Next-Step Marketing

By Tim Matthews

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I’m a big fan of the buyer journey. It’s one of the most powerful marketing tools available. I’m also a big funnel geek and spend a lot of time counting leads and tweaking conversion rates.

The buyer journey and the funnel are essentially the same idea – mapping the process a prospective buyer takes before becoming a customer. Understand how sales happen, and you can scale your business. Otherwise, you are merely hoping, which is not a strategy.

Despite the power (not to mention the stress relief) of understanding the buyer journey, I routinely run into marketers who merely pay this concept lip service. From my experience, nonbelievers fall into two camps: those who find it too daunting and those people don’t buy into the sequential, linear path of the journey.

Nonbelievers are usually daunted because the buyer journey can seem boundless, especially if there are multiple buyer personas who purchase multiple products. Having all those steps on the way toward a purchase is just too much to conceive of for some, and for others, too much work to create all the content.

To those who pooh-pooh linearity, I concede that many buyers purchase in a nonlinear fashion. These prospects hop all over the place, from an analyst report to your homepage, then perhaps to an ebook download, only to go to your news section and maybe only then to your key conversion form. It can be very difficult to visualize a buyer journey when prospects wander about. How can a marketer possibly plan a profitable route for buyers like these, the argument goes.

Because I feel so strongly about the value of the journey and wanted to find a way to convert these wayward marketers, I decided to create a simplified approach that I call “next-step marketing.” It’s a technique you can use to remove congestion in your buyer journey by focusing on a single desired next step for progressing the buyer.

For marketers who can’t grapple with or commit to a full buyer journey, next-step marketing greatly simplifies things. Rather than focusing on the entire journey, just focus on the next step at any given sales stage. Likewise, focusing on a single step takes the linearity argument off the table; you don’t need to think of a direct path from prospect to customer, but rather, just think of the one step to move a buyer along. Next-step marketing is really just a simple device that zooms in on one particular stage. You then simply need to ask yourself, What’s next for the prospect at that step?

The most effective way to apply next-step marketing is to start with the most crucial step in your conversion funnel. Perhaps it’s the step before a demo, or the step before somebody asks for a trial, or even the step after somebody asks for a trial. Only you will know. If you still can’t see it, look for where you are seeing blockage or congestion in your funnel, and think how might you improve that area. Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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