Your marketing is there to generate awareness within your target audience. From then on it’s there to engage, educate and entice them for as long as possible. From when they first know about you, through the sales process and client acquisition process and all the time they are a client.
Throughout this process there is one key question the reader has:
What’s In It For Me?
If you answer that question well, it will transform your marketing. So let’s look at this in more detail:
Certainly within inbound marketing, It is actually relatively rare that the first person you talk to is the decision maker you really want to talk to. It may be an Office Manager or PA being instructed by the Owner/Managing Director to find a new supplier. It may be one of the IT team looking for a better way of doing something. It will be anyone the decision maker has asked to do some initial research to find a supplier. For the influencer, there are two things they are looking for:
1. To look good to their boss
They work for the business and, most likely, have no vested interest in the business (except of course keeping their job). They want to keep their job and they probably would like to be promoted or, at least, get a nice pay rise at their next annual review. Showing their boss they can be trusted to deliver when asked is definitely one way they deserve it. When your marketing, and subsequent (hopefully) delivery shows they made a good choice in, at least, shortlisting you, you are helping them look good to their boss.
2. To make their life easier through purchasing what you sell
Although not a decision maker, influencers are highly likely to be users of your product or service. Unless your product is only ever bought via Procurement (in which case refer to point one), it doesn’t make sense for someone who will never use your product to look for a replacement for whatever they are using now. A user will understand the jargon and they will be able to make a better initial assessment that a non-user. If you want them to shortlist and recommend your product, they need to be convinced that using your product would be a significant improvement on their current provider. Your marketing needs to reduce the level of perceived risk in their minds to the point they would be happy to use your product.
Does your marketing help them to do this?
The decision maker
Helping influencers to understand what’s in it for them is one thing. It’s another thing completely when in comes to the decision maker. They are the one in control of the budget that will pay for your product, so there is another level of convincing that needs to be done. However, it still has to answer the question: What’s in it for me.
The decision maker has to live with the, as the job title suggests, decision. It’s a chunk of their annual budget and the level of perceived risk they experience will increase with the size of that chunk. Your marketing has grabbed their attention and brought them to the table to talk. When conversations start, it doesn’t mean your marketing has to stop because Sales is involved. Marketing’s role changes to supporting the Sales function. The role becomes one of reducing perceived risk. One of the best tools for this is the provision of evidence to support what Sales is saying. If your marketing is helping prove you can help, it is answering the decision maker’s question: what’s in it for me?
Helping your Client
Once they are a client, the trust factor should be less of an issue; they’ve already bought something from you so they know what you can do. The question is then what’s in it for them for each other service/product you can sell them.
At every stage of the relationship with a prospect, and then when they are a client, you need to answer the question: what’s in it for me? When your marketing does that, it will be at its most effective. When you answer that question, it will transform your marketing.