- Chris Haycock
Touch > Seduce > Activate > Cultivate
In the first module (Formulate) we looked at buying cycles. We learned that there are several types of visitors we get to our websites:
We also took at look at the typical visitor's 'Digital Journey' as they make their way from prospective customer through to customer.
To refresh our memories, let's run through them again:
TOUCH > SEDUCE > ACTUATE > CULTIVATE
TOUCH: The process of reaching out to 'touch' our target audience with social media, SEO, adverts, blog posts etc.
SEDUCE: Using methodologies to attract the customers to our brand to start their interactions with our website and digital channels.
ACTUATE: Optimising our digital channels to ensure that we make the most of the visitors who arrive into our sales funnels.
CULTIVATE: Engaging with new customers to keep them interested in our brand, spread word-of-mouth advertising and to become loyal to us.
We're now going to look at the different ways that we can achieve a smooth and friction-less digital experience for our customers, so that we can engage and interact with them no matter where they are in their own buying cycle.
By doing this, we can ensure that we don't lose visitors by missing out on opportunities to engage them and attract them into our sales funnels (our website and digital channels).
It's all about creating the right content, messages and tools at the right time in order to drive conversions.
Don't become a 'brochure' website
Most business owners - when faced with the task of putting together a new website - will often talk to their web designers and ask them to produce a website with the following type of structure:
This is a great start, and contains all the basic information you should have to get your website up and running.
In the early internet years this was pretty much the standard architecture for a typical business website. The basic steps in the buyer's journey were covered by this model, as it contained everything that was needed in order to learn about a product, find out about the company, and make a purchase.
However, digital marketing and consumer buying habits have changed over the last 15 years. The modern digital buying cycle has evolved, and it's significantly more complex than ever before.
Today, 67% of the buyer's journey now takes place online.
That means more than two-thirds of the whole process is done digitally. Not only do buyers purchase through our websites, but they expect to use our websites to research products, discover alternatives, use tools to facilitate their buying decisions and find out about our background. And they want to do it in a non-committal way that provides all this information in a non-sellling environment.
That's a tall order.
However, if you're not catering for the modern way of buying online, then you can be absolutely sure that your customers are.
And that's why we need to step up our game. We need to move with the times and provide everything that's needed to satisfy our customer's desire for content.
Where do I start?
Mapping a buying cycle to your website and digital activities sounds daunting. But let me put it into context for you to make the prospect seem much easier:
What we're trying to achieve is a list of what we need to provide on our website that satisfies our website visitors, no matter what stage they are at.
It's all about asking yourself what you need to do to help our prospective customers accomplish their goals. Underneath the hood, the concept is quite simple.
Customers place more importance in the solution, so you need to understand how they are going to get it. As HubSpot puts it:
... your customers don't care about your product or service all that much. They care about what it helps them accomplish.
Sure, you can just go ahead and try to create blog posts, articles and videos. But unless you have actually mapped your digital channels to your buyers then you're essentially taking a wild stab in the dark with your content marketing plan.
Buyer mapping will tell you exactly what you need to do to streamline your website for your customers.
Let's walk through how you can map your buyers to your website.
Stage One - Understand your buyers
Excellent! You've already done that by producing your Customer Persona in a previous lesson. You've already accomplished stage one! Now you understand your target audience you can get a good feel for what motivates them, how they go searching for information and what problem they are trying to solve. It's all about empathising with them.
Stage Two - Get mapping
Typically, your customer goes through three stages in order to fulfil their needs or solve their problem:
- Awareness - your customers realise they have a problem and are thinking about resolving it.
- Consideration - they are actively evaluating the solution and probably have different brands in mind
- Decision - they are ready to decide who/where to part company with their hard-earned money
Let's take these one by one.
Your future customer has a problem, and they know it too. So they know they must go and try to resolve the problem, using a variety of means to get there before they arrive on your solution to their problem. Remember, you may be one of many businesses already competing in the space.
Earlier we did some keyword research in the Formulate module in this course. By now you should have a much better idea of what keywords your potential customers are using to search for solutions for their problem. And you also know where they can be reached. That already gives you a massive head start.
In the 'Awareness' stage of the buying cycle, customers are seeking a solution to their problem. They are looking for top-level content that will help them to become educated with content that may include social content, eBooks, checklists, how-to videos and educational webinars etc.
You need to ask yourself the following:
What content, tools or downloads could you integrate or offer on your website that may help buyers in the 'Awareness' stage?
- An educational, downloadable eBook on 'How to sell your home quickly'.
- A checklist of tasks that buyers can complete when selling their house.
An educational webinar about the tricks estate agents use to sell properties.
- Blog posts covering multiple subjects related to selling a house.
The customer starts their initial research to find a product or service that helps them to solve their problem. They might have already narrowed down their choice to a few potential solutions, but are still considering which of them will be best.
There may still be plenty of other contenders as they are considering their choices, so we need to find a way to 'seduce' them into giving us their trust - and custom.
Buyers at this stage already know about the problem they face, and once they reach the evaluation stage they want to discover which solutions are best for them. As they creep towards becoming a customer, they are looking to compare like-for-like products that meet their criteria, so content such as product videos, case studies, FAQs and data sheets are useful ideas.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What content could you offer your prospects that would help those in the evaluation stage?
- A case study about a customer who sold her house in two weeks.
- A sample download of our premium product.
- A dedicated page outlining all the FAQs we have collected from our customers.
By this stage, the customer realises that there are products/services that can help them to solve their problem. Fantastic. All we need to do now is come up with a strategy to ensure that the customer chooses you, and not your competitors. It might be a tight race. The customer has several different brands that they can choose from, and yours is one of them.
In order to make the final decision, there are a series of questions that the consumer will ask themselves. Cost, suitability and trust are very important factors in their decision, so you need to find ways to satisfy any objections they may have in advance of their final purchase.
Although the buyer may be ready to buy, they may not buy from you, so there are still ways you can persuade them that you are the best solution. Alternatively they might be 'sitting on the fence' and need a small nudge in the right direction. Provide the right information at this point and you should see a dramatic impact on your conversion rates.
There are many ways you could achieve this, such as free consultations, discounts/offers, free trials and live demos.
What could you offer your prospects that will help them to make the final decision to buy from you?
- A free, no-obligation quote.
- A free trial that lasts 30 days.
- A 10% off discount if the visitor buys in the next 24 hours.
What you decide to include in your digital strategy really depends on your business. Every website may have a completely different strategy for mapping the buyer's journey.
But one thing remains constant when it comes to mapping out content that sits perfectly with a buyer's journey: a great understanding of the customers themselves: who they are, what problems they have, how they attempt to resolve them and what makes them buy.
Understand this process and I guarantee you will see a significant lift in conversion rates.