Fishing Where the Fish Are

Are you easy to conduct business with? Is your path to purchase a frictionless experience or are there unnecessary obstacles that potential buyers have to overcome? Are you engaging tomorrows customers in the places they’re informing purchase decisions or are you waiting (and hoping) they come to you?

More often than not, brands embrace a ‘If we build it, they will come’ strategy. Unless you’re Apple, that’s probably not going to work for you. In fact, a good percentage of your potential customers likely don’t even know you exist. So how do you open your aperture a bit and look beyond the confines of your own world in the interest of customer acquisition?

Years back when my grandfather was teaching me to fish, he’d watch as I’d bait my hook and toss it enthusiastically into the middle of the pond. I’d watch my bobber sit motionless as if it had been mounted to a steel pole. Once he decided it was time for a life lesson, he helped me reel it back in and then encouraged me to try a little closer to an old tree that had fallen into the pond.

Bang. My first large-mouth bass.

It was a simple lesson that holds true to this day. My grandfather knew that the fish were using the tree as protection and to hunt for their own food.

In the business world, a transaction can take on a variety of forms based on your industry. In complex B2B sales as example, potential buyers are most likely looking for perspective from like-minded professionals who have experience with products like yours very early in their journey. Research from Sirius Decisions suggests that 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. Said differently, purchase decisions are being informed in conversations and destinations that are most likely not on your radar.

What’s interesting here is that the prospect may not even know you, as a supplier, exist. If you’re in the business of truly delighting your customers, you can rest a little knowing that 69% of those who have a positive customer experience will be out there recommending your product or service.

But even if you have the highest NPS score in your industry, an advanced digital insights program can help you understand the key destinations that prospects are leveraging and arm you with the intelligence to get out there and engage in a truly value added manner.

B2C can be a tad trickier. If you’re selling costly items such as a car or high end electronics, then the model above will likely serve you well. If you’re in the pizza business however, you’re not likely to find a lot of forums where consumers are debating the merits of pizza parlor X versus pizza parlor Y. Certainly platforms such as Yelp are worth monitoring to ensure overall brand health. But what else can you do?

One tactic is to intimately understand your consumer and leverage those insights to create calls to action within their normal daily activity. As example, we know that 64% of millennials will like a company or brand on Facebook in return for a coupon or discount. With increasingly complex targeting capabilities from platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, leverage your customer insights (age, gender, location, interests, behaviors, key phrases, etc.) to proactively target this audience on their channels of preference. Leverage compelling CTA’s to drive them back to your transaction point (be it a coupon download, e-Commerce site, etc.).

Having a compelling online presence is foundational to doing business today. However, success likely requires that you look well beyond the confines of your owned digital ecosystem and rather extend engagement well into earned and organic channels in the interest of engaging your future customer far earlier in the customer journey than you’re likely doing today.