I know how it is. You’ve got amazing product pages on your website. Top photography, all the specs, and you’ve even paid some geek to SEO it for you.
But you’re still not getting enough leads. And that means you’re not getting enough sales.
It’s not necessarily because your site’s shit. I mean, it might be, but there are other reasons.
It’s far more likely that you’re just not talking to your customers at the right time.
Understanding the customer journey
At the start of a project we always review or create your customer journey and buyer persona. It means everything else we do is built around your actual customers.
That seems obvious, but you’d be amazed how often businesses start talking to themselves. They start creating stuff that they need and want, rather than what their customers want.
So we put together the persona of a typical buyer of your product, who we’ll call Customer Clive. Clive’s persona includes a lot of detail. We’ll look at what his job is, how much he has to spend and where he procrastinates.
We also need to know what Clive worries about, what he wants to do this year, and what he already knows about things.
Once we’ve painted a picture of Clive, we can use the persona to create his customer journey. This starts from the moment Clive realises he has a problem all the way through to you resolving his problem.
However, not all of Clive’s problems are equal, so the customer journey can be quite different.
For example, the customer journey for Clive’s wedding anniversary might start at lunchtime when he finally realises why Mrs Clive had the hump with him this morning.
In Clive’s infinite wisdom, he has a quick web search for flowers. He promptly decides they’re too expensive and buys some from a petrol station on the way home.
Clive sleeps on the sofa that night.
Fortunately, Clive puts a lot more effort in when he’s looking for your product. He does loads of research on different solutions, gets a number of quotes and eventually buys from one of your competitors. And never speaks to you.
Right place, right time
So why didn’t your business get a chance to speak to Clive? Well, it’s all about information, and timing.
The early stages of the customer journey are all about the customer understanding their problem. They’re not looking for a solution. In fact, they’re probably trying to work out how to get rid of the problem without spending money.
Clive’s not ready to buy anything yet. He’s going to be mightily pissed off if he gets a call from you selling your thing.
But he does want to find out if other people have had this problem, and what they did about it.
Once he’s discovered that other people pay to solve this problem, Clive starts working out a budget. But he also wants to know the minimum amount of action he can get away with.
This is the point where Clive begins to look at options. But this is an area he knows nothing about, so he needs to learn what’s important, and what’s unnecessary.
He starts downloading a guide which tells him what he needs to look for in his solution. He downloads a checklist which tells him what to prioritise. Clive even finds a useful little blog post which explains all the jargon, so he doesn’t have to ask a salesperson what the acronyms mean.
Clive’s now established a relationship with three different suppliers. He knows they supply a solution to his problem, and he trusts them because they’ve helped him.
So when he gets a phone call from the business he got the checklist from, he’s more than happy to talk about his problem.
First impressions count
Chances are that Clive knows all about your business. He’ll have found you when he was doing his initial research. He knows you have a product that solves his problem.
But he doesn’t really know you. He’s got a good feeling about these other businesses who’ve already helped him, and he likes them. So even if your product specs are better than everyone elses, he just doesn’t trust you.
By giving Clive what he needs in the early stages of the customer journey, your competitors have given themselves a big headstart when in comes to relationship building.
Which is why we swear by proper customer journey documentation. It tells us exactly what Clive needs to make his decision, and also tells us what he already knows.
So when Clive comes onto your site he can find the information he needs in return for a few contact details.
Your sales team can see where Clive is on his customer journey by what he’s downloaded. And that means the first conversation they have with him is appropriate to how close he is to making a buying decision.
Content = leads
I can’t stress this enough: if you provide useful content you will open a relationship with your potential customer.
If the purpose of your website is to generate leads and enquiries then you can’t rely on a contact form. People know that as soon as they press send you’ll be jumping in with your finest sales spiel. And everyone hates that.
In today’s world we need to start working with our customers well before they’re ready to buy. Great content means we can do all of the early relationship building at the customer’s pace, without picking up the phone until they’re ready.
That relationship means they’re happy to share their information in return for more content.
And when they answer your call, they’ll already feel like they know and trust your business.