A content marketing strategy is ever-evolving for any company. However, one goal is always present, no matter the circumstances: outshining the competition. Of course, it’s easier said than done. One way to work towards brand uniqueness is by investing in quality content. Learning how to generate leads using each step of the marketing sales funnel is another effective strategy to reach this goal.
The marketing sales funnel is the journey each buyer goes through: from learning who you are to becoming a loyal customer.
Once you’ve gotten familiar with it, you’ll notice that the funnel does not always get completed, nor does it always happen exactly as expected. When flukes happen, it’s important to understand why. A great way to do this is to put ourselves in the shoes of a hypothetical customer. Once we understand what the customer wants to see, we’ll better know how to generate leads as well as close them.
In this hypothetical situation, let’s pretend you’re a customer in search of a nice umbrella for a stormy day. You need this umbrella ASAP, because you do not have one, and stormy skies are in this week’s forecast. So, you hop online to do some shopping.
1. Know How Customers Scope Out Their Options
As a customer, you want to see all your options concisely explained, so you know exactly what you’re getting, and can easily filter out the options that won’t work. If you want to buy a trusty umbrella that you’ll own for a long time, you’ll be more likely to buy from a brand that has a good reputation. That doesn’t necessarily mean a famous and well-known brand, but one that has satisfied customers.
One way any brand can prove itself trustworthy is by providing testimonials. Consistent use of testimonials can get a company 62% more revenue per customer, and per customer visit. As you’re learning how to generate leads, and putting yourself in the shoes of your own potential customers, consider what gives your brand a good look. That could be a beautiful website, a great customer service program, and great testimonials.
Any google search will bring a lot of options. Customers will click on the ones that pertain to what they have in mind, whether that’s affordable options, luxury options, durable options, etc. Let’s say you, as the hypothetical customer, want a trusted, durable option. L.L.Bean is a very well-known and trusted brand, so it seems like a great option. They do know their waterproof goods…
2. Find Out What Kills The Vibe
The L.L.Bean umbrella is looking good. However, below the image and product details, there are no reviews on the webpage. L.L.Bean does make some quality things, but what if this is not one of their superstar products?
This could be a great product, but you don’t really know until you have it. Some people do not want to take that risk. Some people also do not feel like doing extra digging to find reviews elsewhere. The likelihood of a conversion goes up by 270% when there are at least five reviews.
Don’t have a lot of reviews? There are plenty of creative ways to get customers to review. One way companies get reviews is by asking for them when following up with customers via email. There are specific characteristics of the email that will be key in whether or not the customer will respond and review. Here are a few pointers:
- Add your store name to the e-mail’s subject line.
- Add an incentive for customers who review, like a discount or a free gift.
- In the subject line, ask a question.
- Avoid using all-caps. Feel free to play around with bold letters and italics.
Let’s step back into the exercise: you, still being our hypothetical customer, want to explore other options. So, you do another google search and stumble across an article about the best umbrellas, rated by umbrella enthusiasts everywhere.
3. How To Generate Leads: Let The Product Be a No-Brainer
Well, you’ll be darned. That umbrella has over 5,000 positive reviews from verified buyers. There are stories about the great use of the umbrella on vacations, demonstration videos, and testimonials to the umbrella’s durability. Signed, sealed, and delivered!
Compared to the L.L.Bean umbrella, this umbrella really looks like a no-brainer. That’s how to generate leads: make your product or service a superstar for your customers. It’s much more validating to see a product with many people backing it up than a product that could be hit or miss.
It’s great to have reviews that are five stars, and it’s also okay to leave in the reviews that are three stars. 82% of customers won’t buy from a brand with less than 3 stars. 82% of customers also will come looking for your less-than-perfect reviews. A too-perfect rating will look fake, and will leave customers skeptical. It’s great to keep transparency when showcasing your products.
The positive side to including the negative reviews is that customers spend about 5 times as long on your site when they are reading them. That can make your conversion rate hop up by 85%. Again, make sure the reviews aren’t scathing, but instead, realistic.
Let’s step out of the shoes of our hypothetical customer now. Looking at both product pages, the two umbrellas had great content for the top of the marketing sales funnel: great pictures, and a great in-depth description of what the product will do for the customer. However, for one of them, the middle of the marketing sales funnel was missing.
That mid-funnel content rests between grabbing the attention of a customer and closing the lead. Discovering how to generate leads as well as close them comes with mastering the middle funnel content. Of course, not every customer is turned off by a lack of that kind of content, but many do get turned away when things don’t feel verified. No matter the customer, it is more encouraging to buy something that is backed up by great testimonials, case studies, or videos of the product in action.
It’s important to note that, based on a particular study, 43% of customers are influenced by text-based reviews the most, followed by 33% for photo reviews and 24% for video. It’s still great to include photo and video reviews, because they are effective and popular. However, a customer leaving a long and detailed review is amazing, and many other customers will find it helpful.
Whether you’re optimizing your website, a social media post, or anything else for the sales funnel, you want to deliver the right piece of information at the right time to fit a particular customer’s buying stage. In learning how to generate leads, you will discover that small mistakes can make you lose your leads.
It can be easy to leave a gap between the start-of-funnel attention and interest content and the end-of-funnel hard sell. Bridging the gap is adding content like case studies, showing the product or service in action, reviews, and extra information on how your product is effective compared to your competitors.
This content should be placed after the initial, attention-grabbing content, and before the encouragement to make a purchase. Instead of having your customers jump the gap from attention to action, you should build a bridge that they can easily walk across.
In the process of focusing on the middle funnel, don’t forget that a great first impression is essential, and make the assumption that most visitors will not want to work hard to find the content that will guide them towards a choice. Make it an easy choice! 🐢