What’s the #1 hardest part of marketing and sales, in your opinion?
“Summer, do I really have to pick just one?”
You know what? Good point! OK, I’ll go first:
In marketing, timing is EVERYTHING. And yet, it often feels 100% outside of your control!
One day, you might generate an ice cold lead, and they will still buy from you only a couple of weeks in. Now, did that happen because you’re so good at nurturing… or because they reached a purchasing decision independently? Who knows!
And another day, you might get a red hot lead as a referral. Fast-forward a year later — and they still haven’t bought anything. Do you have any idea what’s holding them back? Again, that’s anybody’s guess.
Doesn’t that just make you want to run out of the house under a full moon, buck naked, and howl, “Make it make sense!” up at her uncaring silver visage?
Before you start yeeting your sweatpants into the hamper and sprinting off into the night, let me share some good news:
The art and science of timing your marketing and sales messages CAN be mastered. You CAN fast-track the nurturing stage and turn strangers into paying customers — quickly and consistently.
How? By learning to put your offer NOT in front of lukewarm leads who may or may not be ready to pull the trigger…
…but in front of serious buyers who are already itching to “seal the deal.”
Finding a foolproof way to connect with ready-to-buy prospects is a dream come true for any marketer or entrepreneur. And today, I’m going to show you how — by teaching you one key concept that will change how you approach marketing and sales.
It starts with understanding why consumers ACTUALLY BUY…
Trigger events: the start of every buying journey
You wake up one day and think to yourself, “Y’know what? I should start surfing.”
So you immediately go online, spend a few hours researching and comparing different surfboards, and finally order a brand-new one for yourself.
…Doesn’t sound right, does it? I bet!
That’s because humans don’t make buying decisions like that.
Even if we assume you’ve been dreaming about surfing the ocean since before you were old enough to even surf the internet unsupervised… it’s still not enough.
Most people don’t go straight from pain or desire to action like that. Whenever a consumer begins their buying journey, there’s always some type of event that triggers it. For example, let’s take my surfboard scenario from earlier:
If someone buys a surfboard online, what do you think could have set it off?
- Just bought a condo right next to the beach, and the sound of crashing waves lured them into trying the sport — so they got hooked.
- Are struggling to correct their posture, and surfing was one of the sports their chiropractor recommended.
- Want to get a birthday gift for their pre-teen child obsessed with the ocean.
- Joined an underground surf rock band that also fights beach-specific crime, so now they need a wicked cool board to help them patrol the coast.
(OK, probably not that last one.)
Bottom line: there is always, ALWAYS some kind of trigger event that starts a consumer’s buying journey.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a deliberate purchase weeks in the making — or a seemingly random, gonna-buy-everything-I-see-as-long-as-it’s-on-sale 3am Shopping Spree o’ Shame (to take a completely random, not at all specific and autobiographical example).
Understanding and learning to leverage trigger events in your marketing can put you in front of serious buyers primed to say yes… and into the “fast lane” to more sales and conversions.
In today’s article, you will learn:
- How to discover the exact specific triggers pushing your ideal customers to become buyers (this process works no matter what you sell)
- And how to design high-converting marketing campaigns around those trigger events — I’ll also show you a few example scenarios while we’re at it!
So, first things first — how can you precisely determine the buying triggers that will turn prospects into paying customers?
The #1 best way to learn what pushes prospects to buy
There is only one guaranteed way to uncover insights about your ideal customers’ purchasing decisions… and it’s exactly the one most entrepreneurs don’t want to use.
Talking to your customers.
Now sure, it might be the old-school approach to market research. BUT: it still remains the best and only way to gather real insights about your “dream come true” buyers — instead of relying on your own (usually faulty) assumptions or generic third-party data.
So who do you want to talk to in order to uncover the trigger events that drive your target customers’ buying behavior?
These two groups of people will put you on the right path:
- Your existing dream buyers. Ask your absolute favorite clients or customers why they started to look for a solution like yours. Find out what exact problem they were trying to solve, and what other solutions they considered… but ultimately discarded.
- Recent customers or clients. Talk to the folks who just bought from you! This will help you get immediate feedback on how your offer speaks to people, and what drove them to make the purchasing decision.
As you interview these priceless sources of marketing insights, you should pay special attention to responses that speak to…
- External circumstances: what kind of trigger event pushed them to begin the customer journey? <= This will become the foundation of your future campaign.
- Their explicit goals: what exactly did they want to achieve as a result of investing in your offer (or a similar one from one of your competitors)?
- Competition and alternatives: what other solutions have they tried or bought? And most importantly, what were their pains and frustrations with those options?
- Their unspoken motivation: besides the stated goal, what else drove your customers on a personal, selfish level? E.g. maybe they wanted to scale their own business and make more money, or look like a badass to their team.
Once you’ve mined all these precious insights about your ideal customers’ buying journey, you can start to design your next campaign around them!
