Before you or your sales person decided to stay with a networking group, you probably visited many groups with the goal of determining which one would provide the best fit. Once you selected your primary and secondary groups, did you stop exploring new networking group? Probably not. You likely continued to explore simply to grow your contacts. You may have even sponsored some events to generate more leads. Would you agree that without investing time you cannot cultivate contacts in traditional networking? The same time investment is necessary in the digital world.
Let's take the first step: We all believe that we know all of the leading websites on the web, but trust me we don't. This list constantly changes. A lot of websites catalog the leading websites of the web, but the one I continually turn to is Quantcast.com. Here you can see the top websites, learn how many visitors they attract, and see visitors details including age, gender, education, income, mobile visitors vs. desktop, referrals, clicks, etc.
In my last blog I discussed the two primary buyer categories. You need to check out my article as it offers valuable advice for identifying and marketing to these two categories. But for now, let's quickly review the two categories:
- Buyers: Potential buyers who know they need a product or service and are actively seeking to buy.
- Shoppers: Potential buyers who realize they need a product or service, but are not actively looking to buy. However, should a tempting offer appear, they will likely buy.
When it comes to targeting buyers, you need to understand how they think. Most individuals are buyers, which is why understanding the thought process behind their purchasing choices is vital. Here are the highlights of buyer mentality:
- They are the people who want to buy a product or service. How will they accomplish their goal? Will they dig into their pool of contacts to see who sells the product or service they are looking for? Or will they go to Google and search for a provider?
- Most buyers are planning to buy a product or service. They wanted to learn more about the product, how to buy it, what steps they need to take to buy, and who the service or solution providers are. Will they reach out to their contacts to see who can provide these details? Or will they go to Google and conduct a search?
In both of the above scenarios, you probably gravitated toward Google. There are always exceptions to the rule, but the majority of people opt to conduct their research online.
"83% of online users in the US have made single online purchase and 56% of them have made multiple purchases." –US Online Retail Sales Statistics and TrendsM
Most buyers go to Google, Amazon or eBay to search for a product. If they're seeking a service, they will likely go to Google. A few go to Yahoo and Bing, but Google is the accepted "go to" search engine.
The fact that buyers go to the digital world means that you need to invest in digital media. The good news is that digital media is affordable for small and medium size businesses. In contrast, traditional forms of media are very expensive and require a professional team to manage. Small and medium business owners need to thank search engines. They have changed the world of marketing, and they have influenced how people learn new things and reach their ideal solution provider (you!).
If you want to reach buyers, you must first discover which search engine they use and what terms they use for searches. Then, you must convince the search engine to list you on the top. If you have the budget, you can pay to be listed on the top for relevant search terms. However, this is only half of the battle. Once you're visible on search engines, you now need to convince buyers that you are the best in your industry. They need to believe buying your product or service is their best option.
"64% of consumers have made a first purchase from a brand because of a digital experience such as a web site, microsite, mobile coupon, or email. No other medium has so impacted the traditional marketing funnel." –Razorfish Digital Brand Experience Study, January, 2009
Establishing a digital infrastructure that provides a great buying experience is a must. Buyers want to follow easy purchasing steps. In essence, the less they have to think, the happier they will be and the more sophisticated their experience will be.
Shoppers are either hard to convince to buy or impulsive. They breakdown into two primary mentalities:
- The individual who knows that they need a service or product, but they lack the time to research and buy. They wait for the perfect deal to appear in front of them, whether the appearance is via a random advertisement or recommendation.
- The individual who has a problem and is actively watching for a solution. Note that they are not actively searching for a solution. But when they see the perfect solution, they will buy quickly.
So, if you know where your ideal clients are spending their time in the digital world, you can make tantalizing options to buy appear before their eyes. You can even educate them about why they need your service and why they need to buy from you.
Choosing Digital Media Channels
Remember the time you invested in selecting the best networking groups to join? Once you identify your ideal clients and where they are in the digital world, it's time to choose the digital media channel that will reach them. I bet you have thought about using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, and more. These digital channels are frequented by millions of users, and while many people frequent multiple channels, they usually favor only one or two.
The first step identifying which social website to use is discovering which ones the bulk of your ideal clientele frequent. This will take an investment of your time, but it will be worth it! Once you discover the favored channels, it's time to dig deeper. Which groups or communities do your ideal clients frequent? What kind of activities do they monitor and participate in? What topics are they are actively discussing? I strongly suggest that you become part of a targeted subgroup and stay connected with it—you can even win business by staying connected to this group.
Many digital channels offer paid promotions and advertising, which can be profitable tools for staying in front of your audience. But you need to be very careful in selecting which digital grounds to invest your marketing dollars in. Treat this choice with the same care you take in making a personal sale. Before making a personal sale, you will ensure you can:
- Take payment
- Ship the product
- Provide the service
- Deliver quality
Likewise, before choosing a digital channel to invest marketing dollars in, you need to ensure it will drive traffic that converts to sales. If the channel cannot deliver fresh and ideal clientele, it doesn't deserve a spot in your budget. And remember, mobile optimization is an ideal investment as well:
"79% of small businesses feel that mobile websites boost customer engagement." –eMarketer
I hope this article has helped you understand digital media and how to effectively use it. I strongly recommend hiring a consultant or dedicated team to manage your digital real-estate and infrastructure. You won't regret it!
Don't forget to delve deeper into Buyers and Shoppers by reviewing my previous blog, How to Target the Two Major Types of Buyers. While you're at it, subscribe to my blog to keep up with more insightful and practical marketing advice for entrepreneurs.