Marketing programs are not easy to put up. They require time, effort, and money. Some companies outsource their programs to experts. The reality is not all marketing programs are successful. You may have planned a trade show well, hired the best copywriters, stayed active in social media posts, engaged the popular influencers, and still not get the results you want. What are you doing wrong? Is there a way to do things better?
Why Do Marketing Fail?
A person goes through a journey before he buys a product. It’s not as simple as seeing an item then buying it right there and then. A journey may take days or even months for expensive items. If I were to buy running shoes, this would be my process:
- Go online and do a search for running shoes.
- Identify the shoes that fit my requirements (stability shoes, road running, long distance)
- Go to the product’s webpage to read about the shoes.
- Scour the review sites of the webpage.
- Go to the social media page of the runners I follow to see if they have reviewed the shoes that I am looking at.
- Go the store in my area that carries the shoes.
- Try the shoes on and go for a “test drive”, if allowed.
If I’m happy with how my feet feel with the shoes, I buy it.
Sometimes, remorse: “I should’ve tested this longer. I should’ve gotten the other model. I should’ve looked at the other brand that so and so said is good.”
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Marketing fails when you ignore parts of the customer’s journey and just focus on ringing in the sales. Ignoring a part of parts of the journey will make you lose customers. Remember that they are feeling their way to the end of the funnel, and you need to guide them.
Here are the common mistakes of most marketing strategies:
Only the buyers get their attention–In any marketing event, we train our eyes to look for the would-be buyers and make a beeline for their attention. Of the 100 who graced your event, 60 showed interest that may translate to whooping 60 sales. The 40 who did not give you their attention are left ignored. They’re not interested so why bother, right? This is a mistake because this 40 may not convert into customers AT THIS POINT only because the timing is not right, they don’t know they need your product, or they are looking for something they don’t know you have. The 40 who ignores you now may turn into customers in the future if you give them attention.
Ignoring actual human behaviour –A buyer’s behaviour is not straightforward. It’s not as simple as if they’re interested to buy, they would, and if they’re not, they will not. Interacting with them should not be based on how we want them to behave (which is to buy), but on what they’re actually doing. A buyer’s behaviour is multi-faceted and a good marketing plan reacts to each action.
Now that we know what we’re doing wrong, how do we move forward?
How to Improve Marketing Results
Know the entire buyers’ journey–Knowing each step buyers go through allows you go appreciate the entire journey. It may look something like this:
New lead -> Segmentation-> Educate ->Discovery Call -> Qualified/Not Qualified ->
Needs More Time -> Purchase -> Fulfilment -> Testimonial/Request for Referral ->
Long Term Nurture
Do not forget that the journey is not a straight line. Ideally, a New Lead goes straight to Purchase, but this is a rarity especially for expensive buys. Sometimes a New Lead proceeds to Segmentation only to find out that they cannot buy your product yet. From this, they can go to Unqualified or Needs More Time. Note that customers may enter, exit, or re-enter the journey several times.
Identify your customer’s need where they are in the journey –A customer goes through each step of the journey to fulfil a specific need. The journey is not a straight line; he may go back and forth several times. Sometimes he is already reading reviews of a product only to go back looking at other brands. He may even abandon a shopping cart because another deal caught his attention. Knowing where your customer is in the journey will help you anticipate his needs. Better yet, go beyond anticipating by asking him what he wants.
Asking what the customer what he wants is the Segmentation part of the journey. By talking to him you can qualify if his journey will end in a sale or not.
Example: You are a dermatologist who specializes in acne scars. On your website, you offer a free lead magnet that offers, “Ways to Avoid Acne Scars.” After putting out this magnet, you can proceed with Segmentation by asking your prospects what they need, and they can choose from:
I have acne scars, but I am usually allergic to creams and lotions.
I have tried many different creams and lotions, and my scars don’t disappear.
It takes a long time for my acne to dry up, and I always get the pus-filled type.
You can now give relevant replies to prospects based on their answers. Someone who is allergic to creams and lotions may receive an email regarding skin testing to check for reactions. After a while, you can send a follow-up email that includes a testimonial to prove that your products are hypoallergenic. Include a CTA so they can schedule an appointment.
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The sale does not conclude the journey –Treating your customer’s well means treating them like a human being, and not statistic. Customers should feel good about buying your product, especially if it’s expensive, that’s why the sale must not conclude your relationship. Remember the last time you bought something expensive? You must have felt guilty after. Buyer’s remorse is real. We go through a whole list of doubts like there might be a better buy, you should have asked for a better deal, you should have waited for a better time, etc.
Handle your buyer’s remorse through validation. Make him feel good about his purchase by sending a congratulatory email that provides reasons why he made a great decision buying from you. You can also include a testimonial from someone who bought the same product. Going the extra mile can bring you loyal customers for life.
If you continue looking at your customers as buyers from the get-go and if the goal of your marketing effort is to bring in sales all the time, you will experience failures instead of success. Build a relationship with your customers. Accompany them in their journey. Be attentive to their needs by asking them what they want. Stop picturing the dollar sign on their head and you can see and feel what they need. Having this kind of a relationship with your customers will reward you a hundredfold.