Introduction

Running a successful business is no easy job. You need to make sure your existing customers are happy with what you offer and, at the same time, attract new customers to generate revenue to expand your business further.

You also need to be flexible and always on the lookout for new and more effective ways to connect with your audience. It's not just the product that needs to convince them. It's also the story around it. Your brand. And how you communicate.

How often do you contact your audience? How do you craft your message? How does this message change as your relationship with them matures? These are the aspects that you need to consider if you want them to do business with you.

Want to take the guesswork out of your marketing campaigns?

This guide will take you through the entire customer journey and show you how to improve your profits - one step at a time. From traffic generation, through lead nurturing, driving conversions, and finally - the delight.

Enjoy the read!

PART I

Lead generation

If you've ever seen a sales funnel model, you do know that there are two ways to make it work well for you.

The first is to fill up the funnel as much as possible. Even if your conversion rate isn't perfect, you still get good results.

The second is to fix any potential leaks - if your leads are dropping out, you're wasting what you've invested in them so far.

Both of these processes are crucial to making your business work. So this ebook starts with the first step: how to generate traffic to your site. Next, we move on to how to turn your visitors into leads and keep them coming back for more.

Are you ready? Let's go!

 Is your marketing funnel leaking?
Is your sales funnel leaking?

1. How to generate more traffic

Driving traffic to your website is a topic of its own. Numerous books and articles have been written about this, so let's focus on the main points.

You want to attract as many visitors to your site as possible. But not just any visitors - we're talking about your specific target audience.

You don't want to spend your advertising budget to get thousands of users to your website, not if they quickly bounce because what they've seen isn't what they were looking for.

So the first step is to find out who your audience is and create personas. Here's a good article from Shopify on how to build buyer personas to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing.

Once you have your personas ready, brainstorm which of the following activities will fit your budget and appeal to your audience.

11 ways to get more traffic to your site:

Work on search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is one of the most effective ways to get your brand in front of your audience. The purpose is simple - to get your website to the top of browser search rankings for particular phrases, keywords, and customer questions

It relates to how your website is structured, how your content is created, the quality and number of linking sites, and much more. To put it briefly, you want to serve great quality information in a way that is friendly toward readers and search engine crawlers at the same time.

If you're new to SEO, the following resources will get you started in no time:

And if you're looking for more knowledge and inspiration on SEO, check out the MOZ blog and Search Engine Journal. They're full of interesting articles, guides, and videos you'll find valuable for improving your rankings in search engines.

Run paid advertising campaigns.

Another great way to attract new visitors to your website is to invest in paid search, social media advertising, and display advertising. It's a quick and reliable way to get your website and brand in front of your target audience. The only downside is - it costs money. But what doesn't these days?

So consider the various networks and platforms. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

The key to choosing the right one is to understand your audience: how they behave, how they search for information they need, and where they interact with others. Taking these elements into consideration makes it much easier to reach your audience effectively.

Here are some good resources to consider to start generating traffic with paid advertising:

The best thing about paid advertising is that it's accountable. You can easily measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and make each new one even better!

Start a blog.

Running a blog is one of the best, most reliable, and cheapest ways to attract traffic to your site. Not only does it get you the attention you desire, it can also help you build authority as an expert in your field.

The idea behind the blog should be to create a knowledge base, a space where your audience can learn new things and get questions answered. You should write on topics they find interesting and can use in their everyday life at work or home.

We're big believers in the value a blog can provide to an audience. That's why we've been running a blog related to marketing, productivity, marketing automation, and the GetResponse platform.

Here are a few resources to help you get started with blogging:

Engage in content marketing.

For some, content marketing equals blogging. But that's not true.

Content marketing is about creating great content - that's obvious. Content that gets people excited and engaged. Content that makes them want to share it with others.

What kind of content? That depends on your audience, your business, and your industry. It can be insightful articles, handy cheat sheets, quick and actionable lists, webinars - anything.

Content marketing is also about distribution. It's not enough to have great content and hope for the best, that someone will eventually find it. You need to have a solid distribution strategy in place to make sure this approach works for you.

Step up your content marketing game with the following resources:

Virtual Conference Email Invitation from MarketingProfs
A virtual conference is another example of content marketing in action
Engage on social media.

