As a marketer, we must constantly think about engagement and conversion strategies with our customers and prospects. Specifically, B2B digital marketers have been holding some of their best content hostage behind registration pages. Even though conversion numbers continue to dwindle, this tactic is still the cornerstone for lead generation. We do know that having a contextual, engaging two-way conversation, we must gather a certain amount of information. How do we do this while improving the customer experience and being smarter marketers?
The future of conversion strategies as I see it:
- Opt In/preference center – Before long, you will have no choice but to have a comprehensive opt-in strategy. Legislation outside of the US already restricts communications that were not opted into. Here in the United States, privacy issues are a constant discussion on Capitol Hill. It is imperative marketers develop a preference center. This is more than a simple profile page – it should be a comprehensive hub that lets individuals opt-in to all relevant information and offers from across your organization. Matt Fulk of SAS talks about preference centers in a recent article in B2B Magazine.
- Lead nurturing - Shift to lead nurturing. Online analytics combined with lead scoring have changed the game for lead capture. There are still needs for opt-in and data capture, but you can think far more strategically about this with new tools in place. Lead nurturing is the optimal strategy here – identifying that a majority of potential prospects you engage with are not ready to buy and must be engaged with in real time with the appropriate content or offers. The overall goal is to learn more about customers’ online behavior, improve their experiences and ultimately increase revenue. For instance, if we know a prospect landed on our site from a specific keyword search, we can then provide additional relevant content in real time and improve the overall experience of navigating our website.
- Strategic data capture – I get it. Social is important. One to one engagement is ideal whether it is a marketer to customer, sales guy to customer – whoever. What gives you real long-term strategic capabilities is how you collect information from prospects and customers to enable an ongoing two way conversation (and set the foundation for all sorts of analytical capabilities). We are using or developing a number of channels for this including progressive web forms, social media analytics, customer experience analytics and proactive web chat.
- Real time – Some people might tell you that “right time” is more appropriate than real time and it may be – it depends on the situation and the channel. The ability to be nimble with your offers and content will significantly impact how quickly you engage with opportunities on the web. For instance, if I know a prospect has visited content that suggests they are evaluating technology solutions and I also know that they have displayed interest with various email and mobile offers – the ability to deliver a personalized offer asking them to sign up for a business needs assessment or a one-on-one demo - might just push that prospect further along their buying cycle.