It is overly simplistic to imagine the online sales cycle as one where a consumer arrives on your website for the first time and then moves directly to making a purchase. This may happen on rare occasions, of course, but for the most part, we arrive on webpages with the intent of learning more about a product or service or out of a curiosity to learn more about the brand or to be entertained or educated in some way.
This is a key understanding in the psychology of site visitors and the top reason to invest in the resources necessary to: 1) accurately define the unique buyer personas that make up your customer pool; and 2) understand the various funnel stages those personas move through on their path to converting.
Mapping out lead-nurturing content to each stage of the sales cycle will not always result in a straight line that moves from point A to point B. Sometimes the path to conversion for each persona will meander and loop back on itself, especially at points where the consumer requires more information before they're comfortable or ready to convert.
This is where a lead nurturing software that incorporates drip email campaign capabilities can be helpful. Mapping out the ifs-ands-or-buts pathways for each persona can become complicated, so automation solutions such as Infusionsoft that offer a drag-and-drop interface can make the mapping of the funnel stages manageable.
If you choose to map out the unique funnel stages for each persona manually, the process is very similar to storyboarding. Start with a large blank surface such as a poster board and start drawing out the various steps a particular persona may go through while exploring your brand. For example a plan may start with something to the effect of this, as outlined in this infographic:
Each of these personas will continue to receive intelligent follow-up emails based on how they are responding to prior emails. As such, these two streams of personas will continue to break off into different mapping strategies as their responses vary. Think of it as a "choose your own adventure" book.
All readers begin on page one, reading the same story, but as they make choices regarding what they would like to read, they end up moving down different storylines. The same thing happens when you map out content based on where varying buyer personas are in the conversion process.
As you can see, this can get complicated and somewhat difficult to keep track of and that's where a software like Infusionsoft can come in handy. (Disclaimer: I recently listened in on an excellent demo given by Infusionsoft rep Tyler Wright. I am not in any way associated with Infusionsoft professionally and do not have a financial interest in the company.)
With all this being said, there is obviously a lot of planning and strategy that go into a successful execution of this type of content marketing program. This is where it might make sense for some organizations to outsource complicated programs of this nature to agencies that specialize in buyer personas, funnel stage strategies and drip marketing campaigns and are experienced in using associated automation software.
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Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Aubrey is director of content for Salted Stone, an award-winning boutique digital agency that drives increased revenue for clients by producing extraordinary websites, digital collateral, and search marketing campaigns.
Aubrey specializes in helping businesses engage with their clients and respective audience. She has experience working in a broad range of industries, including technology, e-commerce, licensing, marketing, and publishing.
March 19, 2014