Blog
22 Nov 2013
by Stephanie Sundheimer

Closing More Sales by Optimizing Marketing Channels

There are countless ways for potential customers to find out about your business, so failure to optimize even one of your marketing channels can mean the difference between making the sale and losing out. Today, we are going to cover optimizing individual marketing channels with data-driven tips for closing more sales intended to arm you with the resources you need to capture a prospect’s attention no matter where they are when they find you.

How Customers Find You

The first thing I want to examine is the marketing channels exist and the roles they play in the buying process. Prior to making the decision to purchase, a customer must first become aware of your brand before considering, intending and finalizing that decision. The channels a customer interacts with leading up to a purchase are assisting channels while the final channel that facilitates the purchase is the last interaction channel. Here is a breakdown of the different marketing channels and their roles in the buying process.

Marketing Channel % Assisting % Last Interaction
Display ads 75% 25%
Social 71% 29%
Email 61% 39%
Paid search 52% 48%
Referral 52% 48%
Organic Search 50% 50%
Other paid 46% 54%
Direct 34% 66%

Improving the Customer Experience

Keeping in mind the role that each marketing channel plays in the buying process, we can examine the data that lies behind a channel’s engagement and interaction levels in finding ways to improve customer experience and increase sales through the optimization of these marketing channels.

Optimizing Display Ads

Display ads are primarily an assisting channel, meaning the likelihood of a customer converting after clicking on a display ad is slim. Typically seen on blogs, news sites or social media, display ads are placements of advertisements across the internet. You can have a text display ad, an image display ad or a multimedia display ad. While the most common type of display advertisements are images, display ads utilizing rich media and interactive video can see up to 1820% higher click-through-rates, meaning more engagement and more awareness for your brand. Grabbing the attention of potential customers with engaging display ads is essential to building brand awareness for closing more sales later in the buying process. Here is a breakdown of display ad types:

Ad Type Click Through Rate (CTR)
Standard Banner 0.10%
Rich Media 0.14%
Expandable Banners 0.16%
In-Stream Video 0.85%
Interactive In-Stream Video 1.92%

Optimizing Social Media Strategies

While social media also serves primarily as an assisting channel, social media interactions are huge indicators of intent when it comes to the buying decisions of a customer. In fact, a purchase decision is 71% more likely when social media is involved. Not only is social media a passive form of marketing, meaning customers decide to interact with you as opposed to you forcing ads on them, but it also has huge implications in terms of social proof.

Social proof is the idea that people are influenced by the behaviors of others, particularly others they know. In a recent study, 90% of consumers said they are influenced by online reviews. So how can you leverage this in closing more sales? The larger your social media following, the more likely it is that people who don’t know yet of you will find you. You can work to optimize your social media channels by creating quality content that people want to share. The more social shares you receive, the more potential customers you can get yourself in front of, the more brand awareness you can create and the more social proof you have behind your name.

Optimizing Email Campaigns

Email can be either an assisting channel or a last interaction channel, depending on how you setup your campaigns. Often times you might have specific emails designated for each purpose. An email marketing technique that has been increasing in popularity recently is drip emails or auto-responders. This allows you to set up a series of emails to be sent in sequence at a specific interval to your subscribers. Because as many as 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy, increasing your credibility and building trust in your brand before making a hard sell can make a huge difference. When optimizing your email campaigns, it is best to develop a strategy by outlining what your eventual goal or purchase decision is and how you can inch subscribers toward that goal slowly. Consider the marketing channels interacted with prior to subscribing as well as those you hope to point them toward with your emails. Email campaigns that aren’t optimized to meet the needs of your subscribers can be a huge turnoff from your brand so setting measurable goals and reviewing them is essential to using email as a successful marketing channel.

Optimizing for Search

Our next channel, search, is paramount to marketing. With an even 50/50 split for assistive interactions and last interactions, search engines play a role in both how customers discover you as well as how they find you when they are looking. Optimizing search as a marketing channel is all about making yourself visible. Because users finding you in search engines are specifically searching either for your brand or a product or service you offer, it is easy for potential customers to show themselves to you, not the other way around. That being said, it is completely up to you to make an impression on them. Using Google’s rich snippets, you can include thumbnail images, user ratings and Google+ integration to your search engine listings to help convince searchers to click through to your site as opposed to your competitors.

Optimizing Your Website & Closing the Sale

The most important marketing channel for closing sales is typically your website, especially for those of you who run an online business. And if you aren’t thinking of your website as marketing channel, the likelihood of success with the media we discussed previously drops dramatically. Optimizing your website for closing more sales is all about establishing credibility and engaging your users. We talked about the importance of rich media and interactive content when it comes to engagement for display ads, and the same holds true for your website. Implementing new HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript techniques or integrating video into your content can go a long way toward keeping visitors on your site an inching them toward completing a purchase. Additionally, including elements on your website that boost the confidence of your visitors in your product and your brand is also essential. Simple steps like showcasing testimonials or reviews from real customers can go a long way when it comes to optimizing your site for closing sales.

In conclusion…

There are countless ways for your customers to come across your product and your brand. In order to capitalize on your opportunities, taking a thorough look at each potential marketing channel and optimizing it accordingly is essential to capturing the attention of potential customers and ushering them through the buying process. One final thing to consider is that optimizing your marketing channels is never complete. Continual analysis and improvements are necessary in order to find what works best for your customers as well as to stay ahead of your competition. Stay tuned for more tips on continuing your optimization efforts.

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