New Feature Highlight: Split Testing Tool Will Help Your Emails Perform Even Better

Split testing (also known as A/B testing) is a great way to test new hypotheses about what works and what doesn’t work in your emails. Let’s imagine a situation (totally fictional, of course, never ever happened to me) where your boss/partner/colleague thinks it would be fun to put a cute picture of a puppy as the main image of an email. The objective being to grab the reader’s attention and draw them through the email and down to the call to action. You, being the savvy marketer you are, have your doubts. But instead of getting into an argument with your boss/partner/colleague or worse, leaving it to chance, only to have that nagging doubt that your first instinct was right, you say “I know! Let’s split test it.”

How the Split Testing Tool Works

The new Split Testing tool in LeadMachine takes a subset of your audience and splits them into two groups. One group would get the non-puppy version and the other group would get the puppy version. Whichever version performs better would automatically get sent out to the rest of the group.

So you don’t have to worry about making the wrong decision and regretting it only after you’ve sent it to your entire customer base. Instead just let the data make the decisions.

pug-picture-email

Getting Started with the Split Testing Tool

  1. Choose What to Test

Split testing options are almost infinite. This is the perfect time to try out different copy, test new images, rephrase calls to action, or try testing a whole new version of an email. Even changing a single word can affect the response that your email receives!

It’s good to go into the split test with only one question in mind, like “Do pictures of puppies capture attention better than pictures of our product?” or “Does a green call to action get more clicks than a red one?” These questions will help you create test versions that try to answer something specific and maximize the efficiency of your test, rather than just testing things at random. Split testing will help take out the “gut feeling” from these decisions and provide you with real results that you can take action on.

When you do your first split test, try starting with one email template and call it Split A. Create a copy of that template and make one small change and call it Split B. If you’re looking for something easy to test, we suggest subject lines, which are really the most important element of your email as it’s the first thing the customer sees. If you’re looking for more things to split test, check out this list of 150 split test ideas.

In this example, we are testing two new email templates against each other.  On your ‘Send Email’ tab, choose the SPLIT TEST button. Then choose the two templates that you want to pit against each other.split-test-step1

  1. Choose the Winning Metric

In the Split Testing tool, you can set how you want to choose your winner, whether it’s by clicks, opens or click per open ratio. Here’s a quick breakdown of each metric:

Open: If you were testing a subject line or sender’s name, you would probably choose open rate as the success indicator.

Clicks: If you were testing out the new color of a call to action button, you’d want to know which color got more clicks, so that would be your success indicator.

Clicks per Open Ratio: This metric is useful to determine how well the messaging in your email is driving people who have opened to go one step further and click.  Let’s say you wanted to test out a different way of communicating with your customers, for example, adding urgency to an offer with a live countdown timer. You’d want to see if the email with the timer drove more people to click than the email without the timer. The clicks per ratio open would be the metric you’d want to use.

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  1. Set the Schedule of the Test

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How long you want to let the results to roll in before choosing a winner is essential to correctly interpreting the results of the split test. Declare a winner too soon and you may see the results change after the test is over.

Looking at the past behavior of your audience and when they’ve opened emails in relation to when they were sent, you’ll usually notice that there’s a sharp spike around the time the email is sent and then it titters off. Try ending your test sometime after this titter off period.

Another idea would be to declare the winner after a 24 hour period. This gives you enough time to interpret results and allows you to send the winning email at the same time you sent the test email, so you’ll not inadvertently be adding time of day as a testing element.

  1. Choose Your Test Audiencesplit-test-step4

You’ll want to choose a sizable group that’s going to give you statistically significant results. With the Split Testing tool, you can choose the percentage size of the group that you want to test. The percentage you choose will be dependent on the size of your list (now is the time to use your college stats course learnings.) I always find it handy to use a tool that helps with finding the right size, like this calculator.

  1. Start the Test

Once you’ve got these elements selected in the Split Testing tool, you’re ready to schedule your email to send. You go, girl!

