by Ron Stein
Updated 10 months ago
The modern digital consumer has complicated life for marketers. The way you reach and build relationships with prospective buyers has changed. Whether you actually sell online or not, turning your audience into paying customers is a challenge for the best of businesses today.
But of course you already know that. Yet, it’s worse than you think. No matter how well you’ve grown your brand, loyalty in the digital age is short-lived. It’s just too easy for people to find what they’re looking for elsewhere.
Buyers tend to first search for information about the problem they need to solve. They may not think of it in terms of educating themselves, but that’s what they are doing. And it doesn’t really matter how simple or complex the issue is that they’re trying to figure out.
It’s not just products or services that people ultimately end up acquiring.
Your potential customer is buying peace of mind, secure in the knowledge that they are about to make the right decision. To them it’s all about gaining maximum value. Not the lowest price and not even the solution with the most buttons, blinking lights, and doodads.
The reality is that you need to capture the hearts and minds of buyers at the earliest stages on their journey to solving their problem. And once you get them to buy from you, keep them engaged so that the bliss originally found with your offering doesn’t fade.
Satisfy the digital desire of your market with a mix of traditional and new media tactics and digital bliss will be yours.
Engage with content one step at a time. In a recent survey by business development firm RSW/US, it was found that case studies and content posted on their client’s websites were cited by 62.6% of respondents as the top two promotional tactics used to generate leads. Tip sheets, webinars, eBooks, case studies, and the like are your best bets for generating leads. Segment your educational offers into two informational buckets. Start the engagement process with no-risk offers that are totally free and downloaded or mailed. Then move to a low-risk offer that is free or very low cost and requires some skin in the game by prospects such as attending a seminar. All of this gets people to know you and appreciate the knowledge you bring to the table. Once trust is built, they’re ready to buy.
Give customers the experiences you’d expect. As a leader in your company, you know that selling is job one. Yet, when you go home at night you turn into a buyer -- that new wood flooring you’ve been thinking about, the file back-up service you’re looking at subscribing to, or maybe it’s time for a new set of tires on your car. You want to gain maximum value and consider things like a business that seems to anticipate your needs, product knowledge, and if you just plain like the people at the company you’re considering doing business with. Well, why is it any different for your prospective customer? Understand you perfect prospect profile and what they need to make a decision and how they shop. Create the content needed for the different stages of their buying journey and engage them across targeted digital and offline points of interaction. And most of all, remember that it’s not about the product or service you market, instead it’s all about how you help your prospects and customers.
Loyalty before and after the purchase. In the old days companies sold a product and if they were smart, did what was necessary to retain the customer. Today in the digital age you need to lay the groundwork for loyalty before meeting the buyer for the first time. People decide what to buy based on a dynamic and interactive process, but not necessarily starting with your company. The path to purchase and loyalty goes through many places that will eventually lead to a solution for the buyer. The question is, will it be you or one of your competitors? That’s why those happy existing, loyal customers are so important to the buying process. The positive experiences you create with customers today will lead to loyal fans who end up doing a fair amount of content marketing for you -- such as online forums, reviews, and of course the case studies they let you write about them. That’s why the outdated concept of the sales funnel doesn’t work anymore. Give the connected customer what they want and the way they want it. And keep them coming back for more.
There are so many possible ways to connect with the digital buyer today that it probably gives you a headache. Treat it as an opportunity. Establish your voice and credibility through great information and incredible experiences. Encourage interaction and collaboration. Leverage only the relevant channels that make sense for your target audience.
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He works with small business owners, helping them to energize their marketing and sell more of their products and services. Ron has developed his own highly successful 7-step approach to winning new customers as a result of his experience as a small business owner, corporate CEO, marketing and business development executive, salesman, and mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.