One way to attract new audiences and expand your reach to a wider audience is to engage on social media.

This means:

  • Starting, managing, and joining the discussions on topics related to your field of expertise
  • Helping your prospects and customers by answering their questions
  • Distributing your content across social media channels
  • Spreading information about your brand
  • Asking for feedback from your audience

Here's a handful of articles to read if you take social media seriously:

Exchange articles with other sites.

Another effective way to increase website traffic is to reach out to new audiences. This can be done, for example, by exchanging articles with other brands.

If you're already producing content, this should be a relatively easy process. Just find other brands with an audience similar to your (or an audience you aspire to reach) and partner with them. Agree to write for each other's blogs, prepare the content, get your names in front of new readers, and link to each other's sites.

This is a great solution that can work in every industry. The main advantages are:

  • Both parties receive valuable content they couldn't produce themselves.
  • You put your brand and name in front of new audiences.
  • You exchange links, which helps increase your website authority, which helps you increase your organic traffic.
Become a contributor.
Another great way to increase your exposure and attract traffic to your site is to become a contributor to a high-authority website.

Being a contributor means you can publish articles and present them to readers of the partner blog or website. These should be great quality articles and not advertisements - content their audience would be interested in reading.

By providing free content, you receive exposure - a chance for people to see your name, bio, and a link to your website, and a chance to be seen as an authority in your field.

If you want to become a contributor, these articles will be useful:

And once you've read those, you can reach out to us and become a contributor on our blog, too! Just click here and let us know what you'd like to write about :)

GetResponse Marketing Automation Hub Resource Center
The GetResponse Automation Hub providing information from top-class industry experts
Upcycle your content.

Most marketers think content marketing is always about publishing new content. That's not entirely true. More often than not, you already have enough content to serve your customers. What should you do then? The answer is content upcycling.

It's likely that, even though your content turned out great, there were people that didn't see it. Maybe they didn't feel like reading it or weren't looking where it was published. Content upcycling tackles this problem.

Infographic - 11 Habits You Need to Develop to Become a Brilliant Email Marketer
An infographic based on the The State of Email Marketing 2016 report

The point of this process is to turn your existing content pieces into something new. For example, an article into a video, or an infographic into a slide deck. The goal is to present the content to your readers in the way that appeals to them best - a way they like to consume content.

Since most customer groups consist of various types of consumers, some prefer videos, some read articles, others only look at infographics. If you upcycle your content, you get a chance to present it in a new, more meaningful way to readers that might have missed it.

When deciding on what forms of content to produce, think about the channels your customers use daily. Find out how they search for meaningful information, how they educate themselves, and how they entertain themselves. Then test various forms of content to see which work best.

Co-promote.

You don't always have to do everything on your own. Promotional campaigns, webinars, ebooks - you can easily do these projects in partnership with other companies.

This is a good way to reach out to new audiences and provide better value to your existing fans. You don't have to be an expert in everything related to your business. Instead, a partner that knows more or can talk about it from a different angle can be valuable and make your business more credible.

If the services complement each other and the target audience is similar, you can run a great project to benefit both of your teams, get you more exposure, and attract more traffic to your site.

Holiday Copromotion Newsletter from GetResponse
An example of a holiday co-promotion
Reach out to influencers.

Influencer marketing has become an important topic among companies that want to stand out from the crowd and increase their online presence.

In theory, it's a simple but effective way to get exposure by putting your brand next to a key influencer in your industry. That's in theory, of course. How do you identify influencers and get them to notice your brand? And how do you persuade them to mention your brands? That's an entirely different story.

You can read more about it in these two articles: Are You Making The Most Out Of Influencer Marketing? and How To Get Influencers To Notice You.

Optimize your posts.

This goes with #8. If you already have a great piece of content that attracts plenty of traffic, why not focus on improving it?

You want to achieve the highest rank in search engine results for your relevant keywords and questions. If you've already done that, take a step back and consider whether you can improve what's already there.

Things change, and an article you've written may no longer be relevant, even though it still gets traction. Since you want to provide better value, why not make the readers' lives easier by updating your articles?

