The majority of lead-generation activities fit into a simple one-step system. A marketer crafts an offer and then uses advertising to present it to their prospect. Hopefully, the timing of this event coincides with the prospect’s eagerness and ability to buy. If this is the case, the cost of advertising is partly or fully recouped depending on the value of the offer and the target audience of the message.
It’s a simple process for the marketer to follow. Create offer – find audience – dispatch campaign and wait for response. The less decision- making involved for the customer at purchase time, the greater the chances of success.
This process performs well for food, but not so well for professional services. This is an issue because most of us buy food at our local supermarket but if we were going to purchase something as complex as professional services we would most likely start by heading online to review our options. And that’s where the problem is.
You see, the Internet is a fantastic resource for those wanting to research purchases but it’s a challenging one for marketers wanting to use it for lead-generation purposes. Here, the single-step system (an offer presented to the prospect) is prone to fail. There are a couple of reasons why.
Firstly, when online, your prospect’s attention is at a premium – you just don’t have the time to tell them your whole story. For instance, while some websites are adventurously called brochure sites, prospects treat them like one-page flyers – flitting from page to page, forming their own opinion based on the content they scan.
Secondly, you have a limited number of times to deliver your offer message. Offline media, e.g. radio, allows you to use repetition to your advantage. In contrast, how many of us go back to a website five times an hour to read the same offer?
Nope, the single-step system struggles to work on the Internet. So, smart online marketers are replacing it with the two-step process.
The first step involves providing the prospect with content that they perceive as being valuable. Valuable enough in fact to ’trade’ their contact details to access it.
The second step is the lead-nurturing process, which includes a series of follow-up communications. These have two purposes. Firstly, they deliver the prospect more content of value and, secondly, they allow the business to slowly convince the prospect to move along the buying process.
Sometimes marketers struggle to come up with content that prospects want to receive. To help out, here are two case examples that do a great job with content.
Example 1: Bay of Islands Immigration Consultancy (BOIIC)
Sometimes all it takes is being woken up by the cold steel of a burglar’s knife at your neck to make you stop procrastinating about the decision to move to another country.
New Zealand has a lot of appeal for South Africans wanting to make such a move. (And yes the knife reference relates to a true life story.) But while the desire to leave is there, the prospect of all the work ahead can be daunting enough to hold people back.
This report (http://tinyurl.com/2vba8t) includes content to help those in the early stages of considering a move. It was produced based on some extensive research completed by the team at BOIIC on the types of questions South Africans wanted answered. It was further helped that Lyndsay (part of the BOIIC team) had made the exact same move herself less than six months before and could easily relate to those looking for a similar change.
Example 2: Owning a Walk-in Wardrobe That Works
Frequently, the design and construction of a walk-in wardrobe is last on the list when building a new house or renovating an existing property.
In these situations, the space that is left in the corner of the bedroom is deemed to be all there is to work with. This often means poorly designed shelving, no space to swing a cat let alone a dress, and a light switch that has you grasping in the dark to find your way around.
This report by Boston Wardrobes (http://tinyurl.com/3dsors) has been written to help those either renovating or building to plan out their wardrobe BEFORE walls start to be built.
There is still some work a Boston consultant needs to add to ensure the right storage layout is chosen but it ensures the common mistakes are avoided along the way.
These two reports are working well as the first stage of the two-step process. Next month I’ll present some examples of how others are managing the nurturing process necessary for the second stage.
Some marketers view the whole two-step process as a lot more work. They are right – it is!
Yes, it takes longer to set up than a normal one-step offer would and, yes, the follow-up processes take even more time to produce and roll out. But, once complete and fully optimized, you are the proud owner of a two-step system that has some underlying traits that nearly all one-step systems don’t have – repeatability and dependability. And it is on these two words that businesses are built.