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How To Convert Leads Into Customers From Hot Traffic
What is Hot Traffic?
If you’ve managed to draw people through from cold to warm and they’re heading into the “hot” phase of the journey, you can give yourself a pat on the back for carrying them this far. But don’t get too excited too fast — in many ways, this is really just the beginning of their experience with your product.
If customers get to the hot phase, it means that you’ve not only successfully shown them that you could satisfy a need, but that they are essentially ready to buy from you over your competitors.
This segment already has developed a certain level of trust with your brand or product. They are willing and interested in buying because they have engaged enough to understand that you have something of unique value to offer them.
When you get here, you know you have communicated your value and built trust.
Recall the AOK game theory matrix that considers the four main steps of the buyer’s journey:
- Cold phase: your audience is unaware of you, and you make initial contact;
- Warm phase: your audience understands you and are considering a purchase;
- Hot phase: your audience is hungry and wants something now, so they buy;
- Converted: your audience has already bought something from you, and your goal is to get them to return.
So even though you’ve brought some customers to the right place, this point is key. But you can’t just think about it as making a sale – here you’re really going to ensure that the value exchange is completely clear and that they have an optimal experience as they purchase your product in order to build their trust even further.
Going from hot to converted is a pivotal point in the buyer’s journey because it represents the moment where they’re willing to hand you their precious earnings in exchange for your product. At this point, even a small glitch in the system could make them change their mind.
Let’s look at what needs to happen to bring your traffic from warm to hot.
Two Key Goals with Hot Traffic
The primary goal here is fairly straightforward: you want your prospect to make a purchase and become a customer. But in order to make sure this process happens, you have to make it clear, simple, and accessible. You’ve already built some level of trust in your brand; now you need to ensure that they trust in that the act of acquiring your product is going to work for them.
Also bear in mind that your secondary goal is not to just make “one” sale, but to think about the ways in which you can encourage them to both complete a purchase and want to return for more. Not thinking ahead to the next step is one of the biggest mistakes that a company can make.
Since customer acquisition tends to be costly, where you’re really earning money is with the repeat customers. You’ve already done so much work bringing them to the stage that they want to buy, it only makes sense to do your best at the outset to keep them coming back.
How to Keep your Audience Hot
The people who you are addressing in this phase are your largest accessible audience with lots of commercial intent – that is, they’re familiar with your offerings and are ready to buy, possibly even urgently. Some of them may have been “warmed” up by you, and some may be jumping in already hot due to a specific need or desire.
How are you going to offer them something now that will not only lead to multiple purchases, either simultaneously or sequentially?
Again, this will depend on the type of product you offer. If you keep sending them valuable offers, building loyalty and understanding their core needs, your actual ROI has the potential to be much higher with your hot and converted segments.
Three strategies to consider at this stage include:
- Down-selling: Offering a lower priced alternative if their reason for not making a purchase is price-related.
- Upselling: Offering a higher-priced good or service while you have their attention.
- Cross-selling: Offering complimentary items as a part of the purchase.
Marketing to existing customers and those already in your sphere of interest is going to be different than cold marketing since they will know about you and are looking to purchase now. Their frame of mind is relatively urgent, and they’ve already made the decision to buy. For both repeat and new customers, you want to ensure that you make the purchasing process a worthwhile and memorable experience.
A perfect and simple example of focusing on customer experience is Starbucks’ mobile order and pay. They know people “need” their coffee on their way to work or school in the morning, but they’re constantly feeling stressed and rushed. So why not offer them an opportunity to order their drink ahead, thus offering a time incentive to choose them over the independent coffee shop across the street?
Mindshare & Marketing Platforms for Hot Traffic
This phase is about positioning yourself so that they clearly understand why they should buy from you now and move forward in the funnel. Some examples of platforms that are effective in this phase include:
- Display ads
- Offer pages
- Landing pages
- Sales pages
Notice that there’s not really a place for social media here. You certainly will keep using social platforms to build and maintain brand awareness and loyalty at every phase of the journey as well as for re-targeting and nurturing. But you don’t typically have something like a Facebook page set up for customers to directly purchase your goods and services.
The Best KPIs to use for Hot Traffic
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are markers that represent key actions in relation to your business goals. These will be slightly different depending on the phase of the customer journey. They’ll be metrics that demonstrate specific actions and inform your future strategy.
A good rule for any phase is to stick with metrics that tell a story – and this story gets more detailed the further along in the journey you get. For instance, the amount of traffic on your website on a given day doesn’t really tell a story – it’s an indicator, but there are so many factors behind this one number, it doesn’t say anything.
However if you take a peek at hot traffic versus sales, and view that as a rate that you track over a given number of days during a promotion, that tells you a story about customer behaviour. You can use this story to inform future marketing strategy.
Here are a few KPIs you will want to take a look at during the hot traffic phase:
- Conversion rate
- Rates related to visitor loyalty: What is the percentage of returning visitors and how does this vary over time?
- Checkout abandonment rate: If this drops suddenly, you need to take a look at why – for instance, is there a problem with the checkout function on the website?
- Task completion rate
In the hot phase, customers are about to make a purchase, and you need to give them every reason to move forward via a seamless transaction. Always put yourself in the position of the customer and try to think about:
- What are you thinking or doing when you’re about to make a purchase?
- What purchasing decisions have you made in the past that encouraged you to return to a certain website or even store?
- What stands out to you about certain products or services?
- What can you offer that adds clear and specific value?
Remember that this is about a reciprocal value exchange. In every phase of the journey, you want to think beyond the “ask” and not focus on the “sale” itself. You want to focus on how you are engaging, what kind of conversation you are having, and what type of experience you are offering.