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Real Life Lessons on What It Means to Market with Impact—Emotional Qualities and Brand Immersion

It only takes a few minutes of browsing our website to realize how passionate we all are here at BottomLine Marketing about Marketing with Impact. We could talk all day about what you should do for your business to find a purpose and communicate value to your customers, but sometimes it’s really better just to see how other businesses are living and breathing our Marketing with Impact principles to see how they could change your company.

That’s exactly what we have been doing with our Real Life Lessons series.

Back in October, we talked about Ryan Murphy Construction and their ability to be remarkable. We also talked about Work Nicer’s passion that has a greater purpose.

In December, we shared how Alchemy Communications communicates value to its customers and how Red Bloom Salon’s attachable qualities keep clients coming back for more.

Well, we’ve met a few businesses since then and we’ve got two more Marketing with Impact points to get to before we wrap up our Real Life Lessons series—emotional qualities and brand immersion.

On having emotional qualities

How many of your decisions are logic-based? How many are emotion based? Would it surprise you if how you think you make decisions is completely wrong?

As much as 90 percent of our decisions are made based on our emotions. Just think about it. Can you explain why you like your favorite color or your favorite band? You can try, but at the end of the day, you prefer certain colors and types of music because of the emotions they stir in you.

Brands that can do the same thing have an advantage over brands that can’t.

Take Legacy Kitchens, for example. There’s an emotional aspect to their business, whether they like it or not, and that’s because most people loathe working with contractors. Legacy Kitchens has used that to their advantage.

Most people have a negative emotional reaction when it comes to contractors because they are known for failing to keep their commitments. They overpromise and underdeliver. Legacy Kitchens does the complete opposite. By sticking to their word, they transform the emotional reaction of their clients into one of excitement that their project is actually going to be completed on time, on budget, and on style.

If you want to talk about brands with emotional qualities, the discussion absolutely has to involve Women Talk. The whole point of this TED Talk style event is meant to inspire. That’s because speakers talk about very emotional, personal stories in empowering ways, which leaves audience members with a lasting feeling of triumph and a can-do attitude.

On brand immersion

What brands define you and find their way into your everyday life? The iPhone comes to mind, but it isn’t just tech and big-name companies that have managed to master this marketing skill.

Immersion is Culture Smith‘s whole shtick. They require their clients to immerse themselves in their own brand to find innovative solutions to both simple and complex problems.

They get their clients to work from the inside out to make better habits, break bad ones, create a new company ritual, or even just change their behavior. That can be hard to do for some businesses that are used to the old ways of doing things. Culture Smith is all about questioning and reassessing ingrained assumptions to make clients feel closer to their brand and their vision than ever before, which then rubs off on every customer or client who walks through the door.

It’s common practice for businesses to hold their cards close to their chest, so to speak. Chefs don’t invite other chefs into their kitchen for fear of sharing their secret recipes and contractors don’t collaborate on where to find the best materials at the best prices fearing they may lose clients.

But are those fears justified?

The Measurable Difference doesn’t think so. They provide an immersive experience for audience members in industries that never would otherwise consider collaborating because they know how valuable collaboration can be. Their talks allow everyone to learn and grow from each other without the unwarranted fear of stealing each other’s customers.

They do this by encouraging attendees to dig into what was said by following up their 25-minute talks with 25-minute open networking sessions. Then, after the final talk, a Q&A session further immerses attendees in the event by making them active participants in the discussion. They can then take what they learned and make their businesses better.

How will you Market with Impact?

Just because we’ve reached the final installment of our Real Life Lessons series doesn’t mean we’re done bringing you stories of real-life businesses that are Marketing with Impact. It doesn’t mean you’re on your own to figure out how to implement these principles either!

We’d be happy to book a free consultation so we can help you tease apart what these marketing principles mean for your business. We also regularly host Impact Stories events where you can learn more about what industry leaders are doing in their own businesses to Market with Impact.

Just fill out our form and we’ll help you find the best way for your business to Market with Impact!

