Consumer Buying Process – Flow

Does your site have flow? I’m not talking about the Shopping Cart. I mean do you understand the typical consumer buying process for your product or service? Do you get it, can you recite it, can you prove it?

Before we get to your website, let’s talk about something concrete that we both understand. Candy bars and BMW’s.

What is the process of buying a candy bar? How much research is done? How much risk does it involve? Does it require asking friends their opinion, checking for testimonials, reading the ingredients, calculating calories or searching for recall alerts? What does it really take to sell a candy bar to a consumer? Continue reading “Consumer Buying Process – Flow”

3 crazy ways to get customer feedback

Getting customer feedback is sometimes hard. People are busy, they forget, they don’t want to or they just don’t care enough to take the :30 seconds to do it. But it is oh so important to get customer feedback.

Customer feedback makes me think of index cards on a bulletin board, doesn’t it?  Or comment cards attached to the bill at a restaurant. Sometimes companies solicit feedback in an email survey. For the most part those don’t really give you the kind of information you need.  They’re great for graphs in the newsletter though, aren’t they? Continue reading “3 crazy ways to get customer feedback”

Using Customer Feedback to Make your Business Better

Using customer feedback is critical to your success. I recently wrote a guest blog post on about making sure you know what actions you’re going to take BEFORE you survey your audience. That kind of customer feedback can help you make changes and take action immediately.

But there are more important reasons to be using customer feedback.

Interviewing Customers

Nothing can take the place of interviewing your customers. What you really want to understand is the process your customers went through to get to you. And then what happened to get them to pull their wallet out and pay you money. Once you understand where they were mentally, you can craft your web copy, headlines and email subject lines. Continue reading “Using Customer Feedback to Make your Business Better”

The Sales Pitch: Part of the Consumer Buying Process?

Hearing the Sales PitchI once read a post on titled “Ditch the Pitch”, which made me wonder more about the role of the sales pitch in the consumer buying process?  I wouldn’t ever advise getting rid of the pitch because the pitch generates the sale. But I would say the author makes some valid points about the sophistication of consumers.

Crystal Collins, the author of “Ditch the Pitch” insists that we’re now so socially savvy we can see a sales pitch from a mile away. I totally agree with that, in fact I use that to my advantage and try to look at everything from the view point of the other side. I’m always wondering “what is their motivation in this arrangement” thus when is the pitch?

While I’m sort of against being victim to the hard sell pitch, I know first hand that it works very well a great deal of the time. Having spent the last 8 years in the infomercial world, I’ve seen up-to-the-second tracking on our TV infomercials and can compare that to the incoming sales call log. We can track at what second during the show a person calls and compare that to what they just heard. 9 times out of 10 it’s the sales pitch that starts the phone ringing. Continue reading “The Sales Pitch: Part of the Consumer Buying Process?”

Funny Door to Door Salesman on Youtube

Kenny Brooks is the funny door to door salesman that everyone is watching on YouTube. He says that 2 years of door to door sales is like a college education in sales communication. And that line probably does help him make sales . . . but . . . has he learned enough to be successful selling something else?

On his blog, Marty Fancke commented that Kenny was doing lots of things right. He appreciated Kenny’s ability to make the customer smile, his use of product demo’s, leveraging social proof and asking for the sale several times. I believe his buyer’s would agree. Continue reading “Funny Door to Door Salesman on Youtube”

Consumer Buying Process Strategy

Creating a marketing plan that matches the consumer buying process strategy is crucial to the overall conversion rate of the campaign. And the key is understanding that marketing plans don’t have to be difficult – the framework itself can be very easy.

In reviewing where we are on a client’s site, I detailed the basic framework we’re using for this site here in this video. Making a plan like this makes it somewhat easy to determine from day to day what part of the strategy you’re working on and how it fits into the overall plan. Continue reading “Consumer Buying Process Strategy”

Marketing small businesses is more than keywords

Internet marketing for small businesses is marketing. It’s not a separate category, or something special some companies do. The internet is part of our lives and with the advent of the iPad, it’s soon to become a larger part.

I find it interesting that most of my “business” clients don’t really do much “marketing”. They do some advertising, but that’s about it.  I get the sense that there’s a “build it and they will come” mentality among small business owners. Well, guess what? There is a better mouse trap.

