How long does it take to buy from you?
This sounds like an easy question. But, it actually has 3 different answers depending on what you want to do with the information.
You might be talking about elapsed time, accrued time or your welcome window. Here's the meaning of each time-period and when you should use it in your marketing strategy.
Last month I posted about how to do your own strategic marketing. It's not an easy process which is why most ambitious business owners get a consultant in.
I've worked with a lot of businesses who have worked with a consultant before me. But many tell me they've not been very impressed with the results. The reason is invariably because the consultant was thinking tactically and not strategically. For example, they were focusing only their area of expertise such as social media or PR.
Unless you know what to look for, this can be difficult to spot. The impact might not be felt until it's too late, when a lot time and money has been spent.
I'm writing this list in the hope that my clients will keep me accountable to it. If I'm doing one of these things then my standards are slipping and I don't want that to happen. So hold me to it!
Here are the signs to look for:
Today I'm going to show you exactly what I do as a strategic marketing consultant. I’m going to share the 6 steps that I would take you through in creating a robust marketing strategy. If you do all this then you won’t need to spend a penny on a consultant like me.
But why on earth would I do this? Am I trying to put myself out of business? Far from it!
I’m prepared to bet that the kind of ambitious business owner I’d like to work with will take one look at this and say, “That’s an awful lot of work Ros, I don’t have the time and besides, I need an outside perspective to do this effectively. Why don’t we talk?”
So, here’s your complete guide to doing your own strategic marketing. If you find you can't or don’t want to do this alone - do give me a call.
When I start working with a client, one of the first questions I ask is "who is your ideal customer?" How specific the answer is varies a lot, but from a short conversation I can usually assess whether they understand their customers well enough.
What do I mean by "well enough"? Well, if you don't understand your customers very well then it's unlikely that your marketing will resonate with them. You'll probably end up taking a "scatter-gun" approach to marketing and wasting a lot of time and money in the process. My blog "Do I need a customer avatar?" explains more.
So how do you know whether you understand your customers enough to effectively market to them? Here are the signs I look out for...
I get asked this question a lot. And whether it’s a new website, advertising campaign, email campaign, leaflet, brochure, or event, I always come back with the same four questions. So here’s they are:
1. Why are you doing it?
What do you want to achieve with this marketing activity? And be specific! “To get more sales” is too vague.
You need to know what is the end result you are hoping for. What do you want people to feel, think and do as a result of coming into contact with your marketing? Do you want them to go to your website; book onto an event; call you? Why would they want to do that? How will your advert get people to do this?
Make sure you have a strong call to action that prompts people to do what you want them to do. Make it as obvious as possible what action you want people to take and you have a much higher chance of your marketing activity being successful.
Last month, on the final day of the Olympic track cycling competition, Team GB Performance Director Dave Brailsford explained the "marginal gains" strategy that had proven to be the secret to Team GB's success.
He said, "The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together." (BBC News)
He explained one of the first things he taught the team was how to wash their hands. They were all instructed to spend an extra 5 seconds washing their hands every time they did this, and he estimated that those 5 seconds per hand-wash, over the course of 4 years, gave them an extra 5 days of training by reducing infections. Those 5 extra days of training might have given the team a gain of a few microseconds on the track. And at Olympic level, those microseconds can make all the difference.
I couldn't help but think of the parallels of this in marketing.
I’m often asked, “what can I do to speed up my customers in their buying decision?”
In very considered purchases it might take 6 months or more from when your company first appears in front of a prospective customer to them actually buying from you. In a small business, it can be excruciating to wait patiently while your perfect customer considers whether they want to buy from you.
It’s tempting to want to try and rush them when you know they’d get so much value from what you have to offer, but it’s crucial that your customer is allowed to buy in their own time.
If you want to increase your sales, the obvious answer is to tell more people about your product or service. Isn’t it?
Well actually, logically, that’s the last thing you should do.
As business owners, it’s almost instinctive: more sales has to come from more prospects, they come from more leads and they come from more enquiries. So that’s where I need to start.
And if all of your enquiries eventually convert into customers then, yes, that is all you’d need to do. But lets face it, our “sales funnels” are not really funnels. If only they were!
If you are spending money on promotion, but you are losing customers further down the buying process, then you are wasting money.
And if, like most businesses, you’ve got leaks at a number of different points in your funnel then where do you start?
How big a decision is it to buy from you? Do your customers choose your products on a whim or do they think carefully about it?
Unfortunately it isn’t simply a case of being one or the other. And the magnitude of a purchase in the eyes of the buyer affects how you market your business. So how do you work out where you are on the Purchase Spectrum?
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