In brick-and-mortar retail, there are hundreds of years of well-studied consumer behavior to guide shopkeepers. For example, putting staple items such as milk at the back of the convenience store so that patrons walk by other items they didn’t intend to buy. “Kids Eat Free Night” is a gimmick to establish family dining patterns that are known to repeat.
But the online world is relatively young and small business online marketing norms are still developing.
73 Percent of Inbound Leads Aren’t Sales-Ready
With so much emphasis on generating leads, it’s easy to lose sight of the real goal. The reality is that conversion is rarely a quick event. It takes nurturing. No matter how great the onsite experience is, it’s important that an online marketing strategy recognize that the sale will be in several parts.
Online Marketers Use Email Poorly
Forty percent of marketers don’t use email for drip nurturing. There are also many businesses who still believe that buying a huge email list to use for a magical “blast” of new customers will work. It won’t.
Eighty-one percent of marketers use email for initial lead generation. But often with poor results.
Email used wrong is an outbound marketing technique. Used correctly, email is an excellent complement to a small business online marketing strategy. But few small businesses know this distinction. This means targeting recipients who will actually be interested in the product and nurturing those who have already shown an interest.
Email Marketing Increases PPC & SEO Conversion
With the costs of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts rising, the emphasis of a small business online marketing campaign will increasingly turn to conversion. This can be a bit confusing. If SEO or PPC generates an initial small business lead, but it is one of the 73 percent that isn’t sales-ready, the lead must then be nurtured after the first point of contact.
Email is the most effective nurturing mechanism by far. When a subsequent email, maybe the third or fourth in a nurturing series, brings the prospect back to purchase – is that conversion due to email? Regardless of how the lead is categorized, small business should use an integrated marketing dashboard so they can measure this complex marketing behavior and understand it.
To put it in soccer terms, the assist is often as important as the goal. In other words, a small business online marketing campaign needs to recognize that 73 percent of leads won’t be ready to purchase on the spot.
SEO and PPC leads both need to be nurtured after the initial point of contact to bring the ultimate conversion rate up. This complex set of online behaviors needs to be well-tracked to avoid letting the potential customer walk out of the virtual store empty-handed.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!