You’ve sent out emails. You’ve built landing pages. You’ve put together Facebook and Google AdWords campaigns. You’re using Google Display ads to retarget anyone who visits your website or your landing pages.
You’ve got an email capture form on every page of your site and your landing pages. You’re offering a downloadable freebie or a coupon to get people to opt-in.
You’re doing everything right. Everything all of the marketing gurus and the blogs say you should be doing.
But no one’s buying.
No one is coming into your store, coupon in hand. No one is clicking your “Buy Now” buttons. No one is calling for an estimate.
“Why?” You scream. “Why aren’t you people buying? I’m doing everything right! You’re supposed to respond like Pavlovian dogs, according to everything I’ve read, and seen, and paid obscene amounts of money to learn…”
Why should they buy? Is your customer poised and ready to buy anything and everything they see, hear about or try? Or is your customer overwhelmed by the amount of advertising they see every day?
See, everyone, regardless of what problem they need to solve, has a point at which that problem is foremost in their minds. I like to refer to it as being **ON FIRE!**
That’s the point when they come into your store or click your buttons. Truth is, your customer may be genuinely interested. They may just not be ready to buy.
The Buyer’s Journey
There’s something called the buying cycle, or the buyer’s journey. Everyone goes through this cycle (including you) every time they make a purchase.
It has 4 basic phases:
- Awareness: A potential customer becomes aware of your brand and your product.
- Research: A potential customer researches your product to see if it will solve their problem.
- Consideration: A potential customer weighs your product against others to determine if your product is a better solution than others available on the market.
- Purchase: A potential customer buys your product and becomes an actual customer.
Until your customer reaches the consideration and purchase phases, nothing you do will affect their desire to click that buy button or hand over their credit card.
So what’s a savvy business owner to do? How do you lead your potential customers along this buyer’s journey?
Funnily enough, you have all of that set up and ready to go. You may just need to tweak it a bit.
Becoming the Guide
If people aren’t ready to buy, they’re not going to respond to all of your advertising, follow-up and selected promotions. It doesn’t matter how hard you try. Your customer has to have a problem. They have to need something. And until they need something, you’re not the solution to their problem.
So how do you fan the flames of your buyer’s journey? How do you make things so hot that they just need to make that purchase or sign the contract to engage your services?
You guide your potential customers along every step of the buyer’s journey.
I’m going to get a bit geeky on you for a moment.
Joseph Campbell, a famous anthropologist, documented something called the “hero’s journey.” If you’ve seen Star Wars (preferably the original trilogy) you’ve seen this journey in action. This is what the buyer’s journey is based off of.
At the start of their journey, the hero must receive the call to adventure, refuse the call and then meet their mentor, the person who guides them along their journey to their final victory or accomplishment. In Star Wars (the original trilogy), the hero is Luke Skywalker. The guide is Obi-Wan (Ben)Kenobi.
In the buyer’s journey, your potential customer is the hero. You are the guide.
A lot of companies make this mistake. They assume that they are the hero in the buyer’s journey. They position themselves as the hero in all of their marketing, which turns off the buyer completely.
If you want to get the customer, you are the mentor. Your job is to help the buyer to find their destiny. Which is ultimately your product or service. So channel your inner Obi-Wan Kenobi and learn to guide your potential customer to their ultimate destiny; becoming your customer.
Fanning the Flames
I always joke with my clients that until their marketing needs are on fire on their desk, they don’t think of me. So I keep tossing matches at their desk until they pay attention. This isn’t far from the truth in terms of the buyer’s journey.
This is true for any customer of any type. Whether you’re a brick and mortar shop, an online retailer or provide a service (like I do) you have to consider where your customer is with their buyer’s journey and fan that flame.
Your customer isn’t going to come in to your shop and buy a shirt until they need a shirt. That has nothing to do with you. You can’t casually spill wine all over their best dress shirt to increase their need. That would be rude and unconscionable, not to mention impossible in most situations.
But you can gently remind them of your existence (toss matches) until they realize that they need a new shirt. And as I mentioned before, you already have most of this in place.
- Retargeting: Facebook, Google Search and Google Display Network all allow you to retarget ads to anyone who has visited your website. The allotted times vary, but each has a minimum of 30 days. This is a great way to keep your product or service top-of-mind.
- Email autoresponders: You should have a follow-up sequence for every email address you collect. Emails can be as close together as once a day or as far apart as 3-4 days, depending on what you’re selling. Five emails is a standard sequence, but you can use more or less, depending on your buying cycle. Each email should guide your potential customer along their buyer’s journey.
- Newsletters: Once a potential customer has gone through your email autoresponder series, they should be added to your newsletter or regular update email list. That way you’re still showing up in their inbox on a regular basis. For example, I send potential customers to a monthly email list that recaps all of my blog posts and gives additional marketing tips. Click here if you want to be added to that list.
- Coupons and discounts: Your customer may not take advantage of that deal you’ve offered right now. But keep offering. Sooner or later, they’ll need your solution and take advantage of your offer.
Here’s a really important tip;
Help, Help, Help, Sell.
This advice was given by Nick Usborne, a well-known web copywriter and marketer. He promotes the idea that to get customers, you have to give them something in return.
You don’t want to overwhelm your potential customers with opportunities to buy. This is a very common mistake and one that has caused me to unsubscribe from many email lists.
You must give to receive. Give your customers useful information. Give them a reason to trust you, your product and your brand. That way, once they’ve reached that point of comparison and purchase, you’ll be the one they turn to for that solution they’re seeking.
Your Customer’s Need – On Fire
Sooner or later, your diligence will pay off. But you need to be patient. Someone may have downloaded your case study or coupon, but they may take a while to purchase.
The most important thing to remember in marketing is that people are incredibly distracted. They have a lot going on in their lives. Until you’re top-of-mind, they’re not going to pay attention to you or your marketing.
Meanwhile, you just keep flicking helpful matches at their desk until it does catch fire. Then you’ll get the results you’re looking for.
Need Your Potential Customers’ Flames Fanned?
I’m accepting new clients right now, but my schedule is filling up. Please fill out my contact form if you need help with your marketing in the next few months. I’ll get back to you ASAP to discuss your project.
How do You Deal with Your Buyer’s Journey?
Do you fan the flames like I do? Do you just wait for customers to fall from the sky? Let me know what you do and how it works in the comments.