Let’s make this as blunt as possible. If you’re not turning your leads into customers, you don’t really have a sustainable business. Mastering the art of lead conversion is at the core of all of your marketing efforts, and the fuel that drives your business.
But what is lead conversion? Well, it is any action on the part of the lead by which they transition from one stage to another. The obvious example is visiting your sales page and clicking the buy button. However, lead conversion starts much earlier than that.
If they land on the page where you offer them a lead magnet and they submit their email address, this is also a lead conversion. In fact, there are many kinds of conversions you can define along the way, and that’s just what we’ll discuss next.
When it comes to lead conversions, most of your power as a marketer will come from proper segmentation data. That is, the better you can categorize your leads and their actions, the better your results.
This is because triggering lead conversions is almost always about being able to send the right thing, to the right person, at the right time. And the only way you can do that, is if you have good quality data to go off of. So let’s talk about this now.
Gather information about your leads
In an ideal world you would get as much information about your leads from the moment they give you their email address. You would have them answer a bunch of qualifying questions, upfront, and then use that information to drive all interactions forward.
However, in the real world, this is impractical for many business models. While it can make sense if you’re in real estate, insurance or selling big-ticket items, it won’t make as much sense in other industries. In many situations you can barely get away with just asking for their first name alongside the email address.
The good news is that if you offer a good reason to sign up, almost everyone is going to open your welcome email. And then if you do a good job crafting the first email and welcome series, you will be able to capture behavioral data based on how they interact with the welcome series.
This is easily achievable with a platform like Emercury where you can assign different tags to people and base it on which email they do or don’t open, which links they click on, and even which actions they take on your website (with events tracking).
But what kind of data should you gather, and how should you store it? Well, this is part of your setup process. You have to clearly delineate what kinds of data you want to collect, and how do you want to store it.
Should you have a “visited pricing page” tag? Should you store their location in a custom field? And should you have a “highly-engaged new leads” segment? To understand this all a bit better, check out our guide: Email Segmentation Secrets: Tags, Lists, Segments, Explained
Define the key conversions and identify behavioral signals for each
We already talked about the two main conversions that you will always have. This is when a random person gives you their email address and becomes a lead. And the other one is when one of your leads pulls out a credit card and purchases something, hence becoming a customer.
But in the vast majority of cases there’s quite a few conversions that happen in between these two. And there are actually no hard set rules on exactly what you have to track as a conversion.
In most cases however, it’s convenient to use the concept of “stages”
This is based on the idea of the customer journey, with the most famous model being the AIDA model. This is where you say that the lead goes through the stages of: awareness, interest, desire, action.
If these sound vague, you’re right. Most marketers these days will look to figure out stages that are more specific to their own business, and I recommend you do the same. Think about what are the major milestones you expect people to achieve before deciding to buy.
Scenario: Travel agency
Basic Lead: Signed up for your newsletter
Dreamer: Clicks on your links to blog posts and galleries detailing travel destinations and reads about the experiences and testimonials you send their way
Destination Discoverer: Clicks through on actual offers, deals and packages you send their way. Alternatively, visits the website directly and goes to the packages
Quote Inquirer: Requests a personalized quote, or goes to the contact details, or any action that signifies initiating an interaction with the travel agents
First-Time Traveler: Books their first trip
Repeat Adventurer: Books multiple trips with the agency
Scenario: Online Shop
Welcome Series Opener: Opens the welcome email, clicks on any links within.
Website Explorer: Visits the website, either at all, or if you prefer after a certain amount of click throughs to the website
Product Investigator: Views specific product pages, reads descriptions and reviews, adds items to wishlist.
Shopping intent: Adds items to cart, starts checkout process but abandons it. Or perhaps opens an email containing a discount code, clicks on the code and visits the website.
First-Time Buyer: Completes a purchase. Either directly, or after receiving an abandoned cart reminder email.
Loyal Customer: Makes repeat purchases, opens and clicks on loyalty program emails, engages with brand surveys.
Scenario: B2B Services Company
Early interest: Opens the welcome email
Deeper interest: Visits specific pages on the website and clicks through on specific offers
Clear pre-purchase intent: Starts requesting or viewing case studies, visits pricing page, or views a certain number of blog posts indicative of pre-purchase-intent
Deeper pre-purchase intent: Books a demo or adds to cart
Paying Customer: Converts to a paid service of some kind.
Loyal Customer: Signs up for more than just the lower-tier service or product, or however you want to define this
As you can see, there are no rules
You’ll want to figure out what makes sense for your business, and the major “stages” through which the typical customer moves.
In addition, you will also notice that all of the stages are things which can be skipped. Some people might go straight from the welcome email to booking a demo. It’s not mandatory that they have to pass the stages defined in between.
