It's The Future Of Marketing, But It's Available Today!
It might be obvious to most of you what “click to close” actually means, but upon further review (a search of all-knowing Google) very little content exists on the concept of click to close. This appears to be an opportunity to discuss what should be an important concept in any inbound marketing program.
Click to close is a term that illustrates the ideal behavior for all prospects who find their way to your website. People find your company through search, personal referral, a referring website, social media or any source really, and like most people they visit your site to learn more about your company.
Their experience on your website is so perfectly crafted that they “click” on one of your offers, entering your beautifully orchestrated marketing experience that helps them quickly decide they want to talk to a salesperson. Then, after a wonderful experience with your salesperson, they decide to select your company as their new vendor, partner or provider and “close.” Thus the term "click to close."
This entire process happens quickly and almost effortlessly because all the elements of the sales and marketing process are so well-thought-out and well-executed. The business results are dramatic with shorter sales cycles, higher close rates, more new customers, customers paying higher averages, more referrals earlier in the sales process and a business with a repeatable, scalable and predictable revenue machine.
Helping You Tell The Right Stories
There’s an epidemic in the agency community. Clients don’t value strategy and they don’t want to pay for marketing strategy either. If that’s you, proceed at your own risk. Without marketing strategy, marketing messaging and the stories you need to get prospects to want to work with your company, you run the risk of squandering every penny of your investment in inbound marketing.
We see it day in and day out: Well-executed inbound marketing tactics with no marketing strategy and dramatically lower-than-expected results. It doesn’t take an inbound marketing scientist to see what’s missing.
You need very deliberate, well-thought-out, strategically crafted stories about your business that get your prospects emotionally connected to your business. Stories that draw your prospects in so they see themselves as the hero. Stories that disrupt their status quo and move them to action. Stories that move them along the sales process so they don’t get distracted or go underground. Stories that put them over the edge so they say "yes" to your higher-than-industry-average pricing.
Without this part of your marketing effort, you’re going to be underwhelmed by your marketing no matter who you hire or how you execute it.
Helping You Get Found
If you tell the right stories, prospects are going to find you. Last month, 350 potential prospects for Square 2 Marketing found us. No cold calls, no email blasts, no conferences and no advertising. In addition to the stories, you need a "get found" strategy that understands exactly how your best prospects are searching for your type of business on the web.
Understanding what keywords, keyword phrases and questions prospects are asking helps us to craft the assets and the click-to-close experience so that you get found more and in the places your prospects are already spending their time while they’re on the web.
Getting found is not just about search engines. It’s about social media, related websites, other blogs, similar email newsletters, influencers, groups, associations and other educational properties online. This off-site optimization is just as critical as the more common on-site work most people are familiar with.
Once you leverage all the sources for new visitors to your website, you’ll be in a position to more fully optimize your resources and improve your results.
Helping You Convert Visitors Into Leads
Once we fill up the top of the funnel with website visitors, the key turns to turning those anonymous website visitors into leads. Anyone who comes out of the shadows and provides you with contact information is a lead. We’ve not offering free vacations or iPads, we’re offering only educational information targeted at your best prospects. So if anyone converts on your site, you can be sure they’re a lead of some kind.
Your best bet to continue the click-to-close experience is to provide offers for the awareness, consideration and decision-making stages of your prospects’ buyer journey. This ensures you’re capturing everyone with any interest in what you do.
These offers have to be executed flawlessly, including proper placement on the site, proper titling, proper deployment of landing pages, proper creative and visual representation of the offers, and continually adding new offers to convert visitors who were not convinced by your previous set of educational offers. The more you publish and the better you are at this entire conversion exercise, the more leads you’ll generate.
Helping You Nurture Those Leads
But you’re far from done. Keep in mind that 90% of leads are not ready to talk to anyone at your company. Today, prospects in the awareness and consideration phase of their journey don't want to talk to you. These leads are going to need very strategic and well-crafted care and feeding before they’ll turn into sales opportunities.