Real Life Lessons on What It Means to Market With Impact—Being Remarkable and Having a Greater Purpose

Marketing.

It’s an often-dreaded word among business owners. You know it’s something you need to do, but the who, what, when, where, and why of marketing can leave even the most dedicated business professionals wondering.

Sure, marketing is about updating your social media accounts, sending out emails, and handing out coupons. But, it’s about much more than that.

It’s about Marketing with Impact.

This seemingly simple concept is what will take your marketing strategy to the next level, and it’s exactly what we do here at BottomLine Marketing.

What does it mean to Market with Impact? It means:

  • Being remarkable
  • Having a greater purpose
  • Knowing your value
  • Having attachable qualities
  • Knowing the emotional quality of your brand
  • Having an immersive brand experience

Knowing and understanding these concepts is one thing. Putting them into practice is quite another. Sometimes, the only way to truly understand a complex idea is to see it in action.

We’ve had the privilege to collaborate with and interview some amazing companies that are marketing with impact every single day using two of the items on our list—being remarkable and having a greater purpose.

On being remarkable

What does it mean to be remarkable? Well, according to the dictionary, it means “worthy of being or likely to be noticed, especially as being uncommon or extraordinary”. That sounds great, but what does it really mean?

For Fratello Coffee, it means taking the extra time to make sure they have an unforgettable product. That’s no easy task in a world that’s full of coffee makers looking to make their mark. How do they do this? They do it by going beyond the bean.

Fratello coffee ethically sources their coffee beans, and they work directly with growers. This enables them to develop amazing coffees with unique flavor profiles.

That’s not all. They go even further by considering themselves advocates for the coffee industry. They work hard to elevate coffee culture, turning their little corner of the market into something truly remarkable.

They aren’t the only ones we’ve profiled who have this whole remarkability thing down. Ryan Murphy Construction is another business that’s remarkable, and they’re even more so because they’re leaders in an industry that’s full of contractors who are a dime a dozen.

Not only is this unique construction company run by women, Lara and Karen run it using a community-based model. They take the time and effort to work closely, not only with their clients, but with their architects, designers, and trade partners. This creates a remarkable work environment for everyone working on the latest project, but it also creates a remarkable finished product that clients rave about.

Following in their footsteps starts with taking a look at the competitors in your industry and figuring out what sets you apart. That’s the thing that will make your business truly remarkable.

On having a greater purpose

No brand stays afloat without a great product or service, but it takes much more than that to win the hearts of potential customers. In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to have a greater purpose. That means digging deep and thinking about how you want to change the world.

Megan Stanley didn’t necessarily open the dogma Education and Behaviour Centre with a greater purpose in mind. Instead, she was having a hard time finding a facility that could help her train and socialize her dog. Her business turned into a greater purpose when she realized she could help dogs be successful in our busy and chaotic world. Today, the business is just as much about educating people about dogs so they can have a better relationship with their furry friends as it is about actually training the dogs.

What about when it comes to providing a space for people to work? There doesn’t seem to be much of a higher purpose there. Don’t tell that to Work Nicer.

It’s true that Work Nicer provides a place for freelancers and entrepreneurs to work, but their space is about much more than providing a few desks and chairs. They believe you shouldn’t have to work by yourself even if you work for yourself.

This higher purpose means they take a different angle when it comes to providing a co-working space. They see it as a way to connect people who are on similar journeys, providing opportunities to collaborate along the way.

It doesn’t matter what it is you do, or what you have to offer, you can find a greater purpose for your brand that has the kind of values that people want to support.

How will you Market with Impact?

The question is, how will you Market with Impact? Focus on being remarkable like Fratello Coffee or Ryan Murphy Construction. Or, you can develop a greater purpose like dogma and Work Nicer. Or, maybe you want to try one of the other items on the list that will help you stand apart from others in your industry.

If you’re struggling to Market with Impact, contact BottomLine Marketing. We’re passionate about helping companies just like yours connect with customers on a deeper level by developing marketing strategies that really work.

