When you talk about marketing, the conversation inevitably turns to “conversion.”
There’s something about that word that bugs me.
When people talk about converting prospects to customers, I get the impression they think it’s like flipping a switch.
You know, one minute someone knows nothing about your business and then click, suddenly they’re a customer!
They make conversion sound like an instantaneous event. In reality, conversion is a lot more like farming. It’s a nurturing process that leads people from:
- hearing about your business to …
- a first transaction to …
- doing repeat business with you to …
- recommending your offerings to …
- helping plant the seeds for new customer relationships.
But how exactly does conversion happen?
Read on to learn the five-step process you can use to sow the seeds of a successful business, farmer style.
The Crucial Middle
The conversion conversation so often leaves out the middle part of the process, which is where the magic happens.
Prospects go through stages. Your job is to nurture them like a plant as they move from seed, to seedling, to healthy, full-grown, productive, and alive.
Let’s walk through how it works from the very beginning.
1. Start by Planting a Seed
The goal of this first step is to get the attention of your prospect, who may know nothing about your company. You want to get on their radar screens, and create awareness about your business.
At this stage, prospects are nowhere near ready to do business with you.
You simply want to make them aware that your business exists, and plant the seeds for a future relationship.
2. Add Information to Grow Your Seedling
Want to continue to grow the relationship with your prospect? Try adding valuable information to the mix.
The prospect seed you planted is now sending out one or two tenuous roots, looking for more information. Give them plenty of things to choose from!
Offer resources they find useful. Become an authority in your field by creating:
- Buying guides
- Audio interviews with well-known experts in your field
- White papers
- How-to videos and product demonstrations
- Online knowledge banks
- An FAQ page
- An auto responder series delivered by email
- A self-evaluation quiz
This is important: offer this information for free, but ask for an email address in exchange so you have a way to keep in touch and nurture your prospects.
3. Nurture Your Young Plant with Consistency
Here’s the crucial middle point.
This is the part of the process where many people give up: don’t do it! Your efforts will pay off soon.
At this point, you want to prove that your business is trustworthy by following up consistently over time. Continue to add water, sun and nutrients in the form of information, follow-up and responsiveness to inquiries.
This is where your ongoing marketing efforts — those few minutes you put in every single day — will pay off.
Because this is where the click really happens. This is where you see action, and your prospect becomes a first-time customer.
4. Care For Your Full-Grown Plant with Great Customer Service
Finally, you can see the results of your efforts. Your seed has grown into a plant that’s fully mature and ready to interact with your brand as a customer.
In order to keep that relationship alive and flourishing, you need to have a system in place for after the sale. How will you follow-up with your customers? How will you make sure you’re meeting their needs? What will you do about problems?
It’s not enough to get a first sale. You have to keep your customers happy over time, so you can enjoy the fifth and last step.
5. Show Gratitude for the Fruits of Your Relationship
In the final stage of the farmer-style marketing process, you continue to nurture your customer relationship over time, and it bears more fruit.
Your current customers become repeat buyers. They “seed” new prospects for your business by recommending your company through testimonials and word of mouth.
Show your gratitude for helping your spread the message. Send thank you notes, offer discounts, bake a cake! Get creative about making your current customers feel appreciated.
Start Planting Now to Reap Rewards
You can’t go from a seed of interest into harvesting the fruits of the customer relationship overnight. Building that relationship takes time, patience and effort. Start planting the seeds now so you can count on healthy conversions in the future.
Question of the Week
Have you discovered a particularly effective way to thank customers for their business? I’d love to hear about it! Will you share it in the comments?