Whether a person goes online to purchase a product, come to your store, or picks up the phone, there are a few essential things they need before they hand over the plastic. No one has the tolerance for pushy advertising, slick talkers, and misleading ads anymore. Instead, people are expecting much more when their money is involved. Your website is generally the first encounter a prospect will have with your business, so it’s essential that it is optimized to facilitate the customer purchase decision process.
If you want to turn your one time customers into long term customers, give them what they ask for! Here are a 3 ways to do just that and how they fit into the buyer’s journey:
Provide the Information
This is the first step in the buyer’s journey, the “awareness stage“. The prospect knows they have a problem or a need that they’re looking to resolve. So, just like the rest of us, they’ll “Google it” to find answers and solutions. But, if the searcher is going to find your website and webpages, you need to provide optimized, thorough content.
The second step in the buyer’s journey is the “consideration stage“. This is the stage when a potential customer will start actively searching for a solution to their current problem.
A consumer needs to understand what the product is and why it’s important to them when they start searching. Make sure to be clear about what you are offering and the product’s unique value to that specific customer. The more you specify and tailor a product or service to a specific customer, the better chance you will have of making the final sale. The more information a searcher is given, the easier the customer purchase decision becomes.
You and your customers need to be on the same page for a sale to happen. Don’t be stingy when it comes to empowering your future customers with the information they’ll need to research and work with your small business.
Searchers do the vast majority of their product research before they even come into contact with a sales rep and will make up their mind about a product before they get to you. The content you provide should help your potential customer’s decision easier. Provide previous customer reviews, your mission statement, your general business information, bios about your employees and services etc.
The information you publish on your small business website should answer all the questions a potential customer might have about your business and your products.
For example, if you’re hiring a cleaning service and Cleaner A only has a name and phone number online, while Cleaner B gives a description of what they are going to do, how they are going to do it, and for what price, who are you going to call? The more good content that you have on your website, the more probable that the right people will find it. The content on your website can mean the difference between them becoming customers of yours, or “the other guys.”
Make sure you’re giving your prospects a full understanding of what they are getting. Information about your company, products, and process is all important.
If a prospect can get a good feel for your business online, they are much more likely to make a purchasing decision. More importantly, don’t try to hide anything! You can’t afford that in a world where everything is shared. It’s much better to openly address any negative reviews, complaints, or concerns up front than to try and hide them.
No business is perfect, use that to your advantage! Mistakes show that you’re human and owning up and resolving those mistakes shows that you’re a quality small business.
From day one, you want to work with your prospects and customers and that starts with being transparent about your business with them.
Recently, I went online to buy a new pair of shoes. I found a nice pair of sneakers that seemed like it had everything I was looking for (stable, lightweight, etc.) However, as I was perusing the pricing I noticed they had a couple of reviews. One mentioned that the shoes were made specifically for a certain foot-type, but the company failed to mention that in the description. The disgruntled buyer had to return the shoes and search elsewhere for a new pair. Guess who else went to a different store for sneakers? There was no way I was going to give money to a company that couldn’t even give an accurate description of their product.
Make the Path Clear
The final step in the buyer’s journey is the “decision stage“. As you probably guessed, this is where the prospect becomes a full customer and you make a sale. But, as we all know it’s not that simple.
In order for any action to take place on the part of the customer, there needs to be a clear path for them to follow. No one wants to search for your telephone number, product page, or email address when they are ready to buy. Make sure to include “connection points” in prime areas on your webpages for your site visitors to find. Give them the ability to take the next step easily in their research and buying process.
There should be obvious calls to action (CTAs) on every page of your website. A call to action can be something as simple as a “click here” or “contact us” banner. But, the more sophisticated the CTA and the less action required on the potential customer’s part, the better your conversion rate will be.
Here, Netflix does a great job of drawing new subscribers in with their “join free for a month” CTA. This specific CTA show’s that the company is so confident you’ll love their product, they’re willing to give it to you for free to convince you of the same.
It’s hard enough to gain a prospect’s trust online, but if you can manage to supply them with a few important ingredients, you’ll make the customer purchase decision process much smoother.
Your job as a small business is to create a masterful website to make a customer’s purchase decision process effortless. The information and content you provide on your website will help move the searcher through your buyer’s journey and ultimately change them from a prospect to a paying customer.