Frank Kenny outlines the strategic process for converting prospects to paid members.
Have you put much thought into the journey people go through as they become happy and successful members of your association?
You know they don’t just go from an oblivious state of not knowing your organization exists one day, to raving fans telling their colleagues about you the next.
There is a process, a journey, that people go through.
Let’s analyze the journey so you discover how social media, digital marketing/sales, and marketing automation help move your prospects and members through the process.
- Prospects in your target market need to become aware your organization exists. Enter social media. Your helpful posts (content marketing) on the various social media platforms reach people that should be members. You can ramp this up with promoted posts and ads.
- These prospects that you reached through social media and content marketing follow a link back to your website to consume more helpful information (articles, videos, photos, infographics, studies, reports, etc.) At this point of the journey, they are consuming your content. That’s engagement. Passive engagement but engagement none-the-less.
- On your site, you have some small pieces of premium info that your prospects want, but it is gated. These are called lead magnets. For example, you could create a one or two-page document that solves a specific problem or teaches them something valuable (something you could sell for a few bucks) but you are willing to give it to them in exchange for their contact info and permission to email them.
- You send them the info they requested along with a series of automated emails (time savers for you) that begin to build a relationship with your new lead. The email series could be as short as an email or two or could be dozens of emails long. What is important is that you are now getting inside the prospect’s email inbox and delivering value. This builds know, like, and trust.In the sequence, ask for a small commitment of time or money, like attending an in-person or online event or asking them to purchase something small. You want to turn your lead into a customer. [Important] If you go for a big sale or big commitment right off the bat, chances are they won’t know, like, and trust you enough yet to accept. But attend a free event? OK.
- You have now moved this stranger from prospect to customer. Do you pounce for the big money now? No. You make sure they are getting value from the small commitment and the budding relationship. For example, let’s assume they attended a networking event. Did they enjoy the event? How would they now like a calendar of other local networking events? Is there anyone they would like to meet? You have a customer. Make them happy at this point of the journey. Give them small wins.
- Now that you know the customer received value and they know you care about them, ask for a larger sale. You know from the lead magnet they downloaded what they are interested in. Does your organization have a product, service, or membership that solves the problem for the customer? You should offer it now. Could I come by and see what you do at your business? They are deep enough in the journey that you should stand a good chance of getting a yes. You can also close this sale purely with digital marketing. Ask for the bigger sale as part of your email marketing sequence.
- Did they purchase the larger product, service, or membership? If so, this would be the ideal time to upsell them. Don’t be pushy about it, but do them a favor of helping them purchase and consume more of what you offer. Would they like to sponsor an event to get their name out there? Would they like to purchase ads on your website or directory? The more they invest in your product or services, and get good results, the more likely they are to retain their membership. You can use marketing automation for this. Set up an autoresponder sequence that ensures each new member is offered your higher ticket items.
- At this point, your new member is happy they stumbled across you online. They asked for and received the free lead magnet. They also received a sequence of helpful emails. You invited them to an event where they enjoyed themselves and got value. You asked them to join and they happily did. You even made sure they were aware of your other helpful products and services. They are happy, successful members.
Now is the time to ask for a testimonial. Use an autoresponder for this. Have it set up to ask at about month 3 if they would be willing to have you come by to shoot a short video about their business and do a testimonial about your organization. Most will be thrilled to do so. Post those testimonials to your social media platforms and website. Let your members tell the world how great your organization is.
- Don’t forget to ask your members for referrals. Use your autoresponder program. Let the member know how much you appreciate them. Tell them you would enjoy it if they’d mention your organization to their colleagues. Use a call to action in this email. People need to be told exactly what to do. Tell them to tweet it out and give them the tweet. Give them the email script that you want emailed to their contacts. Make it drop-dead simple for them to use word of mouth marketing for you.
- Make sure you continue to provide lead magnets to people that are already on your email list and/or are your members. People have more than one problem. Maybe they turned down the membership offer based on networking. But if you offer a new lead magnet that helps with branding their business and they take advantage of that offer, now you have a new sequence of emails to send them based on their current need.
People always have problems to solve. Your organization has solutions. Use social media, digital marketing, and marketing automation to save time and keep the prospects/members flowing through the customer journey.
Frank J. Kenny is an internationally recognized author, professional speaker, and consultant. He is on the faculty of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management (IOM). He has taught social media, digital marketing, and technology strategies to business audiences from around the world.
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