No, consumers don’t go to stores to pick items just like that. Today’s average consumer goes through a number of steps before making that purchase. People are becoming wiser. They want to make sure they’re spending money on the right brand or service.
Now you as a marketer has a crucial role in the buying process. Either you initiate it indirectly or you meet customers in every buying stage. If you think about it, the marketing you do, be it content marketing or influencer marketing, meets specific consumers in different stages of buying.
Your success in keeping consumers in each part of the purchase process largely depends on the steps you have taken beforehand. In other words, what you do today determines your success tomorrow.
When the consumer is recognizing a problem
Problems require solutions. This is why you spend a few minutes looking for ways to remove mold in the kitchen or fix leaking faucets. This is when you get to find content that’s specific and relevant to your issue.
Now if you’re a company, this is where your search engine optimization works for you. You get to meet people who are looking for solutions for problems in your niche. They come to you when you offer a compelling solution.
But it’s not just SEO that matters here. In fact, it’s just one way to get these people. What keeps them on your turf is good content, be it text or video or illustration. Content and video marketing has been around for a while as a means for businesses to talk to their audience.
In many cases, the relationship between a company and the consumer ends once a solution has been presented. When you’re able to offer a quick fix that the average person can do, that’s it. They’ll probably thank you and subscribe to your channel or follow your Facebook page. Maybe they’ll tell their friends about you. You best hope someone with huge following comes across your content, in which case you’ve tapped into the potency of influencer marketing. At face value, this doesn’t sound like a sale is made. In fact, you haven’t earned a penny. In essence, you gave your expertise for free. But that’s part of marketing.
When the consumer is looking for information
People look for information by making a search. Usually, search takes place on Google. Is there any other search engine as popular and widely used as Google? Again, we invoke the sheer value of SEO. However, let’s look at a key aspect of SEO — keywords. Yes, after all these years, keywords are still a thing.
Marketers have to think like consumers. How do consumers look up information on the web? It’s simple. They use keywords or key phrases. That’s why we have been doing keyword research for long time. Keyword research tells us what people are looking for and what words they use to look for information. Aside from that, you can see search volumes or the amount of competition a keyword or phrase entails. These details determine the course of your search engine and content marketing strategies.
You don’t stop at keyword research, though. What you do with these keywords is just as important. Don’t just write articles around them. People find you using keywords. You keep them through helpful content.
When they are comparing you to alternatives
It’s unrealistic to expect that your potential customers will settle with your brand without checking out other brands. Again, the average consumer today is not the same average consumer twenty or thirty years ago. With information available at our fingertips, it’s very easy to flip through pages and check out several brands in 10 minutes. Even if your website is on the first page of SERPs, it doesn’t mean your would-be customer won’t check the second on the list.
There is no single solution to providing value to your audience in such a way that they choose you over your competitors. A combination of good content and influencer marketing can make your campaign be more convincing for your brand. Building brand advocacy can help you in the long run. Buyers are smarter now. They want to see more than just rankings or popularity. They want to see as many people talking positively about your brand as possible.
When they have decided to go with you
This doesn’t mean they’re settled. People can change their minds at the last minute. They may suddenly switch choices. How do you make sure you don’t lose them when you’ve already held them?
Look at your product page. People may come back to your product or service pages to find out if they missed anything. Maybe they want to look at the details again. They also want to see the product, see what it looks like.
Look at your testimonials. Again, buyers want to make sure they’re getting right product with as little risk as possible. Do something about the bad testimonials early on
Look at your website. Is your website easy to navigate? Is the purchase process facile?
Assess your customer support team. Consumers ask questions before buying a product or procuring a service. It’s a common behavior. Your customer support team should be able to deal with them politely and warmly.
After they make purchase
The relationship between you and your customer doesn’t end once purchase is made. After sales is made, it’s time to think about whether your brand satisfied your buyer. Send them a thank-you note or email. Let them leave feedback. Respond to their feedback courteously.
Make product returns or refunds easy for them in case they encounter defects or they were dissatisfied with the service. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen too often.
A critical part of after-sales work is ensuring brand loyalty. You won’t keep all of your customers, but make that much needed effort to make them feel that their voice is still important in your future plans. Include surveys. Make them part of your subscription.
Yeah, marketing is hard work, which pays off once implemented smartly.