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At Waypost, we are currently focusing primarily on 3 specific verticals:
- B2C: Home services
- B2C: High-end lifestyle products
- B2B: Industrial/commercial services
We write a lot of content targeted to these three types of industries, and for the most part, the marketing is fairly straightforward. We have a client that does a service or provides a product that most people know about, and for whatever reason our client is the best at what they do. Our biggest challenges are 1) to get their name out there ahead of their competitors and 2) to convince their target market that our client is the right choice of providers.
However, not all companies have products or services that are this straightforward. Maybe your business does something that most people are not familiar with. Maybe you are a new company, your product is intangible, or you are a reseller of some sort, and people just don’t know that they need what you’re offering. Your marketing challenges are more complex because they start farther back in the Awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey—perhaps even before it.Your complex problem might be:
- You are a vendor of some sort—some type of middle man between a manufacturer and an end user; e.g. a software reseller, a packaging distributor, etc. — and you need to differentiate yourselves from your competitors who do much the same thing that you do.
- You provide a niche service in a small corner of a larger market, and no one knows about your service yet; e.g. travel nurse recruiting, Universal Design retrofitting, etc.
- You are launching a revolutionary new product that no one knows about yet; e.g. an emergency communication system perfect for schools, etc.
Let’s Review The Buyer’s Journey
In order to tackle a complex marketing problem, we need to all get on the same page, and that starts with understanding the Buyer’s Journey. This is the roadmap for putting together a well-rounded, robust marketing strategy that converts—what we call a ‘sales funnel’.
The Awareness Stage
The Awareness Stage is the point where your target becomes aware that they have a problem. In Digital Marketing, this is the stage where a user goes online to start researching what their problem is.
It’s vital to catch people in this Awareness Stage, which means you need to be creating content that discusses the problem you solve, and moves the reader along to the Consideration Stage. We call this the top of the funnel, or the Zero Moment of Truth.
The Consideration Stage
The Consideration Stage is where the target begins to research solutions to this newly discovered problem. They have finished researching what the problem is, and have begun the process of narrowing down the best solution.
If you provide niche solutions, this is where you provide the content that illustrates why your solution is the only solution. Otherwise, discuss the pros and cons of all available solutions, and don’t be slimy about it. Authenticity is vital to earning a user’s trust.
The Decision Stage
The Decision Stage is where the target makes a decision about who will be the best provider of the solution they’ve landed on. For those of you in a niche industry, this should be an easy wrap-up, because you’re the only option. If you are a vendor or some other type of middle man, this is where you need to hit your differentiators hard, because you do have competitors doing what you do.
A word of caution: if you are a provider of a niche service or product, and especially if you’re marketing to someone with an intangible need that YOU have created the awareness of, you have to tread carefully here. It could be just as easy for your target to decide that they don’t have enough of a problem that they really need your solution. Don’t get heavy-handed with the sales tactics here, or you will lose your target.
Where You Live
By understanding the Buyer’s Journey, you can start to pinpoint where you need to focus the majority of your marketing efforts. Do you need to target one stage primarily, because the other two take care of themselves? Or do you need to hit all three fairly equally? Should you hit one stage really hard first, and then fill in the gaps?
Here’s a question for you to ponder, and I’ve already hinted at it:
Do you need to create the awareness of your target’s problem?
Now I am not talking about the sort of unethical marketing tactics that call for creating the desire for something useless in order to sell it. We’ve all seen late-night infomercials.
I am talking about tapping into the fact that everyone wants to make more money, or have new experiences, or be more effective at their job, or provide a better life for their family, or in general make their lives easier.
Does your solution help them achieve any of that?
If so, poke that dissatisfied place that your solution was designed for. Create the awareness that life could be just a little bit better, easier, or richer.
And do it subtly, so you don’t turn them off.
Years ago, before we started doing true Inbound Marketing, we had a client that did Universal Design. Since you probably don’t know, this basically means our client would retrofit the homes of older or disabled people so they would be more accessible and easier to maintain. Their target market was primarily older retirees who might have to use a walker or a wheelchair to get around.
The work they did was gorgeous, too—this was way more elegant, sophisticated, and comprehensive than adding a wheelchair ramp to the front door. These changes could allow a person to stay in their own home, living relatively independently, for an extra 10 years! Sure, you might spend $50,000 on a retrofit, but you’d SAVE upwards of $700,000 on the cost of an assisted living facility.
Inbound Marketing would have been a huge help for this client. They provided a really great solution that nobody had ever heard of. And we hear stories like this a lot. Prospects will say to us, “If we can just connect, we can make the sale.” The key is connecting at the top of the funnel.
If you want to learn more about how to capture leads at the top of the funnel, in the Awareness Stage or even before, please help yourself to our free e-book, “ZMOT: The Zero Moment of Truth” or just give us a call at (864) 288-6162 to chat with us about YOUR complex marketing challenges.