Nurturing leads is a part marketing and part sales activity. Marketing can handle the nurturing via automated email workflows, general educational emails, deployment of additional offers and by providing value-added content across the web so a prospect is influenced by your content in your ecosystem.
But eventually that lead is going to move down into the decision-making stage and need to speak to a sales rep, and this is where the nurturing transitions from marketing to sales. This transition is key and it needs to be strategically designed. You want the highly positive, educational and advisory feeling from the marketing to continue into the sales process.
That’s why inbound sales is so critical. It provides a defined process for continuing the click-to-close experience, leveraging educational content, structured personal communication and sessions designed to make the prospect feel safe and help them get to know, like and trust your company. It’s the perfect complement to inbound marketing.
Helping You Close Those Leads
As we mentioned, you still have to deliver the close part of click to close. This can be tricky and it's where legacy sales thinking typically gets in the way.
This stage is where you have to be extra critical of your sales process. What does your paperwork look like? If it’s too long and too legal, you’ll scare people underground. What does your presentation look like? If it’s too much about you and not enough about your prospect, you might turn them off. Are you involving your prospects in the co-creation of your recommendations? If not, they might just say "no" to your proposal, which means you wasted all that time working on this prospect.
Continue your experience thinking deep into the sales process and make sure you remove all the friction from your sales process so that by the time you’ve finished, every prospect says “we have to hire this company.” If your prospects are not saying that, you have more work to do.
Helping You Turn Customers Into More Leads
Ideally, you all know that marketing doesn’t stop once a prospect becomes a customer. Your customers are one of your biggest assets, and the better you are at taking care of them, the better they’ll be at telling your story. The result of these stories is more website visitors and more leads. The cycle of life continues and to some extent it can accelerate because of the sheer volume of success stories.
In addition, marketing to current customers means more cross-selling opportunities, lower cost of acquisition and higher average revenue per customer, which usually contributes to higher profit margins. These are all very positive business outcomes for your company and it only takes a focus on marketing to existing customers in the same way you market to new potential customers.
Helping You Use Data To Accelerate This Cycle
Finally, if all this seems unbelievably complex, it should because it's much more complicated than attending a few trade shows a year and running some print ads in a magazine. However, the complexity can be managed, and we can actually help make this easy to plan, easy to execute, easy to track and, most importantly, easy to optimize.
The introduction of data and quantifiable measures for all these marketing and sales elements means the end to guessing, opinions and assumptions. By analyzing every element of both the sales and marketing execution you quickly see areas that are performing above expectations, performing as expected and underperforming. By paying attention to the underperforming tactics and doubling down on those tactics exceeding expectations, you get an acceleration effect that significantly drives business results.
This analyze, review, respond and act methodology is required to quickly drive subtle changes in the execution that produces big results. For example, make a subtle change to an email in the sales process and improve the close rate. Make a small change to a highly visited landing page and drive a lift in leads from that page. The ability to evaluate the program, find these opportunities for improvement, implement the improvements month over month and drive results is usually the difference between a team that knows how to get results from inbound and one that is just learning how to do the basics of inbound.
Make sure you know where you stand.
Marketing has changed so dramatically over the past 10 years that it’s not surprising if you don’t recognize any of what we included above. For hundreds of years marketing was about getting your name out there and sales was about convincing someone to buy something.
But when buyer behavior changed and the web empowered buyers with information and access, marketing and sales had to change too. Today, everyone is checking out your website before they do business with you, no matter what you do. The better the experience, the better chances you have of getting the business. Since 90% of those people don’t want to talk to you yet, the better you do at giving them the information they want when they want it, the more clicks you’ll get and the richer your sales funnel will be.
The faster you get your head around click-to-close marketing and the experience you should be creating for people interested in your business, the faster your company will grow and the easier it will be to realize a constant flow of people who want to speak with you about your products or services. You won’t have to find them, they’ll find you. And that is the essence of inbound marketing and inbound sales.
Square 2 Marketing – Inbound Results Start With ME!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.