  1. Check out your Email Stats

Now to the most important part – seeing the results! LeadMachine makes it easy to interpret the results of the split test with the Split Testing Report.

split-test-step5

Keep track of what worked well and what could be improved. These insights can be useful when creating future campaigns.

What kind of tests do you think you’ll try out? Let us know in the comments!

 

Change the way you display custom fields

We’ve just updated the way custom fields work so that you now have a more flexible way of managing your contacts.

Originally, custom fields were just in the Fields tab.

cont_fields

However, the are some custom fields groups which you may wish to see as soon as you open the Contact.  Below, we’ve put the Quiz Info group at the top of the page.

cont_w_quiz

You can set this up, in just a few clicks.

Simply go to Admin.

admin2

Then on the left menu, click Custom Contact Fields.

Then click the box of the custom field group, in this case Quiz Info box, then edit group.

cont_cust1

Then tick the checkbox Show this group at the top of the Details page.

cont_cust2

 

LeadMachine integrates with TextMagic

TextMagic is a beautiful tool for sending out SMS messages. One of the great features of Textmagic is that you can see threaded conversations.

LeadMachine now integrates with Textmagic, and it’s super simple to set up.

This means that you can set up Flows to do things like send an SMS the day before a seminar to confirm the location.

sms

All you need to do is create an action called a webhook

Then follow the basic structure below:

https://www.textmagic.com/app/api?username=[your email]&password=[your password]&cmd=send&text=Here+Is+Test+Message&phone={{contact.primary_telephone_number.number}}&unicode=1

In this example

  • [Your email] is your email address you use to login to TextMagic
  • [Your password] is your password you use to login to TextMagic
  • Here+Is+Test+Message is simply the message with a + representing spaces
  • {{contact.primary_telephone_number.number}} is the field where you store your mobile number. (Of course you can use another phone field if you wish).

You can even insert the Contact’s firstname and any other custom fields.

For additional information, see TextMagic’s information page.

 

 

 

What happens after you make a phone call? Here’s how you can automate the process…

One of the biggest errors that businesses make is that they mistake an objection a prospect raises as a sign of disinterest. If a prospect raises an objection during a call, and the caller can’t solve the problem on the spot, many businesses will dismiss the lead as ‘dead’, and move on.

In actual fact, if a prospect goes to the trouble to tell you why there is an issue, this shows an overall interest in reaching a positive outcome. It may not be possible to solve this issue on the call. However, by educating the prospect, everything can change. This is why one of the most useful things a business can do is to identify the 3 most common objections that arise in sales calls.

Let’s assume that in a seminar business, the three most common objections for a business are:

  1. It costs too much
  2. I don’t have time to attend the seminar
  3. I can see the value, but I’m not sure that I will get a result

The next step is to review your business and to come up with ways to overcome these objections. The seminar business might come up with the following replies

  1. It costs too much
    • What is the value of the result that the attendee will achieve?
    • How much will that result be worth in 3 years time?
    • If you achieve this result, what other potential benefits and future results will stem from the original result?
  2. I don’t have time to attend the seminar
    • Will the seminar save you time?
    • If you don’t attend the seminar, how much time will be wasted?
    • We all have time. It’s not a question of time. It’s a question of priorities. Here’s how the seminar helps you with your priorities…
  3. I can see the value, but I’m not sure that I will get a result
    • Other participants have got value. Here’s what they said…
    • Authorities in the field have said the following…
    • Articles have been published in these credible publications…

Each of these bullet points need to then be converted into 1-3 discrete email messages so that after the call, the prospect is sent a series of high-value emails. These emails both help the prospect move towards the desired goal and simultaneously position your product as an indispensable tool to achieve this outcome.

LeadMachine helps you achieve this goal through the use of Task Outcomes.

You start by creating a Queue. Think of a Queue as a type of a task. For example, you might have a Queue for confirmation calls and a separate Queue for people who attend a free seminar but do not purchase.

call_queues

Each Queue has its own set of task outcomes. Task outcomes would include ‘Sale’, ‘Not interested’ and your top 3 objections.

2outcomes

Then you can use a Task Outcome to trigger a Flow.

