Delivering the right message to the right prospect at the right time is like trying to hit a moving target. How do you know what message to deliver? What will turn prospects into customers?
Well, that was a bit of a trick question. Your target market is full of potential customers in different stages of the buying cycle. It’s not about crafting the perfect message and getting it in front of your target audience. It’s about creating several messages directed at your prospects, depending on their stage in the buyer’s journey.
Buyers pass through stages on their way to making a decision. This applies to every buyer for every conceivable product and service. Every buyer and industry moves through the buyer’s journey at different speeds, but they all go through the same process.
Stage 1: Buyer Awareness
First, buyers need to be aware they have the problem your product or service solves. This could be as simple as realizing they’re thirsty, or as complex as having a drill-string stuck in the hole on an ultra-deepwater well off the coast of Angola.
Identifying that a problem exists is a necessary first step in the process.
During stage 1, throwing a product catalog with details about your equipment or your unique offerings will only confuse the buyer. If a buyer doesn’t know who you are or how your product solves their problem, it’s hard for him/her to bridge that gap and make a purchase.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there with the helpful information they need to better understand their problem. If a buyer experiences a new problem, then they need help understanding what they’re facing.
You gain a significant amount of trust from the buyer if you’re the one helping him/her get to their “ah-ha” moment. And once he/she completely understands the problem, it’s time for stage 2: Consideration.
Stage 2: Buyer Consideration
This stage is more complicated because every buyer is different. Some buyers go to great lengths to research their problem, while others gather information and move on quickly.
By now the buyer has diagnosed the problem and is considering all of his or her possible solutions. This could be done by researching the problem, asking trusted experts or any number of other research methods.
This is the stage in which the buyer is open to hearing about the solutions in the market. This is a great time to present content that details the problem and demonstrates known solutions (with specific results). Even if the buyers are just kicking the tires, or are somewhat skeptical of your claims, they are more apt to listen if they are in the consideration stage.
Being able to gauge your customers is key at this stage because they could cross over to the Decision Stage at any moment. You have to be ready to close the sale when they do.
Stage 3: Buyer Decision
At this stage, the buyer is ready to source his or her solution. He or she has made a decision, and the sale is yours to lose.
I don’t want to confuse you here; the transition to the Decision Stage could happen at any time. The decision could be made while driving into the office after weeks or months of research.
Once the buyer makes a decision, you need to make it as easy as possible for your potential customer to buy from you. If you don’t have an existing relationship, it should be easy for the buyer to make contact with you. If you do have an existing relationship, you need to make yourself available to close the buying loop.
It’s hard to know what buyers are in which stage of the buyer’s journey. For that matter, you might not even know who all of the buyers are, or where new buyers are coming from.
Understanding your buyers gets easier with time. The more content you develop that targets buyers at each stage of the buyer’s journey, the better chance you have of hitting that moving target.
Good oil and gas digital marketing is about providing valuable content to the industry. Becoming a trusted advisor is as easy as helping your market segment.
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