You may worry about them noticing that the article isn't new, especially if there are many comments posted. If that's the case, even better! The discussion provides social proof to make your article credible and helps you persuade new visitors to stay and read through it.

Turning casual visitors into longterm fans

Now that you've learned how to attract more users to your site, it's time to transform them from casual visitors into engaged, long-term fans.

Unfortunately, it's not enough to produce valuable content to keep people coming back for more. Your competitors and the media buzz surrounding them will be trying to move their attention from your brand to theirs.

So you need to keep reminding them about you. This way, if they ever need something that you offer, they'll remember you and go straight to your site.

One way to make sure they don't forget you is to get them to sign up to your mailing list, so you can quickly notify them whenever you publish a new article, run a special promotional campaign, launch a new product, or simply have something interesting to say.

To do this, you need to learn how to collect email addresses. In other words, how to persuade visitors to fill out the form and provide you with their contact details.

It's not an easy task, but it's not impossible either. For best results, you'll need a landing page and a sign-up form.

Landing pages

Landing pages are built for one purpose only: conversion - getting people to do something, such as signing up for your newsletter or webinar, or downloading an ebook.

When designed right, they can be effective. And what do we mean by right? Here are a few pointers to help you determine whether your landing page has been designed well:

  1. The unique selling proposition is clear and readily visible.
  2. You have a powerful headline that conveys the benefits of the offer to your customers.
  3. You have a subheader or supportive subheadline after the headline.
  4. You use images or videos to support your message.
  5. The call to action is visible and convincing.
  6. The form is clear and easy to fill out.
  7. You use social proof or other trust elements.

Here are a couple of free landing page template examples from GetResponse:

This article by Pam Neely is a great resource that clearly explains the crucial elements that make landing pages effective.

On top of that, you might want to read the following pieces:

Live Webinar - Landing Page Template Example
Landing page template example
Fitness Superstar - Landing Page Template Example
Landing page template example

Sign-up forms

Sign-up forms are essential for email list building. They can be on your landing page or website, or added as a separate tab on your Facebook page.

Here are a few elements to include in a sign-up form:

  • Lead magnet to capture the reader's attention
  • Headline stating the purpose of the sign-up form
  • Input fields
  • Call-to-action button
  • Social proof and trust elements
  • Required legal information and checkboxes where applicable
Gourmet Food Newsletter Pop-up
An example of a pop-up sign-up form

The effectiveness of your form will largely depend on how well you design it and where you place it on your page. Most important, the sign-up form should be visible and convincing, so people can see clearly why it's worth subscribing.

The following three articles guide you through how to use sign-up forms to generate high-quality leads in no time:

Email Sign-up Form Example
Email sign-up form built using GetResponse
PART II

Lead nurturing.

What is the purpose of getting people on your list? To keep them informed about your brand and get them to consider doing business with you.

But there's a limit to what forms and landing pages can do. They can generate interest, induce readers to crave more, and persuade them to sign up. Sometimes they can also help set expectations about the type of content they'll receive in the future. But that's about it.

If you want someone to make a purchase, it's not enough to get them on your mailing list. You have to convince them that they need your product, that yours is the best on the market, and that they should do business with you. How? Slowly but steadily, provide quality content and value to your readers, moving them closer to the moment when they make a buying decision.

In the marketing world, that's called lead nurturing - like nurturing flowers by providing care, sunshine, water, and maybe some fertilizer. Essentially, it's what you have to do to help your prospects move through the stages of your customer lifecycle.

It's safe to assume that you want your readers to reach the decision stage as quickly and efficiently as possible. You don't want to spend too much time on them when they're not ready. You also don't want to send them to your sales team if they're not interested in having a chat just yet.

That's why we've prepared several strategies for your lead nurturing program.

Create a welcome series.

One of the best things you can do is to automate the process of welcoming your new readers. Regardless of where and when they decide to opt in, they can be greeted the way they deserve - with the best content sent at appropriate intervals.

A welcome series typically consists of messages sent to new readers at regular intervals. The aim is to guide them step by step through your product: what problems it can solve, what its benefits are, and which other companies use it.

With a welcome series, you can start a broad discussion of the topic and then narrow down to the essentials when your readers are ready to make a decision of whether or not to do business with you.

