What would you say if you knew that your potential customers were nearly 60% of the way through the purchase process before they ever engage with sales? A study from CEB Marketing Leadership Council indicates just that. Customers start their due diligence by looking at third party websites, referring to colleagues or other customers, and by using other sources other than the vendor’s website. This begs the question: how do you disrupt customers who are already 60% of the way to their purchase decision in order to become an option in their consideration set?
There are really two ways to approach this quandary. You could pull out all the bells and whistles when the buyer finally decides to engage with you and/or you can find a way to get out in front of them much earlier in the process before they are fully entrenched in their thinking.
Bells and Whistles
Let’s first look at the bells and whistles. When your potential customer finally decides to visit your website it will be more important than ever that your website is set up for conversion optimization and that it leads them quickly to the valuable information they seek.
To accomplish this, you will need strong search engine optimization and to make effective use of your website analytics to better understand visitor behavior on your website. Specifically, you will use tools such as conversion funnels to develop ways to move people powerfully through the buying process on your website, page by page. Navigation and aesthetics also play a key role in making sure that your website provides the best user experience for your visitors. These functionalities help cut down on bounce rates and unobtrusively guide potential customers through the purchase process.
Get Out In Front of It
Spending time on optimizing your website for success may not be enough to earn that coveted spot in your target markets consideration set. It’s a defensive strategy to a problem you may not have been aware of. Getting out in front of it is an aggressive, offensive move that will put you in front of the market without them realizing that you’re being proactive in seeking them out.
Search engine marketing techniques allow your message to appear throughout the internet on websites with topics relevant to your solution. These are the third party websites that CEB Marketing Leadership Council indentifies as resources buyers are relying on as alternatives to vendor websites. Content marketing also allows you the opportunity to be on these third party websites through tactics like content partnerships and reviews. The overarching goal of any content marketing strategy is to influence buyers without directly and overtly selling to them. This is a superior tool to use when you’re trying to be in front of the right people at the right time.
Buyers are referring more frequently to colleagues before making purchase decisions. Social media is a great host to customer reviews and testimonials. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine and the 3rd most visited website in the world behind Google and Facebook. Using this knowledge to put the right message out to your target market helps you get into their consideration set earlier on in the buying process than if you don’t utilize them. These are just a couple examples of the surprising number of ways to effectively get in front of your prospective customers, to disrupt and engage before they are too far along the purchase path.
Stay on Top
It used to be that in order to get information on a business you had to interact in one way, shape or form with a sales rep. Then came websites. Websites allowed users to get coveted information about their needs from something other than a person. Fast forward and welcome social media and other information aggregation sites to the buying process; resulting in a downward slippery slope of loss of control for many businesses.
The truth is that as times change, businesses need to stay on top of the changes to the buying process. Buyers are savvy. They know that there are a lot of resources at their disposal. Businesses need to be equally as savvy and constantly be finding new ways to educate their target audience in order to stay front of mind.
We, at DirectiveGroup, can help you regain lost footing and get back ahead of your prospects, disrupting their process long enough for you to ‘wow’ them. And in that moment, earn your place in their consideration set and increase your conversion rate.