Good Acquisitions, Better Engagements – Best Returns!

Last weekend, I attended a friend’s house warming party. Over dinner, he was sharing that till a couple of years ago, how he hardly had any plan to settle in Mumbai, thanks to the sky high real estate prices, and today he is already hosting guests in his own apartment.

He had filled up the registration form of this real estate company, just by the way, in a property fair. “I just gave the email ID, not even my cell number lest they should pester me by annoying calls and messages,” he said. “But the company stayed with me patiently for months, irrespective of no response from my side. It would keep sharing details about its new projects that matched my preferences in any slight way, invite me to events, and what not. Over time, the company knew what I wanted, perhaps better than I knew.”

“In fact, I have already invested in its properties in Hyderabad”, he said with joy.

While listening to his story, my mind was wondering, what an excellent lead engagement strategy the real-estate company must have! Lead to customer to loyal customer- absolutely bang on!

Marketing study reports say that 80% of marketing leads never convert into sales. The customer defection rate is higher than ever now, even for established brands.

Better late than never. Marketers have begun realising that generating leads is important, but it is not just enough. Unless the leads get converted to customers & loyal customers with high lifetime value, the whole purpose of business remains unachieved. Acquiring huge number of quality leads is a day late and a dollar short without an effective lead engagement strategy in place.

Lead engagement is a powerful tool that creates bridges between you and your potential customers. The shift of marketer’s focus from aggressive lead acquisition to engagement is the way going forward, to long term business returns. Engaging takes you to your business goals in multiple ways.

Know your leads and customers “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve JobsHow can you understand the needs, preferences, and choices of your leads and customers, unless a two-way communication happens regularly? The information you get from the lead forms is not just enough to know them. There are innumerable ways to create interaction, including asking for feedback through web site and e-newsletters, sending customer surveys (online or offline) and providing online message boards or blogs.

Consumers of today are spoilt for choice You are not the only one out there! Be it a screw driver or a car, a buyer today has innumerable options on his fingertips. If you are not keeping them engaged, someone else is already doing it by the time you realise. Brands cannot afford to leave their leads and customers unattended, uncared for.

Be on the top of the mind of consumers It’s no secret that the majority of your buyer’s journey is self-directed. The tech-savvy consumers of today do a lot of research of products themselves. Not just brand awareness and recall, a strong brand recognition is required for brands to be on the top of the mind of a consumer, when he makes a purchase decision. A regular, personalised, and targeted, 1:1 dialogue through well planned engagement campaigns can help you achieve that.

It is all about relationships Businesses that build valuable relationships with their leads and customers thrive. These relationships not only strongly influence the purchase decisions & life-time values, but also how your brand gets positioned against your competition. And when it comes to relations with prospects and customers, listening can be every bit as important as telling.Lead and customer engagement is something that needs to be done incessantly. In fact, the amount of effort spent in this direction defines the speed at which a lead moves down the sales funnel.

In fact, at every stage of buyer’s journey, engagement can play a pivotal role.

Fresh leads – They need the utmost attention. Companies that excel at engaging their leads generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost. Also, engaged and nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. As they say, first impression is the last impression. Create lasting images of your brand through meaningful personalised communication.

New Customers – Okay, they are customers. But you cannot sit back and relax. To ensure that they remain with you, delight them, and encourage activity like greater product adoption, upsells, evangelism, and additional purchases. Reward them for their loyalty, make them feel special, educate them.

Existing/Old Customers – Fully engaged customers who are emotionally attached to a brand – are a boon for businesses. They say, upselling and cross-selling are cousins of selling. According to Marketing Metrics, “the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5 to 20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70%.” Customer lifetime value is already viewed as a strategy that can bolster customer acquisition and retention. For all of it, knowing your customers is the key.

Lapsed customers – A case study conducted by Bain & Company says, a 5 percent reduction in customer defection can increase profits up to 95 percent. We’ve all heard it before: acquiring a new customer is usually more costly than getting an already-acquired customer to repurchase, but it’s surprising how little effort brands put into re-activating dormant customers. Data like past activity and behavioural interactions, purchase behaviour, channel preferences, combined with careful analysis can help marketers increase the chance of reviving dormant customer profiles.

Dropped Leads – So you’ve spent all that time and investment trying to pick up some really good leads for your business. Don’t just give up on them. These leads already know your brand and your products better than new leads. A fresh new re-engagement program can definitely rekindle the relationship and make them purchase ready. It does feel good to see a “We have missed you” email from an online store with which you signed up months ago, but never made a purchase.

So, the mantra is – Good acquisitions and better engagements for best results!

The blog was recently published by NASSCOM, a global trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.

Sep, 07, 2016

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