Kiehls Welcome Email Newsletter
A welcome email from Kiehl's
Create a top of mind campaign.

Sometimes you have readers who aren't new but still haven't made the decision to purchase. Either they're not convinced, or the timing wasn't right, and they're not ready to commit. For such readers, create a top of mind campaign.

As the name implies, the purpose of this campaign is to keep you on top of your readers' minds. In theory, when they are finally ready to make a decision, they'll think of your brand because you've kept in touch the whole time.

Luckily, this is something that marketing automation can help you with.

You can create a series of messages to be sent monthly. Each provides valuable content and subtly points toward your brand. There should be a good balance between value and selfpromotion so you don't scare the readers away.

Automated Email Example from American Giant
Presenting core values might be an excellent way to appeal to your target audience

Another important thing to note is what these messages are about and naming them right. You may want to move your readers to this cycle from many different sources. Not all of them may fit at the beginning of the sequence, so make sure you know at which point they should enter.

Consider who your users are.

This isn't necessarily an idea for a campaign but a solid tactic that can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your communication program. As we mentioned previously, you have to realize fully who you're talking to at all times.

It isn't enough to automate a welcome or top of mind cycle and direct all your leads to it. You should know who these people are, what they're interested in, and what their preferences and needs are.

Chances are, they won't fit any of those cycles - unless youpersonalize the communication to match their needs.

Whether they're a B2B or B2C company, whether they're a senior level manager or a junior, or whether they've used your product or are newbies - this is information that could completely change what to put in your communication.

We're not saying you have to customize the content of every message. Start slow, personalize what you can, and see how it affects your audience engagement. When it starts to work, you'll know it's worth the extra effort.

Uncommon Goods Email Newsletter Campaign
You can use categories to profile your subscribers
Use tagging and lead scoring.

Tagging and lead scoring are tactics that can help you reach the goal of getting to know your audience.

The technique is to assign a tag or a score (either positive or negative) for particular customer characteristics or actions. Based on these, you can make data-driven decisions about how to approach your audience, what content to serve them, and when and how to contact them for best results.

In theory, the more data the better. But as you're probably aware, it's tough to make decisions when you're overwhelmed with information. So stick to elements you can understand and use.

When tagging and scoring your customers based on who they are and how they interact with your brand, consider assessing only the most important factors. Is it time to send this particular piece of content? Or is it time to pass them to your sales department? These questions can be answered with tagging and lead scoring in your campaigns.

Reactivate dormant subscribers.

Tagging, scoring, and analysis provides good intel about your subscribers. One thing you may discover is who is active and who is dormant.

Dormant subscribers stay on your list but don't engage with your communication. Some marketers don't see this as a problem, but they do add costs to your email marketing campaigns.

Inactive subscribers don't open your messages, but they affect your deliverability. Their lack of action is a signal to ISPs (such as Gmail) that your content isn't interesting. Based on this signal, your emails may be filtered unfavorably and land in the junk folder instead of reaching your other subscribers.

That's why you need to reactivate dormant subscribers. Get them to open your messages, engage with them, and persuade them to make a purchase.

Reactivation Autoresponder Email from Duolingo
That's how Duolingo reminds users that it's crucial to practice every single day

You can do so manually or - even better - automatically, by defining a set of conditions. First, specify those who are inactive (such as a subscriber that hasn't opened any of your emails in 30 days) and what action to take (such as sending a last-chance offer).

Think of the type of content that will persuade them to become active again and then test it. If your last-chance campaign doesn't work, either remove them or move them to a separate list where they won't receive your regular mailings.

PART III

Conversion

A successful marketing strategy mainly involves communicating your value proposition to a carefully identified target market. You make every effort to build awareness and credibility, gradually gaining the trust of your audience. You plan thoughtfully and take action to generate an ever-increasing flow of leads.

As a result, you devote a great deal of time and resources to lead generation. However, the truth is that you don't want leads - what you need is revenue! Let's face it, every business, large or small, depends on revenue. That's why the primary business objective is always revenue growth.

"Great marketers report on revenue and cost."
- Andrew Davis

Since revenue is the ultimate goal for the marketing and sales departments, let's focus on conversions tied to revenue.