4trigger

In this case, the Flow would be a series of email messages.

3email_flow

Here’s how you can get a response from the email messages:

  • At the end of each email, ask a question that encourages the prospect to reply to the email
  • If a prospect clicks on the link of an email, you may wish to ….
    • trigger a task to call the prospect to get feedback
    • increment the prospect’s Contact Rating and if at the end of the email series the Contact Rating is a certain score, you then trigger a task to call the prospect
  • At the end of the series of emails, irrespective of clicks, you call the prospect

The way you structure it will depend on your business.

The great thing that happens now is that when the caller completes a call, the Task Outcome will trigger the Flow that you have nominated.

5set_outcome

The caller then presses ‘Take next Task’ and moves on to the next call.

6take_next

It’s efficient, everyone gets followed up, and your business ends up with more sales.

 

You made the sale. Here’s how to make the post-sales process happen without lifting a finger…

Why a post-sales process is necessary in your business

After every sale is made, a post-sale process is necessary to ensure that your new customer feels valued, gets the most out of your product and refers other people to your company.

Some of the specific things that may useful in your business include:

  • EMAIL: Send the new customer a welcome email immediately
  • TASK: Schedule a phone call to begin the delivery process
  • NOTIFICATION EMAIL: Notify relevant people
  • TASK: Send a hand-written thank you note
  • EMAIL SERIES: A series of emails that will add value to the customer experience so that your new customer gets even more value out of your product or service.
  • TASK: Determine a reasonable time period when you will check in with your new customer to ensure that you’ve got a result
  • TASK: After you have achieved a series of great results for your new customer, you may wish to ask them for referrals

The problem with post-sales processes

So, for every customer there’s often 4 or 5 actions that need to be taken.

Are you going to do this manually for every customer?

And how are you going to keep track that it gets done? Ideally a team member would do it, but how are you going to make sure that they actually get the work done.

How to automate your post sales process

Setting up a post sales process in LeadMachine is easy.

Typically you will want to create a trigger which is ‘Deal is won’ to trigger a Post-Sales Process Flow.

The flow would then include all the actions you have in your post-sales process. So, just by marking a deal as ‘won’, all of your actions will be executed by the Flow.

Here is how the flow would look…

post_sales_process2

When you create a task, give it a due date. This means that you can go to your Task Dashboard and immediately see if anything is overdue. The person assigned to the task will get an email notification when the task is created and it will also appear in their personal dashboard. You can also create another flow to set up email notifications to be sent to you if a task is overdue.

A step-by-step process for getting people to book and show up to your events

You’ve got an event coming up. People are interested in what you do, but how do you actually get them to book into this upcoming event?

This post will focus on the structure of the campaign, and in other posts we will look at email copy that compels prospects to take action.

LeadMachine has a feature called Flows. Think of a flow as a series of actions, delays and decisions that automate a business process. To achieve our objective we have two flows:

1) The Invitation Flow – this sends a series of emails to your prospects and after every email checks to see if your prospect has booked for the event. If the prospect has booked, the prospect is removed from the flow, and then enters the Confirmation Flow.

2) The Confirmation Flow – this is a series of reminder emails sent to your prospect to ensure that your prospect attends the event that has already been booked.

Let’s go through each one of these flows in turn.

The Invitation Flow

reminder1

The first email is an invitation to your event. We then wait 7 days to see if the prospect clicks the link to register for the event. The decision looks like this:

reminder2

The decision is checking to see if the contact has the tag ‘2015-july-rsvp-yes’ which is a tag put onto the contact by the Confirmation Flow. The Confirmation Flow is triggered by clicking a link in an email in the Invitation Flow. This will be explained in detail when we discuss the Confirmation Flow.

So, if after 7 days the prospect has clicked the link, the prospect received the tag ‘2015-july-rsvp-yes’ (via the Confirmation Flow) and so the prospect satisfied the condition in the decision and therefore goes down the True path. As a result, the prospect will not receive any further emails in the Invitation Flow.

