This article was originally published in Turf Magazine, where Chad writes a monthly column providing sales and marketing tips for lawn care, landscaping and tree service companies.
In 2011, Google conducted research about how consumer habits have changed. The findings, coined a term “Zero Moment of Truth” (ZMOT), referring to the moment when a prospective customer finally reaches out to a company for an estimate, consultation, or to make a purchase.
The results of the ZMOT study yielded an important number: 70%. The percentage refers to the fact that, on average, buyers are 70% through their buyer’s journey before reaching out to a company for their Zero Moment of Truth.
How the ZMOT Affects Lawn & Landscaping Companies
I talk to a lot of lawn and landscaping companies throughout the country and they are commonly unaware of not only this statistic, but the phenomenon in general. Prospective customers are spending a minimum of 70% of their buyer’s journey online researching their green industry options before ever filling out a website form or picking up the phone to call you.
In fact, it’s very common for us to see a prospective customer on one of our clients’ websites visiting the site 2-5 times, and viewing 10-20 pages of content before they ever fill out a form requesting more information.
The problem lies in when visitors don’t like what they find on your website. If it doesn’t answer the questions they have, help them to consider options or to get to the point that they perceive you as a viable contractor to work with, they are moving on to one of your competitor's sites.
Converting Lukewarm Website Visitors Into Qualified Leads
If you remember any quote from this article, remember this: “Not everyone who is on my website is ready to buy right now, but it’s my job to get them there.” It’s a reality to embrace, not to be frustrated by.
Think about this. The majority of your website traffic are people just becoming aware of their problems and considering potential solutions. They’re not in the decision stage yet. This is particularly true for green industry companies who sell services with a longer buying cycle, such as large commercial maintenance contracts and elaborate design/build projects.
But it’s also true of smaller ticket items like lawn care programs and plant health care packages. Consumers don’t want to be ripped off, so they are taking control of the sales transaction and making sure they are choosing wisely way before they let you pitch to them.
So how do you take a lukewarm website visitor, who still has more research to perform, and help them convert into a qualified lead for your company? How do you nurture these leads to help them become more and more interested, to reach their Zero Moment of Truth?
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Using Automation Software for Nurturing Leads
Sales and marketing automation software has become popular in the past five to seven years because of its ability to track a user on your website and automatically deliver them meaningful content that meets their unique context.
Without automation software, the burden is on a website visitor to find all the resources they need. Maybe they browse a few pictures of landscaping projects you’ve completed, read some general information about your services, and possibly reads a few blog articles that may be relevant to them. Yet, they may still not be ready to pull the trigger and reach out to you. So, they leave and may never return to your website.
However, automation software continues to deliver valuable content—your content, to the lukewarm website visitor, nurturing their recent interest and give them additional opportunities to get back onto your website to learn more. It keeps them active in their buyer’s journey, while you help them move closer to their Zero Moment of Truth.
Here are some examples of of lead nurturing tools that will convert lukewarm website visitors into qualified leads:
- Blog Subscription Widgets: The simplest of automation, subscribing to a blog will allow someone to receive new articles as they post, delivered to their email inbox.
- Lead Generation Offers: A graphical call-to-action (CTA) is placed on website pages and in blog articles. It targets people still researching and not ready for a free estimate. For instance, at the end of an article about landscape lighting, there is a “Landscape Lighting Planning Guide”. Clicking the CTA takes the reader to the landing page where they are asked for minimal personal information in a required form. Upon entering their info, they are redirected to the page containing the in-depth guide.
- Additional CTAs: Within these guides, there are additional CTAs that give them more helpful content (like another guide), or then offer up a free consultation since they now have gotten more info, sending them further down the marketing funnel.
- Customized Follow-Up Emails: Automated emails, based off of a website visitor’s actions, can provide even more relevant information. For instance, a person who downloaded a Lead Generation Offer of “8 Considerations Before Building a Backyard Pool” gets a follow-up email with 2 suggested pool-related blog articles as well as a link to the pool patio gallery on your website.
- Automated Sales Signals: Another great feature of a fully-integrated sales and marketing solution is the ability to set up automation that will assign website contacts to a specific salesperson, based on their actions on the website. The salesperson could get a notification that someone downloaded the Lawn Care Hiring Guide and that they are located within their territory. Instead of ignoring the lukewarm website visitor, now a helpful team member is personally addressing their needs.
And this is just the tip of the lead nurturing iceberg! Automation software can be customized to address hundreds of opportunities to improve relationships with not only your prospects, but your customers as well.
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Challenging Your Sales & Marketing Mindset
Think about how you buy. You search online until you find what you are looking for and you want to make good buying decisions.
Your lawn or landscaping company’s strategy needs to respect and meet its potential buyers where they are at on their journey, and give them customized follow-up content that meets their unique interest.
It’s your job to help prospects find their way to their Zero Moment of Truth, and that truth should prove that you’ve given them all the information they need to make the decision that’s best for them. That means your company goes from Zero to Hero.
If you'd like to learn more about how you can go beyond just a pretty website and create a tool for your prospects to use that delivers in-depth, useful content to help them along in their buyer's journey, we invite you to learn how Landscape Leadership's inbound marketing services.