For small businesses to be successful in 2014, they need to refocus their online efforts and align what they do with the buyers journey. Today buyers are self-directed – very different from how things were even 5 years ago. To reach them more effectively, consider adapting your approach.
New approach: provide prospective buyers with compelling information, targeted to the stage of the purchasing journey they’re in. By adapting to new consumer behaviors and using your website and social media channels more effectively, you will reap the rewards.
As a small business, here are tips and a 3 step guide for what you can do to impact the purchasing process that today is controlled by the buyer.
Align with the Buyers Journey - Small Business Marketing Success in 2014
Small businesses will have more success if they provide prospective customers with specific types of information at specific times in their buying process. The idea is to align what you do with the buyers journey, and provide them with compelling information targeted to the stage they’re in and to move them forward to the sale.
Step #1 – First Stages of the Buyers Journey
Begin by building awareness and cultivating exposure. This targets buyers in the early, information-seeking stage of their buying process. Develop early stage content that tends to be general in nature:
- write a regular blog and post to your website (and see about being a guest blogger and sharing your ideas on other credible industry sites)
- publish an e-book
- share research data
- compile curated lists
- give a webinar
Think visually – your prospective customers do:
- create a video channel (funny videos, how to’s)
- post infographics that entertain, inform and showcase you and your business as thought leaders.
Step #2 – Middle Stage of the Buyers Journey
Next, develop relationships and nurture them. For buyers in the middle stage of the buying process, build on the awareness and work towards developing meaningful interaction with people who have been to your website, downloaded your material, viewed your graphics, watched your videos, and have come to your social networks.
Hone in on who is interested at this stage by providing higher quality, focused content like:
- buying guides
- special reports
- industry analytic tools
At this stage, send this specially crafted, value-added content to them via email. Use short, short contact forms at this stage to get names and build up your data base.
Step #3 – Final Stages of the Buyers Journey
Finally provide closing information to motivate the sale. Create the incentive to purchase.
Content ideas at this stage include:
- customer case studies
- pricing information
- video demos
- contests and other social media campaigns
Make sure it’s easy for the buyer to buy – the stats show between 60% and 80% of people abandon their online shopping carts, so work hard to make the purchase simple, with minimal clicks.
For other ideas on how to improve your small business marketing efforts this year, check out “3 Social Media Tips for Small Business in 2014“, “How Small Business can Stand Out Online Today“, and “Social Media Tips for Small Business“. Let me know what works for you – I’d love to learn from you!