May 4, 2016

Move Your Prospects Into A Buying Cycle Via Social And Email

Moving Prospects Into The Buying CycleSo, you’ve been actively converting your community into prospects (aka “soft leads”). Good job, Grasshopper! Now it’s time to move them further into your sales funnel and turn those soft leads into hard leads.

But you’re thinking “Rignite, what’s a ‘hard lead’?” (So maybe you’re not actually thinking that, but it’s a good segue that allows us to say…)

Good question, reader!

A hard lead is someone who is actively in a purchasing cycle or decision making mode and who has strongly indicated their consideration of your product or service but has not yet bought. They are raising their hand (probably not literally) and saying, “I am interested.”

Think of them as the guy walking into a mattress store asking a salesperson to show them various mattresses while talking about how uncomfortable their current mattress is. It’s the salesperson’s job to not screw it up.

Online customers raise their hand by responding to a specific type of content or call to action. For example, if they download a coupon, they’re probably interested in buying your product. They are in your mattress store. Do not screw it up! (All of this pertains if you don’t sell mattresses too… just replace all instances of the word ‘mattress’ with your own product or service).

Move Prospects Into The Buying Cycle Using Social

Your social platform is key for growing your community and creating prospects, and it remains key in turning those prospects into interested buyers considering your product or service. Use your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels to drive community members from your company’s social platform to your optimized blog and/or offer pages.

You know by reading our previous articles that we are strong advocates for creating valuable content that isn’t always about the sale, but there are times when a hard sell is appropriate (and even desirable). It is your channel after all, and you’re not building an audience for (solely) altruistic purposes. When it comes to converting prospects to buyers, it’s time to bust out the big guns.

Here are a few examples of how you can use social media to nudge your social followers down the sales funnel closer to the buying stage:

• Product previews: “Our Facebook fans are the FIRST to get a look at our new widget!”
• Special deals in exchange for social action: “Vote on Your Favorite Product for a Chance to Get It on Sale!”
• Sign Up For Weekly Deals:“Get our weekly specials delivered straight to your inbox”

So Worth LovingAnother very effective way to use social media to nurture prospects into actively considering your product or service is by implementing fan-gated or email-gated offers. Gating is restricting access to content unless the user gives you something in exchange. Email-gating requires them to give you (shockingly) their email address while fan-gating requires them to like or follow you for access.

Sole Society

Sole Society posts fan only deals that are like-gated

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when creating gated offer pages:

• Never use both gating types at the same time – An email address OR a like/follow, asking for both is just greedy and likely to be less effective.
• Include a Clear Call to Action – In this case, as opposed to when you are creating soft leads, you want your call to action to motivate a purchase consideration. You’re now moving your prospects to the consideration stage of the funnel, not just keeping them entertained and informed.
• Don’t Gate All Your Promotions – Sometimes you want to make your offers available to everyone. Not everyone will want to go through your gate, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t considering your product.

Move Prospects Into The Buying Cycle Using Email

Take a look at your email database (you know, the emails you collected with all that great social media content). Chances are when you got their email address, it wasn’t because they wanted to be sold to. So how much hard selling is appropriate? We recommend that roughly 5% of your communications to your prospects should be calls to action that lead them to the consideration stage of the sales funnel. Here are a few ways you can incorporate those into your emails:

• Include a banner ad, sidebar prompt, or P.S. urging prospects to:

• Check out a product
• Sign up for weekly deal emails
• Request a trial, demo, or sample
• Schedule a follow-up sales call to get more information

Rignite Insight: Use your email analytics to determine who is ready to receive a little nudging into the active buying stage. Look for members of your audience who are reading a high percentage of what you send them (i.e. In the last 3 months they’ve opened at least 10 emails) and send them a message with a stronger call to action to push them to convert.

Remember, though, when it comes to converting your social followers into active buyers, your customers direct their own path. Just like in the mattress store . . . you can’t tie them up and force them to try your mattress. Well, you could but that would be unlawful restraint and not exactly the hallmarks of best practices marketing.

Now it’s your turn…share your tips for turning social media followers into active buyers considering your product or service.

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About the Author
Glen Kosaka

Glen Kosaka is the CEO and Founder of Rignite. He’s the guiding force behind Rignite’s mission to help businesses grow through social media.