People don’t spend their hard-earned cash for no reason, they conduct their own research to understand their problems and identify possible solutions before making a purchasing decision. The problem with a lot of marketing is that it focuses on the final stage of this process, where competition is at its fiercest and where people are likely to buy from a company they already have a relationship with.
It’s like asking someone to marry you when you’ve only just met. You need to build a relationship first, and to do that you need to understand the process people go through before they make a purchase. A process known as the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s journey in action:
Steve is driving home from work and hears a strange whirring noise coming from the right side of his car. He gets home and Googles “strange whirring noise from the right side of car.” Steve goes through the results, watches videos, and reads articles about the possible cause of the noise. Through this information, Steve identifies the sound as a symptom of a damaged wheel bearing.
Now that Steve understands the cause of his problem, he searches for solutions. Weighing up whether he can fix it himself or hiring a mechanic to conduct the repairs. Steve decides that he will take his car to a mechanic.
Steve now understands his problem and has decided on the solution. He researches the prices, reviews, and ratings of several mechanics before deciding on a vendor and making a purchase.
This is the buyer’s journey in action. A lot of companies make the mistake of targeting their marketing efforts on just the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, hoping to grab the attention of a potential customer that is close to making a purchase. But what if you could get the attention of the buyer earlier in the journey, helping them to understand their problem and increasing the chances of them choosing you when they decide to make a purchase. Building a relationship before you jump in with a marriage proposal.
Below are three common mistakes that marketers make when courting potential customers and how to solve them.
Mistake #1: Jumping in With a Sales Pitch
People don’t like to be sold to, they want to be helped. While you might strike lucky and have a customer come to you when they decide to make a purchase, the chances are that they are going to purchase from the company that has helped them understand their problem/goal earlier on in the buyer’s journey. According to Market Bridge, 95% of buyers choose a company that has helped them through each stage of the buyer’s journey. A stranger that has never interacted with your company before is unlikely to be receptive to your sales pitch.
Solution: Help People Understand Their Problems
Instead of trying to sell, switch to a mindset of helping people, and focus on building relationships. What are your customer’s needs and problems? If people aren’t even fully aware of the problems they face, they’re not going to be interested in the products you offer as a solution.
Mistake #2: Failing to Understand The Need of Your Customers
Once your potential client has realised they have a problem, they start to express interest and research possible solutions. Without understanding your customer’s needs, you’re marketing efforts are going to be squandered. Before you start putting together a sales funnel and spending your cash on PPC, sit down and collate together everything you know about your customers.
Solution: Know Your Customers and Do Your Research
This goes beyond age, gender, and other primary data. You need to know your potential customers intimately. The more you know about their problems and pain points, the better you can highlight your products as a solution in your marketing – 48% of buyers are more likely to consider a company that personalises their marketing to address the specific needs of their business. What are your customers searching for on Google? What are the common questions that prospects ask your sales team?
Community boards like Quora and Reddit can be excellent sources for understanding your potential customer’s needs and thinking. Collect as much information as possible and use this data to inform your marketing. Create blog posts, webinars, FAQs, videos, etc. to address the needs and pain points of your potential customers. The more you can target your content, the more your prospects will feel that you are talking to them – and the more receptive they’ll be to your products and services.
Mistake #3: Bypassing The Consideration Stage
A person in the consideration stage is already aware of their problem and is actively seeking and comparing the possible solutions. However, if you come over to strong with your sales pitch, you’ll lose a potential customer that is close to making a purchase. You need to provide the nudge that will take them into the decision stage.
Solution: Show Your Value
Your potential customer has already shown interest, so now it’s on you to make the next move and help them move closer to making a purchase. Highlight the value of your solution to take the business relationship to the next level. This could be interesting content, an invite to a free webinar, anything that provides value and is targeted to the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey – 47% of buyers consume 3 – 5 pieces of content before they engage with a sales rep.
Once your prospect has progressed to the decision stage, it’s time to convert them into a customer. If you’ve already put in the work earlier in the buyer’s journey, they know who you are, the products you offer, and they place trust in your company because of the helpful content you have provided to help them earlier in the buyer’s journey.
Its time to take to make a proposal and seal the deal. This where your traditional sales skills come into play and where your communication and content should be focused on conversion. Your paid Ads should link to your product landing pages, and your email communication should feature calls to action. Including a strong single call-to-action in your emails can increase your click-through rate by 371%.
Old school marketing isn’t effective in the modern consumer landscape. Buyers have uninterrupted access to information and use it to inform their purchasing decisions. Your marketing needs to meet the needs of the modern consumer. People want to be helped, not to be sold to. The key to successful marketing is building and strengthening relationships at every stage of the buyer’s journey.