Contact us today or book a free consult below:

Web Design for Conversion: What to Look For

Your website is your presence online. It speaks for your company and everything you do. It’s a platform that can either draw customers in or chase them away. What does yours do?

If you want to set your website up for conversion, there are a few things you should look for in your web design:

Keep Choices to a Minimum

The more options you offer your potential customers, the more they have to think and the less likely they’ll arrive at a decision. So, on each page of your website, try to offer just one focused call to action. This also applies to your navigation menu. Avoid excessive drop downs and long lists to choose from.

Low Effort

Your click throughs, sign-up forms, and your checkout process should require little effort. For example, in your sign-up form, don’t ask for additional information about your customer like the company they work for and where they live, even if you would find this helpful. People may find it requires too much work to sign-up and they’ll click out instead. A simple first name and email address in your sign-up is plenty. Later, you can slowly get to know your customers and engage with them in other ways. 

Be Clear

Symbols are great, but they can be unclear. Some things have to be crystal clear on your website. For example, Fab.com began with a shopping cart image and a plus sign for customers to add an item to the cart. However, this was too vague. When they changed the image to the words “add to cart,” conversions went up 49%.

There is so much more you can do to boost your conversion rates through great website design. Want to make your website work harder for you? Contact BottomLine Marketing for expert help in optimizing your website for conversion.

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Creating an Emotional Impact on Your Website

Emotions. They are the reason people share articles, websites and products online and via word of mouth. When you feel awe, excitement, amusement, anger or anxiety as a consequence of reading an article, you’re much more likely to share it, author Jonah Berger discovered.

One study in the UK showed that ads with mainly emotional content performed twice as well as ads containing just rational content. Although many of us would like to believe we make decisions and purchases based on reason (I’m a logical person!), the reality is our emotions play a significant role in whether or not we share content or buy something.

What’s the difference between rational and emotional content? Rational content focuses on facts and figures, and tells us why we should do something. However, emotional content makes the audience feel something and gets into their subconscious mind.

Don’t miss out! How can you ensure you’re capitalizing on emotions? One approach is to get emotional on your website. While it may seem tricky, the results are well worth it. Here are a few steps to help you get started:

Identify the Emotion You’ll Use

Go for excitement, awe, happiness, a sense of belonging or even fear. Nike uses excitement about achieving success in sports to power their content. You can also use the fear of missing out on a great experience, product or result to encourage conversions through your website.

Tell Stories

Relatable situations, milestones and stories are great for evoking the emotion of your choice. Include these elements in a video, graphic, short text or blog on your website.

Be Visual

Show the emotion in pictures and drawings. This will help you communicate the emotion more quickly.

Use Time Wisely

Once your audience is feeling a certain way, you have a short amount of time left to convert this into a sale or desired action. Use calls to action to direct potential clients to contact you, make a purchase or get a quote.

It’s time to get started! Need help? Contact BottomLine Marketing for a free consultation!

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Communicating Value Through Your Website

Your value is one of the most important things you can communicate to your customers, and your website is one of the best places you can share this information.

Why?

In today’s world, your customers want the opportunity to learn about you and your product or service online. Chances are, before doing business with you, your customers have done some research on your company and your competitors. Communicating your value through your website is the perfect way to show your visitors your unique value and can help you stand out against the competition.

Your value is defined by the way your product or service impacts your customers. Do you make life better or easier? Do you make your customers look good or feel good? Can you save them time or money? Knowing your unique value will allow you to make the greatest impact on your target audience.

If you’re not sure what is most valuable about your product or service, create a quick online or written survey that you can send to your customers. This will help you pinpoint what value is perceived. Then, make this the focus of what you’ll communicate on your website. How? Here are a few ideas:

  • Tell a Story Explain the struggle or need most customers have, and share how you fulfill that need. You can do this in a short video, engaging graphics or through your website copy.
  • Share Testimonials Have a space on your website where you can highlight what customers are saying about you, and how they value your product or service.
  • Blog Tell stories regularly through your blog about how you’re helping, satisfying, delighting and fulfilling the needs of your customers. You can also share how you’re embodying your values through your work. For example, if your company is environmentally friendly and your customers see value in that aspect, share about the work you’re doing in this area.

