We talk a lot about the “buying process” or the “buyer’s journey” in Geospatial. You know, the specific set of steps that your customer takes to get from total stranger to happy customer. The “touchpoints” they make with your brand. How your selling strategy intersects with their buying cycles and blah blah blah.
Or, in reality: what series of steps YOU will take to pester someone into eventually buying your stuff.
Sometimes I wonder if certain tech companies in this industry think their customers are a load of SHEEP.
You can dress it up with whatever jargon you want, but at the end of the day, you can’t just herd people from point to point and hope that by the end they’ll munch on whatever you put under their noses.
And if your “buying process” is about what you want from a customer, not what they most logically want or need from you at this point, it’s not so much a case of guiding them along the path as making them feel a bit hassled and frustrated, or thinking “Aargh! Not another sales call!”.
Because if you’re being super smart about your Geospatial buying process, your customer never feels like they’re getting a sales call they’d rather avoid.
Instead, they feel like you’re anticipating exactly what they need from you – you’re on their side, you’re here to help, and they are getting the best deal out of the exchange.
Sound like black magic to you?
In fact, it’s simply about good old common sense, with a smattering of creativity and a sprinkling of commitment thrown in.
Let me explain.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”s5UGy” via=”no” ]Focus on what your customers want – and give it to them. #geospatial #marketing #ContentMarketing #geospatialgeek[/ctt]
Focus on what your customers want – and give it to them.
Imagine, if you will, the situation from a potential customer’s point of view.
They have a specific problem they are trying to tackle. Perhaps they’re helping a client to monitor how a contaminated water source is impacting on the local human population – for example, they need to analyse georeferenced data on diseases in the area. This isn’t something they’ve tried to do before and they are still trying to figure out if they are going about it in the right way.
They are scouring the web for information and advice to check that they are approaching the problem in the right way.
Let’s say that you specialise in GIS tools or provide the survey that provides the perfect solution to this particular problem.
All you need is to make sure you’ve optimised your website and stuffed it with the right keywords and then you wait for them to come to your site, capture their contact details, call them and start your sales pitch, right?
You’re thinking about what YOU want out of this exchange.
Your customer doesn’t want a sales call.
They don’t want to browse your products.
They don’t want to buy anything at all.
Right now, what this person wants is a straightforward, expert answer to the problem they are searching for.
What they would absolutely love is a detailed blog post breaking down the biggest considerations and potential pitfalls they should take into account when they start to look at disease data that’s been georeferenced to a specific area.
What they would absolutely love is to find a blog post like that, read it to the bottom and then see a link offering them a free eBook that expands on these ideas, giving an in-depth masterclass in using GIS data for public health projects.
Only then, when they’ve managed to get their head around how that works, are they ready to start thinking about what technology or tools they’d need to invest in to get their project off the ground. Does that mean it’s time for the hard sell?
Because what they would really appreciate right now isn’t a sales call from one specific competitor. It’s a breakdown of what features they need to look out for and how this relates to the problem at hand.
In fact, what they’d really, really appreciate at this moment is a series of short demo videos showing them exactly how to approach a problem like theirs using a relevant GIS analysis tool.
And if the company who gave them the free eBook stepped in and said “Hey, do you guys want to take a look at these how-to videos? I feel like they might help answer your questions,” that would be very welcome indeed.
And if that same company was to come back to them a few days later and say, “By the way, if you want, we can come by your office and show you how it all works in person” or “Hey, we’re heading to this expo in your town next week, so if you found that video handy and you want to ask our surveyors any questions about it, I’d love to see you there,” that might be a very welcome next step indeed.
In other words, the point of mapping the buyer’s journey, or the geospatial buying process, or whatever you want to call it, is this:
Make yourself indispensable to your customers when they need help the most.
Help them on their terms (not yours).
Open the door to the next step in the relationship.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”bJsAS” via=”no” ]Help your customers on their terms (not yours). #Geospatial #GeospatialGeek #ContentMarketing[/ctt]
What does that mean in practice? It means asking yourself (or your clients) what kind of information and resources they would find most useful and then creating free content that fulfils that need.
It means being generous to clients, demonstrating your expertise and building a rapport so that when they ARE ready to part with their cash, they are handing it to you and not to a competitor.
Of course, designing this process right takes a ton of planning. In fact, having a proper content marketing strategy is the biggest thing that separates a highly successful campaign from a floundering one.
“Just as a football team doesn’t storm out onto the field without a thorough game plan, you don’t want to haphazardly produce content without first devising a strategy.”
Because ultimately, it doesn’t matter how fast you can run, how skilled you are with the ball or how impressive each individual flourish is on the pitch. Yes, it’s important that people know that you’re the player they should put their money on. But even more importantly, you need a clear idea of how you’re going to pass the ball and the sequence it’s going to take to get it all the way to the other end of the pitch and score your team a goal.
This means that, as well as creating amazing content your customers will love, you need to remember that each piece of content is linked.
You need to end each one with a call to action that builds your relationship a little bit further. That gives you a good reason to take their contact details. That gives you a chance to nurture that lead.
This way, your interactions with your clients don’t become a tug-of-war, where they really want to take one path and you’re trying to strong-arm them into taking another. Instead, you’re walking with them along a journey that makes sense to them – but you end up at a destination that’s great for both of you.
Want to have a chat about how content marketing could drive forward the geospatial buying process in your field? Give me a call on +44 (0)7825517850 to talk it through!