However if the prospect does NOT click the link within 7 days, the prospect will not receive the tag ‘2015-july-rsvp-yes’ so the prospect does not satisfy the condition in the decision. Therefore, the prospect goes down the False path.

reminder3

On the False path, the prospect receives Reminder1 email, which should give another angle on why to attend the event. It may just re-state what the first Invitation email sent based on the fact that many people will miss an email.

We then wait 5 days and have the same decision as just discussed. If the prospect has clicked the link, the prospect is done. But if not, the prospect then gets Reminder2 email.

reminder4

The same thing happens again, but this time a task is created to call the prospect. The task looks like this

task

Note 3 useful things here:

  • The task is attached to the contact. This means that the task will contain the contact’s information.
  • The work queue selected is Event Bookings. Work Queues are an efficient way to process through tasks. Once you complete a task, you press the ‘Next Task’ button and go straight to the next task. This is much faster than working from a list where you go to one task, complete it, go back to the list, go to the next task to complete it and so on.
  • The due date is 3 days from when the action runs. This means that a Manager can go to the Tasks section and immediately see all tasks that are overdue.

The Confirmation Flow

When the prospect clicks a link in any email in the Invitation Sequence, this is a trigger to activate the Confirmation Flow. Here is how the trigger looks on the Confirmation Flow:

trigger

The Confirmation Flow looks like this:

rsvp_yes

The confirmation flow adds the tag ‘2015-july-rsvp-yes’ so that everyone who clicks the link in an invitation email does not receive an additional invitation.

Then the prospect receives a confirmation email immediately, and a final confirmation email 2 days prior to the event.

With LeadMachine, it takes just minutes to build these flows, and once built you can visually see exactly how they unfold.

Please stop following up

Possibly the worst email subject line ever written is “Following up”. What this really means is: “I’m writing to you because I want your money.” This self-serving subject line tells your prospect that you’re more interested in your sale and less interested in adding value to the prospect’s problem.

I’m going to give you a much better email template that you can use later in this article.

When do people buy? Not when you’re ready to sell…

No matter how much you want to make a sale, the reality is that people will buy when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell. You can fight that reality and keep sending sales-based (or follow up) emails but ultimately the reality will win and you will lose.

Worse, you won’t just lose the prospects who are reading your annoying emails.  The effect multiplies because as people delete emails without reading them or press the ‘spam’ button out of frustration, your future emails are less likely to enter the Inbox and instead will likely go to the Promotions Tab or Spam Folder.

A much better approach is to forget the sale. Yes, FORGET SELLING. Just help your prospect. Instead of thinking of it as a follow-up email, think of it as an add-value email. In this vein, a subject line with “I thought of you…” shows that you care. It shows that the recipient of your message is not just a number, but a person with real needs.  When your prospect is ready to buy, he or she will appreciate all the great things you’ve done and let you know. Imagine making sales without having to sell. That’s what happens when you take a value-based approach to your emails, instead of a sales-based approach.

To move from a sales-based approach to a value-based approach, you need to forget about closing the sale and more about how to make your marketing more valuable to the point that there isn’t a trace of selling that can be detected. You then need to come up with useful content for your prospect.

And that begins by deeply understanding your customers’ specific challenges.

How to send emails that people actually want to read

The mistake that many marketers make is that they talk in general terms. Real agents, for example, tell us they have a ‘unique opportunity’. We’ve heard this phrase so many times that it has lost its meaning. This equally applies to phrases like ‘how to get more sales’, ‘how to generate more leads’ and so on.

The solution is to move from the general to the specific. You need to move from a ‘vague idea’ like ‘I need more sales’ to a general problem like ‘I need to convert more quotes into sales’ to specific scenarios like

  • How can your customer get people interested in something other than a quote?
  • Is your customer getting any feedback on the quote, and if so, what is it?
  • What exactly is your customer putting in that quote?

specificity

When you’re communicating with your customers, you want to be talking about specific scenarios, not general problems and vague ideas.

Another way to think of it is this: Could your message apply to any person, or just the recipient you’re currently targeting? If it could apply to anyone, then you’re probably not adding much value. This is why if you are sending a message to a group of people, dynamic content is particularly important.

