Personalisation is hot stuff in ecommerce and digital marketing right now. eMarketer published a 2017 report that found as much as 50% of US marketers reported that personalisation on their websites or apps lifted revenues in excess of 10%.
From our perspective, the correlation between personalisation and conversion rates makes sense. Sales is tied to feelings of trust between customer and business, so investing in a strategy that encourages personableness becomes a logical step.
Research from Marketing Metrics has identified that it’s 60-70% more likely you can make a sale to an existing customer than a first-timer. On top of that, McKinsey found that 70% of customer conversions are based on how they feel they are being treated, as opposed to the merits of the product or service.
In short, the numbers are showing that building a personalised relationship with every lead should be an absolute priority. And empathy and relationship building are human beings’ bread and butter.
There’s few things better at cultivating trust than authentic human interaction. It’s personal, it involves real communication with real people, and it’s the kind of memorable that turns your website visitors into actual customers.
You may be thinking cultivating this kind of personal approach to a widespread lead-gen strategy would be challenging; however, it’s actually quite achievable. What it does require is that you bake the Human Touch into every element of your lead gen efforts.
The importance of the Human Touch
For all the hubbub around automation right now, the facts are clear: customers don’t like encountering obvious signs of automation. It can seem dismissive and frustrating to someone with a nuanced problem or needs insight beyond a product description before making a purchase.
When we’re committed to a fully personalised, conversion-friendly experience for our customers, their hesitation in the scary face of automation is our Kryptonite. They don’t like being a cog in your sales and marketing machine.
83% of consumers believe human interactions will always be part of customer service. It helps to explain why getting on the phone is still the preferred way to contact organisations. The overwhelming majority of consumers expect that kind of authenticity and personality inherent to human interaction. And this is something consistent to both CX and sales.
You may be wondering if digital natives feel the same way; surely the Human Touch is less important for millennials? Surprisingly not. Mattersight found that just 1% of millennials would contact a brand via social media with an enquiry: The majority prefer communicating with a living, breathing human.
Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about the Human Touch. We’ve covered the theory of why it’s instrumental before in our eBook on the Human Touch. But how can we find means of factoring in the personalising effect of the Human Touch into your increasing conversion endeavours? What if you’re sold on the Human Touch but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered:
Chances are that you’re one of the 49% of businesses who use some form of email automation to deliver your campaigns.
Email lead generation is still an instrumental part of marketing. Almost 60% of B2B marketers say that email is their predominant channel for revenue generation. Over in the B2C sphere, figures from the Direct Marketing Association suggest that every £1 spent on email can generate revenue of £38. That’s quite the ROI.
However, when we’re thinking about email marketing, there’s absolutely no reason why that campaign should feel like an anonymous electronic mailshot. Not only does it rankle customers, it’s also proven to be markedly less effective at getting eyes on the e-mail.
Personalised marketing emails get an 11% higher open rate and a 27% higher click-through rate than those that aren’t personalised. A report by Oracle Eloqua identified that including even as little as the name and a personal data point in your email marketing will double the open rate of the email.
So let’s take a look at how to hardwire The Human Touch into your email marketing:
- Segment your audience according to profile, but leave room for your audience’s quirks.
- Tailor your messages to meet the likely needs of those audience segments. Let’s say your B2B prospects list consists mostly of managing directors and heads of department across a range of business sectors. Specific needs and expectations will vary significantly - so consider adapting your messages to meet these needs, taking into account sector and job role. If possible, try to include some site activity or buying history in there too.
- Personalise! You already have the prospect’s contact details, right? Use that data: Refer to your contacts by name and sign off using a real name. You’re starting a conversation, not rolling out an advert.
In 2017, Valassis, a campaign management platform, polled 500 Cyber Monday shoppers to determine their pre-shopping routines. The idea was to get an assessment of how customers would approach hunting for the out the best deals. The response was that 45% of shoppers agreed they’d spend two or more hours at home researching Cyber Monday deals. Of the survey participants who plan to do research at home, 52% would look for bargains from their desktop or laptop and 36% will do their research on a mobile phone.
Extensive product research has become a fact of life for online consumers.
However, there are some things that researching customer reviews and product descriptions can’t provide. For instance, around two thirds of buyers say they miss being able to touch, feel, and try products they are considering buying. And around two in ten admit to missing having a sales assistant on hand to give advice.
Real people bring products and services to life; they help to contextualise a buyer’s need. Think of the ideal sales assistant: They appreciate that you’re still weighing up your options. They don’t stalk you around the shop with a hard sell. However, they’re on hand to answer your questions and make recommendations – right when you need them.
So how can you reproduce this in a digital environment? You need a virtual equivalent to being able to examine products and services in the flesh. It also helps if you can replicate the experience of a guided tour by someone in the know. Enter video marketing:
- Show real people having real conversations using your products and services in real life. Give it context with video marketing!
- Use how-to videos to answer the questions your audience is likely to be grappling with
- Use product videos to showcase the “highlights” about your goods and services. Keep it human and keep it relatable.
We’re seeing video being used in some pretty creative ways. Sydney-based startup Bonjoro actually offer a platform for brands to send their customers personalised video responses and introductions.
Little touches like this go a big way to impressing those new visitors and turning them into genuine leads.
3. Social media
So you already have your Facebook presence, Twitter profile, and LinkedIn page. You might even be using Pinterest and Instagram to increase your brand presence even further. But how exactly is social media management helping your conversion strategy?
