Are You Ignoring Eager Customers?

It's fairly easy to sell online to folks who know exactly what they want. They're eventually able to find what they're looking for and seem willing to stumble over a road block or two to complete the deal. Word is these visitors convert well.

Trouble is, these folks are only a small part of your audience. Far more of your potential customers are much earlier in their buying decision process. They are at the point where they sort of know what they want or they are still window shopping. Because they haven't made a purchase decision, they are still gathering information, getting a feel for the lay of the land. Word is these visitors don't convert well.

Au contraire. You simply have to understand how to help them. And that starts by thinking about the "driving points" you provide for them.

Steer them with driving points

We talked about driving points when we discussed the elements of a scenario. A driving point is:

... the prospecting point, outside the funnel, where a scenario technically begins. It might be a search engine result, a pay-per-click, a banner ad or a home page. It's the concretely identifiable place where the visitor shows a level of interest in entering the scenario. Think of it as the for-sale sign in front of a house - it's not the house itself, but the persuasive alert that the house is available. Or think all those Munchkins pointing to Brick Number One of the Yellow Brick Road.

To capture a potential customer's interest, the driving point must be relevant to the questions the person is asking in every stage of the buying decision process, and it must be phrased in language the person would actually use.

If you don't take the time to find out what your customers' questions are in various stages of their buying decision process, you're not going to be able to provide them with meaningful driving points that pique their interest. This is where a good uncovery is worth its weight in gold! Because if you can't figure out how to engage folks, they are certainly not going to be converting with you!

A rose by any other name

My tireless reporter buddy, Melissa Burdon showed me a perfect example of how businesses fail to understand the driving points of those customers who are earlier in their buying decision process. Melissa has an expanse of sunny garden space, and she wants to fill it with flowers that will thrive in full sun. She doesn't know many flower names or flower preferences, so she decided to do a little research online. She told me, "All I wanted to do was find a company that could tell me what flowers or plants could take a lot of sun, and I would even consider purchasing from them. After all, I wanted to buy plants that could take a lot of sun!"

So Melissa searched on Google and discovered that not only was she unable to find a decent organic result that addressed her queries, but nobody was even positioning paid placement for this earlier phase of the buying decision process.

Her first query: flowers that like lots of sun

Her next query: find plants that grow in the sun

Her third query: what plants like lots of sun

Curious, Melissa wondered what would happen if she used the B-word or one of its cousins. So she typed in: purchase plants that like lots of sun

And then she tried: buy plants that like lots of sun

Well, well, well!  Paid placements and even slightly better organic results!  Seems businesses are more than happy to provide driving points when folks indicate they're ready to plunk down real money.  Which is rather like hiding your store from everyone else. 

Target intention

Does everyone think that once a person hits the Internet, he or she is ready to buy? We know they aren't ... but things are geared to favor the customer who knows what she wants and is ready to conclude the transaction. Folks who are still searching but are not ready to commit to buying all too often get left in the dust.

Pity, because these customers - very much in the majority - are your bread and butter. These are the ones you need to cultivate through relevant, persuasive driving points that acknowledge the questions they are asking in the language they are using. Our clients know it can be done!

How many sales are you losing out on, simply because you're not providing the right driving points for customers who don't yet know they want to buy from you?

Volume 130: 5/15/06

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