A buyer has made almost 70% of their buying decision before they talk to you.
Todays buyers are self-educating; they are coming to the table armed with more product knowledge than ever before.
For sales teams, this means that the prospect is almost ready to buy, you just have to answer any last minute questions and close the deal.
But what about the process that leads to that 70%? A large part of that comes from the consumer self-educating and researching the product or service they intend to buy.
Brands who embrace sharing content can control the narrative.
Blogs work to generate sales leads because buyers are already out researching. Likely, much of their research is online. When a brand publishes consistent and expert advice, a relationship is formed between the brand and the buyer.
Brands can leverage many human factors in this new marketplace:
As humans, we need community. We have a desire to be a part of something and be “in” the circle. Social media has amplified the signals we are exposed to and expanded our community circles. Now, we can associate with tribes and affiliate ourselves with a cause without leaving the comfort of our living room. Social proof, simply described as, “look at all these other people doing it, too”. One piece of social proof are the social media sharing buttons. When a reader sees that your blog/website/article has received X number of “Likes” or shares, it gives ‘permission’ for your reader to join the cause.
Reciprocity is the idea that, if I give you something, you feel like you should give me something back. When you receive a birthday present, for example, we are wired to give a birthday gift to the original giver.
When you, as an industry leader, are blogging and sharing your knowledge, you are giving thought leadership and value to the reader. Over time, these tiny investments add up to a balance in the reciprocity bank. The reader feels inclined to give you something in return. This could be their name and email address, retweeting something you have shared, or even signing up to learn more about your upcoming product launch.
The intention, however, behind genuine reciprocity is that you, as the originator, have true and noble intentions. You are not sharing your industry knowledge with the expectation of getting something in return, although you know that this is a likely result.
Much like a uniform on a police officer, doctor, or firefighter conveys authority, your brand positioning establishes authority in the mind of your readers. There is an extreme amount of value in this authority. But, like Uncle Ben says, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
The market, every market, is increasingly more competitive and noisy. To stand out, brands (and their leaders) must provide value before the purchase. Companies focused on a better relationship with their customer must give value early in the sales process. By blogging content that actually answers questions, provides solutions, and — gasp — risks the customer not calling right away, brands present themselves as an advisor, rather than a vendor.
Finally, trust. Your readers will develop a bond with your brand. In marketing, this type of bond cannot be purchased. It is earned. When your buyer is ready to make the purchase, the trust you have established throughout their buying process is invaluable. That trust sets the stage for, not only the initial transaction, but a long-term relationship.
If your brand is looking to generate more qualified sales leads, I encourage you to start writing educational articles on your website. The sooner you start, the more entry-points you have to connect with your visitors.
If you would like help leveraging authority, value, and social proof for your brand, I would love to talk to you. Drop me a note and let me know when we can connect.