What are you waiting for? The sooner you start sharing your value, the sooner you’ll see results.

Need help developing this area of marketing? BottomLine Marketing can help! Contact us for a free consultation.

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A case for value-based content

While writing this article I had reason to check my Yahoo email at intervals and, annoyingly, the nine (9) messages at the top of my inbox at one point were, you guessed it, promotional junk.

“Earn double points” blah, blah, blah. “Wow! $9.99 dress shirts!” “Up to 25% off ends tonight”. “60% off contemporary looks”. “Last chance to get $30 off your purchase of $100 or more”. “75% off all clearance items”. “50% off all dresses”. “You don’t want to miss this deal”. And the list went on.

And you may wonder if I even opened those messages. The answer is ‘no’… well except for the ‘75% off all clearance items’ bait that came from a children’s store at a time when my little one is overdue a wardrobe upgrade.

I must admit, however, that a number of these messages are from apparel retailers to whom I had willingly, but naively, given my email address in exchange for “exclusive” savings and other offerings — a major regret I might add.

Except for the occasional hard-to-resist snare, these messages end up somewhere in the cyber dump as every other weekend or so I find myself hosting a grand ‘block’ party — trashing promotional emails that Yahoo hasn’t yet marked as spam and attempting to bar their senders from cluttering my inbox further with unwanted content.  

I take pleasure in undertaking these mass deletions as the messages offer very little value — all screaming “sell, sell, sell”. Except for the truly compulsive buyer, I hardly feel that I am alone in viewing these messages as more invasive than beneficial.

We can all agree that selling features and benefits is the nexus of product differentiation. According to marketing textbooks, attention-grabbing content is key to lead generation as per modern-day strategies. But is the content embedded in your marketing collateral what your target audience really wants?

Take a step back to the email examples above: what if, at least, one offered something of value… like tips on how to care for and extend the life of the items I bought? Content offering solutions to a problem I am faced with, perhaps? Most likely my reaction would have been different.

To borrow a quote from United States-based marketing guru, Joe Chernov, “your top of the funnel content must be intellectually divorced from your product but emotionally wed to it.” In other words, the goal of your content should be more about creating value for your customers. Sell, but subtly.

Creating content that offers value

If you are a boss interior decorator or a skilled makeup artist who can magically transform spaces and faces from the cliched ‘drab to fab’ within minutes, consider how many more prospects you could pull to your website if your inbound marketing content focused on space improvement and makeup application tips for the ‘Average Jane’.

That’s the genesis of value-based content. The goal is not to give away all your expert knowledge for free, but to create value, you need to exchange places with that of your target audience for a moment and put deep thought into what sort of content they might be searching for.

Here are some tips for your next content marketing assignment:

  • Join the discussion. With the Internet and social media, it’s easy to find out what the main topics of discussion around your industry are and align your content with what’s ‘trending’.
  • Offering guidance through your content can build trust in your brand.
  • Ensure that whatever content you put out conforms with branding guidelines as even third-party content that you curate will be viewed as an endorsement by your brand.
  • Offer quality content. Always keep on top of the mind how much damage less than stellar content can do to the reputation of your brand.
  • Engage. Engage. Engage. Making your content engaging is so much easier these days as social media and other Internet tracking tools can help you determine quickly if your content is a hit or miss.
  • Make it interactive. Always ensure that your content-sharing platform is interactive and allows you to interact with people who respond to your call to action.

The truth is, content that is value-based will most likely get the right clients interested in your product or service and thus push the growth of your business. As marketing speaker Andrew Davis puts it: “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.”

As an IMPACT agency, we have helped countless clients to develop content that offers value. We are ready and willing to do the same for you. Book a free consultation now and start taking your marketing activities to the next level.

