By Andy McCartney published February 15, 2012

Diagnosis: Love The Funnel

Reorganize your content and calls to action for superior conversion.

Marketers spend plenty of time creating content and executing tactics to drive traffic. Now it is time to turn a higher percentage of that traffic into tangible business. One way to improve conversion rates is to engage with visitors and prospects at all stages of the decision cycle, not just when it is time to “contact sales.” Enter intelligent digital self-service and the “content engagement zone.”

Nine out of 10 marketers use content to engage with prospects, but the percent of “readers” who become “customers” is woefully low. Why? Marketers with SEO-mania love to focus on traffic (“821 people viewed my homepage today!”) but fail to move prospects into and through the funnel.

Engage in funnel management.

Marketers are fairly adept at driving traffic to a company’s online assets, particularly its “master website.” But once the traffic has arrived, the tools and techniques used to engage, capture and convert are limited and largely ineffective. Digital funnel management is foreign to most companies, even though it’s an essential competency needed to produce strong ROI from marketing investments. Generating 25, 50 or even 100-plus percent more business from digital traffic is absolutely possible with appropriately placed content plus innovative conversion tactics and tools.

Create a ‘content engagement zone.’

How to overcome these limitations? Create a content engagement zone that integrates all your content, offers intermediate steps before purchase or human contact, and automates some aspects of marketing and sales. This zone is so much more than a contact-us form—it should include all the possible options for prospects to connect with your company. In essence, the engagement zone allows visitors to select a next step and, in doing so, identify themselves to you. Herein lies the most depressing conversion stat of them all: only 2 to 3 percent of websites earn the respect of visitors such that they identify themselves, become named contacts and enter the funnel. Some companies use landing pages and microsites to drive specific calls to action, which is to be recommended, but whenever there are multiple possible next steps, I recommend the application of an engagement zone.

Rather than try to explain in words what an engagement zone is, take a look at a three examples from the real world.

Consider MikeWittenstein.com. When visitors click on the “Take Action Now” orange button on the top right of each page, an engagement zone appears. Seven menu options provide pathways for visitors to seek more information and consider a next step.

Banyan Capitals and Personifeye feature similar engagement zones. Tying automation behind this type of engagement-and-capture solution enables more targeted self-service, greater relevance of content as selected or delivered to visitors, and ultimately greater yield out of the bottom of the funnel. If designed correctly, you can connect with visitors and prospects no matter where they are in the funnel and decision cycle. Start simply, then consider adding more sophistication (e.g. marketing automation, lead scoring, drip/nurturing, etc.) over time.

A word of warning: Respect the wishes of your visitors regarding how they would like to be contacted—and do not turn over their information to the CRM or sales team until credibly qualified (as agreed by marketing and sales). Nowadays people don’t want to talk to sales until they are much further along their decision cycle, so intelligent digital self-service is imperative.

Connect your zone to social media and promotions.

Once you have your engagement zone in place, take the next step and engage your prospects from any digital location, including your blog, social media channels, thought leadership publications, emails, online ads and QR codes.

Author: Andy McCartney

Andy McCartney is a broadly experienced digital management consultant, trainer and marketing practitioner who has spent the last 25 years consulting and collaborating with hundreds of companies of all sizes in Europe and North America. He is founder and CEO of DigitalConverts, a marketing solutions provider focused on helping organizations generate credible ROI from digital investment.

Other posts by Andy McCartney

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