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How Digital Body Language Increases Sales

by Michael Zipursky

In the golden age of sales, the best salesmen were those that could close a deal by reading body language. In our digital age, those salesmen are pretty much out of a job.

Why? Body language means something totally different when you’re looking at online activity. Folded arms and raised eyebrows don’t matter - clicks and cookies are what holds weight. Digital body language is now the name of the game. Learning how to read it is key to successful marketing and drawing in new clients.

Digital Body Language: A Crash Course

What is digital body language, anyway?

Simply, it’s just people’s online behavior on websites, emails, social media, and so on. How many times do they visit a site, what they click on when they are there, how many times they post to social media sights, when they are most likely to use the web ... these are all digital body language.


The trick is to read that language and use it to generate leads. It’s easier than it sounds. Existing software and some old fashioned research on your part is the key.

Let’s start simple.

People leave a cookie trail of their online actions, and you can use that to your advantage. Email marketing metrics and/or basic web tracking software can go a long way to measuring digital body language.

Here’s a great example by Steve Girshik of theinnovativemarketer.com. Check out this marketing activity log for a client, let’s call him John:

  • March 1 - Sent email - Opened at 8:32 a.m. Clicked through to a web page at 8:35. Visited 2 web pages 
  • March 3 - Visited 10 web pages at 8:15 a.m. 
  • March 14 - Sent email. Opened at 8:45 a.m. Clicked through to three web pages. 
  • March 21 - Called - Left voicemail. Visited 3 web pages. Downloaded an eBook at 7:48 a.m. 
  • March 31 - Called - Left voice mail. 
  • April 2 - Visited web site. 8 pages. 8:12 a.m.

What a gold mine of information!

First and foremost, John is clearly interested in your company. He has visited several pages, several different times over the course of a month. That in itself is a solid lead.

But go a little deeper. You can tell that he's doing his web surfing and email reading before 9 a.m. That is likely a good time to reach him at his desk. While the log doesn’t go into detail, I would bet those follow-up calls that went to voicemail weren’t made in the morning. You might think the missed calls mean he is not interested ... his digital behavior tells a different story.

Such a simple set of data, but so much can be learned from it.

Check out other simple digital body language signs to determine potential clients.

Does someone always download white papers or case studies that you post on your site? Have they recently started following your blog, liked you on Facebook or started following you on Twitter? Are they commenting on any of these sites and when are they most likely to do so? This is all “body language” showing a level of interest that can be a potential lead.

We’ve used this approach at FreshGigs.ca to better track and understand who are visitors are so that we can engage with them in a more relevant way and tailor our messaging to what they are looking for.

Digital Body Language for Personalized Marketing

By the time you or your sales team even know about an opportunity, that client has been all over your website. Most people are researching online and making up their mind about you before they even talk to a live person.

The days of one-size-fits all marketing is over.

According to Mickey Alon, CEO and Co-Creator of Insightera, a B2B online marketing tool for website personalization, more than 98% of online visitors are anonymous. However, websites tailored to read digital body language can capture their data. There are companies out there that offer tools to collect this data for you.

Companies can use that data to provide a personalized experience. You can target prospects based on their industry, location and actual behavior to provide them with relevant content while visiting the site.

You can also use digital body language to:

  • Create targeted webinars to a specific audiences at specific buying stages and so on, as well as tailor microsites to target the participants of that webinar
  • Target remarketing emails after a visitor has left your site that offer an opportunity to reconnect or offer a specific discount
  • Determine possible clients to individually send white papers, case studies and special marketing communications



“You are able see what prospects are interested in and then respond by sending them case studies and other information that speaks directly to their needs and areas of interest,” says Jill Konrath, leading sales strategist and author, in Digital Body Language by Eloqua. “That relevancy is so powerful in today’s business environment and the relevancy quotient just keeps increasing.”

The Takeaway

Using digital body language to build a relationship with potential clients is a little bit like the relationship you have with your favorite coffee place. You go in, the barista knows what you want and its ready in no time, and she will likely recommend a slice of coffee cake based on your previous visits.

The experience is all about your needs. That level of trust and familiarity keeps you coming back. That’s the beauty of digital body language. You build interest, trust and familiarity by personalizing information to people based on their own likes and behavior.

The sky is really the limit with digital body language. Even if you can’t afford fancy software to track a potential clients’ every move, you can track the activity of email campaigns, data requests, social media pages and so on.

Since more and more of our world is moving online, you won’t regret getting to know your audience.

Michael Zipursky is an author, consultant and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder Business Consulting Buzz, a resource centre focused on helping consultants become more successful. His work has been featured in Maclean’s, Financial Times, FOX Business, Marketing Magazine and other media. Connect with Michael on Twitter @MichaelZipursky

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