Time to convert: Explore effective ways to lead and land prospects

25/11/2020
Michael Farish — CEO & Founder of Design Motive

Very few customers will purchase proactively, without any prior persuasion from you about the benefits of buying your product or service. The ultimate objective of brand activation is to steer people to a point of purchase – to convert enquiries into concrete sales…

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Brand activation isn’t just about engaging prospects and persuading them to interact with your brand. 

That’s not your endgame at all – is it? It shouldn’t be. 

All the effort you put into planning, creating and executing your online and social marketing activity must be channelled into more than simply encouraging enquiries about your product or service. 

Ultimately, you want people to purchase, don’t you? That’s the pinnacle of effective brand activation.

Engagement is lovely. There’s no denying that. It leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling about the fact that you’ve reached out to members of your target audience and they’ve responded in kind – they might even be extremely fond of your brand and all that it stands for. 

That would be a fantastic result. But it counts for nothing in cold, hard, commercial terms. 

What you actually need is sales. Real, tangible revenue from individuals or organisations who have been motivated, for whatever reason, to be proactive and to complete a purchase from you.

So how do you make that happen?

Maybe you’ve conducted successful brand awareness and engagement campaigns. Perhaps you’ve got people streaming to your website, and also taking the significant additional step of enquiring about your service or product. But what else?

What do you now need to do to convert those enquiries into concrete sales?

Planning specific product and service remote conversion routes

Effective conversion is something you can enable either remotely – via an online transaction – or in person, through verbal and/or physical interaction.

Let’s look at remote conversion opportunities first. Not least because many businesses are finding themselves in this situation as they pivot to offer online options for consuming their products and expertise while the current global pandemic puts paid to ‘normal’ service.

When it comes to remote conversion, your website needs to work hard. It needs to immediately pick up from where your lead generation and enquiry promotion activity stops – to promptly entice and drive people further along the journey.

If you’re selling a product, you must lead the potential purchaser from their path of enquiry straight to the point of purchase – as quickly and as efficiently as your website can possibly manage. 

The fewer clicks to the point of purchase, the better. This will boost your success rate and ensure you reach acceptable conversion percentage levels – a good range is about 10-20% conversion.

If you don’t get this element spot on, you’ll soon discover that people who click ‘Buy now’ on a social ad that takes them to the website won’t actually be able to purchase immediately (or maybe even find out more about the product they’re interested in). Your bounce rate will increase dramatically – and that prospective customer will quickly bid you farewell, without buying. 

It sounds intense. And it is. You’ve got a very short amount of time to pick up that prospect, to reassure them, to lead them and to convert them to the point of purchase. Mere seconds – so make sure you don’t waste them.

Are you selling a service? Then you’ve got to communicate in a slightly different way. 

Start by thinking about how your service is going to help an enquiring client. Then carefully design and write your website content to present your prospective customer’s needs, pains and challenges in a way that’s quick and easy to understand – and always orientated around your customer’s situation rather than what you do. 

This approach will immediately connect with relevance. It will reassure your prospect that your service is attuned to their requirements and is appropriate for them. It will also tick the ‘they know what they’re talking about’ box. 

The next step is to ensure you promptly pick up every enquiry. You need to guide the enquirer through to a point of explanation if they want more information, along with potential illustration and example if appropriate, or lead them quickly to a point of contact where they can pick up the phone or use an integrated chat facility. That way, they can connect in person and start to establish how your service can add value and solve the requirement they may have. 

How to finesse face-to-face conversion

So you can now plan and implement effective product and service remote conversion routes – either leading prospects to an e-commerce transaction or enabling them to connect directly with you.

The second way to convert enquiries into sales is via successful face-to-face interaction. Indeed, for many businesses, the face-to-face component of closing a deal is critically important. 

It has to be said that the task of discussing and agreeing a contract or sale was always potentially challenging – even before the presence of Covid-19 forced physical meetings to be put to one side.

Suddenly, sales forces the world over are having to learn very quickly how to operate at a screen-to-screen, rather than face-to-face, level. That creates a number of new questions:

5 conundrums for teams that need to present via video:

  1. How do we optimise the screen-to-screen experience? 
  2. How do we present our value proposition via video? 
  3. How can we convey our personality? 
  4. How should we share our screen – what and when should we share? 
  5. Does presenting virtually require a different technique?

Of course, a video call is still a face-to-face experience. But it’s not the same as meeting a prospect in person. And that will affect how you draw people along the conversion journey.

So you need to put some extra thought into how to interact with your audience in an optimal way.

How are you empowering your sales force to respond to a direct enquiry? How can you present your value proposition in an easy-to-understand (and also easy-to-present) way that connects with the customer while also leading them through to a conversion point of purchase? That’s a skill in itself.

How will you put together your PowerPoint presentation? What will you send out – either in advance or following your online meeting – and how will you follow up? What’s your 30-second elevator pitch going to be? 

Then there’s the specific detail about what you’re trying to sell… How do you present customer-centric messaging without getting bogged down in product-centric messaging? And how do you attach an appropriate visual identity to that level of communication? A creative treatment that excites and engages and informs your prospect, instead of coming across as overly salesy? 

After all that, you still need to consider another absolutely key question: how do you actually present virtually, in terms of technique and presentation set-up? 

End-to-end brand activation

Whether you’re trying to sell remotely or face-to-face, all these considerations will have a direct impact on your conversion rate. So you need to get them right.

And remember that all this has to connect with what you’re doing elsewhere as well. Which brings us neatly back to what constitutes effective brand activation.

To achieve optimal results from your brand activation activity, you have to ensure that everything you’ve done to date to create a strong brand aligns and works together with every other element in the mix.

Whether you’re putting in the initial work to properly position your brand or are at the second stage of activating your brand to build awareness and promote enquiry (the slingshot effect), everything should ultimately be driving towards effective conversion. Because that’s what boosts your bottom line.

One final thought

So you’ve driven a prospect to complete a purchase. Great! But there’s one further step to bear in mind.

After every sale, you’ll see your latest customer progressing to a point of experience – and everything comes full circle.

As that individual or organisation experiences your product or service, it’s really important that you capture their experience (whether it’s positive or negative), so you can learn from it. 

Ensure that you document that experience properly, and you can actually feed it back into the marketing cycle – whether that’s in the form of  case studies on your website, case studies shared on LinkedIn or case studies created to acknowledge and reward internal teams involved in the project. 

Documenting and learning, even after the crucial point of purchase, is imperative. Because it all feeds back into the funnel. 

And that means you can go back and finesse your processes and your content at every step of the brand activation and customer journey – to drive even more effective conversion rates in the future.

1 Comment

  • Jason Bacon says:

    Michaels insights into remote conversion and video meetings are as relevant to charity fundraising as they are to commercial enterprises. Really helpful!