Ultimately, you want to get to the point that you are so specific that you give your prospects more clarity about their problem than they have ever had before. You then automatically become the solution. Your prospect is shocked that you understand the problem so well, the natural assumption is that you must have the solution. You are perceived as an authority on the subject and the sale follows easily from there.

Tools for uncovering what your prospects want to hear from you

If you’re not exactly sure how to add value for your customers, you can try send them a survey using survey software or simply send them an email:

challenges

Here’s the text to copy and paste:

[firstname]….

I want to send you the most useful content in my emails that’s possible. So, can you please reply to tell me: What is the single biggest challenge you are facing in relation to [your business]?

You could even email them to ask them to click a link to schedule a time with you with scheduling software like timetrade or schedule once.

If you have a basic idea of what your recipients’ challenges might be, you can try sending an email that says something to the effect of “I want to send you email that is most useful to you… so please select one link below so I only send you relevant content” and then offer 3 links, one for each topic. Then you send different emails to people based on the link which they have clicked.

People love locals

Another tactic you can use is timing and location. If you know of a relevant event coming up in a customer’s area, invite him to attend:

You mentioned that you were experiencing [describe challenge in detail]…. So I thought you’d like to know that we have an event in your local area in the next few weeks.

Timing matters

Use timing to your advantage. Let’s say you’re a provider of prenatal yoga services. You can send out varying emails depending on where your recipients are at in their pregnancies, so that, for example, a message you send to someone in her first trimester differs significantly from a message you send to someone in her last month.

When you have a super important prospect, use these personalization tactics

Another way to engage your customers and keep the conversation going is to send out news or updates specifically related to them. If you have important customers or want to keep tabs on news related to certain topics, you can use Google alerts to help you out.

Let’s say one of your customers is an up and coming motivational speaker. If you set up a Google alert and find out that he’s quoted in an article, you can send an email that says “I saw you mentioned on [Article Name],” which would make him feel important and increase your chances of getting a response.

Similarly, Newsle is a service that provides information on everyone on LinkedIn and Facebook every time they are mentioned in a major online publication. This gives the added bonus of creating a situation where you can contact customers to say that you saw they were mentioned. It makes them feel good that they are being noticed and means that you can respond directly to their situation.

Put it all together with this template

thought_of_you

Again, here’s the text to copy and paste:

Subject: I thought of you…

Hi [Name],

You mentioned you had an issue with [problem], and so I thought of you when I saw this….. [insert link]

Attraction Versus Pursuit

There’s a very clever Dove commercial that you’ve got to watch….

As you can see, the ad brilliantly demonstrates that with all the styling and photoshopping, amazing models don’t even look anything like themselves. Dove successfully creates an enemy – the impossible pursuit of perfect beauty. The consumer is left feeling that the only option is to pursue their natural beauty and it just so happens that Dove sells products for this very purpose.

This video educates and only when you understand the message do you realize that Dove must be the solution. Dove never needed to mention their products in the ad. There’s also no 10% discount if you buy by next Tuesday.

Similarly, your emails need to be focused on real problems that your prospects are facing. Help them solve these problems and you will find that purchasing your product is the natural outcome.

Here’s the big reason why most emails don’t work…

typewriter

People get tons of messages in their email trying to sell them a wide range of products and services. For many of us, our default setting when receiving emails from sources other than friends and family is to simply delete.

Many marketers make the mistake of focusing on sales at the expense of customer engagement — and that’s where the 9-word email comes in handy.

The origin of the 9-word email

The 9-word email was developed for a re-engagement campaign for the real estate industry by Dean Jackson. It’s a simple email that takes almost no time to put together, yet it’s far more effective than the overwhelming majority of emails you see marketers churning out.

In its original iteration, the 9-word email featured a subject line with just the recipient’s name and a body with a one-line question. It looked something like this:

real_estate

That’s it.

The point of the email was to ask a relevant, engaging question that would get a reply.

