It's easy to be distracted by the ever growing array of marketing tactics.
Should we be spending our time tweeting or getting liked? Should we be using Pinterest? Just trying to understand the value of these things can be a real distraction.
All of this at a time when traditional marketing activity is becoming less effective. Response rates are dropping as we all get better at filtering out the advertising messages that fight to grab our attention.
“People hate to be sold to… but they love to buy!” Jeffrey Gitomer.
I think we all know that the answer is in how we can better use the internet as a marketing tool. After all, that's where we head when we need to research a purchase, ask for advice or buy something.
The good news is that there are marketing principles emerging that allow us to pull together the numerous threads that exist into a robust process.
One that works the way our customers do.
Leverage how people use the net.
Once we're clear about how our customers research and buy the products and services we're selling it gets much easier to work out a strategy (and some of those all important tactics) to support it.
And the really great thing is that everything you start to do feels like you're swimming with the tide, less time trying to sell unconvinced prospects - more time helping people that are genuinely interested in what you do.
"Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers" Seth Godin.
When anyone makes a significant purchase there are many questions they ask themselves:
Do I trust this company? Do they have authority in their marketplace? Are they popular and what would using them say about me to my peers?
Even once a potential new customer is aware of you through their research and you seem like a good option there could still be a long way to go before they're ready to buy.
How do you make sure you stay in the picture?
"How well we orchestrate the process of educating leads defines how successful our online marketing and lead generation is." Matt Fenn
We're all human, we get to know people over time. We go on dates. Trust is built through many interactions, each adding value. Building trust and preference.
Trust. Authority. Social proof. Education. Frequency.
Let's break it down and see how we can build those relationships with our 3 core marketing steps.
1. Turning Strangers into Friends
Taking us from first awareness to having someone give you their contact details with a promise from you to stay in touch.
Any 'top of funnel' activity is included here, but the use of content created to address the problems that your products solve for your customers is very effective - as it builds trust (that you know what you're talking about) and builds authority.
Using a blog to streamline your content publishing is a great way to keep focused upon your customers' needs, talk about the right issues and naturally drive up the 'surface area' your content has for people searching for answers within your marketplace.
When someone finds your website think about that first contact as the start of a relationship.
Do you have anything that your visitors can get involved with for free?
Can they sign up for a newsletter? Do you send alerts for updates? or have a free trial that visitors can sign up for?
What ways are there for you to keep the conversation going?
Think about how you can make it easy, fun and rewarding for your visitors to stay in touch.
- Business blog & SEO.
- Adding social media sharing options.
- Prominent subscription tools.
- Engaging content.
- Lead capture forms.
2. Turning Friends into Customers
So you've got some subscribers for your newsletter, and updates from your blog. You might even curate interesting content from elsewhere. If your viewpoint and expertise is what makes you different and interesting. Use it.
So the conversation is going, you've built permission and trust. That's fantastic!
Now the game changes slightly, you have their attention. Now you need to offer incentives and offers alongside your great content.
Try to encourage further engagement with more product related content, access to webinars, test drives, product trials.
- Regular email newsletter
- Autoresponder / Email nurture sequences.
- Lifecycle stages / Email nurture.
- Lifecycle stage related content.
3. Turning Customers into Fans.
You've nurtured your leads, educated them and communicated your benefits - making the journey easy and enjoyable.
And in doing so retained and converted many more leads to customers than you could possibly have managed previously...
But it doesn't end there!
Think about how your customers (the guys that love what you do so much they pay you for it) might share their enthusiasm with others.
Because no matter how much you tell people how great you are. It's always massively more effective coming from someone else!
- Social proof.
- Case studies.
- Referrer scheme.
Make it work for you.
Think about how your current activities fit into this 3 step process, how could you address any missing steps or improve your activities within each to boost your effectiveness?