I want to start by saying this: I have been researching the internet and looking for new insights, hints, and strategies, from blog to blog, article to article, and website to website. But, most of the sites and articles are simply self-oriented, geared toward selling CRM, chatbots, analytics tools, and many others.
Most websites have written about how to convert leads into customers, but they were not very practical for small-to-medium-sized businesses. I wonder if the intent was to hide the lead conversion secrets or insights from others.
Well, after conducting quite a number of research and gathering knowledge from our own experience on how to convert leads to customers, I would to finally write this eye-opening article with the hope that it will teach you, show you, and guide you on how to convert your leads into sales, paying customers for your business.
So, let’s get started.
Lead conversion is a marketing terminology which involves the entire process of engaging, nurturing and closing capture leads to paying customers to generate sales and revenue for a business. The main purpose of marketing is to generate leads for your business, and the main purpose of the selling/sales function is to convert captured/generated leads into sales and revenue.
Without lead conversion, your business cannot generate sales. And without sales, your business cannot survive and thrive for long. Therefore, a successful business must have a tried and proven lead conversion system that successful converts most of the leads generated into sales.
If you do not have a lead conversion system in place, no matter the quantity and quality of leads that you convert, it will never help your business. You must generate leads and those leads must convert into sales to generate revenue for your business.
Many advertising and marketing agencies often focus on generating leads for their clients through ads campaign. Well, that’s great! But what happens to those leads after they have been captured? If those clients do not have an effective lead conversion system, they will be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Lead conversion is the holy grail of marketing. It is where the customer is acquired. It is where the sale is made. It is where the revenue is acquired. You can plan, implement and execute several lead generation campaigns as many as you want, but without a conversion system in place to convert your leads into customers, everything will be an effort in futility.
It’s funny how most business owners and business managers think.
All they want is sales. They simply want those strangers they got to know on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Google to become customers almost immediately. Well, it doesn’t work that way.
That is like meeting a beautiful lady on the street, greeting her, getting her contact number and then proposing marriage to her and thinking the marriage should take place immediately. Nothing works that way. But funny enough, that is how most business people think.
The very first thing you need to understand is this—Lead Conversion is a PROCESS! It doesn’t happen overnight, even though it might happen almost immediately depending on the quality of the leads. It takes time for leads to convert into customers. To convert leads, you must engage the process. To convert leads, you commit to the conversion process.
The second thing you need to understand is this: Lead Conversion is a THREE-FOLD PROCESS. You must understand these core fundamental processes. If you go back to the definition of lead conversion, you will notice the three keywords used there:
That means you do not generate the lead and wait for the leads to convert into paying customers. You’ll need to engage, nurture and eventually close the lead into a sale. Without these fundamental processes in the conversion system, you will notice that your conversions are not working well.
The third thing you have to understand is this: Lead Conversion is about RELATIONSHIP BUILDING, more about the lead/prospect. It is the lead that is converting from one stage of the journey with the business to another. It is the relationship with the business that is evolving from one level to another.
Leads >> Relationship >> Customer
Oftentimes, most business people forget how vital relationship building is important to the sales process. People buy from people they know and trust. The people have to know you and also trust you for the sale to take place. Knowing and trust form the fundamental basis upon which all sales take place.
If you go further, you would want to say that people know first and then trust. So, people buy from people they trust. They need to trust to deal with you unless perhaps, they do not care. They need to trust the product work; they need to trust that the company can deliver and the company has the capabilities to deliver what they are ordering.
So, when you generate a lead online, that lead was previously a stranger. Being a stranger means he or she had no knowledge of your business products or services. You do not want to expect a total stranger to bounce immediately and pay a whopping sum of money for your offering on the spot.
Knowing, trusting and then a relationship will be built. That’s where the conversion takes place. As the relationship develops, the sales will follow. But if you ignore the relationship and dwell only on the transaction and focus on how to get the consumer’s money, you missed the sale.
Conversion is about building a relationship with your leads, getting to know them better, getting them to know and trust you more and then showing them how your offering come help them achieve their goals, fill their needs and solve their problems.
