In this digital world, every business needs to have an online presence like a personalized website where individuals can view and get insights about the services or products you are offering. But to make the most of your website, you need some sort of marketing strategies.
If it was a perfect world, the online message that your company would send to consumers would be accepted almost immediately and they would then flock to your businesses with cheque books and money bills. Unfortunately, that’s not how the sales process works in the real world. Before any transaction, your company will have to go through a process of gaining popularity or in other words, create brand awareness by building consumer trust, and viewers’ curiosity in your products and services. You need to know how to generate new leads, then move them closer to the end of the sales funnel.
The sales funnel for oil and gas companies is, unfortunately, a long one. You need to accurately portray what you have to offer, and if it matches or satisfies a potential client’s requirement, they’ll consider negotiations or getting in touch with you. It can be a lengthy process, but the outcome of this becomes a mutually beneficial partnership. Before you move ahead in the sales funnel, you need to open lines of communication online with lead generation methods. You need to know why lead generation is important for oil and gas companies as well as what your oil company can do differently to attract more leads. If you need a marketing strategist on this, you could simply get in touch with Rapid Boost Marketing. We can also develop a conversion-focused website for your company and add some strategic changes to the web content if needed.
Stages in the Sales Funnel for Oil and Gas Companies
The process of converting leads online through lead generation techniques can take many weeks and even months. However long it takes, it generally occurs in 6 basic stages:
Stage 1: Introduction
This is also known as the brand awareness stage of the company. This is the stage where prospective customers can learn about your company and what services it offers. Some may be actively searching for oil and gas services online or maybe view a display advertisement. Either way, your company is introduced and the first stage of brand awareness is achieved.
Step 2: Qualification
Some new customers make inquiries casually about products and services that they may require or they may want to get more information about them. Some customers may be more serious while they make an online inquiry as they may need assistance right away. Your sales team needs to analyze what kind of leads fall into what type of category in the funnel. For instance, if people are just viewing your website, they qualify as raw leads at the top of the sales funnel. And the ones that have tried to contact you or filled their details on your website, form these are active leads at the middle of the funnel leading towards conversion.
Step 3: Assessment
A lead may be interested in your services, but not necessarily for the same reason as another lead. Once a lead qualifies as a hot lead, you need to understand what they need and whether it lines up with what you are offering.
Step 4: Solutions
People are looking for answers and solutions to their problems on the internet. They need to know if your company will solve all their problems efficiently. Can you meet the needs of what your customers need? More importantly, how are you going to meet their needs differently compared to your competitors in the oil and gas industry? A solution shouldn’t just meet requirements, it should do much more. Your customers should be delighted after consuming your products.
Step 5: Negotiation
What would make the deal more attractive for the customer to choose you? How can the offer be modified to make the offer more viable for the new lead? All of the answers to these questions are decided in this stage. All queries of the lead are answered in this stage of the funnel.
Step 6: Purchase
This is the final step of the conversion funnel process where the end goal for any oil and gas company is for customers to make a purchase. Sometimes the potential customer may sign a long-term partnership, and other times it can be a one-time deal.
Why is Lead Generation Important?
Marketing is all about creating beneficial relationships. The individuals participating in a business relationship understand each other’s requirements and put efforts into meeting them – or at least that’s how business relationships are supposed to work. Businesses strive while building rapport with customers and prospects. However, it’s not always easy to distinguish a genuinely engaging prospect from a bunch of leads generated. This is because some viewers might just be browsing and not actually buying or making a purchase. In this case, the lead generation process can help you to focus on viable prospects.
When prospective customers actively choose to hear from you, you know they’re interested in knowing more about your company on a genuine note. However, not everyone is interested to make a purchase after knowing you. Some customers respond as they are curious but aren’t having any plans of making a deal. Others may just be comparing deals with your competitors while some are simply ready to buy immediately.
