As we get closer and closer to Christmas, many of your employees will be thinking about their holidays; where they will be eating Christmas dinner and whether or not they’ve forgotten anyone’s presents (damn...grandparents!).
Your office will no doubt be closing for a short while at some point over the Christmas period. As you and other businesses slow down for the holiday season, you might think that it makes sense to cut back on prospecting and lead generation. You know, why continue putting the same effort into lead generation when less people are browsing your website?
Well you’re wrong. You may have less meetings and a slightly emptier inbox but that doesn’t mean that everyone has stopped looking for that new service provider or product that will help them to grow and succeed in 2016.
Although online consumer activity falls towards the end of December, prospects are still going online to look for advice. Even if your sales team isn’t able to speak to new leads immediately, why shouldn’t your leads that are looking to progress, be prompted that you’ll be in contact in the new year? You should still be developing relationships now and hit the ground running at the start of 2016.
You don’t have to work through the Queen’s Speech to achieve this, you just need to make sure that your website is prepared with the right content and support options beforehand.
Ensuring that prospects can find the information that they need and can easily navigate your website is crucial to their experience. Usability has a large impact on the conversion rate of any website. Your website should be optimised all year round in order to generate leads; Christmas is no exception to the need for good usability, a relationship with leads and an engaging website.
You might see a small drop in website traffic but that doesn’t mean that the resulting visitors have to suffer through a poor website experience. A poor website experience means that prospects might not be able to understand the value that your product/service is offering.
You can have valuable prospects browsing your website at any time. Are you offering a positive website experience and portraying your value to everyone that visits your website?
Optimise before it’s too late
If your website visitors find it difficult to get the information that they need about your business and product/service then you have a problem. User experience has a large impact on the conversion rate of any website. An increase in conversion is symptomatic of visitors having a better experience on your website. It is extremely unlikely (if not impossible) that if you make your website more turgid, complicated and less usable that you will ever see a rise in conversions.
In order to become valuable leads, prospects need to be able to understand your value proposition.
If your analytics data shows high exit intent on certain pages or short browsing times then you may have a problem. We study our clients’ website analytics on a regular basis to check for such problems. We act as a consultancy service for their website and see where visitors might need more information or need to chat with an agent.
You should be looking at which pages have high ‘bounce rates’, which pages have the lowest ‘time on page’ and which parts of your ‘goal tracking’ are failing. This will identify parts of your site that are not performing as well as the rest.
Put yourself in your prospects shoes. When you browse these pages are you presented with a reason to buy? Are you provided with the information needed to make the next step? Do you know and trust the business enough to progress in the buyer journey?
If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions then you need to act now.
If prospects understand your value proposition but aren’t interested in it, they aren’t a good fit for your business - not always a problem. If prospects don’t understand it (i.e. they aren’t presented with a reason to buy) then this is a problem - a big problem.
You need to facilitate the decision to buy, like our live chat team does on a daily basis for our clients. We develop that all important trusting relationship and provide the information that prospects need to become leads.
Make your unique selling point (USP) clear on your website now. Your content and copy needs to convey your value but if you still have problem pages then you need help. Our agents can fill the gaps in your usability strategy and facilitate lead generation through live chat.
Nurture your leads
Not all prospects or leads are ready to buy after one website visit. A lead needs to have a relationship with you and be able to trust you before they are willing to buy - on top of finding value in the products or services that you sell.
The relationships that you have been developing with leads in the months building up to Christmas shouldn’t be abandoned. Your blog posts and website copy should continue to feed leads with valuable information so that they will want to start doing business with you in the new year. And if your new prospects want to get important questions answered then they should be able to.
Content marketing should already be an important part of your inbound marketing strategy. It should be used to provide value to your audience whilst they are learning about the value proposition that your business offers. Your content’s purpose is to attract prospects by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing their buying behaviour.
The important part is consistently providing valuable content, even over the holiday period. Don’t let your blog completely run dry. Sure, you might not want to be uploading a new blog post every day or even at all for that last week of the year. You should however make sure that there is some interesting and insightful content on the blog before the big day, ready for prospects to peruse once they’ve collapsed on the sofa after their second helping of brussel sprouts.
It’s rare that content alone will be able to nurture leads the way that they need to be nurtured. Prospects and leads won’t progress closer to buying purely from tips and advice in blog posts. Whilst you are providing them with value, they still need a nurturing relationship that provides much more.
As I’ve already mentioned, prospects need to understand your USP and trust you to become a lead. According to Dr. Jeffrey Lant, who studied the idea of needing multiple touchpoints to convert, you have to contact the prospect a minimum of seven times within an 18-month period.
7 contacts through content, advertising, telephone, email etc. over 18 months to give prospects what they need to become leads, according to Dr. Lant. Our live chat agents build trust and facilitate lead generation so well that they provide the prospect with everything they need in just under 8 minutes, on average.
Imagine that. Whilst you are frantically wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, you could have our agents providing prospects with everything that they need to become a highly qualified lead in under 8 minutes. And by lead, we don’t just mean a name and an email address. A lead to us is a person that now has a real relationship with you and has given us the information that fits your criteria.
Make sure there is a clear next step
If you and your team are taking some time off over Christmas then your usual sales and marketing processes will more than likely need to be adapted. A lead generated through live chat on New Year’s Eve won’t be getting a phone call at 8am the next morning, most likely.
Even if your first contact with a new lead isn’t as personal as a one-to-one call, you might still need to adjust the process that you follow in the rest of the year. Do you want to drop your new lead an automated email on January 1st? Do you think that the chances of it being read are high? If it’s an immediate response to them downloading a whitepaper, maybe. If it’s part of a drip fed email campaign that started weeks ago, probably not.
You might not want to get in touch with your leads and continue to build your relationship with them until the new year but are they being told that?
No matter how you decide to adjust your marketing and sales process in order to provide leads with what they need at the right time, make sure that your leads know what is happening. Communicate the next steps to your leads. If you can’t call those interested in buying from you until January 4th, tell them when they submit their details to you. Make sure that your support representatives (people like The Chat Shop) know what to tell prospects about your office opening times over the holidays.
Imagine registering your interest in a new service and thinking they’ve forgotten about you, just because you expected them to contact you a little earlier. You probably wouldn’t be happy and might even wander over to a competitor for a better service. In the same way that prospects browse your website outside of the usual 9-5, prospects are still browsing your website over the Christmas period.
Don’t completely abandon your website and prospects over Christmas and New Year. As part of our commitment to our client's success, our agents will be live on their website everyday except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. Why? It’s important to show your commitment to your prospects and the fact that you are there for them.
If a prospect or lead needs information over the holidays then they should still be able to get it, even if your team is out of the office. That’s part and parcel of great usability and building a trusting relationship with them. It’s also important for making sure that prospects understand your USP, and can decide whether you provide a valuable proposition for them.
Is your website ready?
Just because you’ll be taking a short break at the end of December doesn’t mean that your prospects will, or that your website should. Keeping your lead generation process optimised throughout the holiday season is important. Any number of valuable prospects could be browsing your website whilst you are tucking into leftover turkey sandwiches.
Optimising your website for lead generation now will set you up for a successful 2016. Hit the ground running in the new year with a CRM database full of new, highly qualified leads.
Make sure that prospects have a great experience on your website; a website that isn’t satisfying to use is unlikely to convert many visitors.
Signalling trust and a reason to buy from you is also an important part of converting prospects to leads.
Communicate clearly with your prospects: what value you can provide to them, that you are there to build a relationship with them and when you’ll be giving them a call to build this relationship further.