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Beaver Sweats to Convert Browsers to Buyers: A Marketing Allegory, Part 6

Charlie The Businessman

In case you missed past installments of this marketing allegory, Charlie Hatchet is the busy-beaver owner of Moosepicks, a company that makes toothpicks for moose. Back when Charlie’s new company was almost going under, marketing consultant Fred Squirrel helped him turn things around. With Fred’s help, Charlie found a target audience, created a company name and brand, and developed a unique product. Manufacturing is no sweat for Charlie, but he continues learning the ropes of marketing.

On Wednesday morning Charlie Hatchet reached for the bookshelf beside his desk and pulled out the Marketing Plan binder Fred Squirrel had assembled for him. He had made a habit of looking at the plan every week to keep his marketing tasks fresh in his mind.

In the past, his marketing efforts had been mostly haphazard and ill-informed, but he liked having a formal plan to follow. It was just another way Fred Squirrel was helping him become a better business beaver.

Charlie looked at the calendar for the next month. He would need to renew the signpost contract by the end of next week. He sent a quick Chirp-note to confirm the appointment with the rep on Friday to go over their plans.

He wondered how his signpost ads were performing. The large signs along well-traveled trails in the forest didn’t come cheap, especially the ones lit by firefly-surround teams for nighttime visibility. Forest folk were active at night, so it made sense to pay the extra acorns for the firefly teams, but Charlie was still a little uneasy about his signpost program. He hoped it was paying off.

Well, why don’t I just take some time to work on this right now? Charlie asked himself. Maybe I can figure out how many sales the signposts are bringing in.

Charlie The Businessman

Charlie gets a signpost surprise.

Charlie pulled out the last three moons’ worth of lead tracking forms he had dutifully filled out. “Thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight.” Charlie paused. “Yes, that seems about right. That’s three prospects a week on average that say they saw a signpost message."

Next Charlie counted the checkmarks in the “Purchased” column. “Five,” Charlie grunted. How many acorns of sales was that? He looked up each sales receipt in his alphabetical file—59 acorns total. Why, even if he had missed recording a few sales from signposts, it wasn’t nearly as much as what it cost to rent the signposts!

Charlie felt his neck fur bristling. He was wasting his hard-earned acorns on signposts! But then another thought hit him, and he had to grin in spite of his ill mood. This thing of tracking the source of each lead and what they purchased wasn’t so bad after all, even though he had complained to Fred about it several times. Suddenly it was worth the effort and hassle. Without lead tracking, he would be clueless about the lack of sales from signposts. He had thought they were doing better than that!

It’s like Fred Squirrel says, Charlie thought, “Common sense isn’t common sense until you understand it.”

“You better talk to Fred Squirrel before you cancel out of the signposts completely.” Hannah Hatchet advised her still-irritated mate that evening. “I understand what you are saying, but don’t signposts bring in a lot of prospects?”

“Yes, they do,” Charlie answered. “That’s why I thought they were a success. I’ll see what Fred says when I tell him I was right all along about the signposts being too expensive.”

The next morning a moose stopped by the warehouse. Like usual, Charlie looked for an opportunity to ask what sparked her interest in Moosepicks. When the moose said that she remembered seeing a Moosepicks signpost, Charlie had a bright idea.

“I’m glad you made it over today. By the way, which signpost did you see?”

“It was pretty far from here,” the moose replied. “About two ridges over, on the top of the ridge beside a big boulder.”

Charlie chuckled deep inside. I’m a step ahead of Fred this time. I can just hear him suggesting that I start marking from which signposts the leads are coming.

Charlie has a frank conversation with Fred Squirrel.

“How’s it going?” Fred smiled, handing Charlie a can of cold Skrite.

Charlie wiped a bead of sweat that had rolled to the end of a whisker. “Another hot summer day.” He returned Fred’s smile a little coolly. “And I think I’m still a little warm under the collar about all the acorns I’m wasting on signposts.”

Charlie got right to the point. “Look at these results. I’m thinking I’ll cancel all the signposts. They aren’t working.”

Fred scanned the information quickly. “Well, well! That isn’t what we expected on signposts, was it, Charlie?” Fred said, stroking his tail. “Your overall sales are very strong, though. Do you think it might be the time of the year? Or maybe...” The conversation continued for twenty minutes.

“I could be wrong about this,” Fred told Charlie. “Maybe signposts aren’t the right place for you to advertise. But since we know the ads are getting moose’s attention, I think it is too soon to give up.”

