Join in the community forum! The thINK blog is a place for community members to share their opinions, best practices, successes, and challenges. Add your comments to the blogs published here or write a blog and we’ll post it for you.
Calls to Action Via Email, Special Offers, And Webcasts
Marketing to prospective customers in the middle of the sales funnel is all about encouraging folks to engage with you a little more, to move them closer to conversion.
In a previous blog, we discussed key approaches to encourage this engagement, a process called demand generation. In this phase, you’ve been making available to your prospects useful, unbiased content for free, chatting with commentators on your blog or social channels, and in other ways feeding pertinent stuff to those who seem interested.
But think about it. That’s just you reaching out to them. So far it’s just a one-way street. Your next, necessary step is to encourage these prospects to reach out to you. If you can do that, it will identify warmer leads, and really empower this next stage of your marketing efforts.
Let’s examine “calls to action,” which we’ll shorten here to just CTA. If you can get your prospects to actually reach out to you (instead of the other way around), you’ll now have a live prospect on the hook, ready to be reeled in!
Previously, you’ve been busy collecting emails, social handles, and even IP addresses (if possible) from those interested in your website content, blogs, or newsletters. Now’s the time to leverage this contact information to send out CTAs, to elicit greater engagement.
From this time on, any email you send should include a call to action! Let’s examine a few.
• Continue to promote written content. Do you have prospects who’ve downloaded a white paper or responded to a blog post? Develop a “learn more” button or social element suggesting they “learn more.” Email directed to initial tire-kickers, asking “Are you curious to know more?” or “Download the ebook for more in depth.” When they click through for this added information, you’ve got a much more engaged prospect.
• Suggest more via video. You may have already filmed case studies, demos of cutting-edge print techniques, or unique paper options that prospects have viewed (you have, haven’t you!?). Now, via email, issue such calls to action as “Hear from our president for more on this topic,” or “See how this might impact your own business.” And again, these have links to additional content, whether written or video. A click-through identifies warmer leads.
• Encourage signups for events. Consider online events, including webcasts, live Facebook events, or live podcasts. Develop compelling content, perhaps together with social media experts and influencers. Using your email, social, and IP address information, issue calls to action to your contents participate, with such incentives as “attendance is limited” … even if it’s not!
• CTA’s that garner feedback. Feel free to ask your prospects what they think about issues that impact them. Blast a “5 minute survey” on direct marketing trends, possibly offering a giveaway to encourage participation. Also, to those who downloaded a white paper or ebook, simply ask their opinion of the value they gained from reading this content. Again, their proactive responses can be greatly valuable in identifying those who can be nurtured further down the sales funnel.
• Suggest actual purchases. There’s no reason why you can’t encourage a prospect to purchase something, even at this early stage. For example, marshaling your email and social lists, you can blast out notices of coupons, offering (for example) a 15 percent discount on variable inkjet printing jobs for new customers only. Make it a limited-time only offer, and you’ll add an extra incentive.
Coupon offers, free shipping, and even gifts with purchase (for example, offering inexpensive promotional items along with a first exhibition order) are all part of this call to action strategy.
Calls to action are a critical tactic to use in the middle of the sales funnel. They will enable inbound queries, and help identify those warm leads you can then hand off to sales.
Christopher Hosford is editor at large for Target Marketing. Former editor-in-chief of Nielsen’s Sales & Marketing Management magazine, he’s covered all aspects of sales, marketing, and cutting-edge marketing technologies.