But what is conversion? If you want to measure it, you need to be able to identify it, right?

Here's the definition of conversion in the Marketing Sherpa glossary: "The point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action." As you can see, the definition is very general and leaves plenty of room for interpretation. Each click on the CTA button might be considered a conversion.

That's why your first task is to define conversion so you can focus on the right data.

For example, in email marketing there are a few significant conversions:

  • Subscriptions: when people use a web form to sign up for your newsletter, they convert into subscribers.
  • Downloads: if subscribers consume your content (ebooks, whitepapers, infographics, etc.), it clearly means that your content team does a great job of recognizing their needs and providing value.
  • Sign-ups: how many people decide to sign up for a webinar or free trial?

But the most important conversion is when a subscriber becomes a buyer. Conversion tracking allows you to estimate the revenue per subscriber. And for most marketers, that is the ultimate KPI, perhaps the only one that matters to your CMO and CEO.

Converting leads into buyers

The customer journey looks different across companies, and so does the definition of a lead. And if you analyze the road to purchase among your customers, you'll notice significant differences.

So to capture leads, you'll need answers to the following questions:

Who are the people that are interested in my products or services? Whom should I target with my marketing communication? How do I know if a person is interested in my product? Whom should I consider a potential customer? How do I know if a person is qualified to be referred to the sales team?

For best results, explore the difference between marketing qualified leads (MLQ) and sales qualified leads (SQL).

Building a bridge between MQL and SQL

Historically, a "lead" in marketing referred to a likely business opportunity. The term was understood by everyone in the company. It usually meant a person who had the budget and was looking for a product or service like yours.

But the definition has changed dramatically in the era of online marketing. Nowadays, most companies recognize two stages of leads:

  • Marketing qualified leads (MQL) - people who express interest in your products or services
  • Sales qualified leads (SQL) - people who are qualified to purchase your products or services

This two-stage lead qualification process is designed to allow marketing and sales teams to focus on what they do best and streamline business processes. But the final result depends on the quality of MQLs.

And how does the marketing team qualify leads?

Sometimes by carefully measuring engagement with a brand and picking up only people who meet certain conditions.

But often a person is automatically tagged as a prospect if they are willing to provide identification details for access to a piece of content.

The second stage means that leads captured by the marketing department are not always a good fit for the sales team. So it's best to consult with the sales team to establish the criteria for a proper MQL. For example, your sales team may look for a person with budget authority who holds a certain position in a company of a certain size in a preferred industry.

Talk to your sales representatives.

Silos within the organization are a major obstacle to dynamic revenue growth. When you treat revenue as a common business goal, lead qualification becomes equally important both for sales and marketing.

By developing more sales qualified leads, you can cut costs, increase revenue, and save sales representatives' time.

Set up meetings with your sales representatives and ask about criteria for someone to be considered a lead. This phase is crucial for your entire revenue generation plan. Only based on information from your sales team will you know if marketing is bringing enough valuable leads into the funnel.

A too-general definition may result in a massive flow of contacts but lower conversion (negative impact on revenue). On the other hand, if you are too specific, you may have trouble providing enough leads (not enough opportunities for revenue growth).

It's important to hold such meetings regularly. In time, your sales reps will get more information about leads. As they gain experience, they will be able to provide key insights into the customer journey and any aspects that determine the purchase decision.

Content Marketing Metrics Graph by Content Marketing Institute
Sales lead quality and sales remain among the top 3 metrics used to measure content marketing efforts

Information from sales representatives helps you reverse engineer the customer journey and uncover the underlying purchasing patterns. This is gold if you aim for constant improvement.

Get to know your subscribers and observe their behavior.

How do you know if a person is interested in your product? The answer to that question is not easy but is fundamental to an effective lead generation strategy.

Start by discovering your target audience: who are your customers? What are their pain points? Understanding the people who are interested in purchasing your products and services is key to effective marketing. How can you provide value to people you know nothing about?

Fortunately, with the help of the right technology, you can be close to your customers and figure out what's going on in your marketing funnel.

Using lead scoring and tagging to evaluate the readiness of leads to purchase

We've already briefly talked about tagging and scoring in chapter 2 of this ebook. Now let's see how you can use them to recognize customer needs and determine the moment when they are ready to buy

Scoring

Scoring allows you to add or subtract points based on user behavior, such as downloading a specific piece of content, signing up for a webinar, or clicking a certain URL.

