You may be making a big mistake in your business. If you’re like any of the many business owners I’ve worked with in the last three decades, you’re putting too much focus on one area of the buying process. Check out the latest episode of Fordify to see how you can change things up and make a huge difference in your business.
All too often, businesses I consult with put all of their focus into catching customers who are in the buying phase of the process. One piece of advice I always give those businesses is to consider the entire buying process, not just the final phase.
Think about it from a consumer’s perspective. You have a problem. When you first begin searching for a solution to your problem, you aren’t always looking to spend money. You just want to find an answer. So that’s the first phase of the process:
- Awareness: the customer identifies a need and realizes that perhaps there’s an answer online that can fulfill it. They start typing questions into a search engine like Google. Say their problem is that they need a new phone. They might type, “What are the best phones in 2017?”
Your content strategy: Consider 10 phrases your prospect is likely to be typing into the search engine when they’re at the awareness phase. Then create content (infographics, short video animations, social media posts) targeted around those keywords. This phase is all about being visible, developing awareness about your brand, and creating a rapport with your prospects.
Back to the customer. By searching for their questions, they’re likely beginning to understand the issue and are looking to find a solution, which brings them into the second phase:
- Research: the customer is taking time to learn about possible solutions to their problem. They’re looking for opinions, trends, and possible outcomes.
Your content strategy: Create how-to blog posts and videos, interview industry experts, share a regular newsletter filled with great resources, publish ebooks, submit articles to industry publications, and put together white papers. You want to establish your brand as one prospects can trust for valuable, reliable information.
At this point, the customer has likely learned enough about the solutions to narrow down to a few choices. Now we’re in the next phase:
- Comparison: the customer is looking at several different options and comparing their benefits and features. They are considering the strengths and weaknesses of each option.
Your content strategy: At this point, you can focus on content that is specific to your brand and all of the inherent benefits. Use data and case studies showing how others have benefitted from your product/service, provide video testimonials and product/service demonstration videos. Implement a price estimator or a return on investment calculator. Offer a free trial. Keep the focus on solving the prospect’s problem and on showcasing your credibility.
After the customer makes a selection, they move into the next phase:
- Shopping: the customer is actually looking to purchase the solution to their problem, whether it be a product or a service.
The next phase follows quickly:
- Buying: the customer is ready to make the purchase.
Your content strategy: This these last two phases are where most businesses already focus, we won’t go into depth on the content you need here. Just don’t forget to offer training videos or Q&A if your product or purchase process is a little more complicated.
So why does this matter to you, as a business owner? It’s crucial that you market to your potential customer by considering each phase of the process they might be in. If they’re in the awareness or research phases, you want to target keywords like the questions they might be typing into Google. You want to offer education on helping them solve the problem. Yes, your product or service does solve the problem, but this isn’t the time to do a hard sell. This is the time to gain trust from the consumer. Customers buy from companies they trust.