When people are making a difficult buying decision, they’ll naturally have questions and objections. This often means your sales team (or you, if you’re a small business) end up spending time answering the same questions over and over again.
If that’s happening in your business then you need a buyers guide.
A buyer’s guide is a piece of content that educates your buyer, answers their likely questions and overcomes some or all of their objections. A good buyers guide will be balanced and impartial. The aim is not to sell but to…
Your buyer's guide might take the form of a well laid out pdf, a printed booklet, a video (or series), a blog, an infographic, or any other media format. I find it's often easier to start with a written document while you play around with the structure and content, and then turn it into other formats afterwards. Whatever format you start with, consider recycling it by turning it into another media type to make it more accessible for different types of people.
Here's how to create one for your business...
1. Choose your audience
There are two types of buyers guides and your business might need one or both.
A guide for your buyer
These pieces of content are there to educate your buyer and help them feel informed enough to move forward with their buying decision. It’s difficult to make a decision when we don’t fully understand what we’re making a decision about. A buyer’s guide is your opportunity to share what you know about your sector with your buyer so they can confidently make their choice.
A guide for your buyer’s key influencers
In many purchasing decisions, a buyer is not alone in their decision-making. There are other people who have the power to veto the decision. They might be budget holders or key influencers and, if they don’t agree, then the sale won’t go ahead.
These guides are really useful to have at your disposal for moments when your buyer says “thanks very much, I’ve just got to run it by 'X' and I’ll get back to you”. If you sometimes lose business at this point in the sale then you need a buyer’s guide for that influencer. At that moment in the sales conversation, you’d hand over your piece of content saying “here’s something we put together that 'X' might find useful.”
Choosing a topic or title
Some of the best buyer's guides I’ve seen have very simple, straightforward titles.
When deciding what to include, first brainstorm all the objections and questions that customers typically ask you and your sales team. Then think about the objections that people usually don’t verbalise but you believe are important, such as “is it going to be worth the money?” All these objections need to be included in your buyer’s guide, even if they’re only implicitly suggested e.g. using photography or testimonials.
Next, think about what else you’d like your buyer to know. Why might someone need a product or service like yours? In what circumstances might they not need it, or need something else? What are the pros and cons of different options?
Plan out how you can answer all the most important questions in your guide, focussing on education and being genuinely helpful.
3. Your call to action
As I've said before, a piece of content is not a marketing tool if it has no call to action, so be sure to tell your buyers what you'd like them to do next.
Since a buyer's guide is not a sales tool, your call to action needs to reflect that. If you finished your buyer's guide with a forceful "BUY NOW", you'd be undoing all the work you'd just done. Instead, invite your buyer to continue the conversation you've started with the guide. Invite customers to contact you if they have any further questions or if they need any help doing whatever it is you've just described in your buyer's guide.
Isn’t it just a fancy FAQ?
Well, yes it is really, in that it answers buyers' most frequently asked questions. A buyer’s guide, however, is much more compelling than an FAQ webpage or document, since it’s been written specifically for one audience in a way that tells a story. An FAQ is usually more of a diagnostic tool, checklist, or back-up option where someone would go to find an answer to a specific question that they haven’t seen answered anywhere else.
It also enables you to show some of the personality of your business and build an emotional connection with your buyer. By showing you are generous with your knowledge without pushing for a sale, your customers will feel much more comfortable taking the next step towards buying from you.
I hope you found this blog useful and you're now ready to create your own buyer's guide. If you need any help, please do get in touch.
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