Your Brand Can be Remarkable Too

From as far as I can remember, companies have unleashed their own forms of marketing Armageddon to both show off and protect their brands’ supposed ‘remarkability’.

If you need a memory jolt, just think about the billions of dollars global-minded companies like Google, Coca Cola, Apple, Nike, and Audi have spent on advertising campaigns to upstage their rivals in Yahoo, Pepsi, Samsung, Adidas, BMW among other foes.

Most of the early wars were fought on television and in print, but in more recent years the battlefield extended to the Internet, particularly social media, where success is heavily dependent on not only dollars and ‘sense’, but revolves heavily around strategy and execution to get consumers to pick their side in the marketing fisticuffs.

But while the above-name brands are world-renowned, are they truly remarkable in the eyes of the beholder… the consumers?

According to Chris Kneeland, CEO and Partner at CULT Collective – a leading marketing engagement agency for brands in North America – a remarkable brand is one that “receives above average adoration and advocacy compared to others in its category”.

“The word remarkable literally means to remark about, and ‘buzzworthiness’ and word of mouth are key indicators for remarkable brands,” Kneeland explains.

The key features of a remarkable brand, Kneeland posits, can be one of three things. “Either the product is truly noteworthy (like Lululemon, or Fender guitars, or Mercedes), or their services are best in class (Zappos shipping and return policy, Four Seasons customer care, Costa Sunglasses lifetime guarantee); or their customer experiences are amazing, for example Converse’s lifestyle experiences, Car 2 Go’s or Uber’s customer interface, or Tim Horton’s speed and consistency of delivery.”

Dallas Cowboys, Levi’s, Red Bull are remarkable brands

Even with a rough couple years that fell short of fan expectations, the Fort Worth-based professional American football team Dallas Cowboys was in 2016 ranked as the world’s Most Valuable Sports Team, according to Forbes.

That’s a remarkable brand, in the eyes of Kneeland. “Despite not making the playoffs for over a decade, they became the most profitable sports brand in the world,” he emphasizes.

Also in Kneeland’s remarkable brands category are Red Bull, whose sales he says are climbing though they do very little advertising; and Levi’s, which has dominated the denim market for over a century.

And why do these brands stand out? In the case of  the Dallas Cowboys, theirs is a loyal fan base emotionally connected to a team whose play and competitive spirit, they believe, will  return to to the glory days. This is brand attachment at its best.

Brand Red Bull conjures up images of extreme sports — those ‘daredevilish’ car racing competitions, mountain bike riding, bungee jumping, and mind-boggling soccer skills challenges that are intended to support its slogan that “Red Bull give you wings”. This is complemented by a unique distribution strategy premised on the very effective ‘go-to-market’ principle.

Levi’s dominance is the result of careful brand management, which includes their ability to constantly target and fix weaknesses and gaps in their marketing campaigns to continue to appeal to their base, nurture loyalty, and win new hearts.

These examples prove that there is always need to innovate, even where companies feel that they have what they believe to be a winning formula. Stagnation can be the death knell of a successful brand, while evolution and innovation will have the opposite effect in helping brands stay ahead of the competition and keeping consumers interested.

Don’t settle for ‘good’, make your brand remarkable

Moving brands from being average or good to remarkable requires the proper allocation of your marketing resources. According to Kneeland, far too many brands are focused on just being good or average, spending most of their marketing resources on paid media to convince their audience that they are “better than they really are”.

“(That’s why) Cult brands spend their marketing muscle actually doing something that is remarkable, and spending less money on advertising and price promotions,” Kneeland adds.

And Kneeland is right in that it has been proven over and over that strategy and not money is what determines advertising success as consumers are more receptive to ‘experiences’ rather than fall for what is fed to them through one-way communication.

These experiences can be impactful in building and maintaining relationships, creating value for consumers as well as give insight into what is going on into their minds particularly in this era where there is a growing appetite for personal connections.

But it is difficult to overlook that brand experience can be hard to pull off, can be expensive and thus a difficult sell to those who hold the purse in your organisation. But done right, it will open the door to new growth opportunities and result in a win-win for all parties involved.