To be able to master and execute a successful conversion system, you will need to understand the process people go through in the relationship-building journey. You have to get to know the transition the people go through from one stage to another to become paying customers.
This is the first stage in the relationship process. You posted a blog, run an ad, shared a post on social, placed content on your WhatsApp status, or perhaps created a website. They read about it and then got to know and your content and promise grab their attention.
They need something which you promised. They wanted something which you would offer. They are looking for something you provided. By creating content, sharing and promoting, you are able to increase awareness and grab the attention of your audience and made them to become leads.
This is the stage where they became leads. They heard about you, something you said, something they watched or something someone said about you. It caught their attention and grab their interest. And then whoop, they said, “I’m interested, I got to know or learn more.”
This is the stage where you grab their contact details. Perhaps you collect their phone numbers, and email addresses and gather all other lea scoring information about them. You got to know the people better as they provide you with details on the lead capture form or spoke with the salesperson.
But for them to get to the Action Stage, they have to go through the Desire Stage. Desire is a strong, burning, inner feeling that they want a specific product or service. They have done their homework, they have considered the pricing, they have analyzed the benefits and they have imagined how their life or business would be like when the product/service is delivered.
The Action is where the buying or purchasing decision takes place. The Action is where the order is placed. The Action is where they make the payment and ask for the order to be delivered to them. The Action is where they finally decision and request for the order to be placed and delivered.
All these things begin to create a strong desire for the product. They have got to know the company; they trust and believe they are credible. They have seen and read the testimonials. Everything looks great, they want that product or service now.
Your lead conversion strategies are the things you do to move the target customer or prospect through the conversion funnel. It is what you do to grab their attention, capture their interest, build their desire and finally get them to finally make purchasing decisions and take action to order. Where are you supposed to go? Three things:
- Lead Engaging
- Lead Nurturing
- Lead Closing
Lead Engaging is all about what to do to keep in touch with your leads after you capture them. You do not what to capture leads and then leave them to go immediately after the marketing is over. You lose a lot of money on the table.
In their book, Valuable Content Marketing, Sonja Jefferson & Sharon Tanton said, “Not everybody is ready to buy at the first contact. Research suggests that only 2% of deals are struck at the first meeting. The other 98% only happens after a certain level of trust has been established. Contacts that turn into sales straightway are forgotten but this could be an opportunity lost.”
When you generate leads, the next step is to engage with the leads using various communication tools and mediums. You do not have to be so focused on the transaction that you fail to build the required relationship with the prospects and customers on your list to convert them into sales.
So, how do you engage your list?
- Text Messaging
You leverage email, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Text Messaging to keep in touch with the prospect with valuable content, sharing advice, sharing insights and providing educative information to the leads and customers. Build a trusted relationship with these leads that will evolve into a buoyant customer relationship over time.
The secret to lead conversion is lead nurturing. To convert a lead, you got to first nurture that lead. According to Marketo, “Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost and nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads (The Annuitas Group).
Lead nurturing educates, informs and motivates leads to make purchases which lead to increased sales. MarketingSherpa reports that almost 80% of new leads never wind up making a purchase at all. Why? They are not ready to buy at the moment. Therefore, lead nurturing must engage them with valuable content until they are ready to buy and buy again.
Lead nurturing is the holy grail of lead conversion. It is the process of keeping in touch with your leads and customers using valuable content through email, messenger, WhatsApp, text message and even phone calls until they are ready to buy and buy again. The key is to keep in touch with valuable content, not just promotional messages.
- Email: send valuable email newsletters via autoresponders and email marketing systems. Creating a series of emails and sending them to your lead list can enable you to build relationships, nurture them and build trust to close and keep closing the sale.
- Messenger: send valuable messages via Facebook Messenger bots: Facebook Messenger has proven to be one of the most effective mediums for marketers. Therefore, you might want to create and use messenger lists to engage and keep in touch with your leads with valuable content.
- WhatsApp: send valuable WhatsApp broadcasts to engage leads and customers on WhatsApp. The conversion rate on WhatsApp has superseded that of email. You might use the WhatsApp Broadcast feature to send lead nurturing campaigns to your leads and convert them into a sale.
