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An Introduction to Lead Conversion

Lead conversion: more important than ever

Generating leads is one thing. Actually closing them is another. If 2020 encouraged you to get aggressive about marketing and profitability – don’t forget to also assess your lead conversion strategy. Read on to get a refresher on lead conversion basics and some simple trips to try. 


Your customer has changed. Have you?

After cutting costs and increasing profitability, increasing lead conversion is another powerful way businesses can improve outcomes. Of course, it’s always a best practice to generate as many leads as possible. But simply generating leads won’t add to your bottom line. So, when was the last time you thought about the process you use to convert a lead into a paying customer?

Consumer behavior has changed drastically in the last 10 years with a continued focus in online channels. It’s only natural that businesses have had to adjust processes to compliment the change.

One of the biggest reasons for this trend is millennials. Now in their mid-twenties to late-thirties, as of July 1, 2019, Millennials officially surpassed the Baby Boomer generation in population size (U.S. Census Bureau). This group shops online and has taught older generations how to do the same. That means for a majority of your customers, while the shopping experience doesn’t always take place online – it almost always begins there. Before setting foot in a store or talking to a sales person, customers are doing more research, comparison shopping, and education before making their ultimate decision. Gone are the days of walking blindly into a store or showroom. This group wants information, and they’ve set the standard that it should be easily accessible.

85 percent of consumers conduct research online before making a purchase

(Source)


Lead conversion basics

There are many different models and funnels businesses use to convert leads into sales, but most methods follow three core steps:
  1. Generating interest
  2. Nurturing the lead and gaining trust
  3. Extending an offer and closing the sale

Within these simple steps can exist a number of substeps, tactics and strategies that differ from business to business and industry to industry. That’s where you need to get creative to guide your prospects along.

Ask yourself: If your customer already knows you can solve their problem, what information helps them take the next step with confidence? Is it something about how your product or service is better? Is it a special offer?


Improving lead conversion online & offline

Lead conversion often gets talked about from a couple different perspectives: the day to day communication you have with customers and the digital interactions you’ll have with them online. But at the end of the day, it’s all about providing an answer. No matter how you’re communicating with a prospect, a surefire way to improve lead conversion is by teaching them something new or answering their question. Bottom line: how can you solve their problem?

Enhancing scripts for inbound and outbound calls or updating follow-up email templates are two easy places to start. For any situation, creating pre-written templates or guides to test and report on later is a great way to try new tactics and build on your success. This is also where offers, bundles, and special incentives can be the deciding factor that seal the deal.

Focusing on how you can help the customer has shown to increase leads converting to customers by 70%

Salesforce.com

The digital side of lead conversion is conversion rate optimization (CRO). By definition, conversion rate optimization is the methodical process of increasing the percentage of web visitors who take a desired action. That action could be anything from clicking through your website to scheduling an appointment, requesting a call back, or clicking ‘add to cart’. 

Naturally, the same tactics, messaging, and information you use offline can apply here as well. Whether you’re doing it yourself or working with a marketing expert, periodic conversion optimization is a powerful way to ensure it’s as easy and intuitive as possible for you to be your customer’s solution.

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Four tactics to help convert leads

1. Use social media

Social media has proven over time to be a great channel for lead conversion. Not only does it make targeting effective, but it’s also very easy to track your progress. On top of this, with more people working remotely in 2021, more time is being spent on social media.

Take the time to enhance your business pages to include details customers need to know. Potential leads shouldn’t have to search through your profile to find a way to interact with your company or brand – make it easy to see contact details like your website, email address and phone number. This is also a ripe place to remind potential customers of any special offers.

To be most effective, you should keep a flexible content strategy that makes it easy to regularly post content that engages and informs your visitors and followers. These posts are most engaging when there is a mix of content and visuals like pictures and videos and a clear call-to-action for the lead to follow. This could be as simple as a “tip of the week” or a rundown of recently updated products.


2. Run user experience tests on your landing pages

Landing pages are a crucial element to include in web-based conversion optimization, since this is ultimately where the prospect will take an action or indicate their interest. Making landing pages as effective and easy to use as possible is a lead optimization tactic you can revisit periodically. 

Running A/B tests is one effective way to find the best version of a landing page.  A/B testing or split testing is when you have two variations of the same landing page to see which version generates more conversions than the other. This could be as simple as one page with a form and one page with a button. Which one works best?

Elements to experiment with in your A/B tests include:

  • Page title and headers
  • Content flow
  • Button placement
  • Images and image placement
  • Lead capture form questions

3. Create a fantastic FAQ page to always be answering questions

Asking your customer questions is often the fastest way to learn how you can best offer them a solution. But are the answers you’re providing paying your business dividends? Many times, the difference between a warm lead and a closed sale is an answered question. With this in mind, keeping a detailed and easy to navigate “Frequently Asked Questions” page available for your customers and your sales team is a great way to consistently contribute to conversion. 

As your list grows, consider categorizing it by product type or even making it searchable.

Thoughtfully created FAQ pages are also a powerful way to improve your ranking in search engines for relevant questions about your product or service.


4. Ask for the next step – ask for the sale

This lead conversion tactic is exactly as it reads – literally asking for the sale. After you’ve provided as many details as possible and answered all of the prospective customer’s questions, the final step is to actually ask for the sale. This can be done in person, over the phone, through email, or it can even be automated through your email marketing strategy.

Three ways to ask for the sale

Remember, Your customer came to you with a need. Don’t be shy about seeing that request through to the end. On average, 2-3 follow-ups is a good start. But also be sure to anticipate even more follow-up questions (an updated FAQ page helps!) If you don’t hear back – reach out!

People like free. Whether it’s a discount on a future purchase or a special gift, the average consumer often can’t resist a limited-time discount. If it means more business in the future – even better.

It might seem basic, but sometimes all you need to do is ask. You’d be surprised by how often the answer is “Yes!” People are busy. Many times, a friendly reminder is all that’s needed.


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