“No thanks I’m just looking.”

How many times have you said this when wandering around the shops of your favourite shopping mall? You were probably not alone. Walk around any mall and notice those holding shopping bags compared to those not, and the majority will be looking. Well, it’s the same online.

In fact the web is the first place many go when starting the research stage of any complex purchase. Knowing this, the savvy service marketer knows she needs to create a clever system to a) attract those who are just looking; and then b) nurture them gently but purposefully towards the sale. The key parts that make up this system are the subject of this article.

There are five main stages to follow when creating a “looking-to-buy” nurturing system. Let’s go through each of these in the sequence that I see them deployed.

#1 Converting Anonymous Lookers into Known Lookers

Lookers are reasonably useless in their anonymous state. Somehow you need to stop those “just looking” and convince them to raise their hand and identify themselves. Until they do this all bets are off. There’s very little you can do to nurture them.

Now I realise you can unleash some re-marketing smarts and try to promote yourself to them as they browse other sites. That’s a step further forward than doing nothing. Nevertheless, you really need their email address to start to move ahead.

Content that makes the anonymous known is the magic ingredient behind content marketing. Producing the right content and delivering it in a way that makes someone willing to give up their anonymity (ie, give you their email address) is is not easy. You will trip up along the way as you fine tune your content to make it persuasive enough make the conversion work.

Because you can’t go any further forward until this part is working, stick at it. And once these “just looking” email address leads start to arrive, it’s time to ….

#2 House them in a system that tracks what has been said to whom

You will need a CRM of sorts to hold all these new prospects, remembering that they are not ready to buy just yet. So they don’t need a salesperson calling them to take the order. Instead, they need to receive small pieces of content that slowly, but gradually, move them through the decision making process.

Life is so much easier if the system that houses leads also keeps track of what communication was sent to whom and when. Ideally, it will manage both digital and non-digital channels. So if someone receives a few emails, a direct mail piece and perhaps a check-in call from a call centre, then each and every communication is captured against the prospect’s record.

Once you have a system ready to house and monitor prospects, you can focus on what to say to them and when. Or to stage 3 where you get started on….

#3 Crafting messages that move them further along the buying process

I’m not thinking here of “are you ready to buy now?” reworked multiple ways but all with same intent.

Nope, the plan is to deliver answers to the questions people have as they work through the buying process. Questions like “who else has used your service to solve the same problems I am facing?” or “how do I compare you with others?” or even “why should I consider the premium service when the standard may do the job?”
Customer testimonials, buyer guides and product infographics could deliver answers to questions like these.

Every service business will need to answer its own set of prospect questions. Start by identifying what the common questions are and crafting initial content to answer them.

Then, once you start matching your content to your prospect audience you can begin to….

#4 Take notice of those who take notice

Once again, ideally this will be a feature of your CRM system. Here your leads are stored and your campaigns crafted. And all going well, the system will track emails that are opened, the links clicked inside them, and perhaps even the website pages browsed. All this interaction will then be neatly stored against each prospect record.

Then it will be a simple case of sorting your leads by those who interacted the most with your digital content. The more they open, click and browse, the more likely they are to be ready for the next step where you….

#5 Give people a chance to raise their hand

Those engaging most with your content could require a carefully scripted phone call from a “gently gently” salesperson. Or, if this is too much, perhaps a visit to a group event hosted at your company. Something that moves them off the digital channel into the physical space where the sale can be completed. Nurturing content that has done its job well will make this “bridging content” part of a natural next step.

There you go – my five steps to convert “those looking” to “those buying”. Yes, I admit they are very high level overviews BUT they should give you a starting template to work towards. GIve us a call today if you want help installing them into your online marketing box of tricks.