It’s just that most leads will, and so you want to define stages and related actions in a way that helps you send more relevant content. Ultimately, and ideally you want every lead to get just the emails that speak directly to where they’re at.
Once you’ve defined the stages, it’s time to look at the actions that signify a lead has converted to a given stage. Once you’ve identified these actions, you can then track these actions and assign tags and other values to a given lead.
How? Well, you can utilize our automation builder and event tracking features to assign a value the moment an action happens. For example, if a person opens an email, assign “this tag” to them. A person “visits the pricing page” or “plays a video” on your site? Then trigger this workflow that changes their stage.
And you can get even more complex than this. It doesn’t have to be based on a single action. With the automation builder you can utilize multiple checks to make sure multiple criteria are met. Same thing with our “action tracking” feature where you can define complex criteria based on different events.
And don’t forget our advanced segments feature. A lot of people use these as a way to keep track of the lead stages. For example, they might just create a “deeper interest” smart segment where leads go in if they meet certain criteria. That way, you can let Emercury automatically move people across the stages.
Lead Conversion Best Practices
Understand the process of email nurturing
This is the process where it all comes together. Nurturing leads is the process of providing leads with information that helps them take an action that moves them forward.
Do you want to take the person who’s merely curious and take them to the “deeper interest” stage? Craft your welcome series around that goal. Give them the content that they need to decide that they want to go deeper on this subject, whether this is clicking through to a webinar, reading more about your product, or whatever makes sense.
And then once they’ve shifted to the “deeper interest” stage, you want to target them with broadcasts and automations that try to move them to the next stage, where they start showing purchasing intent.
Prepare high-quality valuable content
Unless your content provides value, your emails are next to useless to your leads. You have to realize the customer needs to get something from opening your emails. And you do that by providing valuable and relevant content.
To do this, you have to understand what the lead needs most at each stage, and prepare the appropriate content. I hope you can see why we first had to define those stages. They are key to an ability to provide relevant content.
Understand that personalization is a must
Corporations have accustomed today’s customer to personalization. To the point where if you don’t utilize personalization, your emails will feel “cold” or even worse “spammy”.
The good news is that basic personalization is easy to implement, especially with a platform like Emercury. That includes perusing merge-tags, or taking it a step further and using our popular smart personalization feature.
But personalization goes beyond that. It’s also making sure that you send different content to different segments, either based on their stage, or other relevant segmentation characteristics.
Automate everything you can, but take it easy
The really cool part about using a platform like Emercury is that automation can become a really fun experience. When you realize all of the things you can automate, it might even become like a fun game to craft different workflows in the journey builder.
However, it is also easy to take too big of a bite. This is why I generally recommend you start off easy and implement simpler automations, and get more complex over time. To learn more about this approach, check out: The Email Automation Guide for Intelligent Marketers.
Maximize your lead sources
Some of your leads will come from a landing page where you offer a valuable lead magnet. Other sources will become leads when they sign up for your webinar. And yet others can become leads by requesting a free consultation or demo.
Btw, a side note, you can leverage our calendly integration for automatic follow up and enrollment with things like demos, events, and any kind of booking.
With that said, it’s a good idea to tag people differently based on how they got into your list. This will allow you to create different segments based on the source of the lead, which allows you to see if they convert or behave differently. In turn, this allows you to prioritize some sources over others, and learn more about how your leads differ.
Study your reports
The only way to improve what you are doing is to measure it. And this is where reporting comes into play. You will want to study your results to understand if what you’re doing is working.
The good news is that Emercury makes reports super easy and simple. In fact, a lot of people tell us they moved to Emercury because they love how easy it is to analyze results at a glance, without feeling overwhelmed.
Experiment and try different tactics
Look, there is no way to know in advance what the best tactic is at which stage. Getting educated will help you make better “educated guesses”, but nothing beats trial & error.
If you want to get the kinds of lead conversion rates you deserve, I suggest adopting an “iterative mindset”. This means that you try something new, study the results, iterate based on the results, and repeat. You do this until you have good, quality lead conversion systems in place.
Depending on your business model, you might have a team of sales reps who are a major factor in the later stages of conversion. This means that you want to integrate your marketing with your sales in an easy, and straightforward way.
Fortunately, Emercury provides all of the tools you need to easily integrate your sales and marketing and boost conversion rates. Some of these options include incoming webhooks, outgoing webhooks and our calendly integration.
Invest in quality outreach software
Knowing these best practices is only half the battle. If your email outreach software works against you, instead of with you, then this knowledge doesn’t count for much.
What if there was a software platform that is built around implementing these best practices in a straightforward way? What if a platform puts front and center exactly what you need, instead of overwhelming you with noise and toy features? That’s where Emercury comes in.
If you want to learn more about why and how to choose the right platform, check out our super popular guide: Email Marketing Services in 2023: Choosing the One