More often than not when I ask a small business owner what is their goal for their digital marketing efforts the answer is “to drive more traffic to my website.”
The idea is that sales is a numbers game and the more people you are able to get in front of, the more sales you will close. There are a few problems with this idea. First, it cost more to get more people to your website. Second, there is a negative effect on your search engine rankings when those visitors bounce off your website too quickly. Third, you may end up spending too much time responding to unqualified leads.
I would like to suggest that the goal should be to attract qualified buyers and increase sales from loyal customers.
Here are 5 steps to achieve that goal.
1. Understanding the customer’s emotional journey.
The customer’s journey starts when they realize they have a pain point. That pain point causes an emotional response which spurs them into action to remove the pain. You may know and address that pain in your marketing content but are you addressing their emotional response?
People do not make purchase decisions based on what is the best or most rational solution. Purchase decisions are driven by emotions. Can your customers trust you? Will it be enjoyable to work with you? Will you make your customers look good to their peers? These are just a few of the underlying questions your potential customers have when they are evaluating your solutions.
If your content talks about your products or solutions but do not answer the emotional questions it may be educational, but it is not compelling.
Compelling content is focused on the customer, not you. Compelling content says, “I understand where you are right now and how you are feeling.” Compelling content assures the customer that everything will be ok and that there is a path to solve the problem. Compelling content provides a vision of what life will be like when the problem is solved.
Once you have made an emotional impact on your audience, be sure that they have a way to act on it. Having a “Contact Us” button with an action-oriented color, like orange, can make it easier for people to get in touch with you if they have comments or questions about what they just read.
If they don’t contact you right away, be sure that they don’t forget you. Keep your brand in front of them as they surf the internet looking for alternative answers. Remarketing is an advertising technique that tracks website visitors and then promotes your ads to them even after they leave your website.
2. Capture their attention and then their information.
Once you’ve put in the work to get people to your website, set up paths and capture analytics to learn as much about them as possible. What pages are people visiting? What are they clicking on? Where are they lingering? The more you know about your audience’s behavior the more you will understand their needs and what interests them. This information enables you to make adjustments to your content and the design of your website to better connect with your audience.
When your audience feels like you understand them they will be willing to provide their contact information in exchange for a lead magnet such as a white paper, ebook, checklist or subscription to your newsletter. A great lead magnet will usually solve a problem for your customers and is quick and easy to understand and implement.
3. Know when and how to reach out to your prospect to close the deal.
I have been in sales for a couple of decades. The most important thing I have learned is that timing is everything when it comes to asking for the sale. If you ask too early you can make your prospect feel like you are only trying to get the deal without understanding their needs. If you wait too long you can make your prospect feel like you’re not really interested in having them as a client or that you may be too hard to work with.
Too many websites ask to move forward with the deal too soon. Pop-ups that announce a discounted price appeal to the rational buyer who is focused on saving money, but remember your audience is emotional. The idea of saving money may be what helps close the deal but only if your future customer is emotionally satisfied with the solution you are offering. At the same time, some websites don’t provide a quick and easy way to act when a person is ready to buy.
In my first sales role in the late nineties, we referred to the perfect time to close a deal as white heat. White heat is when the prospect is showing signs of intense excitement. They are ready to move forward. If you let that feeling pass without asking for the sale it is really difficult to capture their attention again.
How can you tell when a prospect is feeling white heat? You learn from behavior cues. If you are speaking with your future customer in-person it is the pitch of their voice or the speed of their words. They will be talking about what the future will look like once they have started working with you or purchased your solution.
Online those behavior cues of white heat show up when your prospect is clicking for more information and spending more time on your website. Marketing automation software solutions such as SharpSpring enable you to set up triggers to track behavior patterns that suggest a person is ready to buy and then automatically sends them the appropriate message or alerts your sales team.
However, your future customer may be looking for more help in making their final decision. Be sure you have a way for them to contact you quickly and easily to get their questions answered.
4. Learn from objections.
The more qualified the leads are that are visiting your website the more legitimate the objections are of those who choose not to buy from you. These are people who you could serve, should serve, but that have decided not to do business with you.
As hard as it is on your ego that someone decided not to work with you it is not something you should just shake off. Take the time to reflect on what happened during their journey. At any point were you more focused on your offering than on their need? Was any part of your solution confusing? Did you ask too much of your prospect too soon? Each lesson you are able to learn from a deal you did not close is an action you can implement to continuously improve your business. Don’t look at a lost deal as a failure but instead as a gift that was given to help you build a better business.
5 . Start, measure, and refine.
The biggest hindrance to growing a small business is fear. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of failure.
What I am suggesting here is that you change your marketing plan to an approach that may be unknown to you and might be a costly failure. I get it.
This is why many small businesses choose to stay focused on the simple plan of providing information about their products and services, appealing to the rational buying decisions, and getting in front of as many people as possible. Their goal is to drive more traffic to their website so that people will make a purchase. But if I have piqued your interest in trying a different approach, rest assured you can start small and learn as you go.
Simply start with a new mindset of how you want to engage with your prospects and customers. Learn more about them and begin to measure how their online behavior aligns with their purchasing decisions. Begin to refine your marketing plan to better serve your customers and solve your prospects problems one step at a time. The reward will is more loyal customers and advocates for your business.
Need help getting started? Let’s talk.