Businesses are starting to really invest in social media as means of increasing brand awareness and generating leads. Goldman Sachs concluded this year that Generation Z is one of the most lucrative audiences to target for most businesses – outstripping even millennials.
The reason? They are just about to enter the labor force, meaning greatly increased buying power for the foreseeable future (source). And there are few generations that have embraced social media as much as Gen Z. The writing on the wall is that social media will be one of the primary means of reaching these new customers.
This is where the Human Touch comes in. If we’re looking to optimise our social media presence as a means of generating leads, we’re looking for proactive discussion. That means starting and engaging in conversations in real time:
- Look at your content and ask, “Does this inspire conversation?” What’s newsworthy relating to your product range or company? Where is there scope for debate? What are the talking points on the mind of your audience?
- Seek out communities. We tend to seek out like-minded people. So, where are your customers and what communities are they hanging out in? Search LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups for conversation hubs your leads are likely to be active in. Look for ways to join the discussion and share your expertise and experience.
- Be quick off the mark. 64% of consumers expect real time assistance, no matter what channel it is. Every encounter with your brand is a touchpoint on customer’s journey, so make it both a memorable and reactive one.
If you’ve invested heavily in digital lead generation, does this make your telephone sales team less important?
Research from Verint found that despite all the digital alternatives at their disposal, most customers believe that being able to speak to a rep over the phone will “always be important.” Where a customer calls a business directly, that call can be as much as 10-15 times more likely to generate a successful sale than filling in a digital form.
Even at the very top of your sales funnel, a one-on-one conversation should be seen as a golden opportunity to make a memorable connection. If they’re not yet in a position to buy, they’ll appreciate the fact that you were available to chat right when they needed it. And if you’re running a very close race with your competitors, it’s these little service-related touches that can swing a purchasing decision.
So how do we put them to work?
- Give visitors the option of making a call. Even where your website is full of information about your offering, some customers will prefer to pick up the phone for quick answers. So give them this possibility by making your contact number prominent across the entire site.
- Equip your reps with a knowledge base. When potential leads get on the phone for a chat, they’ll likely be looking for personalised advice; i.e. how can you help them specifically? To provide this, your reps need to know their stuff. This is where an internal knowledge base can prove invaluable. Done right, a knowledge base is a portal covering all aspects of your offerings that your people can access while answering queries. It can give your staff just what they need to provide the right answers at the right time.
- Identify ways to fast-track leads through the sales funnel. You’ve answered an early research query over the phone. Great job but don’t miss out on the opportunity to encourage the lead to take the next step along the buying journey. Is there anything else you could help them with? Would they like a free demo? Would they be interested in your upcoming training seminar? The call has helped you establish a relationship. Always be on the lookout for ways to make that relationship stronger.
5. Live chat
So, the website’s looking and feeling great. A slick user experience, complete with an abundance of valuable content covering all the questions leads are likely to have in their minds. It’s there for them to find, right?
Fair enough, but can we do better?
Relying only on this puts you in a pretty passive position. Try as you might, you can’t cover absolutely everything with a self-service approach and you’re dependent on your site visitors to do the legwork. There’s more than we can do here.
This is where something like live chat comes into its own. A question crops up just as a lead is exploring your site. Without having to switch channel, chat enables them to type in the query and get the answer they are looking from a real person with zero fuss.
Chat’s functions equally effectively as a nurture tool as well as a conversion one. If customers are wavering or need some guidance, you can direct them to valuable content on your site. You can be proactive in sending customers to where they need to be.
A retained customer you might have lost is essentially the same value as a new one. They’re arguably even more so; it’s six to seven times more expensive to win a new customer than retain the custom of an existing one (source).
Live chat is quickly becoming one of the most well received functions a site can offer. Research collated by Invespcro has revealed some pretty exciting insights about how consumers feel about live chat. There’s a lot in there but the highlights include: 73% of customers find Live chat to be the most satisfying way of dealing with a business, live chat is the most popular means of supplying contact information, 77% of customers won’t make a purchase from a site that doesn’t offer some form of chat functionality, and customers who have chatted spend 60% more than those that don’t.
But here’s where it gets really interesting. We’ve learned that adding some form of chat functionality to your site typically increases conversions between 8% and 20%. And chatters are nearly three times more likely to convert as those that don’t.
Let’s see how we can get in on those numbers.
- As with phone support, equip your webchat team with a knowledge base. This should give them everything they need to answer queries quickly and efficiently.
- Again, as with phone support, after you’ve answered the initial query, look for possible opportunities to fast-track leads through the sales funnel. Direct them to content they may enjoy.
- If you’re not sure about anything, feel free to consult with some live chat experts (wink wink).
The bottom line here is that the Human Touch is one of the most reliable and sure-fire ways to innervate your lead generation strategy; if you’re going to get anywhere with personalisation in ecommerce conversion then it becomes something that’s really hard to do without.
Hopefully, we’ve demonstrated how the Human Touch shouldn’t be an afterthought; considering it as the foundation of your strategy will help you get the most lead gen power out of all your channels and assets. Personalised emails, demonstration videos, live chat support: these are all effective ways of creating a unique and memorable purchasing experience for your customers. And as the numbers demonstrate, these customers are much more likely to be repeat customers.
The dream is getting all of these tools working harmoniously in tandem with each other. Achieve that, and it won’t be long before you see those conversion rates start to climb.
Both for growing your customer base and for delivering even better service, to find out more about the difference The Human Touch can make to your business, check out our help centre or get in touch – we’re always up for a good chat around here.