Reach the right customers at exactly the right time in their buying journeys. That’s the marketer’s mantra. We know how important it is to build these substantive audience connections. We also know that these brand-to-customer relationships are fragile -- make one wrong move, and you risk causing irreparable harm.

Not to mention, human attention spans are fleeting -- having decreased from an average of 12 seconds to 8 seconds since 2012. Even goldfish have outsmarted us -- their average attention spans are 9 seconds.

Marketers’ careers revolve around the conversion funnel -- the idea that prospects follow a series of steps before committing to a purchase. A marketer’s objective is two-fold:

  1. Empower audiences with information to help them navigate the conversion funnel
  2. Minimize churn at each stage of the customer journey

Real-time marketing is invaluable for both objectives. Keep reading to learn how this technique fits into your marketing, branding, and conversion optimization ecosystems.

Bringing Personalization to the Conversion Funnel

Marketing messaging fails when misaligned with the conversion funnel. Think about it from the perspective of the consumer. When you’re just getting to know about a product or service, you’ll find an aggressive sales push off-putting. When you’re already engaging with a brand that you love and trust on the other hand, you don’t need subtle cues -- you want to learn about new products and services to supplement what you already have.

Real-time marketing takes this concept to the next level. Personalized, behavior-triggered messages empower brands with the ability to connect with website visitors on an individual basis. The alternative? A one-size-fits-all approach that provides a potentially mismatched message.

 Funnel  Stage Psychology Description
 Early Awareness Audiences discover your brand for the first  time
 Early-  Mid Engagement Audiences share your brand's content,  download a whitepaper, or subscribe to your  newsletter
 Late-  Mid Consideration Audiences ask to talk to a sales representative
 Late Conversion The moment of transaction
 Repeat Retention First-time customers become repeat buyers

Real-time technology can help you reach multiple consumer segments -- concurrently. A trigger-based approach can help craft more relevant buyer journeys. No more awkward marketing moments.

Boosting Efficiency

The consequence of an inefficient conversion funnel? Churn.

Prospects leave the buy cycle for several reasons -- out of confusion, because the user experience is muddled with friction, and as a result of a messaging to audience mismatch.

Real-time messaging can help minimize these moments in which users are exiting the funnel.

Sittercity -- a company that connects consumers with quality caregivers -- was able to minimize churn after adding real-time messaging to its website experience. The company prevented 70 customers from canceling their memberships by providing targeted, personalized messaging.

Did somebody leave your website without subscribing to your blog? Prompt them with an offer for an ebook download.

Is a subscriber ready to cancel their membership with your website? Prompt them with a 3-month coupon for a reduced fee.

Small moments can really add up -- don't let customers fall through the cracks.

Paving the Path for High-Impact Automation

Marketing automation enables web personalization at scale. As your customer base grows and grows, it’s impossible to maintain a 1:1 relationship with everyone. You need technology to maintain two-way communication with your audience.

User segments are critical to your marketing automation strategy -- if your program isn’t personalized, it will instantly be perceived as a one-size-fits-all sales push.

Real-time messaging can help you add an additional layer of personalization to your marketing automation framework. You’ll be able to reach audiences in the moment -- without dealing with a wait or lag time.

Final Thoughts - Test and Iterate

Planning your real-time strategy is just the first step. To understand how your efforts are performing, you need to execute. Put your plan into action, look for areas of improvement, and constantly strive to learn and grow.

The beauty of real-time marketing is that it’s part of a feedback loop. Listen how audiences are responding to your messaging. Find out exactly where they’re churning. Study your conversion funnel to find your true moments of opportunity.