A basic follow-up isn’t distinguished for different potential customers, so all the leads generated are treated the exact same way. The outcome? You would be spending too much time on the leads that won’t convert and not enough time on those leads that may convert. A more targeted and filtered lead management process ensures that every kind of lead gets appropriate attention. This proceeds to a better return on investment of resources, efforts, and time!
How can Oil and Gas Companies Generate More Leads?
The process of lead generation can vary from company to company in this industry, even from one lead to another. If these listed tips are being followed, your lead generation process will be more focused towards conversions and revenue.
Have Clear Call-To-Actions
You need to know which consumers have shown interest in your offer, and they need to have an open line of contact to show their interest in your services. Hence, for a conversion-focused website, it is necessary to have call-to-action buttons that are clearly noticeable. Some call-to-actions can be much more than just ‘Contact us’. Examples of CTA are ‘subscribe’, ‘sign up’, download now’, etc. depending on what you want your users to do. ‘Subscribe’ or ‘Sign up’ can be used if you want consumers to regularly get updates when you post a blog/content on your website.
Tailor Your Approach for Every Stage in the Sales Funnel
Not everyone who visits your website is in the same place in the sales funnel. Some of them are already on their way signing on the dotted line, while there are others still gathering information. Identify these respective needs and then design a compelling call-to-action based on what stage they are in the sales funnel. This call-to-action can either be crafted in blogs, web articles, service pages and landing pages.
For instance, online viewers that visit your pricing page might be ready to fill in their details for a free quote whereas the visitors that are reading your blog are still probably at the higher end of the sales funnel and haven’t made up their mind to take a step. Instead, you could offer some fundamental ways for engaging them to sign up for a weekly newsletter or weekly blog post update.
Nurture the Leads
Once an online visitor fills out the contact details form and requests for more information or if the visitor downloads your latest e-book, then it’s your turn to make your next move. When someone approaches your oil and gas company through your conversion-focused website, get in touch with either a phone call or an insightful email. This ensures that their interest in your services is still kept alive and indirectly help you to convert them as hot leads eventually.
Utilize CRM Tools
Lead management is way harder than it seems like to most individuals. This is only when you are unaware of which leads are at what stages of the sales funnel. This is why it’s necessary to document each step and keep the process moving forward. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a tool that assists you in keeping track of every interaction and properly categorize every lead until they convert into customers. Using these tools will help you manage most of the business information like customer data, customer interaction, and how to automate sales.
It’s without a doubt that digital marketing can actually work for your oil and gas company business. Strategizing your online marketing plan is a major step but before you get into those shoes, you need to analyze if you have enough online presence for this to work successfully. The major factor while considering to have an online presence is to have a website. Does your oil and gas company have a website? If it does, then it’s awesome! The next thing you need to be mindful about is if your website is able to get you leads and the required attention. If you haven’t been successful enough in it, then all you need to do is upgrade your regular website to a more conversion focused website for your oil and gas company. Now what does a conversion focused website really mean? It refers to the subtleties of your website that compel any online users to visit your website and then hopefully convert them into customers. To make this a reality, you need to learn a process called conversion optimization.
What Defines Conversion Optimization?
Conversion optimization is basically conversion rates being optimized. This is a strategic process of optimization where every aspect of your company website leads a visitor to take certain decisions and actions when they are on your website. Now, this ‘action’ could be literally anything. It could be from a simple subscription to an online newsletter or an inquiry quotation. You need to think from your visitor’s perspective and be familiarised with how an online visitor navigates through your website. This is to notice if they face any hurdles that might be stopping them from taking an action. You can receive insights about this by conducting an analysis of your company website.
Let’s understand the conversion rate even further. It is basically a calculative number of the number of times an online visitor visits your website. This rate calculates only the action performed by the visitor divided from the site traffic for a given duration. For instance, if you receive total traffic of 100 and out of that if just 6 performed an action, your conversion rate is 6%. Another thing to be careful about is that conversion rate optimization is also applicable for your SEO efforts and paid advertisements apart from your oil and gas company website. However, for a website’s conversion rates, it can only happen after a user visits your company website and takes action.