Now, let’s move on to the next step and discuss how to turn these nuggets of customer knowledge into profitable marketing decisions…
3 keys to crafting your trigger-based campaign
Now that you’ve collected specific insights about your ideal customers, it’s time to put them to good use. Let’s explore how you can build compelling marketing campaigns based on everything you’ve learned in customer interviews.
Pro tip: notice how I intentionally wrote “campaigns” — plural. You want to design and rapidly test a few potential scenarios and figure out which one converts the best. Don’t design just one campaign and get stuck on trying to make it work at all costs! Adaptability and iteration are key.
Now, let’s start with…
1. Determine your perfect timing
Think back to specific trigger events you have uncovered in your research. These will help you pick the exact right moment for putting your message in front of your ideal prospects.
Ask yourself: based on what you know about your customers’ buying triggers, what is the best time and the best channel to engage them?
Let’s take wedding photography as an example. If you’re a wedding photographer, an obvious trigger event for your clients would be getting engaged.
And what do people do when they get engaged and start to plan their wedding? Among other things, they…
- Update their Facebook status — which means you can target FB ads to newly engaged people in your local area.
- Search “[city] wedding photographer” — another opportunity to deploy ads, list your photography business on Google Maps and have it link to your website, or invest in local SEO.
- Comparison-shop wedding planners — you could partner with a few wedding planners and get clients that way.
All these, and more, represent potential touchpoints for getting in front of buyers who are already primed to make a purchasing decision.
2. Craft a targeted, promising message
Putting yourself in a prospect’s path at the right moment is valuable… but it’s not enough.
You need something to offer them. Something that fits their explicit goal. Something that addresses their pains and frustrations with other possible solutions. And finally, something that meets those egotistical, unspoken desires they might have.
Luckily, you know what all of those are already, so now you just need to brainstorm an aligned message!
I’m going to pick a different example this time — something product-based. Let’s say… exercise equipment, e.g. kettlebells.
Now, if you sell kettlebells, what kind of message would you present to someone who’s exploring different options?
Let’s break it down step by step…
Finding the promise. This kettlebell buyer’s goal is to find a good all-around fitness solution: something that will help them lose fat AND get stronger AND increase endurance AND look good naked etc. ==> Now, you could roll all those benefits into one and promise something like, “Get in the best shape of your life in 90 days.” OR you could take one benefit and amplify it — e.g. “Get shredded with no cardio and just 2 hrs / week”
Handling objections and pains. The prospect may be comparing several different options: joining a gym, building a home gym, taking up running etc. ==> You can craft your message so that your offer comes out on top in any comparison, for example…
- one kettlebell can sub for an entire garage gym and takes up almost no space
- no need to do cardio separately and bore yourself senseless on a treadmill / crawl out of the house at 5 am to run half-asleep
- anyone can work out with a kettlebell, programming is super simple and intuitive
- “no gym” means: no gym fees, no commuting to the gym, no tolerating other people at the gym
Feeding the selfish desires. There are all sorts of hidden motivations that make people shop for exercise gear, chief among them — wanting to look hot and like a badass! Those should also be addressed in the message.
Note: as you no doubt can guess, I am spitballing here, because I want to show off a few different scenarios for your benefit. But needless to say, when you design your own trigger-based marketing campaigns, you want to stay firmly grounded in customer research!
3. Make “yes” a no brainer
Even if your timing is impeccable and your offer compelling, guess what? Your prospects can still choose to do nothing about it!
That means, you want to give buyers an unignorable reason to act NOW. Said reason could look like…
- A limited-time, one time only offer for new customers
- A free shipping code for anyone who signs up to your email list
- A creative guarantee that completely reverses all risk
- A bonus that solves the prospects’ #1 objection
Let’s shift gears to yet another example, and see how it might work in practice. This time, I’m going to pick… a subscription box service.
To entice new subscribers, it could use a combination of two strategies:
- An exclusive bonus added to the first monthly box, maybe activated via special code during checkout.
- An absurdly generous lifetime guarantee: if a subscriber isn’t blown away with each month’s selection, they can refund the entire cost of their subscription at any time, even 10 years in.
And now, it’s time to put together everything you’ve learned, and use it to supercharge your next marketing campaign!
And now — create perfectly timed marketing campaigns, consistently
Right people + right offer + right time <== this is the deceptively simple formula for effective marketing and sales.
Out of those three elements, timing is the hardest one to master by far. But: if you invest in intelligent customer conversations, and use the insights you discover to shape your campaigns like I’ve just showed you, you’ll be able to get in front of ideal prospects at the absolute perfect moment.
As in — right as they start the buying journey and actively look for a solution like yours… but long before your competitors have a chance to barge in.
In other words, you will position your product or service as THE preeminent option just as your target audience becomes primed to purchase. Cue massively faster sales cycles, higher conversion rates, and more revenue for your business!
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