Outcome-based Marketing: The Importance of Conversion Streams


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“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” – Henry Ford

Converting prospects into leads and leads into opportunities are topics of many a marketing and sales meeting. Many companies that offer outsourced marketing tactics try to stay clear of this discussion, perhaps for fear of having their performance measured. They are also topics that many who offer search engine optimization or pay-per-click campaigns avoid discussing. These techno companies are in the business of bringing qualified visitors to the website. It’s the job of the company that owns the website to convert the prospects into leads and the leads into opportunities.

Measuring a campaign’s performance is not difficult. Getting the desired positive results from the campaign takes talent.

Conversion streams are about getting results from marketing, prospects and leads. They need to be a combination of information, soft and hard sells, pain points, remedies and benefits, and a dose of personality. Think of a conversion stream as a river of information that offers to entice a prospect to move the buying relationship to the next level. For instance, an e-mail marketing conversion stream might be a series of seven or eight e-mails sent out over two weeks. These e-mails provide information about a product’s features and benefits coupled with a few soft and hard sell messages. Conversion streams are not the magic bullet that every marketing campaign is missing; they are just one of the tools that need to be employed to increase any marketing campaign’s success rate.

Sample Conversion Streams

To help you understand some possible conversion streams, let’s look at three typical streams that a business might employ.

A Free Trial Conversion Stream

A software company offers a 15-day free trial for prospects to try out its solution (Figure 1). The potential purchasers come from four venues—search engine optimization, Google AdWord campaigns, the company website, and the monthly eNews. During the trial the software company sends out seven e-mails while the trial is running and an eighth e-mail two days after the trial ends. Prospects can opt-out of the e-mail campaign at any time. They can also decide to purchase the software package and the e-mails will stop. Each e-mail has a particular theme and focus. The first e-mail welcomes the potential customer and makes sure the company has his username and password. There is a soft-sell associated with the first e-mail. The third e-mail is quite different. It focuses on a pain point, a remedy, and the benefits the potential customer will receive. It also includes a hard-sell, something like: Sign up now!

[Figure 1-Day Free Trial Conversion Stream]

A Webinar Conversion Stream

A marketing company offers a free webinar about the importance of branding (Figure 2). The potential clients are coming from four venues—search engine optimization, social media campaigns, the marketing company’s website, and e-mail marketing campaigns. Twenty-one days before the webinar takes place the marketing wheels are set into motion. The marketing agency sends out its first e-mail to its prospect/past client database. Every member of the marketing team changes the Status Line on his/her LinkedIn account to announce the webinar. The Status Line steers people to a landing page where they can get more information and sign up in advance of the event. Members also create a promotional ad for each of their various Groups on LinkedIn. Fourteen days before the webinar a second e-mail is sent out to the e-mail list, and the social media campaign kicks into gear. Compelling tweets are sent out to the agency’s followers every other day. On the day of the webinar, a final tweet is sent out reminding everyone not to miss this exciting and informative event. The day after the webinar everyone who attended the event receives a thank-you note and a link to watch the webinar again, over on-demand. Viewers are also encouraged to pass the webinar along to any colleague they believe would find the information of value. The link is also sent out to all those that did not attend the event. Each e-mail and social text has a particular theme and focus. The first e-mail announces the webinar and talks about the value the recipient will receive. There is a hard-sell to sign up now. All messaging focuses on pain points, remedies, and benefits.

[Figure 2-Day Webinar Conversion Stream]

An E-mail Marketing Conversion Stream

In this second free webinar offer about the importance of branding (Figure 3), the webinar is recorded so people will be able to watch it at their convenience. This time the potential prospects (the masses) are coming from purchased e-mail lists. The marketing agency sends out the first e-mail. Let’s not concentrate on the bounces or those that unsubscribe from the e-mail campaigns. Instead let’s keep track of Non Responders, those people that do not open the e-mail. The people that open the e-mail but do not click through to the offer are the Opens. The people that read the e-mail and click-through to the landing page but do not take the offer are the Click-throughs. Those that take the offer and watch the webinar are the Leads. A week later a second e-mail is sent out to the Non Responders, the Opens, and the Click-throughs. The strategy will be to change the subject line of the second e-mail to see if the Non Responders will open it. The strategy with the Opens and Click-throughs is similar. For those two groups the goal is to make the e-mail content more compelling. A second offer, perhaps a whitepaper or a case study instead of a webinar, is also possible. Different people learn in various ways. Some people like to read while others like to view the information. The same tack will be used when sending out the third e-mail blast.

[Figure 3: 21-Day E-mail Marketing Conversion Stream]

Are conversion streams working for your organization? Let us know.

This post is an excerpt from John Leavy’s latest book: Outcome-Based Marketing: New Rules for Marketing on the Web.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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