Now, you need to execute extensive planning actions in order to optimize your oil and gas website to make it conversion ready. You just cannot rely on assuming things are going to be calculated in an automated way. You may feel that your current website design or the way it is organized and structured is perfect. But that’s not how it works in digital marketing. Some serious research is needed along with some trials and errors to determine a website structure and design that is efficient in giving you conversions.
There are two processes to follow while conducting research for your oil and gas company’s website to optimize conversions. The first process is to have quantitative website data analysis by using any analytics platform. An analytics platform can give you some advanced and heavy data on how users are responding to your website and how well your website is performing. Google Analytics is a platform that can easily assist you to track conversions and traffic. Such kind of research can indicate the source of the traffic, the webpages that the users spent the most time on, etc. The information from the analytics is factual and specific which gives you a strong foundation to start planning an optimization plan for the website.
Another research method involves interactions with your website visitors to know exactly why they visited your website and how the website could help them. This can simply be done with surveys like adding a feedback form on your website. This will help you in getting a comprehensive answer of what engages your target audience and what doesn’t.
After understanding how conversion optimization, you need to implement certain tips if you want your website to be conversion focused.
Tips to Create a Conversion Focused Website
Something that is done for both a new website as well as an existing one is optimizing the website design and structure. These are some tips you could use to have a conversion focused website for your oil and gas company.
Take Customer Suggestions
For an oil and gas business that has been active in the industry for decades, you will be having a set of loyal customers. These loyal customers can be a great asset when you start the process of conversion optimization. As discussed before, we already know how research is necessary before you make any changes to the website. What better way to conduct research than asking your customers that have previously used your website? Reach out to your existing and previous customers to receive their feedback on how they find your website structure. Take information from them to find out how they moved around on your website and if the website features attracted them. Keep an open mind to criticism and suggestions, you may be surprised with the innovative ideas that will come your way.
Declutter the Website
More isn’t always beneficial. Sometimes in the quest of including everything on the website, you may end up cluttering the website with too many features, click-ons, and content. A conventional oil and gas construction website needs a homepage, service page, and a contact us page. However, some websites today are having a few extra elements. This does help but it shouldn’t be too much to look at on the website. Like for example, the navigation bar or site map is the most clicked element as it indexes all your webpages. However, having the same navigation bar in your landing pages may not be useful for ad campaigns as this may distract the user and compel them to click on another webpage altogether. There exists one conversion! Consider eliminating the navigation bar from a landing page if you want it to be impactful. You could also get rid of unnecessary images, drag down elements, sidebars, etc. This can make your website much more user-friendly and appealing.
Use Visuals and Not Just Text
A website is like a store where customers walk in, except that it’s online. Now, how would you feel if you entered a shop with dull walls and just text and no images? Disinterested to shop? Unattracted? That’s the exact same feeling you want to avoid your customers to feel when they stumble upon your website. Your website needs to have visuals of your oil and gas company, the services you offer the customers. This makes your business website look more interesting. You could add images of your set up, workspace, factory, rigs, and on-site pictures. Just refrain from using boring images or images that seem fake or processed as it can put off website visitors.
Don’t Miss CTAs
A conversion focused website for oil and gas companies, what do you think is the one element of your website that actually gives you a conversion? Yes, a Call-to-Action! To make conversions happen you need to have some sort of call-to-action that actually gives your website visitors a conversion path.
Just implementing a call-to-action on your website isn’t going to be enough. You need to have the button to be easily noticeable and clickable. You could use CTA buttons of different colours to increase its visibility. Where you place the CTA is also important. Based on how your website content structure is, it can be decided if it should be on the top or below the fold of your website.
Conduct A/B Testing
New website designs or website restructuring to make it a conversion focused website needs to have a process to analyze if the new design or structure works. A/B testing is a website testing tool that is necessary during website transformation. This split testing is used to analyze the outcome of two different website elements and to choose the one that gives the best results. So, when webpages are being created, you need to have a few alternatives and make them live for a certain duration. When all alternatives are live, check the response on each one and choose the one that gave you optimum results.
