In a perfect world, inbound marketing works like a charm.
New prospects in your target audience are attracted to your site by great content, sign up to your list, and become customers.
Unicorns prance under rainbows, everyone holds hands and sings kumbaya, and we all live happily ever after. Unfortunately, us inbound marketers live in the real world, where we know the process isn’t always that smooth (and unicorns only exist in fantasy).
If you’ve been doing inbound for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced the sticky lead phenomenon, where prospective customers get trapped in one specific phase of the buyer’s journey like flies on inbound wax paper.
Let’s look at three common situations where inbound leads get stuck in the inbound process, then discuss how to fix them:
1. Lots of visitors but no subscribers
Before solving this problem, pat yourself on the back. Even though you might feel like your leads are jammed up at the very first step of inbound marketing, you’ve achieved something many marketers struggle with: Growing your website audience. Now that you’ve brought them to your page, you need them to convert.
It’s hard to prescribe a solution to this problem without specifics, since there could be several reasons people visit your site but aren’t interested in what they find. Here are a few things to try in this situation:
- Evaluate your content. Remember to think about everyone else your visitor is talking to, not just interactions they’ve had with your company. Also consider content format – if you’re giving people the information they want, but it’s stuck in the middle of a 55-minute video, your site’s visitors probably can’t find it. Be sure your content can be accessed quickly and easily.
- Consider the technical side. It could be that your interface is difficult to work with, your color scheme is off-putting, or your site pages are loading slowly. Kissmetrics reports that nearly half of all site visitors expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- Adjust your lead capture forms. If you’re asking people for their first name, last name, e-mail address, phone number, eye color, date of their firstborn child, mother’s maiden name, etc., you’re doing too much. Be sure your forms are simple and get right to the point: name and email is all you really need at the top of your funnel, for now.
2. Downloads and subscribers but no engagement
You’ve built traffic, you’ve got an offer that seems to be popular, but then…silence. Once visitors join your list, they seem to disappear into that black hole of cat GIFs and dance videos we call the internet.
To address this issue, once again, you’ll want to take a look at your content (noticing a pattern? If not, I’ll spell it out: Inbound sucks without great content). But this time, instead of evaluating the subject and format, take a deeper dive.
- Is it well-written?
- Does it answer questions?
- Does it get to the point?
- Is there a logical next step for the reader or viewer?
If people are subscribing to your list but engagement and open rates are low, there are a number of things you can try. Remember to segment as much as possible, personalize your messages, and continue to experiment with different send times and email formats until you find one that works best.
3. Downloads, engagement, but no sales
If your inbound leads are getting stuck just before they actually buy, give your salespeople some WD-40 and tell them to get out there!
Only kidding of course. But if you actually do have an audience that engages with your content and website consistently yet doesn’t buy, it may be time to get the sales team involved. Remember that your sales reps should be advisors. Their job is to listen to the prospect and learn about their needs – not to push your product or service down their throat as quickly as possible.
Also make sure there’s a clear next step for a lead to actually become a customer. You’d be surprised how many companies have a great funnel filled with excellent content at every step of the buyer’s journey, but don’t actually present a way for potential buyers to speak with sales or make a purchase.
The other important concept to know for converting a lead to a customer is lowering the barrier of entry. If someone is on the fence, a free trial, discount, or special offer might help them decide to take the plunge and buy what you’re offering. Experiment with a few different offers to see which one creates the most customers.
Above all, remember that if your product or service is one that other companies are selling successfully, yet your inbound leads are getting stuck in your funnel, the issue is somewhere in your marketing. But with a little elbow grease and some thoughtful analysis, you can free those leads to keep that massive inbound wheel turning successfully.
Until next time…