“Yes, I see what you are saying,” Charlie said. “There are plenty of leads coming from signposts but most of the prospects are not buying. We need to figure out if the signpost leads are not qualified buyers or if we just need a better way to convert them to buyers.”

When Charlie told Fred about his idea of asking leads which signpost they had seen, Fred smiled. “Good thinking, Charlie!”

Charlie and Fred eventually agreed that they would go ahead and sign the contract for another three moons of signpost advertising. In the meantime they would work on a plan to convert more of those leads into buying customers.

“How do you think these leads might be different than leads from other sources?” Fred asked. Together they listed some ideas:

  • Unfamiliarity with the Moosepicks brand
  • Poorer economy over the mountain
  • Different values or thinking patterns
  • Less value placed on amenities
  • Different diet not as prone to food becoming stuck in teeth
  • Distrust and skepticism of signpost ads in general

“There are some really outrageous advertisements out there on signposts,” Fred Squirrel said as he wrote down the last one. “And when forest folk have a bad experience with a company that doesn’t live up to its promise, they don’t trust you as quickly, even though you are making a truthful claim.”

Charlie focuses on converting more leads.

Charlie’s conversation with Fred Squirrel had shown him that he could be doing more to turn browsers into buyers. Handing over a big bag of acorns to the signpost rep on Friday afternoon gave him extra urgency. Over the next few weeks, Charlie tackled his lead conversion problem in several different ways.

He worked with Fred Squirrel and others from the Treetop Marketing Guild—Ricky Redcap, Clifford Crow, and Cardinal Flash—to produce Moosepicks leaf-lets. Charlie displayed the leaf-lets prominently at his warehouse in a special rack he designed and built himself. He made sure every visitor took one home.

The professionally written and designed leaf-lets clearly explained the benefits of Moosepicks and communicated the messaging points that Fred and Charlie had developed earlier.

Charlie also took Fred’s suggestion to start collecting the names and addresses of leads that stopped by the warehouse. If the moose didn’t purchase a Moosepicks, Charlie floated them a leaf-let reminder a fortnight later.

These leaf-let reminders carried a few tips for keeping teeth clean and healthy, and then ended with an invitation for a free one-moon trial of a Moosepicks. Charlie liked that the follow-up leaf-let provided useful information even if the prospect decided not to try or buy a Moosepicks. He hadn’t run any special sales yet, but if he ever did, he knew he could use these addresses to promote the sale.

The Treetop Marketing Guild also helped Charlie develop the first Moosepicks catalog. The catalog had a clean, crisp layout and easy-to-read copy and colorful pictures. It showcased each Moosepicks product, described the product in detail, and clearly listed the price. “This will help your customers make sense of their different options,” Fred told Charlie. “Organizing information always makes things easier for the customer.”

Charlie knew this was true. He had started out with just one option, but over time had developed a variety of models. He made different sizes for young moose and full-grown moose, and even offered Moosepicks in several different colors.

Charlie had often spent time with moose that were looking through stock at his warehouse. He knew from experience that having a catalog to browse would relieve him of answering so many questions. In addition, a catalog could help moose choose the best options for them. Maybe they would even buy more than they had planned; for example, seeing all the different sizes and options might prompt them to purchase for other members of their families.

Over time, Charlie’s efforts to beef up his lead conversion methods began to pay off. The conversion rate of leads from signposts began to improve and leveled off at a level similar to other kinds of advertising.

“What do you say, Charlie?” Fred Squirrel asked at their next marketing review meeting. “Shall we put the signposts on the chopping block?”

Charlie started to protest, but then he saw the twinkle in Fred’s eyes and knew his friend was just ribbing him. “Sure!” Charlie joked. “I’m tired of tracking leads, so let’s just pull all of our ads everywhere.”

Jokes aside, Charlie’s thriving business will encounter more growing pains. Is he on top of his game or does he need to take his marketing to the next level? Read the next chapter in the series next month to find out.

Moral of the story

What is the conversion in lead conversion? It’s converting interest in your product or service to action—action that results in money “converting” from the customer’s wallet to yours. Lead conversion refers to the processes and tools used to help prospects find and purchase the best solution for their need. This includes brochures, websites, catalogs, sell sheets, as well as in-person sales conversations. Lead conversion includes overcoming objections through educating prospects about the value or benefits of your product. If you cannot convert enough leads into paying customers, your business will shrivel.

Can you relate to Charlie Hatchet’s challenges? Rosewood Marketing is your Fred Squirrel for the real world. Would you like someone to walk alongside you to help solve your marketing challenges? Call 717-866-5000 or e-mail