Build a Relationship that converts Green Marketing into Green Sales
Two weeks ago I emphasized the importance of acquiring the email address of visitors. This week I want to focus on how you can convert an email subscriber into a customer, because email addresses on their own do not pay the bills. Ultimately, all green marketing professionals need to know how to convert their prospects into sales online. The challenge is that many green entrepreneurs have negative feelings about selling, and will do anything to avoid asking for an order directly.
Of course, you need a robust sales process but the good news is that the internet is not the place for the good, old-fashioned hard sell. It’s now all about relationship building. A normal rule of thumb is that you need to have an average of five to seven interactions with your prospects before they will buy something from you. Unless you are Amazon or a major brand few first time visitors will buy from you. You should establish trust and credibility with visitors and here are four strategies that I recommend:
I recommend that you send an Email Newsletter every two weeks in which you can include your latest blog posts, useful resources like a report, and also promote your products with coupons and special offers. Make the newsletter stimulating and engaging, and personalize it as much as possible so it is from you not your organization.
One of the best investments you can ever make is to get an autoresponder which enables you to create a sequence of emails to send out, and automate your list management. This means that as soon as a new subscriber signs up on your website they will receive a series of welcome emails and go on to your newsletter.
Webinars are an outstanding tool for selling to your email list. You can host one on your own or co-host them with an expert. The ideal length is 40 minutes of content with 10 minutes to pitch a special offer for attendees such as a discount or free trial. Once the webinar has been held you can send a recording to people who are on your list but did not attend. The most popular webinar hosting is provided by GoToWebinar or WebEx, and you can get a step by step webinar checklist here.
I really like You Tube videos that showcase your product, especially if you include case studies of your customers using it. If you are marketing eco-efficiency devices to homes, there is nothing better than a video demonstrating the energy savings that have been achieved in a typical family household. Think of a video as your own infomercial and test several to see what works best. Here is a simple example from Home Depot that promotes CFL bulbs.
Always try to get the phone number and address of email subscribers so you can promote to them via more channels. In many ways, internet marketing is best for lead generation and you will need to use other offline methods like telemarketing or face to face meetings to convert the leads to sales. This is particularly true if you are selling high value products like solar panels.
The best sales processes integrate multiple channels and I would suggest that you take time to work out the most effective way to combine your website with your more traditional sales methods.
Paul Hannam is president of Bright Green Leadership that provides internet marketing services to responsible organizations. Paul is also Chairman and co-founder of Bright Green Talent and taught environmental business at Oxford University. You can get Paul’s free Green Marketing online evaluation or contact him at Paul@brightgreenleadership.com