Stepping Up to Big Ticket Sales

High-end flooring manufacturer Carlisle Wide Plank Floors knows that buying a wood floor is a highly considered purchase. To be successful, the company needs to strategically get the attention of customers who are in the market for flooring products and services, and coax them down the sales funnel. To do this, Carlisle teamed up with digital marketing firm Overdrive Interactive to attract quality leads during an 11-month paid search campaign.

“Paid search is the most reliable way to access the critical moment where targeting and timing intersect,” says Harry Gold, CEO of Overdrive.

Dean Marcarelli, CMO of Carlisle, adds that paid search allows the company to home in on its niche audience: U.S. consumers in the top 1% income bracket. “It’s important that [with] the money we spend, we bring in people who are appropriate customers, who appreciate the product, can afford the product, and certainly have a desire for the product.”

The leads Carlisle generates through paid search often guide customers to what Gold refers to as the Holy Grail: quote requests. After receiving a quote request, the luxury flooring company can generally predict how many of those leads they’re going to close, Marcarelli says. However, not all leads immediately request a quote. Gold says these leads fall into a marketing automation bucket for nurturing, such as by sending them a catalog or sequencing out emails.

“When someone asks you how much something is, they are expecting to hear back from you, and they’re expecting to reveal details about what they want,” Gold says. “Quote requests are very valuable.”

From February to December 2012, the flooring manufacturer exceeded its goal by 112%.

Sixty-five percent of new leads came from pay-per-click form completes, 16% came from phone calls, and 20% came from organic form completes.

A perfect marriage

Paid search ads are only part of the lead generation process.

According to Gold, marketers who want to attract high-quality leads online must use media such as banner ads to reach “the right people at the right time,” and marry that media with creative that’s relevant and compelling enough to drive click-throughs.

“Media will only do one thing: put you in front of the right people, if done well. It doesn’t make them click, and it doesn’t make them convert,” Gold says. “Your creative is what encourages the desired behavior.”

However, Gold adds that perceiving media buys as a sales channel, rather than a conversation starter, is one of the most common mistakes that marketers make. Leads that arrive from media need to be nurtured, which is why the landing page—which the prospect will discover after a click-through—needs to also be a considered part of the sales funnel.

Depending on the industry or the product being sold the landing page has a strategic purpose. “The landing page sells you on either filling out a form, picking up the phone, or doing a chat…The salesperson sells the product,” Gold says. “Landing pages should sell the action that starts the dialogue, not the product.”

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