Be the customer, and get more sales
There is this assumption that we all should attempt to reach hundreds of thousands or millions of people, so we can make dozens or hundreds of sales.
It’s the reason you want to make a huge splash with your startup or product launch, right? it’s the reason why people try to go viral.
But what if this just isn’t true?
We’ll come back to that shortly. For now just do this thought experiment with me.
You Be the Customer
Let’s say that you want an apple right now. The thing you want most in your life is to take a bite out of the most perfect apple that you can find.
Pretending we all live a country where fresh produce is abundant, it shouldn’t be too hard for anyone to a- afford an apple, even an overpriced one b- have access to the finest apple even if you have to hop on a bus to get to it.
Assuming both of those things are true, the first thing to do is to find out where you can get the best apples. No one who wants something they truly care about starts off saying “what’s the cheapest one I can get?”
You Go Through the Discovery Process – Looking for the Best
Remember, your mouth is watering. You won’t be satisfied or happy until you get that apple problem taken care of, preferably in the near future.
Now, if you already know where to get the best apples, you just head straight there. If you don’t you probably took your cell phone out and searched for “best apples near me”.
If you have some apple-loving friends, you might also ask them for their opinions. If not, during your search you’d look at reviews.
However you do it, you’d go through discovery process and find the place that provides you with the best possible apple in your price range. And if you wanted the best apple possible, you’d probably look at a couple just outside your price range.
Now, you’ve done your discovery and your due diligence. Confidently, you venture out with data on your first three choices, determined to get your apple.
You Compare Your Top 3 Choices on quality, price, and experience
At this moment, in your mind, apples aren’t an option, they’re a necessity. Thus you’re willing to pay a price to get the thing that you want. The assumption is that before you even start to pursue this apple, that you can already afford it, from your general assumption of what an apple costs.
In other words, price is not on your mind. Quality is. At the back of your mind would also be the apple experience – do you want to walk in a store or pick a fresh apple off a tree? Produce cart or grocery story. Things like customer service probably matter too.
So you walk to the place you chose, assuming
- they have apples,
- you’re going to get them,
- and that they’re going to be delicious.
So what could a person possibly do at this point to screw up your apple buying experience?
I mean most of the salesperson’s job is already done.
You know you want an apple. You’re willing to pay a bit extra for quality, convenience, or just the right unique experience. In fact the only thing that can stop you from buying an apple right now? Are the same things we startup folk often screw up because we forget about the basics.
Let’s say you walk into this store to buy apples, and all you see are a bookshelf full of great books and magazines about apples, and a wall with a feed of their tweets?
Frustrated, you head to your second choice. This one is more of the same but at least they have checkout counters. But you get there and they take every type of payment except the debit card you brought with you, and cash.
By now you’re probably irritated, if not actually angry. All you wanted was an apple.
This is how your customers feel if you aren’t connecting your content marketing to your sales process.
Now Be a Startup Again
Here’s where we get back to how to do better marketing as a startup. If you’ve been making the mistake of having a sales process that’s confusing to your customers, all hope is not lost. And if you think about it, this really isn’t your fault.
Unlike big companies, most startups aren’t employing a full marketing department full of professionals who have proven themselves in the field. Sof if the light bulb just went on over your head about what your company might be doing wrong to attract customers, don’t kick yourself just yet.
You aren’t trained to be the best marketer in the world. You figured out how to make the best technology to perform a certain function, or you came up with a killer gadget.
And that’s okay.
But if you want to stay in business, this needs to get fixed.
Whether you hire outside help or enable someone within the organization to become knowledgeable, it’s clear that knowing how to connect what you sell to the content you’re marketing is key.
Stop making the path to a sale more complicated
The truth is, you don’t need hundreds of thousands or even tens of thousands of visitors to make hundreds or thousands of sales IF:
- you carefully target your content to your best possible customer match
- you tie your content to your sales process and/or
- you tie your content to some kind of opt-in subscription so you have more than one chance to make the sale.
Almost every time I’ve worked with a startup that had great exposure but slow sales, the solution had to do with better targeting, widening exposure or making the path to a sale much easier. You don’t need to reach more people most of the time. You just need to make a better impression on the people you DO encounter.
If your problem mainly lies in a lack of conversion to sales, there are a few things you can do.
First, make sure you have created a few landing pages for at least your top products. Second, comb your onsite and offsite content, and make sure there are prominent calls to action that lead to specific landing pages, not just the home page of your site.
In general, home pages don’t make great landing pages.
Next, do some testing with your sales pages – when do people who don’t buy abandon your site? When do people who reach the sales pages abandon the sales process? Maybe your sign-in form is too long, or your checkout process is confusing.
When you’re sure everything is up to par, go through your site with a friend or colleague, the less web savvy the better, and observe them trying to make a sale on your site. The average consumer is likely less of a web expert than you are. Yet, they know how to use Amazon, buy a song from iTunes, and get things from Etsy or eBay.
If you have the other problem – trouble with marketing or getting people to share your content- we’ll talk about that next time.