Crack the digital marketing code to generate leads

What’s the formula for marketing success? Believe it or not, there is an actual formula. It’s called The Conversion Sequence Heuristic, developed by the MECLABS Institute. And it looks like this:

C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) - 2a

Don’t worry if math isn’t your strong suit—this isn’t a problem to solve. It’s a framework for how to think about your digital marketing and lead generation efforts.

The goal is to drive a conversion (C)—getting prospects to engage with you and exchange their contact information, so you can start building a relationship with your prospect. Whether you’re looking at your website, marketing emails, or social media, every component of your message impacts conversions. MECLABS Institute states, “People climb up the [sales] funnel through a series of smaller decision points that require them to say ‘yes.’ These are micro-yes(s). If at any point along the process your potential customer says ‘no,’ you will not achieve your goal.” If you are not optimizing your assets to drive those micro-conversions, read along.

How do you make sure you’re smoothing the path towards C instead of putting up roadblocks? You evaluate the components every marketing interaction may include:

  • The motivation (m) of the prospect
  • The unique value proposition (v) of your business
  • The prospect’s incentive (i) to take some action (like download an infographic, watch a demo video vs. Providing their contact information)
  • The friction (f) preventing them from taking that action (having a confusing website, asking for too much information)
  • The prospect’s anxiety (a) about taking that action (If I give them my phone number, will I get spammed with marketing calls?)

It sounds complicated, but it all boils down to looking at your digital marketing efforts from your customers’ point of view.

Know your value proposition

The first step to improve your digital marketing is to define what you do better than anyone else. And then, making sure that everything you put out into the world broadcasts that unique value proposition.

“Unique” is the key word here. Take a look at your current website. What’s the one overarching message it is expressing? If it’s, “We provide technology solutions and services,” that doesn’t give a first-time visitor any reason to choose you versus a thousand other companies saying the same thing.

You may have to do some brainstorming. You may even want to talk to your customers. But there is something no one else does better than you. There’s a reason your customers keep coming back. Zero in on what that is, and make sure it’s always the first thing anyone encountering your business sees.

Visualize the customer journey

The foundation of every effective digital marketing effort is a well-designed website, but many companies don’t even view their websites as a demand generation tool.

Most regard them as little more than a digital brochure. These days, that’s the bare minimum. If you want your website to actually generate leads for your business, it must do more.

Start by thinking about your customers’ journey. There is a specific path customers take to find you, to learn about your solutions, and ultimately get to a sales conversation. What does that path look like? If you have a sophisticated marketing organization, you can use tools like Marketo’s Opportunity Influence Analyzer to build out a detailed map of your customers’ journey. But you can also just talk to your customers: How did you find us? What terms were you searching for that led you to our site?

Align digital assets

Once you understand your customer journey, you can start aligning digital content with pivot points that move customers closer towards a sales conversation.

Ideally, your digital assets, starting with your website, should mimic that path and continually propel customers to the next leg of the journey.

For example, maybe you learn that most customers find you when searching for help migrating their Citrix solutions to cloud. If so, your expertise in Citrix cloud migration should be front and center on your website. You can then start building the right assets (cloud migration eBooks, infographics, blogs) that demonstrate your expertise and help drive the conversation forward.

Or, maybe you find the prospects you’re most successful with tend to focus on your reputation and customers you’ve worked with in the past. In that case, client testimonials should have prominent position on your site—and maybe you shift more marketing resources towards case studies and video testimonials.

Reduce friction

Once you’ve defined your unique value and mapped out the customer journey, you’re ready to really put The Conversion Heuristic through its paces.

At this point, the goal is to closely examine your marketing assets to identify any element that could introduce friction in the customer journey.

Remember, even if the goal seems straightforward—say, “Enter your contact information to download this white paper”—that macro-conversion is the sum of many small steps. The prospect had to come across your digital ad (or LinkedIn post, or Google result) for that white paper. The title had to be clear and compelling enough to get them to click the link. On arriving at the landing page, the title and text had to reinforce that the paper would be useful. The page layout, navigation—even the button they click to submit contact information—all had to make getting it seem quick and easy.

Each of those steps represents a micro-conversion. If you haven’t thought them through from the customer’s perspective, it’s all too easy for the prospect to say, “Never mind, I’m done,” at any point along the way.

How can you reduce friction on your website and digital marketing assets?

  • Create a clear, simple path. When examining digital marketing assets with The Conversion Heuristic, the number one question should be, “Where did I land, and what’s my next step?”
  • Don’t get too cute. It’s possible to be too creative. Above all, every digital asset should explicitly tell the customer what they’re doing here, what you’re offering, what’s the next step.
  • Don’t get greedy. Long forms demanding too much information are a sure way to turn prospects off. The value of what you’re offering also needs to match the effort you’re asking the prospect to provide. No one’s going to give you their life story just to download an infographic.
  • Deliver what you promise. If the prospect came to your site by clicking a link for a free eBook, the link to get that eBook better be on that landing page. If the promised offer isn’t there, or if customers have to jump through multiple hoops to get it, they’ll likely bounce from that page.
  • Have a clear call to action. Don’t be cryptic. Even the simple 2-3 words of text on a button can be a critical factor in converting a lead.

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