Note that the wording here is significant. The email above is very different from one that reads as follows:

2buy_house

This second version highlights an overused tactic—the blatant sell. The first email is also trying to sell you something, but there is a big difference. The first email works to nurture a need, the second jumps straight to the solution, and that is why it fails.

The first email works because it’s:

  • Not pushy
  • More conversational
  • Focused on the need

As result, it’s much more likely to solicit a reply.

Remember, replies are one factor that keep your emails out of your recipients’ Spam and Promotions folders. This is because Google/Hotmail/Yahoo reason that if you reply to a friend or colleague, they are not likely to be sending you a promotion.

Here’s another example, this time for a recruitment email:

recruitment

Again, notice how nuanced the language is. This question is far different from one that reads like this:

2job

The second version omits the word “still,” and in doing so sends a completely different message. The second version is trying to sell a service, while the first version is engaging (or re-engaging) the reader and, again, nurturing a need.

You can also customize this type of email based on dynamic inputs so that it’s even more personalized and relevant. For example, if you’re a recruitment firm with a former client in banking, you could send an email that reads:

2job_banking

If the recipient of an email like this is even remotely interested in pursuing a new job opportunity, he’s highly likely to respond.

Let’s now delve into why exactly this email works so well…

The WhatsApp Effect

WhatsApp is an instant messaging tool that makes it easy for all types of mobile phone users to communicate via text message.  In April of 2015, WhatsApp reached 800 million users, and in 2014, Facebook paid $19 billion to acquire it.

Why is this significant? It demonstrates a shift in the way people are communicating today.

Remember, mobile phones were originally made for calling purposes, and text messages were an afterthought. Now, people texts as much as they call, if not more so—especially younger users. Text messages are typically short and to the point, as compared to emails which are longer.

Whatever email you’re creating, make sure you don’t forget the WhatsApp Effect.

Commitment and Consistency

You’ll often see promotions on Facebook or similar outlets along the lines of: Why do you like [product name]? Tell us and enter our competition.

why_love_brand

The underlying idea here is that if you make a commitment, you will be consistent with that commitment. So if you stumble upon this competition and take the time to say something positive about the product or service in question, you’ll be more likely to use that product or service again.

The way we apply this to email marketing is that if you get a reply, that’s a commitment. So when you respond to the reply, the recipient is more likely to be consistent with the prior commitment.

So when you go to compose your marketing emails, here’s an effective derivation of the 9-word email in the context of promoting a marketing seminar.

seminars

This email does a great job of getting the recipient interested. Notice how details are intentionally omitted? That’s because we’re trying to be respectful. We’re not hitting the recipient over the head with a hard sell. We’re not overloading him with information. We’re simply engaging, or piquing his interest.

Here’s one reply that I got…

response1

And here’s another…

response2

These replies are all small commitments which the sender is likely to be consistent with. Even if they do not attend the upcoming seminar, they are likely to be interested in future sessions.

As an added bonus, you’ve got a more direct path into the recipient’s inbox rather than his promotional or spam folder—so even if that recipient doesn’t end up attending your next seminar, your follow-up emails will still get through to him, thus increasing your chances of getting that commitment in the future.

So, the next time you launch an email marketing campaign, stop to think about how you can get someone to reply to your email instead of immediately going in for the kill.

If you found this post useful, and you’re located in Melbourne Australia, come to our next seminar on online marketing.

How to create content for each stage of the customer lifecycle

If you want to convert more prospects into leads, more leads into customers and more customers into clients, you will fail if you send the same messages to different types of people. Instead, you need to find ways to acknowledge the unique relationship which each person has with you throughout the customer lifecycle.

The customer life cycle has the following stages:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Intention
  • Conversion
  • Retention

And at each of these stages, you, as a business owner, need to focus on a different key concept.

stages1

  • To go from awareness to consideration, you need to be credible.
  • To go from consideration to intention, you need to add value so that the person on the other end of your marketing campaign views your product as something he’d actually want or need.
  • To go from superiority to conversion, you need to convince your lead that you are a superior solution to your competitors.
  • To complete the conversion stage of the cycle, you need to focus on customizing your product to that person.
  • Finally, for someone to move to the retention stage, that person needs to feel like he is receiving superior treatment  to non-customers, so that he feels like he’s getting ongoing, consistent value.

