What feminine protection can teach you (gents too) about sales funnels
Last week I had a enlightening discussion with my 8 year old daughter about feminine protection, which got me thinking about the marketing process, and the steps that exist within it. Lily is nowhere near puberty yet, but she’s certainly thinking about it, as a result of plenty of exposure to sanitary protection ads.
Our conversation went like this:
Lily: Should I wear pads or tampons
Me: Which ever you prefer
Lily: Pads……which is more comfortable?
(My 14 year son looked on in horror)…sorry gents.
I shared this conversation on Facebook, which got lots of comments, and alternatives such as eco-pads and menstrual cups that my 8 year old could consider!
So, how is this relevant to you and your business?
I work a lot with start ups, and find that it is very tempting for many of them begin selling to a new market that is yet to understand the value of what they can offer, before a level of trust is built, or people are even clear on what they actually do.
Now, I’m all for getting your product to market and begin getting feedback and refining as soon as you can, but, the more you understand the customer funnel, and how a reputation is built and loyal clients established, the easier it is to stay on track with building a solid business for the long term.
In the case of my 8 year old daughter and her choices of feminine protection…..she is already at the consideration stage. When she hits the preference stage, she will have an element of brand recognition in the mix, and be leaning towards one or two. This decision will be influenced by mainstream advertising, her peers, social media discussion, and her mum (me) who is likely to make the initial purchases.
Let’s step through the process of the customer purchase funnel and what that may mean for you
The client has become aware that they have a issue, need or desire, or something has come to their attention. The amount of time spent here could be a lot or a little. The may begin to notice things that ‘speak’ to this awareness, and generate an internal response. It’s a little like noticing green cars, after you buy a green car!
They are looking at their options. They are asking what is possible. They are weighing the pros and cons. This could be comparing two like businesses (two web designers for example), or two differing providers who address the same issue (such as a psychologist versus a yoga class to address anxiety). This is why it’s paramount that you are clearly speaking to your target market and their problem, desire, or need.
The have reached a verdict regarding their preference. The more you understand your customer the easier it is to make sure you are addressing their preferences. Customer feedback is essential for this. It is also the moment of truth. Why would a customer choose one over another? Is your offer clear? Can the customer easily see the value in your product or service?
It’s crunch time. They are ready to lay their money down. They will invest in solving their problem. They are convinced that you are the right choice, and are happy to pay for it. Are you the right choice, at the right time and the right place?
Now you have served your client, what will they do next? Go to someone else, or stick with you. It’s easy to leave this part to chance, to be indifferent, but having strategies in place to keep you clients in the loop is very important. Dropping them a line, checking in with them, staying in touch with a newsletter, and remaining connected on social media (that means real interaction), sending a thankyou or birthday wishes are some of the things that foster loyalty.
Your clients have had an experience with you and are more than happy to share it with others should it come up. You have heard it said that there is nothing stronger than word of mouth marketing, and it’s true! The key is now to make sure that everything else you do supports what your advocates are sharing. That your message is consistent, and that your advocates are accurate in what they are sharing. Clarity is key. The easier it is for advocates to articulate what you do, the more likely they will tell others.
Are your clients ready to make a purchase?
You can guarantee that by the time your client purchased your product or service, they have already been considering other product offers, evaluating the benefits of each, listening to the experiences of their friends and associates, before making their final decision. Then, once they have purchased, you want to help build their brand loyalty so they become your strongest advocates and supporters and tell others.
If you are trying to sell something, that clients are not yet ready for, it could be costing you. A print ad before anyone knows who you are, Facebook ads that promote an event but you don’t yet have a following or trust hasn’t been established, or there is no testimonial/social proof you can deliver.
The magic bullet is…..BE
Be visible. Be consistent. Be likeable. Be trustworthy. Be accessible. Be supportive. Be helpful. Be genuine. Be persistent. Be courageous. Be YOU!
Taking an inventory on how you are BEing can be very valuable in making sure you are present at all areas of the Customer Purchase Funnel.
- Am I consisently building awareness about what problems I can solve?
- Am I being seen by enough of my ideal client to make an impact on my business?
- Am I using social media channels where my clients hang out?
- Are people talking about your key topics on social media?
- Are my prospects being given an opportunity to buy from me when they are in need?
- Are you easy to find?
- Do I know how and why my clients buy?
- Are others referring the right type of clients to me?
Business is very dynamic. Client needs come and go. Priorities change. Making sure you are top of mind so that potential prospects move into the consideration and purchasing stage is best achieved with a consistent and visible flow of useful content and offerings that meet the needs of your ideal client.
The more you understand your ideal client, the easier this is to do.
What do you make of the Customer Purchase Funnel? Were you familiar with it, and can you see where prospects in your own funnel are currently at? Do you think you can develop a strategy to help move them through the funnel? Are there parts you think you are doing particularly well, or not? What has worked well for you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts…..
Image kindly used with permission from Meltwater Social Media Blog