It has been widely tested to see just how many points of contact it takes for an inquirer to become a lead, and then to become a customer. Whichever study you see, the answer is rarely ever just one or two contact points.
The truth is that Internet contact removes one of the advantages of face-to-face selling: the need to make a decision on the spot. This does not, however, take away from the potency of digital marketing. While it is, in fact, easier to scan past a point of contact like and ad or a form, digital marketing makes it much easier to organically generate multiple points of contact, or “touches,” with an inquirer.
The key is to leverage your online presence into multiple touches for an inquirer. This process gives an organic feel to the development of a relationship between a business and its eventual customers/clients.
So what kinds of tools are there to use for these multiple touches? I’m glad you asked!
– Organic Search
– Paid Search
– Contextual Marketing
– Email Marketing
– SMS Marketing
– Mobile Marketing
– Press Releases
– Social Media
Now, the best way to leverage these different strategies is to have an ideal journey that leads a web user from the initial contact all the way to an established business relationship. Something like this:
First exposure to the company > Recognition elsewhere on the web > Inquiry > Reach out/contact/initial action > Sign-Up
For the initial exposure, there are a few strategies that make the most sense:
Organic Search – Commonly known as SEO, organic search is the process by which companies target their potential audience based on the terms they search in a search engine, but without paying for an ad position. Because it appears as organic, it adds a level of credibility in the eye of the user, and because it only shows up when the user takes the initial action, it is non-intrusive.
Paid Search – Similar to organic search in that the user still has to take the first step by searching, this strategy bypasses competition for ranking organically while still remaining non-intrusive. While this still comes with content requirements for the business’ page, it functions like a “fast-line pass” at an amusement park, because ranking is also influenced by the amount a company is willing to spend per visitor sent to their page.
Social Media – This strategy leverages the enormous presence of potential inquirers on social media sites. Most major social media sites offer the ability to pay for an advertising presence on their platforms as well as some form of targeting, based on user-given information.
For additional exposure … a second point of recognition … the initial strategies listed above can be included, but we can add a few more here:
Press Releases – This is a sort of announcement that adds credibility as a major player within the industry. It can be picked up by other sites with news sections, and it displays a business as news-worthy, allowing a small element of trust to grow in the mind of the potential user.
Contextual Marketing – This is the ideal spot for contextual marketing to take place. Many sites use a service that will intentionally display ads based on a user’s prior browsing and search history. You may have noticed this on major social media sites, as well as a plethora of others that generate fresh news content. Ultimately, it is no more intrusive than any other display ad, but with the added bonus of being relevant to viewers.
Now it’s time for that first contact. A person interested in what a business provides has now seen them displayed several places on the web, and they are likely prompted to check out the company’s page.
Initial inquiry & contact:
Email Marketing – Email is really the strategy that shines in this element of the marketing funnel. When a person visits the business’ site, the company implementing this funnel will have a form that allows visitors to be kept up to date on news related specifically to, and ultimately sent from, the company itself.
SMS Marketing – Similar to Email marketing, a form might also include a space for a mobile phone number where an inquirer may submit their information in order to be kept up to date through text messaging updates about the company and news related to it, again from the company itself.
With all of the attention that has just been given to the business by the user — and with the user having now taken action — the user may see the value of the business and sign up as a client/customer.
Now close the loop:
It’s important for the business to have an easy-to-navigate form or checkout page, and follow-up shortly thereafter is crucial. The new customer is now on the hook, so to speak, and it’s important to confirm that they’ve arrived at the right place, so retention is crucial. This can actually lead to further business, as you now have the ability to gain additional business from the client/customer, as well as other customers who get fast-tracked through the funnel through word-of-mouth sharing about your quality business!
Naturally, there is no one-size-fits-all path for all customers to arrive at the decision to do business with a company, but by having as many opportunities for “touches” across the web as possible, it is the safest way to cover your bases and ensure that anyone who would benefit from your service finds you, and remains happy they did.