Let’s explore each stage in further detail.

The Awareness Stage

At the awareness stage, it’s all about credibility. Associating yourself with other trusted brands and credible sources will increase your own trustworthiness. If you’ve received awards or have interviewed credible professionals in your field, you can use that to help build the case for buying your product.

If, for example, you’re trying to sell a product that promotes weight loss and have a number of prominent, respected nutritionists endorsing your product, that helps build credibility. Even your own podcasts and presentations at conferences can lead others to trust you. There’s a lot you can do behind the scenes that can help you portray yourself as an authority within your industry.

As far as your content goes, it will help to share the following:

  • Quizzes. From each quiz, generate customer-specific emails or results based on quiz inputs.
  • Free reports. Share valuable information with your prospects.
  • Guest blog posts. Leverage the credibility of another trusted blog.
  • Infographics. Sometimes it’s all about presentation, and information that’s presented in a well-designed fashion can enhance your credibility.
  • Social posts. Sites like Facebook can help you build up your presence and create a persona for your business or product that emphasizes your trustworthiness

Keep in mind that images tend to make posts go viral, and can also make them more credible. Also, revealing a consistent personality makes you stand out from other.

The Consideration Stage

At this stage, it’s all about utility. When working on your marketing content, you need to ask: What are the specific problems we’re going to solve for each customer?

You need to get into the mindset of your customers and really gauge what’s most important to them. And you can offer them value by producing:

  • How-to videos/webinars
  • How-to blog posts
  • White papers
  • Checklists (Studies have shown that 10 is the magic number for lists – see point 6 in the link)

The Intention Stage

At this stage, it’s all about showing that you’re the best solution of all the ones out there. You can do this in a number of ways, but the idea is to provide content that adds value while also promoting your specific product. For this stage, focus on:

  • Buying guides. You’re giving readers ways to decide what constitutes a good product while ensuring that each criteria is fulfilled by the one you’re selling
  • Webinars. It helps to identify problems and then subtly point to ways in which your product solves them
  • Speaking videos or engagements. You can demonstrate authority, thus playing on the credibility you’ve already established earlier in the lifecycle
  • Case studies. These will document the success of your product
  • Product comparisons. Your product will come out superior
  • Testimonials. Accounts from satisfied customers and subject matter experts, but also stories of how your product solved various problems
  • ROI calculators. It can be very powerful to show how your solutions provides a return on investment. Banks have done this well by showing the ROI of a loan.

The Conversion Stage

This stage is a pivotal one because it’s all about converting your leads into actual customers. To complete that transformation, you need to focus not just on personalizing your product, but also on personalizing the marketing around your product.

You can accomplish this via:

  • Free trials
  • Product demos
  • Follow-up consultations
  • Customized estimates
  • Coupons/offers
  • In-depth blog posts or articles
  • Input from current customers
  • Testimonials

Keep in mind that most products are designed to solve a particular problem. If you can give someone more clarity about their problem than they’ve ever had before, you’ll automatically become the solution. This is because people will naturally feel that if you understand the problem better than anyone else, you must have designed a solution better than anyone else.

The Retention Stage

Now that you’ve gone to all the effort of acquiring a customer, you want to ensure you keep as many customers as possible.

Retaining customers is often a simple matter of making them feel special. You can do this via:

  • Giveaways
  • Contests
  • Special offers

Valuable marketing and persuasive content

When you talk about a lead-to-customer lifecycle, don’t forget that each stage needs to build on the one before, and as you achieve your goal in each, you’ll be better suited to tackle the next. For example, once you establish your credibility, you’ll have an easier time building your case for your product’s value, or utility. And if you make content quality a priority, you’ll start to see more customers at the end stage of the cycle, right where you want them to be.

Our friend Taki Moore has said that you want your marketing to be valuable like content, and you want your content to be persuasive like marketing. The most valuable marketing is great content, and the content that’s the most persuasive will serve as effective marketing.

 

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