A 4-Step Guide to Turning Prospects into Customers

Posted by Nirmal Parikh on December 19th, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Getting stuck when creating a marketing strategy can just mean you've lost sight of the "purpose" behind your goals. For demand generation, lead nurture or customer retention, it is critical to step back and draw up an outline answering why this next move will forward your goals and how it will position your company.

Consider this when mapping out a solid and comprehensive strategy:

1. Introduce: Prospect in "Search" Mode

It's human nature to test the waters, whether that's meeting a new neighbor or choosing a breakfast cereal. In the digital age of ubiquitous and connected devices, a company’s first interaction with your brand, product or service could take place on a mobile device, via email or a customer-initiated search. Consider what insights about your company you want prospects to gain from that first introduction, how those introductions are made, and how usable/simple that first interaction is.

At this point, feeding too little may leave the prospect confused and too much may translate into information-overload. Whatever the channel, strike the right balance and make that great first introduction...or impression!

2. Educate: Prospect in "Gather" Mode

This next stage goes beyond the introduction and offers an opportunity to showcase details about your brand, product or service.

The prospect is in the process of gathering information and narrowing down choices while actively seeking the "right" company to engage with. Educate them through information distributed via websites, email, mobile apps, social media etc. Offer links to online portfolios, case studies, past performance highlights, etc.

It's important to maintain a multi-channel presence, given the ubiquitous nature of connected interactive devices a prospect has at his/her disposal. If the prospect interaction is taking place via a mobile device and your website or emails aren't responsive, you will leave a bad "impression" and potentially risk losing out to your competition.

3. Differentiate: Prospect in "Buy" Mode

This is the moment of truth. Pinpoint values, process and other factors that differentiate you from others. Then, communicate that through your chosen marketing mediums. What makes your offer, service or product stand out from the competition? If it's simply a message you wish to share, why should your audience pay attention amidst other messages they are receiving?

Your added value and differentiator may be high ethical standards the company sets in place. Starbucks is an example of a company that leads with corporate responsibility. It can also come from factors like improved efficiency that can result from using a product/service, great customer service (think Zappos), or the assorted tools/apps/resources you offer to customers. Added value is also found in the way you are presenting the product; free trials, interactive demos, loyalty programs, perks for social sharing, etc.

4. Retain: Hooray! You have a New Customer.

Now that you've earned a new customer, give them a reason to stay with your company. It is building affinity and brand loyalty by consistently and constantly offering added value. In the realm of digital marketing that could mean introducing or improving a branded mobile app, using data and analytics to improve efficiency or gain insights, or adjusting campaigns to the multi-screen customer instead of sticking to one channel.

The marketplace is constantly evolving. So, even if your programs are air tight and you are getting great responses – it is important to keep an eye out for innovative ideas and trends to help meet new demands from an ever changing customer.

This post was originally published here.

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