You can decide the number of points for each subscriber action (such as 10 points for signing up for a webinar and 5 points for downloading an ebook). This enables you to track activity and set up a threshold value (such as 40 points) when you consider a subscriber engaged.

Automation Workflow Using Scoring from GetResponse
An example marketing automation workflow where a subscriber receives 10 scoring points after clicking any link in the welcome email

When you plan your marketing automation workflow, you can decide which behaviors merit extra points and which to ignore. Try to collect meaningful information that might indicate certain subscriber's needs, such as an interest in classic or avant-garde fashion.

Tagging

Tagging allows you to assign labels to those in your contact database (such as active, engaged, prospect). You can assign any number of tags and use them to build personalized, relevant communication with subscribers.

Think about data that has meaning in your business. Design a marketing automation workflow that quickly allows you to collect the information you need: industry, company size, location, and other details about the buyer.

Automation Workflow Using Tagging from GetResponse
An example marketing automation workflow where a subscriber is tagged engaged after receiving more than 50 scoring points
Timely messages with the right content

There are a lot of important factors behind an effective lead generation strategy. But most of us would agree that the following two are most important.

Time

Time is money - this old proverb applies to lead generation like no other. As a marketer, you know that you need to act fast to bring results. Every moment, you compete for the attention of visitors, subscribers, and customers.

Relevant information

The amount of marketing information is massive. If you want to get noticed by your target audience and keep their attention, you need to provide them with relevant information. You won't get very far if you send the same message to all the people on your email list. If you want to provide value, you need to personalize communication for every person on your list (or at least for each segment).

As you can see, effective lead generation boils down to being close to your target audience and engaging them in communication with your brand through valuable, meaningful content.

PART IV

Delight

The structure of this ebook may suggest that the job of a marketer is to attract, convert and delight customers. Some people may understand that the delight part (whatever that means) is the final stage of the marketing process and is reserved for customers only.

In fact, that's not the case. If you want your brand to be remembered, you need to impress people long before they become your customers. You need to do your best to make each point of contact with your brand meaningful along the customer journey.

You can achieve this goal by designing a great customer experience, where customer satisfaction is an absolute obligation. It requires a clear strategy and careful planning of each moment of contact, but the final result is more people satisfied with your brand.

"Exceptional customer service is rare and memorable."" -
Jay Baer

But perhaps we should start by clarifying vague terminology. Here's what we mean by "delighting customers."

Start small but provide structure.

Whether your budget is large or small, creating great experiences doesn't need to be expensive. The key is to come up with a coherent strategy and implement it with grit.

Here are a few rules that can help you design your strategy:

Be personal.

Engage personally with your audience whenever possible. Comment on their social media posts, make a phone call, send a handwritten letter or postcard to keep in touch.

Answering questions is standard. To go a step further, listen to what they say and respond (like, retweet, or engage in a discussion).

Use automation to help you remember birthdays, holidays or any other moments that are significant to your subscribers (such as subscription date or the day they started their business).

Top Shop Personal Birthday Email
Birthday email form Topshop
Go beyond expectations.

Move people from satisfied to happy. If you put the customer at the center of your marketing strategy, you'll notice a lot of ways you can help them feel valued as you provide solutions to their problems, and help them achieve their goals.

Top Shop Personal Birthday Email
Birthday email form Topshop
Appreciate engagement

Quickly identify people who engage with your brand and treat them like VIPs. Make them your allies and help them become your brand ambassadors.

Kate Spade Email Newsletter
Kate Spade encourages customers to share their outfit using a dedicated hashtag

Over to you

After reading this guide you know how to drive traffic to your website, turn visitors into leads, and keep them coming back for more. We have tried and tested all of the presented tactics and we know that they bring results.

However, the single most important thing is understanding your target audience. Without valuable information about your intended audience, it will be difficult to plan a customer journey resulting in conversions and developing long-term relationships with customers.

So focus on your customers and use tips from this guide to create a consistent marketing operations program that attracts the right people and helps you build long-term relationships with them.