With so many potential prospects online, just about every chief marketing officer, sales professional, and business owner wants to understand how to identify their best prospects using their company website.
But not just any old website has the ability to identify your best prospects. Only a website that offers premium content can advance prospects to a new level of interested in the sales funnel. Used properly, premium content can identify which prospects are hot and ready to speak to your sales reps.
Before we jump into the premium content, let’s first identify the sales process, or buyer’s journey, which is the path all customers take before purchasing any type of product or service. This journey is characterized by the AIDA Model, which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
Top of the Funnel – Information Qualified Lead
The first step, Awareness, starts when a person has a problem that causes them to search Google. Let’s say ‘Susan’ needs information on how to house train a new puppy. She logs on to Google and types “how to house train a new puppy,” and finds a blog article on your company’s website, PuppyTrainersRUS.com. Eureka! That was easy! Just as she’s finishing up the blog, she notices a Call to Action button that says “Download Our Puppy Training Manual for Beginners.”
This piece of content is called a Top of The Funnel (TOFU) premium offer. TOFU can come in many forms - an eBook, whitepaper, webinar, etc. The only way to retrieve it is by providing your contact information through an online form.
TOFU is much more in-depth than the blog article that originally drew Susan to your website. TOFU is strictly information and educational in nature. It makes no mention of or reference to products or services. But once a prospect fills out the form in exchange for the premium content offer, they are officially an Information Qualified Lead, which means they are both aware and interested in learning more from your company.
Middle of the Funnel – Marketing Qualified Lead
Once the prospect, Susan, has successfully progressed through the Awareness and Interest stages of the AIDA model, it’s time to create another type of content that triggers an interest in your actual brand, not just the information you offer. This content type is called Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) or Brand Filter Offer.
Instead of answering research questions, MOFU is all about your company’s unique approach and solution to the visitor’s problem. Talking about your methodology establishes an added layer of interest that can easily take a lead from cold to warm.
An example of a MOFU offer befitting our puppy house training scenario could be access to a video series or webinar with the expert puppy whisperers of Puppy Trainers R US.com. In order for Susan to gain access, she must relinquish a few more details about herself.
Once Susan downloads the MOFU offer, it’s safe to say she’s not only just interested in the general topic of puppy training, she wants to know about your specific solution to her initial problem. Susan is now graduated to a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). But chances are, Susan still has reservations that need to be addressed and this is where your lead nurturing email strategy comes into play.
Bottom of the Funnel Content – Sales Qualified Lead
Now that Susan’s reached MQL status, she’s a much warmer lead before. She’s now successfully engaged and familiar with your brand and it’s solution to her problem. Not too fast though. Sales conversion is not an overnight process. No matter how convinced they are, they may need a little extra push to become a paying customer.
This is where the Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) offer comes into play. BOFU offers provide something more tangible than an e-book or whitepaper. Examples include a Free Trial, Demo, or Coupon that provides a chance to test your product or service or speak with a representative from your company. In the event that Susan chooses not to partake in the BOFU offer right away, another lead nurturing email series that answers common pushbacks might just give her the nudge she needs.
If you’ve done a great job at the other stages of the funnel, your best prospects will be primed and ready to convert. Once Susan finally accepts an offer to test drive your puppy training services or speak with a trainer, she’s officially in Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) territory and deserves a call from a member of the sales team.
Using this method, it’s possible to use your website to identify your very best prospects by offering up premium content at each stage of the sales funnel.
images credit: http://www.grahamjones.co.uk