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October 02, 2017

Working Smart

Start Here: 3 Strategies to Jumpstart Customer Acquisition

by David Isserman


Click here to order the October 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Imagine waking up tomorrow morning. As you roll out of bed and reach for your phone, a series of notifications flash on your screen that a multilevel marketing company has been targeted by the FTC for deceptive business practices. This is a reality that direct selling industry executives may face.

As a result of recent significant FTC settlements with Herbalife and Vemma, along with Amazon’s ongoing influence over global e-commerce markets, the direct selling industry has been forced to rapidly evolve.

Direct selling companies have been compelled to shift away from an independent consultant growth strategy to a broader approach that builds a balanced ratio of retail customers (commonly referred to as “preferred customers”) and independent consultants.

For many direct selling executives, this business model transformation has been uncomfortable. Historically, direct selling companies have provided the tools, training and sales compensation incentives for independent consultants to build their own independent businesses. Now these companies must also provide the expertise and guidance to help their consultants nurture and acquire customers interested in exclusively becoming product consumers. 

Fortunately, due to the complex nature of multilevel marketing structures, many companies have invested heavily in advanced e-commerce platforms. With this foundation in place, leveraging the following three strategies can help your company improve its customer acquisition process.

Strategy 1: Use Heat Maps and Scroll Maps for Easier Website Analysis and Optimization

Can visitors easily navigate your website? How do you know if you’re efficiently leading prospective customers toward a purchase?

Determining how visitors engage with your website typically begins with analyzing your website analytics. While sifting through rows of data can be mind-numbing, there is one software tool that can simplify this process through easy-to-read visual maps of your website traffic. 

Visual mapping can be broken into two categories—heat maps and scroll maps. Heat maps can help you to understand which links and images your visitors click on most often. Heat maps can even uncover hidden opportunities to create additional links if you find that visitors are commonly clicking on images or other content types that do not contain active links. 

Scroll maps can help you determine how far down a page your visitors move before they abandon the page. They can also help display where on the page content typically cuts off before scrolling is required.

With these visual maps in hand, we are able to better position, and reposition, key pieces of content such as lead generation forms, “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” buttons, and featured product images. By optimizing the experience for website visitors, we are able to better nurture them toward a purchase. 

Quick Tip: Are you familiar with the advertising term, “above the fold”? This refers to the upper half of a newspaper or tabloid that is visible when folded. Editors prefer to place their most engaging content in this section to entice readers to purchase their papers from newsstands.  The same strategy can be applied to website content. Online visitors typically have shortened attention spans, so place your best-performing content and call-to-action buttons on the top half of your pages so prospective customers don’t have to scroll to take the next step in their customer journey.

There are several third-party software companies that offer this mapping technology.  

At Touchstone Essentials, we rely heavily on visualization mapping to optimize the placement of our content. As a result of this optimization strategy, we have increased the number of pages viewed by each visitor and increased overall conversion rates. 

Strategy 2: Use Social Media Retargeting to Help Win Over New Customers

Seasoned marketing executives know that customers need between six and eight interactions with a brand before they complete a purchase. By deploying an advertising strategy that retargets past website visitors, companies can effectively nurture prospects into customers. Considered one of the most cost-effective forms of online advertising, retargeting can achieve returns approaching 7x.  According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, almost three-quarters of online adults use Facebook. Even if you are not active on Facebook, your customers most likely are. With over 2 billion monthly users, Facebook is a cost-effective retargeting platform that can keep your message in front of prospective customers. 

By deploying an advertising strategy that retargets past website visitors, companies can effectively nurture prospects into customers.


In its simplest form, Facebook retargeting can be set up quickly. You will first need to install the Facebook pixel on your website to allow Facebook to start collecting data about your online visitors. Next, you will need to define your audiences to target. Typically, predefined audiences can include blog readers, product page viewers and cart (or checkout) abandoners. Finally, you’ll need to set up your ad creatives in Facebook to closely align to these predefined audiences. By matching the ad messaging to your predefined audiences, you can continue to nurture and guide your prospects through the buying process.

As an example, it can be assumed that your predefined audience of “visitors who only visit your company’s blog” may only be interested in accessing additional blog articles. With this particular audience, your retargeting strategy should be to promote additional blog articles. Then once one of these visitors views a specific product page, you can then begin promoting the benefits of that product to help convert them into paying customers.

Quick Tip: People are not on Facebook to shop. They are on Facebook to be entertained.  For better retargeting results, your advertisements shouldn’t focus on hard selling, but should instead share engaging content and customer stories to keep your prospects interested in returning to your website to complete their customer journey.

 

Since starting our social media retargeting strategy at Touchstone Essentials, we have seen a significant lift in customer acquisition rates along with an almost 20x increase in engagement on Facebook.

Strategy 3: Building Trust (and Customer Sales) Faster with Reviews

If Amazon has taught us one important lesson, it is the importance that product reviews play in increasing conversion rates. Reviews build trust with shoppers, and shoppers only buy once they trust the merchant they are buying from. 

Review software companies proactively help companies manage their online customer reviews. Investing in one of these third-party review systems will allow you to easily and seamlessly create campaigns to collect and showcase your reviews throughout your website and across the web on search engines and social media platforms.  

Quick Tip: Your independent consultants are your top advocates and brand ambassadors. Start building your reviews by proactively reaching out to your active consultants first. This will not only help you lay the groundwork for better trust-building campaigns, but you will also see a measureable increase in conversion and engagement rates on your website.

Reviews are just one of several types of trust-building strategies you can leverage to increase your conversion rates. Other forms of trust building include guest article contributions from industry experts, celebrity product endorsements and credible third-party certifications. 

Shifting from a traditional multilevel marketing model that rewards growing the independent consultant to a model that promotes a balanced ratio of independent consultants to retail customers can seem like a herculean task. Fortunately for most direct selling companies, e-commerce foundations have already been laid. By leveraging existing e-commerce platforms with the strategies outlined above, direct selling companies can immediately improve their customer acquisition processes to help remain compliant with regulatory agencies.


David serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Touchstone Essentials, a direct selling organization specializing in natural, plant-based nutrition.