Discussion about The Sales Cycle and how to market accordingly has come up quite a bit recently in my consults with clients.
Just the other week, I sat in a quaint little coffee shop in Peoria Heights with a fabulous client whom I’ll begin building a new website for in the coming weeks. She threw a question my way about promotions on social media.
Her brain was cranking out new marketing ideas and she was totally on the right track to create buzz about her business. But here’s where I needed to point her in the right direction: The Sales Cycle.
The Sales Cycle - sometimes known as The Marketing Cycle or The Buying Cycle - is the journey customers travel through as they first come to know, like and trust you, then consider making a purchase from you, then actually make a purchase from you, and finally spread the word about that purchase they made from you.
I’ll specifically identify what we call those four stages in a bit, but for now, let’s dive into the HOW you market effectively.
What Sarah and I covered as we sat and chatted about business is the HOW behind marketing effectively and successfully. The HOW is often the piece “they” don’t tell you, but I’m going to pull the curtain back today.
1. Having a purpose is pivotal for effective marketing
To know how to market effectively, you must have a goal in mind for each type of message/content/post you create. The email you just created to blast out - what’s the goal? In other words, what outcome do you want to create? The social media content you’re working so hard to curate - what’s the goal? The blog post you spent hours compiling - what do you want people to do next?
What is the desired result you’re aiming for? What do you want people to do or think?
There are zillions of ways people can take action or shape their perception of you and your company based on the goals of your content.
Examples of Calls to Action in the Sales Cycle
Do you want people to...
>> Perceive you as the authority on a subject?
>> Visit your website?
>> Opt into your email list?
>> Buy a product?
>> Navigate elsewhere on your website?
>> Participate in your giveaway?
>> Join your Facebook community?
>> Subscribe to notifications?
>> Sign up for your webinar?
>> Follow your account?
>> Watch a video?
Got the goal in mind? Good!
2. Strategizing your marketing messages increases conversion
Now consider how you might actually get the lead to take the action you’re desiring or shape their perception as you intend.
See, in order to be effective, you have to craft your message based on your goal, and your goal must be set appropriately to where the lead is in The Sales Cycle.
Let’s review the four stages of The Sales Cycle.
And since the customer has to know, like, and trust you (Awareness Phase) before they’ll consider purchasing from you (Consideration Phase), and because they have to consider purchasing from you before they typically do (Purchase Phase), it’s important to craft messages and shape your marketing efforts to be effective in moving leads through the journey buyers make.
And as you probably guessed, it’s still important to market to those who have purchased from you (After-Sale Phase), since, ya know, it’s easiest to sell to people who have already purchased from you because they’ve journeyed through the awareness, consideration, and purchase phases already.
3. The Sales Cycle primes leads to purchase
Now let’s consider what appropriate marketing messages might sound like according to the four stages of The Sales Cycle:
(Here, they may not even know who you are.)
- "Become knowledgeable that my company even exists."
- "Learn about the services or products my company provides."
(Here, they know who you are but haven’t yet considered yours as the solution to their need or don’t know they have a need for what you provide.)
- "Next time you have a need, consider my company as a solution."
- "Here’s a free example of the value we provide to customers who have XYZ need."
(They know who you are and they’ve considered buying from you, but haven’t yet.)
- "With only a few left in stock, these widgets are selling like hotcakes. Reserve yours before it’s too late."
- "The window of opportunity is open for only a few short hours and who knows when your chance will come around again, better act now!"
(They’ve purchased from you, which provides the perfect opportunity for you to reaffirm they made the right choice and continue firming up their positive opinion of your business.)
- "Hey, friend. Just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate you as part of our community. It’s people like you who make our world turn. Rock on."
- "Hey friend, we saw you’re a big fan of pink widgets. What would you think about 10% off next time you’re in need of a pink widget?"
See? Effective marketing doesn’t sound like “BUY MY STUFF! BUY MY STUFF! BUY MY STUFF!!!!!” It sounds like a conversation you have with the customer based on what you know about them and delivering a solution they've been primed to receive. After all, isn’t that how relationships work?
That’s why marketing that’s a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective, but guess what? Entrepreneurs starting businesses can typically sense that their marketing efforts aren’t effective but they can’t always pinpoint exactly why. But now that you know how The Sales Cycle works, you’ll be able to craft your messages accordingly for higher conversion.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For proper introductions, I'm Francie. I started my business, Simply Integrated, in 2015 and have fallen madly in love with teaching small business owners how to run their companies more successfully and marketing to impact bottom line profitability.
My knowledge and experience comes from earning an MBA and from coaching small business entrepreneurs while managing and marketing their projects. I focus solely on business strategy and marketing and created this blog to help others run more successful businesses. If you’re interested, you can read more about me on the About page of Simply Integrated’s website.
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