Make no mistake: understanding and optimizing a prospect’s journey through various marketing touchpoints is crucial when converting leads into loyal customers. All clients want leads, but not all industries are equal. Sales cycles vary and businesses must touch prospects using multiple tactics whether the sales cycle is long or short.
Understanding Marketing Touchpoints
A marketing touchpoint can be defined as any interaction between a brand and a prospect that might influence an action – be it a form submission, phone call, sale, or signed contract. These interactions can range from digital engagements, like clicking on a Pay Per Click (PPC) ad or an organic search result, to more traditional encounters, such as viewing a billboard or receiving a piece of direct mail.
Every touchpoint represents an opportunity for your business to influence a prospect’s perception and decision – and ultimately prompt them to take action.
The Rule of 6 (or 7…or 8…or More)
While the precise number of touchpoints necessary to convert a prospect may vary widely depending on the source, a minimum of 6 to 8 interactions are often necessary to close a deal.
According to Salesforce, it takes 6-8 marketing touches to generate a viable sales lead. The Rain Group suggests it takes an average of 8 touchpoints just to land a meeting. However, these numbers can fluctuate dramatically based on the industry, product complexity, and the effectiveness of each ensuing encounter.
Case in (Touch) Point: A Customer’s Journey
The IMPACT Marketing team watches customer journeys unfold every day.
Susan, for example, was seeking quality assisted living care for her mother when a Google search led her to click on a PPC ad for our client (Touchpoint 1), a renowned assisted living home in Maryland. And while Susan’s mother didn’t pack her bags and move in because of that initial engagement – the process continued to work – steadily, assuredly… chugging along like the little engine that could.
Susan’s subsequent interactions included:
- Touchpoint 2: Susan performed another Google search and this time clicked on an organic search result and filled out a form on our client’s website. The efforts of IMPACT’s SEO work allowed Susan to be served this organic search result. When Susan filled out the form, she was added to a Drip Campaign set up by IMPACT as part of this client’s email marketing campaign.
- Touchpoint 3: Now part of the email marketing list, Susan received a follow-up email from IMPACT on behalf of our client. Susan clicked a link in the email, redirecting her to our client’s site. Susan learned more about the care her mother needed, but still didn’t take the action our client desired (a phone call).
- Touchpoint 4: A month later, assisted living care still top of mind, Susan was on the Internet, and this time, she was served a Display Ad that is part of IMPACT’s Digital Remarketing campaign. The Display Ad was not a result of an active search for a particular keyword, but more of a result of IMPACT’s re-marketing efforts to ‘display’ an Ad to Susan based on previous searches. Our team was able to track Susan’s activity, but still no conversion.
- Touchpoint 5: Twenty-eight days later, Susan Googled the actual name of our client, was served a PPC Ad and returned to the Client’s website. She spent more time on multiple pages of the website with this visit.
For her sixth and final touchpoint, just two days later, Susan was served another PPC ad when conducting a Google search about “assisted living near me”. The ad prompted her to make a call – which she did.
Susan’s mother now resides at the assisted living home (and is very happy, we might add).
Six months. Six touchpoints. One new (and long-term) customer for our client.
Susan’s journey underscores the importance of a diversified marketing strategy that leverages multiple touchpoints to maintain top-of-mind awareness and nurture prospects through the decision-making process. It further underscores the power of measurement and attribution in digital marketing. Because we can track everything, we have a clear window through which to view a customer journey. That is not only exciting and a chance for us to geek out, but also helps us be very efficient with our clients’ marketing budgets.
The Importance of a Digital Marketing Partner
A respected digital marketing partner can offer expertise in crafting a cohesive strategy that ensures all marketing components work in unison to guide a prospect toward conversion.
For businesses, especially those like assisted living facilities, with long sales cycles and high decision stakes, a consultant can be instrumental in designing and implementing a strategy that effectively engages prospects at each touchpoint. While the journey of a lead from initial awareness to conversion is seldom linear or simple; strategic planning, consistent engagement, and a deep understanding of your prospect’s needs will help to build meaningful connections that lead to multiple conversions.