Today, your prospective customer may be as much as 70% into the sales cycle before they with engage you, or your competitors. How you engage with them during this time is critical
Now the role of marketing is just as much about helping your prospective clients find you as it is about you finding your prospective clients. Where you have traditionally looked for business, and how you have gone about it has changed forever. But what hasn’t changed is that people still buy from people and businesses they know, like and trust.
Getting known and building trust needs to be a critical goal of any marketing plan. You need to help educate your target market, position yourself as an expert in your field and deliver the messages that builds trust in your capabilities.
Regardless of how you define your buyer’s journey having the right communications strategy for each stage of their trip is paramount. Let’s look at a simple journey your prospect might take to become a customer:
Awakening – your prospect has just become aware they have a need. A need for a product or service like yours, but they may not yet be aware of you or your solution. At this stage your need to be providing information that helps the prospective buyer understand how to solve their need. While the information can be generic, you need to be letting them know you can help them should they choose to move forward.
Provide material that will position you as a thought-leader in your area using such things as videos, white papers, surveys or articles you have had published. Of course this will differ depending on whether you are B2C, B2B or a variation, but the principle is the same – get known.
Exploration – the buyer now acknowledges they have a need that has to be and can be satisfied; they are looking for options. From what you have presented during their awakening they are aware you can help them, but they know little about you and your offerings.
This is where you need to have quality information about your company, product or services, your value proposition and how it can specifically solve the issues being faced by the buyer. Offer information that the buyer may not think they need, but will help position you are the ‘trusted advisor’.
Analysis – the buyer has moved beyond the exploration stage and has become aware that you can deliver a suitable solution. At this stage they are likely to want to compare you with other suppliers that are still under consideration.
You communication now needs to include content that shows the features and most importantly the benefits of your solution – what does it do for them. If you know your market and your competition you should be able to highlight your strengths and show them how to get the best from a relationship with you. Provide case studies that show you can ‘walk the talk’.
Agreement – yes, it’s time. The buyer is ready to commit so make it easy for them to choose you. They have acknowledged you can deliver the right solution and can do it at least as well as the others on the short list, so make this last step as simple as possible and let them feel good about their choice.
Make it easy. Whether it be to purchase online or engage with you personally, the easier it is for them to do so, the higher your chance of success. And help them feel good about their purchase. Provide relevant and credible testimonials, show that your business is strong and will be there to support them if needed by sharing some of your vision for the business. Provide relevant but non-invasive follow up communications that will be appreciated by the buyer and enhance your chance of future business.
Remember, the buyer has just completed one of many journeys they will take. How you managed this trip and follow up will determine whether they will be with you on the next venture, or potentially recommend you to others about to start on a similar path.