Site owners invest a lot in bringing people to their site, and even the best sales message will only persuade a small percentage of those who visit your site to buy immediately. What about the rest?
Why Do People Buy?
The real reason anyone buys anything is to fill a perceived need or solve a perceived problem. But even if you are successful in getting someone to your site by meeting those perceived needs, there are different degrees of ‘readiness’ to actually making a purchase. And depending on where they are along this readiness spectrum, visitors to the search engines and to your site have differing goals.
If you know the goals and needs of your visitor, you’ll be much better at giving them ‘exactly’ what they are looking for.
The Three Phases of the Buying Spectrum
Let’s say we have a group of people searching online who already know they have a need and have decided to go online and look into for it.
Phase 1: Just the Facts
Initially, even if they know they have a problem, people might not be experiencing quite enough pain or desire to drive them to actually ‘do’ anything about it. In fact, they may not be sure what their problem is, or what solutions are even available to them.
So they will start with a search for information. Even if they find the ideal solution, they are not motivated enough (yet) to do anything about it.
Phase 2: So Many Options, So Little Time
Once a person gets a feel for what they think their problem is, and their pain or desire has increased beyond the ‘tipping point,’ it’s then they say to themselves; “I’ve got to do something about this.”
And there are almost always many different solutions to any problem. So, this is the phase during which they look at their options. They’re asking: “What is the best solution?” and “How do I choose between all these available options?” They have decided to solve their problem, but they have not decided how they will solve it.
Phase 3: Why You, Why Now?
Eventually, most people choose a ‘type’ of product or solution. Now they have definitely decided to spend money. But they may not know which vendor they are going to select. So, at this stage, your job is to answer the questions: “What makes you better?” And, “Why should I choose you?” and sometimes, “Why should I act now, rather than later?”
Your Three Opportunities of the Buying Spectrum
When you start to think about your potential customers this way, you can see how a person at each stage has slightly different questions for you – and you have many options to meet their needs, no matter where they fall on the buying spectrum.
Phase One Opportunities
Their questions are:
- What causes my problem?
- What kinds of solutions are there?
- Should I bother spending money to scratch this itch?
- And, who are you again?
They may be able to get this information elsewhere, but by being the source of the information you have a chance to introduce yourself and maybe even start up a conversation via email, blog, comments, etc.
How your site can meet their needs in phase One
Get their email address in exchange for a tempting offer, and then follow up with a well-crafted series of valuable, relevant, information-packed emails. This gives you time to give them all the information they’d ever need, so they’ll be more inclined to choose you when they’re ready to buy.
Phase Two Opportunities
Their questions are:
- Why is this kind of solution better for me than others?
- What do I need to consider in making this choice?
- Who provides this product/solution? How well do people like them?
- And, do I like them?
Here is your opportunity to prove that you know what you are doing, to develop a positive relationship of trust, and plant the seeds of future loyalty.
How your site can meet their needs in phase two
Do you send out a regular newsletter or blog regularly about the topic they’re interested in? Answer their questions in articles. Quiet their concerns.
Phase Three Opportunities
Their questions are:
- Why are you the best person, store, vendor, or provider to choose?
- What makes you special and different? How is this a smart choice?
- Why should I do this right now?
- Oh, and do I like you?
The worst reason to be the product of choice is because you’re the cheapest. Here is where you give them real reasons to consider you as the best and only option for them.
How your site can meet their needs in phase three
Ask for the sale! Give your prospective buyers the opportunity to consider buying from you. Depending on your industry, we prefer an average ratio of one offer for every five to ten emails.
Imagine that 80% of your prospective buyers are somewhere along this spectrum, and more of them will choose to buy from you the longer you carry on a meaningful conversation with them.
How to Close the Sale
Visitors arriving at your site may be in any of these three stages. So, your main web presence has to be able to address all three stages at once. If you can begin to identify where your visitors come from, you may be able to tell which of the three groups above they belong to and tailor your message to different segments of visitors giving them that ‘This is what I was looking for’ feeling.