Before creating the next piece of content for your site, you need to STOP and ask yourself this one crucial question.
Before I reveal this one critical question let’s talk about content.
What is the purpose of content on a website?
Search Engine Optimization?
Stay in communication with my customers?
Show that I am an expert in my area?
I suggest that the purpose of the content on your site… ALL content… is to help turn prospects into customers.
That is it.
And the end of the day, it is about sales. It does not matter how many blog posts you published. It does not matter how many videos or infographics you created. It does not matter how many social media updates you posted or how many fans and followers you have.
What matters is how much money is in the bank account. If the results of your efforts are not producing sales, then you are putting effort into the wrong area!
So what is the one critical question you should ask before creating anymore content? The question is:
How will this content help turn my web visitor into a prospect or a client?
Okay so that sounds good you might be saying! But HOW do I do that? I know I want sales. I know I want my website visitors to buy from me but how do I create content that is not salesy? I don’t want to be selling to them all of the time. I don’t want to always be pitching “buy this”!
Glad you asked! 🙂
The first thing you need to understand is the process that every single one of your clients go through before making a buying decision.
We call this process the “buying cycle”.
I believe there are 7 main stages to the buying cycle. Some might have more, others less. I won’t argue with them but we are going to cover the 7 I feel are the most important.
The 7 Stages of the Buying Cycle
- Interest / Education
Every single customer of yours has at one point gone through each of these buying cycle stages.
Right now there are visitors on your website that are in different stages of the buying cycle. How are you helping to move them to the next stage? Is your site helping them move to the next stage? Let’s find out!
First, what exactly is involved in each stage of the buying cycle?
Stage 1: Unawareness.
In this stage your prospect does not even know your product or service exists. They are unaware that there is a better way. No one has yet introduced them that there is an easier, faster solution to their problem.
In fact… they may not even know a problem exists!
They are unaware.
Let’s take a physical product as an example. Since I sell camping gear, let’s use a Coleman Propane Coffee Maker as an example.
As June and July roll around camping season begins! Families pack up the tent, the sleeping bag, the portable grill. They grab the enamel coffee pot and the red and white checkered plastic table cloth! They pack up and off they go!
Friday or Saturday is spent setting up camp. Organizing the food. The kids go exploring and at night, s’mores are devoured!
Then it is morning. For those of us coffee addicts this is where the challenge begins!
Instead of just flipping the on switch, you have to fill the pot with water. Light the fire. Boil the water. Pour the hot water into a mug and add the instant coffee crystals for a so-so cup of joe!
Oh yes. Part of camping. But could there be something better? Could I possibly bring my favorite brand of coffee and enjoy my morning ritual in the wilderness?
No of course not. It is camping.
But wait … you can! The Coleman Propane coffee maker helps you to enjoy your brand of coffee in just a few short minutes!
Unawareness is not knowing that the product exists.
So how do we move our future customers through this stage? Usually it is with paid advertising. Paid ad campaigns can be created on Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Bing. Offline advertising can be done through postcards, direct mail, tv, radio, billboards and more.
Before creating your ad campaign, the first step is to ask yourself…. what problems does my target market have? What problems does my product or service provide a solution to?
Let’s take the example of someone trying to follow up with leads from an expo or trade show. It could be any kind of tradeshow. Maybe a tradeshow for wedding vendors. Maybe a tradeshow for schools. It does not matter. A business usually pays between $1,000 – $20,000 or more to go to a business tradeshow where they can setup a booth and collect leads from the event.
Once they get back they might have a fishbowl full of business cards … but NOW what?
Some of the cards have phone numbers. Some don’t. Some of the phone numbers go directly to the person in charge of making the buying decision, but most go to a “gatekeeper” (someone in charge of screening the calls from the vendors!)
The sales rep sits down with the pile of cards and starts to sort through them trying to remember who they talked to and what was said and who is a better prospect to follow up with first!
They start their 500 or so calls for the day. Then what?
The sales rep is probably thinking…
- How can I possibly follow up with all of these leads?
- How can I focus my efforts on only calling those that are truly interested?
- How can I stay organized to be able to remember who I called yesterday?
- How can I keep track of who answered the phone and who did not?
- How can I easily send out an “I tried to reach you” email to those who did not answer?
The sales rep does what his sales manager taught him and the sales manager does what he was taught as a sales rep. No one stops to think if there was a better way.
This is the stage of Un-awareness. The sales rep is unaware that a better solution exists. They do not realize that marketing software such as Infusionsoft could help to answer all of those questions!
I don’t know about you, but as I wrote out all of the questions a sales rep might be thinking I got a pretty good visual in my head.
I began to visualize a guy with a white shirt and tie sitting in a cubicle with a pile of business cards on his desk. I imagine him looking like he is dialing another number yet again. Maybe he is hunched over a little bit as he is tired and overwhelmed with all of the calls and the rejections.
That is your ad! If you run an ad that your target market can resonate with you will get results.
- Identify the problems your product or service solves.
- Focusing on the problem, write down 10-15 questions your target market is asking.
- Create 3-5 ads for a marketing campaign, but don’t publish them yet!
Stage 2: Awareness
- How can I make coffee while camping?
- How can I enjoy my favorite brand of ground coffee while camping?
- Is there a fast, easy way to brew coffee while camping?
Stage 3: Interest / Education
- How does it work?
- Do I have to light a match?
- How long does it take to brew?
Stage 4: Consideration
- Are there other types of coffee makers?
- How much does it cost?
- What options are available? (glass vs stainless steel)
Stage 5: Justification
- Are there cheaper options available?
- How often am I going to use it?
- Will my spouse or loved ones view me as the hero if I buy this?
Stage 6: Purchase
- How soon can it be delivered?
- Do I need accessories such as a case or a propane tank?
- What are the shipping costs?
Stage 7: Post-Purchase
- How do I use this?
- I broke it, how can I get a replacement part?
- Where can I leave a review about my purchase?