Interacting With Your Hidden Prospects

interact with hidden prospects onlineSo, you want to take the next step and use email, mobile marketing, the internet or social media to generate more leads for your business? You know it's a good idea, everybody's doing it, but what does it mean?

Like many businesses, you may have placed advertisements in print media like newspapers, magazines or direct mail. The interaction with your prospects is fairly low and somewhat time bound (the ad is only around for as long as the paper it's printed on). Prospects call the number on the ad and you answer the phone. This is your comfort level, an "instant gratification" base level of interaction with those who call.

But, for every person that calls, there may be 10 who don't but are thinking about buying your product, just not right now. How do you interact with those 10 thinkers?

We'll call this base level of interaction "Level 1":

Shelf Life: Equal to that of the paper it's printed on

Main Benefit: You don't have to spend your time interacting with those other 10 until they call.

Main Drawback: They may never call because the ad found it's way to the recycle bin.

Level 2 - A popular place to start is with pay-per-click ads on Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Very similar to print advertising, but at this level of interaction, you drive them to your website for some (hopefully) useful information. This means spending time creating content such as a blog, downloads, videos or articles.

Shelf Life: 24/7, showing up at the time people are looking for it. Limits are money & campaign time frames.

Main Benefit: You begin to build trust through your content without having to speak to each of those visitors.

Main Drawback: You have to create and refresh that content regularly, which takes more time (or money) than Level 1.

Level 3 - The next level of interaction is more individualized and direct with prospects. It involves social media like Facebook or Twitter, text message marketing or email responses as they come in. You (or your hand-picked delegate) would respond to comments on your Facebook page or text messages or emails sent to your company. Doing so in a timely manner builds trust not only with the message sender, but also with those who see the interaction on your pages.

Shelf Life: Links available 24/7, as people share or refer your info and when they post a comment.

Main Benefit: Prospects "see" real people behind the online version of the company, strengthening your brand's trust.

Main Drawback: Takes diligence and commitment to respond, anytime, anywhere. It may not be a full-time job, but it does happen at all hours of the day.

Level 4 - Some interactions, especially those in email and text messaging, might require such a high-degree of attention and time that you may want to use software to "automate" some of the contact. For example, if a lead filled out a form for a free download and then visits a related page 27 times over the next week, you might want to send them a helpful email or text message just to nurture them along. You could do this manually, but it soon becomes a time sink. Or, with marketing automation software, you can set rules, create standard yet warm messages and have the email sent when any visitor meets the criteria (and while you sleep).

Shelf Life: Available 24/7, based on related behavior and interest of prospect.

Main Benefit: Done well, creates positive perception of your level of attention.

Main Drawback: Takes time and money upfront to design and set up a good user experience with the software.

I wrote this blog because many online marketing companies will offer you a solution without explaining what it takes on your part to be successful with that engagement. Armed with the information above, you can choose where you want to start and whether or not you want to work with a company like Inbound Edge to help you get to results. Contact us to find out what will work best for your company.