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Guest column: Turbo charge your website’s effectiveness

By Jim Armstrong

Volume 26/Number 26; May 13/20, 2013

(Second of two parts)

In the last issue of FCNews, I revealed a lead-capture strategy which compels your website visitors to leave their contact information. This is important because you can have hundreds of visitors to your site each month, but without a lead-capture strategy the vast majority will leave and you’ll never hear from them again.

After spending thousands of dollars on a website, pay-per-click and SEO development, this is the kind of thing that can cause a dealer to weep openly and consider a career in organic chicken ranching. However, by using lead capture, you now have the opportunity to do follow-up marketing, which is the main topic of this part of the series.

Let’s assume you’re using the lead-capture strategy from my last column. You’ve got a steady stream of highly qualified prospects opting in on your site, and you’re no longer considering leaving the flooring industry. What do you do with those leads?

Well, if you’re like many retailers, you turn them over to your sales team, which then proceed to work diligently and do what sales teams do best with leads: nothing.

Maybe that is a little harsh. Some salespeople will do a single follow-up call, but that’s usually the extent of it.

The problem with this is flooring prospects generally have an incubation period that often lasts weeks or months as they slowly transform from shoppers into buyers. If all you do is make a single follow-up call or send a single email, you won’t be in front of them when they make the switch from shopper to buyer.

In fact, many of them will have forgotten about you completely. The solution is to implement an automated drip-campaign for captured leads. As an example, here is how a drip-campaign that I created for dealers in my Inner Circle Club works:

Step 1: The prospect opts in for the free report (see part one about this) and receives it via email or instant download.

Step 2: Over the next 30 days, prospects receive a series of 16 emails—one about every other day. These contain 80% to 90% educational content, with only 10% to 20% of the message being a call to action.

Step 3: Any prospect who still hasn’t purchased after 30 days gets plugged into a long-term, delayed-lead nurture campaign where they hear from the dealer about once a week. There they stay until they become buyers or opt out.

You can run this campaign manually, but it’s a lot of tedious work, and it’s virtually guaranteed things will start falling through the cracks. You might feel an odd compulsion to drink more. Not good.

The good news is all these steps can be fully automated using relatively inexpensive marketing software.

Here are just some of the benefits of this kind of campaign:

•It runs on autopilot. The messages go out on time, every time, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even if the dealer is on vacation, asleep or doing whatever.

•Nothing falls through the cracks.

•Since very few dealers do this—especially the box stores—it creates total differentiation from the competition.

•By using the right kind of educational messages, the dealer is positioned as a trusted advisor—and the obvious choice—rather than just another guy hocking floors.

•When the prospect finally makes the switch from shopper to buyer, the dealer has total top-of-mind awareness.

The most important thing is not to be boring in your messages. Being boring is the cardinal sin in marketing. Unfortunately, too many floor dealers commit this sin and their marketing efforts suffer.

By the way, eliminating boring from your marketing will be the topic of my next column.