You’re at the point of building a web site, you have your call to action, your lead generation marketing campaign, and all seems to be in place. Then potential customers start coming to your website. Now you need to consider the big questions about why they are coming to the site. What are they looking for, who are they?
When looking at visitors, their motivation can be quite different, for example:
- They have decided they need this product now, and they want to buy
- They are evaluating between your product and a competitor’s products
- They’re just researching your product, but will be ready to buy in the future
When customers visit your site they will be in different buying phases and you need to think about what and how to manage these phases over time. They need to be given an action, and an action which you can control, follow up on and nurture over time. This could be buying a product or signing up to a newsletter, ebook, free consulting, free evaluation or whatever you think the customer will need at each buying phase mentioned above.
After they have signed up you now have established a communication channel with them which provides you with the ability to educate, inform or sell to them both now and in the future.
Although having a contact is great, generally it’s not enough to maintain a great relationship with many different types of customers. This is where the CRM process comes in to play, the process can be automated or manual, but the key is to have a process in action. CRM systems are designed to keep a history, classify, and manage customers through a sales pipeline. To get an effective CRM system going you will need to have a plan for communicating to different type of users based on the buying cycle and segments. Having this information allows you to customise the experience by providing them the most relevant information, and guiding them through a very customised sales pipeline.
An example of this would be, they have decided to sign up for a free trial. Great, they are interested! But all customers are busy, so it’s easy for them to forget about the trial they have set up.
So potentially you have a CRM schedule in place. For example:
- User signs up. Great. Email them an introduction and tell them how to get the most benefits from the system
- Offer them some assistance about how to use the product to get the most for their business
- Find out if they are interested, or if they need any specific information about the system
- Tell them the free trial is expiring, do they need more time
- The free trial is about to expire. Ask them if they want to sign up for a discount
- Free trial expires, give them a reason to buy
- OK, they have not bought. Maybe they are not ready, maybe you don’t have the right features. It doesn’t mean they will never buy. Keep the process going, check up on them, keep them informed of new functionality and new benefits, find out if they are ready to buy.
Maintaining some type of relationship with this customer is an essential part of the process and needs to be thought out when you build the website.
While working with clients, I see some that have a CRM system set up but many that don’t. Often they become so focused on conversion numbers, how many people came to the site, and signed up today.
But wait! Maybe the customer actually does want your solution, but just isn’t ready to pull out their credit card yet. Take care of them, educate them, and learn more about what they want. Otherwise when they are ready to buy they may forget about you, and go somewhere else.
It’s hard to quote exact figures, but here is one estimate:
- 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email
Think about it? Are you losing customers for no reason!