- SMS: Send valuable text messages to connect, engage and remind your leads about the order. Most people read their text messages as fast as it comes. You can leverage text messaging to engage, inform and bring them back to your site, blog posts, and land pages, and communicate new offers that might entice them to make buying decisions.
- Retargeting Ads: retarget your leads with valuable content regarding an offer they saw, liked or cart abandoned. This reminds them about the offer and makes them get back to placing the order and going to the sale.
- Social Media: If your leads have followed you on social media, you can also create valuable content that will be used to engage them via social media channels. You want to use a multiple contact system to keep engaging your leads with valuable content.
- Blogs: Your website’s blog is another golden opportunity to nurture your leads. When you create high-value content, you can push those content via social media and promotional campaigns and then engage with your leads again and again. This primes them up for the sale.
When you nurture the leads, the sale will follow. Conversions follow nurturing. “Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost (Marketo).” When you develop successful lead nurturing campaigns using low-cost and cost-effective tools such as email, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, blog, social media and retargeting, you will find yourself on the way to turning your leads into sales.
People do not have to worry because you have engaged, nurtured and built trust with them. The sales will just follow after a trusted relationship is built with them. Lead closing is all about reminding them about the offer from time to time, offering discounts, showing testimonials and prompting and asking for the sale.
Now, you’ve got it. You have the tools, ideas, concepts and strategies required to convert your leads into a sale. What next? You need to plan, develop and implement a successful lead conversion system/program that will engage, nurture and close more of your leads into a sale for you.
How do you do that?
Step 1: Define your leads: This is where it all gets started. You need to define and be clear about the type of leads you are looking for. Getting high-quality leads that will convert will enable you to convert them faster instead of wasting time on leads that won’t convert. Know your dream customers and capture them into your lead net.
Step 2: Qualify your leads: Ensure you qualify the leads coming into your system to ensure that they are marketing and sales-worthy. If you don’t get the right kind of leads, you will have a tough time converting. Most websites usually ask for an email only on lead capture forms. Well, you need a little bit of information about each lead to score them and make sure they are sales-worthy.
Step 3: Build your List: This step is very crucial. Once you have qualified the lead on your landing page, messenger, WhatsApp, phone or a physical meeting, you can now add that lead to your list. All the leads in this list are ready and interested people. You can build an email list, messenger list, WhatsApp list and SMS list of your leads for the lead nurturing campaigns.
Step 4: Segment your leads. This is very important to know the best message to send to each list. If you sell various kinds of products and business services, you want to make sure your leads have been segmented so that you can send them content that are valuable, relevant and useful to them.
Step 5: Develop your engagement channels: To convert your list, you have to nurture your list. To nurture your list, you must engage them with content. To do this, you have to set up channels for engagement such as email, messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, social media, blog and retargeting ads. Develop and optimize your engagement channels for maximum effect.
Step 6: Create your valuable content: At this stage, you need to start creating video, text and audio content that will be used to engage and keep in touch with your leads. Your content has to be educative, informative, insightful, full of advice, helpful and relevant to the lead. You should always focus on keeping in touch with them through valuable content and then calling them to action with time.
Step 7: Run ongoing lead nurturing campaigns: What you do at this stage, is all about sending, distributing and getting your packaged information with a convincing call to action to your list. You can run these campaigns weekly via email, messenger, text, blog, social and retargeting ads campaigns.
Step 8: Close those who raise their hands at the campaign: When you run the campaigns, you noticed that it will lead to conversations and people will raise their hands. Close the people who raise their hands and convert that into sales for your business. When you hand online store, the sale can take place on your landing page.
Step 9: Optimize the Campaigns for better results: Analyze and evaluate your lead conversion campaigns regularly and ensure that they are effective and working well. This will enable you to improve upon them and get the best results from the campaigns. You should improve, refine and make your lead nurturing program and conversion system effective.
Step 10: Rinse and repeat the system: All you do at this stage is to follow the steps, again and again, to engage, nurture and convert more and more leads to make more and more sales for your business or your organization. The more you run lead nurturing campaigns and close the deals, the better you get. As your conversion system gets better, your conversion rate will improve. That brings us to the five core lead conversion metrics, in the next upcoming post.