Have you noticed a change in the way customers buy? I hope you have, because they have.
As I said in a blog some time ago, “Customer acquisition requires a strategy, a strategy that you control, not the customer. It starts with creating a compelling marketing message and then uses that message across a range of promotional media. This blog provides the third step; converting the leads that message to sales.
If your message is indeed compelling the prospect will have mentally “bought” before they pay but you will need a sales conversation to ensure the sale takes place.”
This is still true, and I wanted to explore the last part of this quote, about getting customers to the stage where they have “mentally bought” before they pay.
In the “old days”, not so long ago, you or your sales rep would call on your prospective customers, particularly if you were selling B2B. Sales reps would be expert at teasing out the prospect’s real requirements. They would have a well-rehearsed pitch to lead them to a buying decision.
Good interpersonal skills were also important, knowing how to chat and become the prospect’s best mate. Even then, it was all about building relationships on a personal level. That was how they lead them to a buying decision.
Before you could find them they had to find you, although reps did cold-calling, working to a plan and schedule. So advertising was important, it still is, but in a somewhat different way. For B2B purposes you advertised in specialist magazines, or glossies for B2C, and of course directories like Yellow Pages. The change in buyer behaviour is behind the dramatic decline in Yellow Pages, and not just in Australia.
The essence of the problem is that people no longer rely on magazine and other advertisements, at least to the extent they did to find what they want. Nor do they wait for the sales rep to call. Salespeople have lost control of the process.
Buyers are now researching online, instead of calling salespeople to discuss their problems and suggest solutions. These days, buyers don't want to see a rep, or step into your business, until maybe the last 20 percent of their buying process.
I’m sure you do it yourself, whether it is for business or personal requirements. The automatic response these days is to do a search, to find more information, to educate yourself on the options, to check product/service reviews.
According to MarketingProfs, 72 percent of B-to-B buyers begin their searches with a Google search. And a study from American Business Media found that the five fast-growing areas of spending on marketing are search engine advertising, mobile advertising, e-newsletter advertising, whitepapers and face-to-face event attendance. (Source: Denny Hatch – Target Marketing)
This is why “how” you get customers to the stage where they have “mentally bought” before they step through the door is so important. That is one problem.
There is a second, related, problem to consider. Have you noticed that when you have researched a subject on-line, you constantly see ads popping up on other sites you visit, like online newsletters and other commercial sites.
For example in your last blog I wrote about the importance of the subject line in your emails. Naturally I did some research. Now I find ads for ebooks on email marketing appearing everywhere. What the people behind those books are doing is marketing — finding people (me) and making relevant offers.
In previous times, marketers would find who was interested in their products through a range of techniques such as cut-out coupons. Now the search engines capture the type of content you accessed, ads clicked, and searches conducted or on related terms and ensure the next time you go to a relevant commercial site, up will pop an ad of potential interest.
This is a problem for small businesses. They don’t have the budgets to place all these targeted ads across commercial sites. Do you?
The solution to both problems lies in the information you put on your website, whether it be the content of the site, a blog, a newsletter, a report, a case study or whatever, to educate and inform your prospect.
It must not only educate and inform, but also deliver a compelling marketing message so they have “mentally bought” your offering before they have even contacted you.
Does your content do that?
© Copyright 2014 Adam Gordon, The Profits Leak Detective
Some profit losses are pretty obvious - so you fix them.
BUT, what if you don't know profits are leaking, cash out the door?
Possible leaks could be anywhere.
Are there some clues or symptoms that are tell-tales?