Sustaining your brand’s remarkability

Remarkable brands must evolve to sustain their distinctiveness and evolving means not only product, but strategy as well. Says Kneeland: “A brand can never rest on its laurels. Zappos defined remarkable in the online retail space, but now their policies are copied by everyone. AirBNB was revolutionary at the time of launch, now there are lots of copy cats. Cult Brands continuously push envelopes and work very hard to maintain their competitive edge.”

The truth is, brand ‘remarkability’ is achievable, but companies must have a workable strategy to reach their desired ‘destination’. However, one has to keep in mind that success here is not only dependent on creative tactics, but also the people – both internally and externally — who are  involved. Companies must ensure that these people are mobilised and the purpose and brand value clearly communicated to them.

If you  are challenged with making your brand stand out from the ‘crowd’, call us for a free consultation and we will show you how.

The Real Skinny on Colours and Marketing

We all want to create impact with our marketing and even the smallest advantages can make a difference. Colour is one of those things that can give you an advantage, if you know where and how it can make a difference. Here’s the real skinny on colours:

  • There is no single colour that increases conversion rates
  • There is no colour that makes people buy more

In fact, colour preferences are really based on a person’s personality, they are impacted by cultural differences, and there are gender differences for colour preferences. Those things can persuade us to be more attracted to specific colours, but particular colours alone have very little effect on our behaviours.

Here are a few truths you CAN rely on when it comes to colour theory:

  • Men typically prefer bold and bright colours
  • Women usually choose softer colour palettes
  • Both genders prefer blue overall
  • The most disliked colours by both genders are orange, brown and yellow
  • People favour colour palettes with a highly contrasting accent colour

How can you use colour to impact your marketing?

First of all, the colours you choose for your brand really should match the “personality” of the brand. So if you have a rugged kind of brand, like Harley Davidson, you might choose browns, black or reds; but if your brand is sophisticated or glamorous, white, silver and gold might be more suitable. The colours should reflect the feeling you want to create with the brand.

If your brand is specific to one gender or the other, you will want to select colours that match their overall preferences. As mentioned above, men typically prefer bright and bold colours, whereas women gravitate to softer shades. Marketing a product coloured with pastels to a male audience is probably going to be doomed from the start, so keep that in mind when you are selecting colours for your brand or your marketing initiatives.

Finally, here is one thing you can do to get a leg up in your marketing: choose one “vivid” colour to stand out in your marketing ads. This is called the Isolation Effect. When one thing is radically different from everything else that surrounds it, it stands out. That makes it easier to remember.

If you want your marketing to help you stand out and be easier to remember, we want to talk with you! Set up a FREE consult with us today!

 

How Successful Businesses Reach Their Target Audience

If you’re selling bananas, you want to talk to a room full of monkeys. If you’re talking to a room full of tigers, it doesn’t matter how fresh or delicious your bananas are, you’re not going to sell any of them. (And hopefully you don’t become a snack yourself!)

That’s why fully understanding your target audience is so important for your online marketing success. You have to make sure you’re talking to the right people, otherwise you’re putting a lot of time and effort into a sales process that will never get off the ground! Successful businesses reach their target audience because they understand exactly who their ideal client is. They know it through and through, and speak to them appropriately at every stage of the buying cycle.

When it comes to understanding your Customer Avatar, the first step is to determine the demographics and psychographics of your ideal client, so you can zero in on where to find them online, and speak to them in a way that connects. When you do that, your digital marketing initiatives return at a higher rate because you are focusing your time and money in places where you know you will find your target audience, and creating value for them by understanding their point of view.

Further to that, you also need to know exactly what triggers your ideal clients to buy, because that dictates the kind of conversation you will have with them in person or online. For example, there are many reasons someone might want a new website – opening a brand new business, their current website is out of date, or their current website isn’t generating leads they want. Each of these requires very different approaches and information to convert them to a sale.

When you know who you want to talk to, where they are, what makes them tick, and what makes your business the one to solve their problem, it’s going to be easy to close your sales.

