How to Turn an Online Audience into Customers

At the current rates of consumption, the average American will spend five years and four months of their life on social media. Still not as much as the average Jane or Joe will spend on watching TV, but more than they will spend on eating and drinking, grooming, or socializing. And social media is just one section of the activities that make the digital world so powerful and captivating. There’s much more to see and do online.

The increase of the time people are willing to spend online ushered a profound change in the world of business. Businesses have learned that it’s often much easier to gain access to potential consumers online than it would be using traditional channels. Even the basics of digital marketing can be used effectively to grow an online audience. However, making the next step and turning that audience into a solid customer base will usually require additional efforts. Before looking into advanced tools like using a CRM for quotes to deliver better offers, businesses need to get a good sense of where they are first.

Taking Stock of Existing Digital Assets

The very fact that a business has an audience is a good sign. It means that the business has been doing something right. It also means that the business has some digital assets — most likely a website, social media pages, maybe some content.

Even if these assets weren’t that good at building a customer base, they are still valuable. Almost every digital asset a business can have is capable of collecting data. That data can be analyzed to gain valuable insights, which are then used to power decision-making. For example, a business can determine that the content it’s been publishing attracted a much broader audience than intended. With that information, the business can develop products and services they can offer to a broader audience. Or, it can adjust the content to retarget the core audience.

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Using Insights to Improve Marketing

After getting all the insights that are useful for improvement of marketing, the next step is implementing the necessary changes. There’s a wide spectrum of activities that can be performed to improve digital marketing. If the business has a blog on its website, it can focus on different keywords in its content. It can also post the types of content usually linked to increased conversion rates. It’s also possible to redesign the front page of a website to make it more visitor-friendly and conducive to conversions.

Before taking any such actions, however, businesses should consider segmenting their audience into more manageable chunks. Most businesses don’t target an extremely narrow audience because this poses an unreasonable limit on their customer base. For example, a business that sells software to other businesses will not narrow its customer base to businesses that have fewer than 10 employees, operate in a single industry, and have a base in a certain city. However, it can segment its audience using those criteria to create such a narrow segment.

Developing New Assets and Using New Tools

With a finely-segmented audience and a clear understanding of the asset situation, businesses can move on to the development of new assets. A great example of this is creating multiple landing pages that will appear to prospects according to the audience segment they belong to. This creates an opportunity to deliver the most relevant offers to potential customers. Some businesses that haven’t previously used social media for marketing, for example, might start using it at this point. They can also try email marketing.

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This is also the perfect time for businesses to try using new tools to help them manage their marketing and sales efforts. There’s a variety of tools that help with marketing automation that can take care of some boring and time-consuming tasks, such as sending emails. CRM software can store all the relevant information about a customer and provide it to sales teams at the exact moment of need. Businesses can also use CPQ software to help them determine the correct quote they should list for services and products. This can be especially helpful to businesses offering customizable products or services. Also, there are always some new and improved analytics tools that are worth checking out.

Businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition need to be capable of constant improvement. Operating in the digital landscape, itself constantly changing, puts even more pressure on businesses to stay on top of the latest trends and developments. Lead generation and every other process that forms a sales funnel are affected by these trends and developments. But with the right support and the right resources, there are no reasons why businesses can’t grow their online audience and their customer base at the same time.

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