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May 9, 2016

Seeing the Forest – Customer Seduction

When it comes to marketing, a lot of experts can’t see the forest for the trees. They’ll promise you increased SEO ranking, more email opens, more web traffic, or another useless metric that you don’t care about and barely understand. If you’re like most business owners, what you really care about is sales and profit. How does web traffic affect my customer seduction?

The Customer Seduction

Some marketers call it a customer funnel and some call it a customer cycle. In either case, it refers to the way that a customer is attracted to your business. If you’re selling anything more complicated than a candy bar, chances are that your customer will require a bit of seduction before they’re willing to make a purchase. If you try to get a home run after a cup of coffee with your blind date, you’ll probably strike out. Not only will you strike out, your blind date is unlikely to ever return your calls again.

Just like in dating, moving too fast in marketing is creepy and a turnoff. So you have to have an idea of where you’re going with your customer and move them along the funnel until they’re ready to let you close the deal.

Suspects and Prospects

Zig Ziglar says that there’s a difference between a suspect and a prospect. A suspect is everybody on your list. A prospect is someone on your list who’s made it through your initial screening. For example, in my business, I focus on business owners and marketing managers in heavily regulated industries. I compile a list of eye doctors or law firms that meet certain criteria (usually size, structure, and a few other industry-specific things I look at). This is my list of suspects. Think of your suspect list as a list of every person who looks hot and is in the bar with you tonight.

Once you have your list of suspects, you have to find out who is a prospect. In the bar, you would do this with a low-commitment friendly introduction. Maybe you simply go up to the woman and ask if you can buy her a drink. If she says yes, she’s a prospect. In business, you reach out to your suspects in a low-commitment and friendly way. For example, you might send an email that basically introduces yourself and asks if you can provide them with any products or services. If they reply to you, they become a prospect.

Qualified Prospects

Once you have a prospect, you have to qualify them. In the bar, you’d ask if the woman was single. You might ask her about her job or her interests. In business, you’ll ask them about their needs, their company, and their history with others who provide products or services similar to yours. If you learn this information and it matches with what you provide, you have a qualified prospect. Only with a qualified prospect can the true seduction begin.

The customer seduction cycle

The customer seduction cycle

The Sales Process

Only when you have a qualified prospect can you begin the seduction. This process involves:

  • Building rapport
  • Discovering problems
  • Presenting solutions
  • Closing the sale

PageRank, Email open rate, Website visitors, and other useless metrics

Your PageRank (the measure of your SEO campaign’s effectiveness) has to do with your suspect list. Boosting your SEO exposes your website or your landing page to more searchers (suspects). If the suspect list grows, this does usually result in more prospects (people who view your website). However, this isn’t always the case. If you’re ranking on Page 1 for public relations but you’re actually a law firm, your suspects aren’t going to convert to prospects at a very high rate, regardless of where you rank on Google.

Website visitors are usually prospects, but the only ones who will ever make a purchase or use your services will be qualified prospects. For example, let’s say that you have a course you’re selling, and you use two different landing pages. One landing page has the headline: “Learn JavaScript for free!” The other has the headline: “Get JavaScript certified for only $150!” Maybe there’s a mini-version of the course as a free trial with the full course (the one that leads to certification) costing $150. The prospects who get your free page are not going to be qualified leads, but the ones who land on your $150 page are. So you may be 10,000 views on your free page and only 5,000 on your $150 page, but if your free page converts at 1% and your $150 page converts at 2.5%, your $150 page has the higher ROI.

Using the above example, if you’re trying to measure website visitors, the free page would appear to be more successful. But when it comes down to dollars and cents, the $150 page is the most successful, because it yields the highest sales and profits.

Don’t Screw Up

So you have a list of qualified prospects. Maybe you got these prospects through email signups, so you know that these prospects are interested in what you have to offer. Think of this as the woman in the bar. You’ve been talking to her, you like her personality, she looks good up close, and you have shared interests. Should be a home run, right? But if you immediately ask her to come home with you, chances are you’ll wind up with a drink in the face.

You have to build rapport with your prospect. So you ask the woman for her phone number instead of asking her for a one-night stand. The next day, you call her and invite her out for coffee – a relatively low-commitment event. After coffee, you ask her out to dinner. After dinner, you invite her for a day date: Picnic lunch, a fun activity, followed by dinner and drinks. THEN, you can make your move.

With your business prospect, you have to start by getting to know them. Your email campaign should build rapport and let your prospect get to know you and your company. Only after you’ve worked to build rapport and trust can you safely make an offer. If their trust is higher than the cost of what you’re selling, you’ve got a deal, so higher-value products and services will often require a longer seduction period.

Why It Matters

What metrics are you looking at? If you’re looking at things like PageRank, website views, and email opens, you’re not measuring what really matters. If you’re spending big bucks to increase your website views, you’re throwing money down the drain UNLESS those website views actually translate to an increase in sales.

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