What does "marketing excellence" look like? (Part 3)

In my last two blogs I’ve been taking you through the buyer’s journey, looking at how excellent marketing needs to support our buyers at every step.
If you missed part 1 and part 2, read them here: In this final blog of the series I’ll explain how we can help our customers step over the line and continue onwards to become long-term, loyal customers and referrers.

Encouraging the first purchase

To reduce the perceived risk at this point in the buyer journey, your customer needs to feel what it’s like to be a customer before they buy.

A product ladder is a series of offers and products that lead from one to the next so people can build a relationship with you and get a sense for what it’d be like to be a customer before they commit to something big. It’s all about reducing perceived risk.

For example:
Free short-form content, such the ones I listed in part 1 of this blog series, with a call to action (CTA) that points to…
  1. A lead magnet or free offer (such as a pdf or free trial in exchange for an email address) that invites people to book or watch…
  2. A product or service demonstration that allow buyers to "test drive" your product or service before they buy (this can be in-person, remotely or using video) and encourages people to purchase…
  3. A "taster" product (a low cost, fixed price, entry product) that leads on to…
  4. Your core product or service offering.

As well as allowing buyers to feel what it’s like to be a customer before they buy, we also need to let them understand what it’s like to be a customer before they buy.

What do I mean by this?

We need to answer the question, “how and when will I get value from this?” In a lot of product sales, this might be as straight-forward as stating how long it’ll take to assemble the product and what tools are needed. A video explaining the process would be excellent.

But what about services that take a while for the customer to see the value? Can you explain the process your customer will go through between handing over money and getting the value they’re paying for?

Great ways to do this include:
‘Buying in’ to ‘loyal’

This is a really important moment in the buying journey, immediately after they've handed over cash or signed on the dotted line. If you've ever experienced "buyer's remorse" you'll know what happens if a buyer’s emotional needs aren't met.

Your marketing needs to reassure your buyer they've made the right choice. Greet customers with a lovely warm welcome to build an emotional connection and prevent buyer's remorse. This doesn't have to be complicated: a simple, hand-written welcome card or gift (depending on your business, industry and sale value) shows customers that you care about them.

It’s also important to reassure customers at this stage by having excellent training (in-person or online, or both!) and customer service, and by sorting out any issues as quickly as possible.

Encouraging loyalty

You'd be amazed at the number of businesses I've worked with who forget to look after and support their loyal customers. Loyal customers are your most profitable, so make sure you attend to their emotional needs and keep the magic alive.

The way to do it is to continue to build trust through consistency. Make sure your brand personality is authentic and honest, and you use consistent brand visuals and tone of voice in your communications. There's a lot of psychology behind this: subtle inconsistencies erode trust and cause your once-loyal customer to lose their connection with your brand.

Although most people don’t think of it as marketing, excellent ongoing customer service is a key tool here to encourage repeat business. Keep in regular contact with your customer (as is appropriate without annoying them), keep them informed of service changes or updates, and get feedback to proactively improve their experience.

Incentivising referrals

Wouldn't it be wonderful if your happy, loyal customers could be the ones generating your new business? If they're already loyal to you then they'll probably be happy to tell other people about you. But people are busy and sometimes they need a gentle nudge to do this.

This is where strategies to encourage referrals come in and there are lots of examples to inspire you. Think about Ocado’s “£10 for you and £10 for a friend” and Dropbox’s “earn more space by inviting a friend”, and see how you can encourage your customers to refer you more. Make sure your incentive is aligned with your values and strategy and is equal for both referrer and referee so both parties feel good about your business.

Need more help?

We cover this as part of a much wider marketing strategy process in the Marketing Machine ProgrammeIf you'd like to hear more about this course, or if you need specific help implementing marketing excellence in your business, get in touch. I'd love to hear about your business challenges and see how I can help.

Ros Conkie


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