 70% for lack of readiness to buy.
This misses a major opportunity. Around 80% of those discarded leads end up buying in the next 24 months. Therefore you need to develop a lead nurturing strategy to convert more of these leads into your sales funnel.
So you need a plan to engage, add value, solve customers’ problems, create opportunities for them, educate, inform, but not (hard) sell, at least not to start with.
Then when they are ready to buy, many will choose you.
Your lead nurturing strategy
- Maintain contact with them
Once prospects are in the sales funnel, your primary objective is to maintain contact until their need to buy, matches your desire to sell.
Here tools such as e-mail (with auto-responder) directing them to quality, relevant content on your website helps to position you as an expert in your field, while prospects consider their options.
- Engage with them and build a positive relationship
To progress through the funnel prospects need a reason to move.
Getting prospects to declare what they are really looking for will help you serve them with more meaningful communications.
Start a mutually beneficial conversation/relationship with them.
Ensure that it is easy for prospects to understand your USP. To understand in what way you are a better than the competition.
Do everything you can to convince them to trust your brand promise - enough to trial test or buy.
Make it really easy for them to say 'yes'.
- Accelerate them to the purchase decision
Sometimes prospects just can’t make a decision, or you need to find out how serious they are.
Acceleration tools, such as Special Offers, Premium Membership Offers and Pre-Qualification Offers are typical communications tools used in this regard.
Your objective is to provide just enough carrot to appeal to prospects who are on the verge of buying, but not quite. Then get them to take action by using an impactful call-to-action, or even a sales call.
Make it easy for them to buy from you.