Organisations are employing a variety of digital sales and marketing tools, channels, content and practices to generate awareness and traffic to their web assets, but the percentage of that traffic converted to contacts, prospects, leads and actual business is woeful.
Why is that, and what can we do?
This post presents the idea of an 'Engagement Zone' that integrates content access, next steps, calls-to-action and marketing automation into a custom conversion solution.
Marketing’s expanding complexity and closer role with sales
Marketing has changed dramatically over the last five years, where prospects and customers need to be engaged on their terms with relevant content, engagement and respectful communication.
The role of marketing has also expanded and coexists more with sales than ever before, especially as 90% of all purchases are researched online and decision makers no longer want to talk to sales until they are 60-70% down the decision cycle.
The purchasing process has also changed significantly, and so must your ability to create and leverage your digital ‘assets’.
Marketing must attract and move prospects much deeper into the funnel than ever before, intelligently monitoring and engaging them with easily accessible content and automating more self-service until they are ready to connect with sales or business development.
Missed opportunity and need for funnel management
The diagram below shows how a mix of digital and traditional marketing creates traffic to a company’s prime online asset, its ‘master’ website.
Once the traffic has arrived (at the top of the sales and marketing funnel), today’s tools and techniques used to engage/capture/convert are limited and ineffective.
The discipline of digital funnel management is foreign to most companies, but is essential to generate strong ROI from marketing investments. Generating 25%, 50% even 100+% more business from digital traffic is absolutely possible with intelligently placed content and innovative conversion tactics/tools.
What limitations with online conversion strategies do we need to overcome?
- Few automate the nurturing of prospects until they are qualified leads ready to be closed by sales, and most allow leads to slip through the net due to human mishandling
- Few effectively enable access and distribution of marketing content at the right stage of the decision cycle.
- Most websites are ‘leaky’, losing prospects that would like to take a next step but are not ready to contact sales, and have no other available call to action or engagement steps.
- Few attempt to engage visitors/prospects at all stages of the funnel. Engaging only at the bottom ('ACTION' step) of the funnel via a phone number and 'Contact Us' form misses 80% of the opportunity to capture/nurture prospects until ready to close.
Create an 'Engagement Zone'
One way to overcome these limitations is to create an 'Engagement Zone' that integrates content access, next steps, calls-to-action and marketing automation.
This zone is so much more than a 'Contact Us' form as it should include all the possible options for connecting with your company, with the prime intention of allowing a visitor to select a next step or piece of content that will enable them to identify themselves to you.
That is the lowest conversion stat of them all: just 2-3% of websites earn the respect of a visitor so they identify themselves and become a contact. Execute this effectively and a greater percentage of those contacts will be genuine and not firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rather than try to explain in words what an engagement zone is, let's look at a couple of real world examples. Click on the 'Take Action Now' orange button at http://www.mikewittenstein.com/ and an engagement zone appears...
There are seven menu options which provide ways for a visitor to take a next step and educate themselves more.
Another example is at http://www.banyancapital.com where the zone is accessed via the 'Quick Info Access' green menu option...
This one has eight options for a visitor to engage. Tying marketing automation behind this type of engagement and capture solution ultimately creates more business out of the bottom of the funnel.
It connects with visitors, prospects and leads no matter where they are in the funnel, as it can be designed to deliver content at the appropriate funnel stage. For example, you could have a menu option called 'Competitive Benchmark' for someone evaluating your product(s) or service(s).
Once you have your engagement zone in place, take the next step which really can supercharge your contact and lead generation. Engage people from any digital location, placing links to your zone directly in content delivered via:
- Company blog(s).
- Thought leadership.
- Feeder/community sites.
- Online ads/Adwords.
- Emails/texts/QR codes (e.g. add links back to the zone from inside emails for next steps or additional content).
- Links in current website (e.g. for a PDF download link on a product page, point back to the zone).
- Links inside collateral.
An important point to note here: by bringing a visitor/prospect/customer into your zone, they are able to see other engagement options and may well connect in additional ways, increasing the acceleration down your funnel.
The idea of an engagement zone makes sense in many ways, so consider designing one for your organisation, and do let us know the improvement in your capture and conversion stats in the comments area below.