There are some technologies and innovations that are changing how your website is serving your customers. From a regular basic website to flashy, vibrant websites, you now have a million options to try. One such innovation is to have a live chatbot on your website for the users to ask any queries if they have. For a conversion focused website, it is a must to use this feature. You may ask why? It’s because with a live chat option you already cut the barriers of doubt around your service. When a user sees a live chat option, they can quickly clear all their doubts related to the services your oil and gas company offers. Such a quick response will motivate the users to opt or choose your services and convert instead of waiting for an email reply. The benefit of having live chats is that you can trigger them to pop up when the user takes a certain action. This makes you less annoying and interrupting to the user looking for something on your website.
Add Video Content
Today, websites give a varied range of opportunities to be creative and extremely visual with it. Apart from the navigation options, there are so many icons and elements you can add to your website and also make additions to the content on your webpages. Then why would you simply restrict your website to just text and images? Consider video content! Why? Conversion rates increase by 80% just by video marketing on landing pages. That’s a huge percentage to speculate on! The use of videos in an online marketplace is advised as compared to a store. A customer can be easily converted by some really good people-skills and convincing methods; showing them what kind of oil and gas services you offer and how you are different among the rest. By implementing videos on your landing page, you are already giving your visitors a glimpse of what services you offer and how your company functions, and to add on, they get to see an actual person from your company talking about the offered services. This can definitely build trust and compel the users to contact you for further information.
Know Your Visitors
You could have a vast range of target audience both demographically and geographically. But this doesn’t make a difference in the base human behaviour of the online users that visit your website. When a person views your company website, they are likely to follow a pattern of viewing the entire website from top to bottom. Mostly this pattern remains the same in users that are hunting for services and gaining for information on particular products. This movement of visitors can be tracked by using eye-tracking heat maps provided by apps like Optimizely and many other such platforms. These heat maps will provide insights into how the user has moved around your website and what elements were more clickable. Such informative data can be used for website reconstruction by focusing on areas where the users paid maximum attention and spent most of their time, mostly on important elements like call-to-action and landing page links. Just know your visitor’s behaviour and give them the best user experience on your website.
Improve Website Loading Speed
8 seconds! That’s the average attention span of any human as of 2018. Assuming that this number will surely be decreasing soon, are you prepared to wow your online visitors in such limited time? Impressing the visitors is one aspect, but you also have to grab their attention in such a constrained time limit with quality information. If your website takes time to load, you might lose some leads right there as impatient users will bounce from your website. To increase your website loading speed, the coding and design of the website need to be kept as simple as possible. Yes, sometimes opting for flashy websites may seem like a nice idea. But HTML websites do enough to make a website more efficient and appealing. Also, getting rid of unnecessary elements and decluttering the website considerably brings down your loading speed.
Don’t Miss Optimization for Mobile Devices
Mobile devices have almost replaced the stationed computers in so many aspects. Earlier people used to sit on their desktops only to browse solutions to their answers online. In today’s smartphone era, finding reasons and answers is faster and much more convenient than on a desktop. The problem is that not all businesses get this and they end up creating a website just for desktops. But such a mistake today in this mobile-screened world is terrible for creating a conversion focused website. People can hardly wait for 5 seconds for a website to load on their phones. It is not only about loading speed but also about how responsive it is. Your website should be optimized in a way that the webpages don’t look cluttered and navigating through them is easier. The call-to-action buttons should be prominent even on mobile devices.
Constructing or restructuring a conversion focused website for your oil and gas company isn’t a tedious task if you undertake these tips. These are just minor tweaks that will benefit your website. In this digital world, your website is your company’s identity. Once your website is conversion-optimized, what’s the next thing you need to strategize on to get more leads? Many individuals use social media for browsing and searching for things relevant to their requirements. So social media marketing along with advertisements can be your next big step for lead generations. Consider contacting a social media marketing for your oil and gas company to help you out.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.