So you can see why we’re pretty passionate about understanding your target audience.

We have a handy little worksheet that helps you create your Customer Avatar. Just click here to get it.

If you have more than one division of your business, or more than one Customer Avatar, you will need to do this for each one. You may even want to create avatars for each of your products or services, if they have different target audiences.

Before you start your Customer Avatar Worksheet, think about a client you have right now that you absolutely love working with. Consider all the characteristics and personality traits that make them the ideal client for you. Everything from their sense of humour to the fact that they pay their bills on time is an important part of outlining the clients that are ideal for you in your business.

Have fun with it, and add any extra information that you feel is important when it comes to fully outlining your specific Customer Avatar. The more fully you create the picture of the personality you want to deal with, the easier it will be to know them when you meet them.

Getting Your Content to Convert

Getting your content to convert and bring in leads is the goal for all business marketing. That becomes a lot more efficient when you understand the buying cycle, and use it to help guide the content you create for your inbound marketing campaigns and your online marketing solutions.

So, let’s take a look at the buying cycle. While there are many examples of it, this one is very straight forward, easy to remember, and shows exactly what people do before they make a buying decision. Depending on the size of the purchase and the need for the product or service, it can be a very fast decision or a slow process.

Awareness: This is when the client figures out they have a problem that needs a solution. They might be completely unaware they have a problem, or they might already know, they just don’t know you offer it. Either way, your job is to make them aware that they need a solution that you provide.

To capitalize on the opportunity, you need to examine why your client needs your product or service, and exactly what triggers them to buy. For example, a prospective client might be lacking in leads because their business isn’t easily found by search engines. That means they have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) problem, but if they don’t know they have a problem, you have to create the awareness. To do that, you might write blogs on the topic, or place ads zeroing in on the symptoms of poor SEO. Either way the idea here is to get them thinking and engage their curiosity about SEO and the fact that theirs is lacking.

Once they know they have a problem, typically people want to figure out what they don’t know, so they can make an informed decision.Which brings us to the next stage in the buying cycle.

Research: This is where your prospective client will embark on a Google information gathering frenzy. Again this is the perfect opportunity for you to give them what they need.

Your inbound marketing should clearly focus on the problem the client has, and the solutions you provide. Blogs, articles, infographics, white papers, and expert guides are all effective ways to give your prospective client the necessary information to make a buying decision, and do business with you. This is how to set yourself up as the expert in your area, and let yourself shine!

The key here is to make sure you’re providing valuable information for your client. It shouldn’t be a straight up sales pitch in this stage, and for the most part, not too technical (unless your target audience is at an expert level) or overly filled with industry jargon. What they really need to know is: what’s in it for them if they solve this problem. How will it make their life better, or easier, or give them more time and/or money, and so on.

Consideration: Once your prospective client has the information they need, they have to choose the right provider for the solution. Of course, you want that to be you! You’ve already set yourself up as the expert while they were doing their research, now you have to give them a reason to choose you.

You can do that with social proof. Professional marketers know that social proof have great sway when it comes to persuasion. (Click here if you want to learn other professional marketing tactics.)

When we aren’t sure about a decision we have to make, we often look to other people to help us find the answer. This is exactly why word of mouth marketing is so effective. We trust other people’s opinions and advice when they’ve had an experience we haven’t. This is also why testimonials and online reviews are so effective. At the consideration stage, they are vital to the decision making process for your client.

Be sure to show your prospective clients why you’re the right business for the job. Case studies and reports are great additions to your testimonials and online reviews, when it comes to showing your stuff.

Purchase: The best part of this whole cycle! It’s a great thing when you get to bring on a new client. Sometimes your client might need a little incentive to take that leap. Consider complimentary consultations, free trials, limited time offers, and special packages to entice them to buy from you now.

And once someone has done business with you, and has had a great experience, they begin to trust you, which makes it a lot easier to sell to them again. All you have to do is make them aware they have a need and that you can provide them with the solution.