Good marketing is always selling. The best marketing knows what to sell people at each stage of their journey. But selling doesn’t always involve making a financial purchase.
Sometimes the purchase is made with time and energy invested into research or with an email address in exchange for access to information. Your customers are on a journey and they are willing to buy from you each step of the way, but are you selling what they are buying?
There is certainly a time to ask for the sale. Most marketing messages only say, “Give me your money.” You can start with, “How can I help?” Offering value and service makes you memorable and will win your customers’ hearts.
There are four moments in marketing that have distinctly different selling approaches. The graphic below shows a broad overview of the buying process.
Your marketing will succeed when you are selling what customers want to buy at each step of their journey. That’s relevance; offering the value your customer is looking for. Here’s a look at what customers are buying at each moment.
What people are buying: Relief. Tangible solutions.
This is your brand awareness campaign: advertising on TV, Radio, in print publications, at live events, and on the Internet. Many companies will sell their company identity here, their “brand.”
It can work if you’re dumping huge capital into the campaign, but every company will struggle to measure ROI of a campaign focused on their identity.
Offer benefits in your brand awareness campaign. Offer to help people with their problem. Don’t offer a brand, offer a solution, and it will make your brand more recognizable.
Example: Nyquil’s slogan – “The Night Time, Sniffling, Sneezing, Coughing, Aching, Stuffy head, Fever, So-You-Can-Rest Medicine.” They aren’t selling a company identity. They’re selling relief from flu symptoms and a good nights rest. Very attractive and easy to remember the next time someone is battling the flu.
Research: Zero Moment of Truth
What your customers are buying: Education. Understanding about their problem and how it can be solved.
When people go online to research their problem and possible solutions, you can meet them with answers that are worth their investigative time. At this stage, you are selling your expertise. When people buy-in to what you have to say, they become your customers.
The transaction isn’t financial, but the customers are still paying with their closely guarded time and attention.
You can develop solid foundations for a profitable customer relationship here. You know the problem inside and out. Deliver insight on what triggers the problem. Offer advice on how to avoid agitating the problem.
As customers learn more about how you work and what kind of relief you can provide, they consume content that is more product specific. As they delve deeper in their research, it becomes less about the benefits of your product and more about the features. Now they are comparing prices, determining which solution gives them the most bang for their buck.
That’s the point where sales techniques and hard selling copy is powerful. The trick is, everyone moves to through this stage at their own pace. By making answers available at every gateway, you make it easy for customers to come back to you with every question.
People will welcome your product offers if they trust your expertise.
Shelf: First Moment of Truth
What your customers are buying: Your product and a recognizable experience.
Everything you’ve delivered up to this point is service. You’ve served the customer as much as possible without giving your product away. It’s quite the experience you’ve built for them. What are they going to find when they grab your product off the shelf?
Esthetics are important, but they want to know if it’s going to live up to your service reputation.
This is true for information products as well (software, plug-ins, apps, books, courses, etc…). Even though customers aren’t picking anything up, they are browsing web pages or product brochures. The question they are asking is, “Can this product really solve my issue in the way you say it can?” That “way” is the experience they’ve received up until now and hope to continue to receive.
Prove you can continue to deliver the experience they love with product demonstrations, samples, and free trials. You’re selling the product specifically. Customers want to know what the deals are. They are looking for features, warranties and money back guarantees. Urgency is good here. People are much closer to buying. They have accepted the idea of handing money over.
Subtle pressure, influencer endorsement, award winning performance, number of satisfied customers, hours of development, testimonials, and even your company’s history are all extremely useful at this point.
Do whatever it takes to let people know that your product will live up to your promises and that you will always take care of them.
Experience: Second Moment of Truth
What your customers are buying: Loyalty. A reason to continue their enjoyable experience with you.
It is a lot easier to keep customers than to find new ones. Ignoring the follow-up is costly mistake. You can have a thriving customer base if you continue to deliver service, even after they have given you money.
This is the up-sell and your customer support. Offer upgrades, related products, bulk discounts, referral rewards, and membership perks. Deliver product tutorials, FAQs, 24/7 customer support, an in-depth knowledge base, and full access to community support.
This selling is more like one friend recommending a product to another. You can still use hard selling techniques, but when you want a friend to try a new phone app, your approach is much more familiar and casual.
Plus, over use of hard selling techniques can be like the annoying tag-along on your night out that won’t shut up.
Take it easy, enjoy your time together. If you screw up, make every effort to make things up to them. If you haven’t heard from them in a while, send a message just to say, “Hi.” When you have a new offer, give them exclusive access.
People don’t like being sold to, but they love buying. (Got that from Copyblogger)
When they know you deliver value, they will enjoy handing you money because they know that they are getting an excellent experience. They become loyal advocates who will even defend you when the haters surface.
Marketing is no good without selling. And when you know what customers are buying, you will have their hearts, not just their money.
What is your threshold for being sold to? How does your company sell at each step of your customer’s journey?
Give us your thoughts in the comments below. And please share this post! Let’s find out how others deal with selling.[optinform]