How Your Company Can Improve Its Response
Now that we’ve established the unique nature of search leads and reviewed some common issues that prevent companies from realizing their full potential, here are some easy internal fixes that can have an immediate positive impact.
As we’ve discussed, form leads generated from search can be highly valuable, because the searcher is actively engaged in researching solutions at that exact time. However, they will rarely stop with contacting one company and early responders to these leads have a distinct advantage.
Submission confirmation message – All too often, upon clicking “submit,” a prospect receives a generic message from the website that reads something like “Thanks! Your submission is confirmed.” This allows the person to know that the submission was successful – but doesn’t let them know that you value their interest – or what will happen next, and when. A more effective message will cover these bases – for example, “Thank you for contacting us! We appreciate your interest in our services and are eager to answer any questions you may have. One of our knowledgeable experts will be in touch within (short timeframe).”
Autoresponders – An email autoresponder that is triggered when a form is submitted can serve two important purposes. First, it quickly reinforces the sentiments that you have expressed in your submission confirmation message. Secondly, and more importantly, an autoresponse that provides something of value related to the searcher’s interest can end or shorten the search session of the individual, thereby limiting the number of competitors they will contact. Typically, a person searching for particular services may submit a form, see a standard submission confirmation, and move on to the next search result. However, if they suddenly receive a notification that they have a new email and this email not only confirms their form submission but also includes a whitepaper or other resource of interest, you may succeed in ending the search session while also impressing them with your knowledge of your industry. By offering something of value that successfully holds the searcher’s attention until you are able to contact them directly, you can effectively reduce the number of competitors they contact while simultaneously impressing them with your industry knowledge.
Response times – As previously mentioned, most companies treat leads from search no differently than they treat leads from other sources. But leads from other sources, such as referrals, direct mail, or other outbound channels, are fundamentally different. Those types of leads will have a different level of patience as they are usually familiar with your company prior to contact. If at all possible, search leads should be contacted as soon as possible – and if you can contact them within a few minutes, you greatly enhance your chances of having a meaningful conversation that moves them further down the pipeline.
Routing – Technology such as Dynamic Telephone Number Insertion (DTNI) not only allows you to track leads that come in directly from search, but also gives you the opportunity to route these leads differently than routine inbound calls. Remember, a search user is only a click away from finding a different potential provider, and they are less likely to go through an auto-attendant just to talk to someone. If you can route search leads directly to a line that is usually answered by a knowledgeable representative, you will go a long way toward getting on their short list.
Voicemail – If search leads must be sent to voicemail, use the same philosophy as with form submission confirmations (above). A simple voice message that thanks them for their interest, lets them know that you are eager to answer any questions, and tells them when to expect to hear back will greatly enhance your chances of engagement.
Answered calls – Whenever possible, have a skilled representative answer inbound calls from search leads. Remember, this person found you via search and is looking for a potential solution now. Moreover, the fact that they picked up the phone to call you means that they are interested in talking about your services now. If you can accommodate them you will have a big advantage over your competitors who can’t.