A Better Model For New Client Acquisitions
By Robert Sanchez
When a pet owner visits your website, what do you think they are looking for? Consciously, it’s typically basic information—who are you, what do you do, where do you do it? But unconsciously, what they’re really asking is, “Can I trust you?”
We instinctively look for trust whenever we are evaluating a new relationship. The new challenge for your boarding facility is that this process now takes place almost exclusively online. A sound digital marketing strategy is about human relationships, not software. This article is about giving you a realistic road-map towards a predictable and sustainable growth strategy.
The Sales Funnel
Success in NCA (New Client Acquisition) will largely depend on the efficacy of your practice’s sales funnel. The sales funnel should be modeled on the modern buyer’s journey, and the buyer’s psychological needs at each successive step. Below, we’ll lay out what we believe the sales funnel should look like at an abstract level.
The pet owner is aware of a problem (they need to board their pet), and is seeking a solution. Thus, the first task is to get the pet owner to engage with you as a possible solution to their need. This is primarily executed through the search engines and social media. The top of your funnel strategy should include targeted ads (tracked and split–tested) and strong organic rankings.
Split testing is the practice of testing small variations in your ad copy, squeeze page, and bid in order to constantly refine your campaign. A sound strategy aims for constant improvement and growth, which requires constant testing.
The buyer’s now in your funnel, and is considering you as a possible solution to their need. Now you must convince them that you are the right solution. This will depend largely on satisfying the basic (and largely unconscious) need they are compelled to satisfy—trust.
Here’s the challenge—we were built to form relationships in person, not online. The websites that accomplish this best make people forget that they are even on a website in the first place. We almost lose ourselves in your story—similarly to when we are reading a great book or watching our favorite television show. To successfully drive behavior, we need deep engagement.
This task starts the very moment a pet owner opens your website. Whenever we meet someone in person or a brand online, our minds work to form a first impression in a fraction of a second. Websites that offer poor first impressions suffer from high bounce rates (a visit where the user clicks on nothing). The first thing a pet owner sees should surprise, delight, and draw them in.
The task is now to convert motivation into action—such as a phone call or form submission. The key tenet of human behavior to understand here is that because of eons of evolution, the brain is constantly at work to balance motivation and energy output. Converting should feel as simple and value-oriented as possible.
No matter where a user is on your website, your phone number should be visible and prominent. This is best accomplished through a sticky header, which is fixed to the top of a user’s screen as they scroll through your site. You want to make it feel almost easier to convert right then than to delay the task for another time.
The best websites still will only convert a small fraction of visits into action. But it’s not because those other prospects aren’t interested—it just wasn’t the right time for them in their buyer’s journey. So, what to do?
Ever shop for a product on Amazon? You have probably noticed that, often times, when you look at a product but don’t buy it, ads for that product begin to appear on your favorite websites. This strategy is partially responsible for Amazon’s stunning success in e-commerce—they know that timing is so much in life.
When someone falls out of your funnel, you need to feed them back through when and where they fell out. However, you don’t want to make someone feel as though you’re stalking them; they should see your ad a max of five times a day for about two weeks. This makes it almost impossible for them to forget about you, so that when it is the right time in their buyer’s journey, you are at the top of their mind.
We believe this NCA model will be revolutionary for pet boarding businesses. But only if it is approached with the scientific rigor it demands and deserves.
Robert Sanchez is the Founder & CEO of Digital Empathy. He believes the digital marketing industry must evolve from fast sales and buzzwords to scientific rigor and innovation. He believes scientific thinking, relentless innovation and genuine compassion can solve many problems. Robert cares deeply about human and animal rights. In his free time, he enjoys reading about how the world works—from psychology to physics. He has two dogs—Cole & Lula—that he spoils dearly.