Let’s try this. . . think of the internet as a tool you can use to reach your current customers. That’s it. Don’t think beyond that.  What would that allow you to do?

internet marketing for small business
internet marketing for small business

Well, e-mail is an internet utility that is virtually free. If you’re about to introduce a new product, you could tell all  your current customers using e-mail – for free. You could invite them to a Grand Opening. You could even help your neighbor and invite them all to his Grand Opening. (If it’s next door, wouldn’t they stop in to say hello?)

Simple enough.

Now, if you can see how efficient that is, and ultimately how successful you could be doing that . . . how do we get more of our customers’ e-mail addresses?

You could have a pad of paper by the cash register.  You could have a drawing where people toss their business card into a fishbowl. You could call them all and ask for it. You could even put a form on your website where they type their name and e-mail into it themselves.

So the next question would be how can you get more customers, so you can get more e-mail addresses, so you can send more notices, so you can make more sales?

That’s where it gets personal. For a real estate client we use Craigslist. A buddy of mine uses eBay. My folks use Google.  A car dealer may use billboards.  And a personal injury lawyer may just find the best tool is the back page of the yellow pages. That’s where you really start to make headway.

My challenge to you is ask your clients how they think they got from not knowing who you were to hiring you.  Let’s put together a road map of how someone who’s never heard of you, eventually hears about you, is impressed with you and then hires you.

When we can master that and begin to understand the “ladder of value” we’ve already got in place, then we can start creating a network to find more people who want what you do.

Therein lies the art. the joy. the wonder of internet marketing.

And therein lies success.

Ladder of Value: Moving customers from $7 to $1,500

The Ladder of Value isn’t something you’re going to learn about in school. In fact, this may be the only time you’ll ever hear about it, but I guarantee that it will not only make sense to you – but will likely shift your thought process in your marketing efforts.

The premise is simple. If you want to get hired to be the Keynote speaker at the biggest convention in  your niche, you’re going to have to move the people who book the speaker from knowing nothing about you, to getting pat on the back for hiring you.  Sending them a resume and a request to speak is not going to cut it.

However, by providing great information, insightful content and helpful, regular postings you can easily move someone from a point of ignorance, to respect, to paying customer. For example a very well thought out free e-book can interest a customer in a webinar, and then perhaps a workshop to hear you speak.  That kind of value can beget personal coaching or weekend symposiums.

The ladder of value is a logical, merit based way of proving to your ultimate goal client that you are indeed worth the $200,000 you’re asking to be the convention’s keynote speaker.  It also fits hand in hand with the customer’s natural “buying process”. Here’s more:

Managing Customer Expectations and Your Business

I took the kids to Chicago this 4th of July to see the fireworks. Why wouldn’t I? The fireworks should be fun, full of magnificance (if that’s a word) and should awe you.  That was my first mistake. For one – an 8 and 6 year old can be awed by a sparkler they hold in their hand.  I’m sure the local fireworks would have been just fine.  But I had bigger things in mind for them.

Chicago. The Windy City. The Willis Tower. Oprah. The Bears. . .

Chicago is big. Chicago Crime is big. Chicago Politics are big.  And I could have sworn the fireworks were big.

Chicago, on the other hand, has issues.  For their annual Fireworks Show they have to manage traffic, congestion, the city’s metro transit system, the police and their budget. Well this year they decided to solve all those problems with one fell swoop. That’s right. Chicago decided it was time to manage their city – not be managed by it.

So they took their firework budget and divided into three parts. Then proceeded to plan three separate fireworks shows. Each of the three shows were on beaches miles apart. This would keep the congestion in the city down, congestion on the metro down and allow lots of people to see the show.

What they didn’t tell those of us going to see the Fireworks Show was that the fireworks budget itself was cut in three. So each of us, with Big Expectations, sat down for a fireworks show that lasted no more than 14 minutes.

The question Chicago should ask (and in turn a small business) is what is the long term impact of that? I probably won’t drag my kids to Chicago to see the fireworks ever again. So the $300 we spent there will now go elsewhere. And it’s not because they didn’t put on a show – it’s that they didn’t meet the expectations of the audience.

You have to manage your business – there’s no doubt about it. But know that your customers have expectations that need to be met, exceeded or explained ahead of time.

In the online world, sometimes that means doing things the way others have done them – which is the way consumers come to expect. If you’re going to make big changes that will greatly benefits your business – make sure you look at the new changes from the eyes of the consumer.  Do your beneficial changes really benefit everyone?

Please share a moment when your expectations weren’t met? And how do you feel about going back.