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Marketing: Keep your eyes on your prospects’ needs


A couple of weeks ago in this column I spoke of marketing vigilance and the importance of staying in touch with the people who matter to your business, despite how difficult it is during the holiday hibernation. I promised that we’d think through some of the most vital areas for us to stay on guard while we welcome the winter holidays.

This week, I want us to be thoughtful about how we can stay vigilant when it comes to our prospects. These may be people who have just discovered our brand, or they may be people we’ve been nurturing for years and are one step away from making their first purchase. 

There’s so much these prospects don’t know about you and your organization, and when you go dormant, it’s much easier to forget about you.

  • They don’t know if they can trust you.
  • They don’t know how good your products or services are.
  • They have little sense of how you serve your clients when something goes wrong. 
  • They don’t know if you’re worth the investment. 

Given all that uncertainty, it’s dangerous to stop communicating for four to six weeks while the world goes into holiday mode. But just like with our customers, a hard sell or trying to set up appointments seems silly when everyone has checked out.

But have they completely checked out? Actually, for many of them, the less frantic few weeks around the holidays means they can play catch-up on old emails, do some research on possible vendors and spend a little more time poking around our website.

GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study has found that a growing number of consumers extensively research and compare prices and financing offers before making major purchases.

According to the study, 81% of consumers go online before heading out to the store, up 20 percentage points from last year, and spend an average of 79 days gathering information before making a major purchase. 

How do we take advantage of that?

Let your happy clients do the talking: Freshen up your testimonials. Think about all the specific questions that prospects ask you during their buyer’s journey and be sure your clients address those concerns.

A variety of buyers will reassure your prospects that you are who you say that you are. It may seem counterintuitive, but it would be ideal to get a testimonial from someone who had a bad experience and have them talk about how you made it right.

Be mindful to have a healthy media mix with your testimonials. Go from Google reviews and other written testimonials all the way to videos if you can. Keep everything short and sweet. Bite-sized is the goal.

Demo videos can do more than show off your wares: Given that your prospects will have more time to spend on your site, why not add some demo videos that not only give them a sense of how your products or services work but – even more valuable – have some brand personality.

We’ve all heard the phrase “people do business with people they like,” and yet most demo videos miss the opportunity to weave some likability into the script. 

Let some of your people participate and capture their passion for the work you do and who you serve. And don’t just think of client-facing staff members. You might have some wannabe actresses in behind-the-screen roles that might fill the bill perfectly!

Odds are your prospects are not going to be coming out of the woodwork to buy from you over the next few weeks. But they can make some significant progress on their buying journey if you help them along the way.

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