Let’s face it, buying behaviour has changed. Once upon a time ago you would go to the yellow pages book, leaf through it to find the service category that you needed a solution for, and choose one or maybe two of the adverts there and call them up for a quote. I have a very hazy memory of doing that, I think I grew up right on the cusp of the transition.
When you bought products, you were pretty much limited to what was in the stores in your town or city, and maybe a few mail order catalogues.
Well no longer. Today people have incredible options when it comes to buying products and services. The way people search for products has changed, people are wanting to do more research themselves and educate themselves on the best options before coming into a store or calling a business, and they most definitely listen to others opinions in the forms of reviews and social media.
How Buying Behaviour Has Changed
Search Online – Where once it was the physical yellow pages, classifieds in the back of the local newspaper and walking around stores, now there is an incredible amount of information online, and your customers are conditioned and have the behaviour of searching for products and services through search engines such as Google.
If you are not able to be found when your customers search for products and services you provide, you are not going to be an option for them.
Here are some results, published here by search engine watch, that show that on the first page of Google and Bing, here are the clicks on non-branded search results, divided up by ranking position…
- Result 1: 35 percent
- Result 2: 15 percent
- Result 3: 11 percent
- Remainder: 39 percent
Here is another image showing essentially the same thing, this time you will see that hardly anybody goes to page 2 of Google to click on a search result. (Think about your own experiences searching on Google or Bing. How often do you go to page 2 to click on a link?)
So what this shows is that the top of the first page of Google is getting the most clicks through, but you still have a chance if you are anywhere on the first page (where up to 39% of traffic goes, spread over results 4 through to 10)
But if you are not on the first page, then you have no hope really. So it is imperative you get onto that first page of the search engines for terms that your potential customers are searching for.
How to do this is another post in itself.
Research – Your customers are wanting to do research themselves, find out what the options are in the market place, who the suppliers are, the different brands available, what the differences are between products, the more information they can get their hands on the better! Whereas in the past people relied on salesmen and staff to educate them on the options and give them the information they are wanting to make an informed decision, nowadays people are much more wary of sales staff and hidden agendas, they want to make decisions on their own terms, researching themselves without asking a sales staff.
People are wanting to research products and services themselves, so why not give them the information they are searching for on your website? By doing this you will be building rapport and trust, developing a relationship with them because you are helping them in this way
Some companies are doing a great job of giving the customer a lot of information and allowing them to compare their product or service to the competitors. The companies that are not afraid to do this gain even more credibility in the eye of the customer. It helps them to make a better, more informed decision.
Check out Stealthseminar.com and how they have provided a comprehensive comparison chart between themselves and the competition…
Peer Influence – More and more people are looking to their peers and friends to help them in making a buying decision. Your customers are most definitely listening to others and taking their advice through reviews and social media.
Make your social proof awesome, encourage reviews and interaction via social media. It all comes back to customer service, if others have had a great experience and you have served their needs remarkably, then they will tell others
Trip Advisor is killing it when it comes to reviews and peer influence. They understand how important it is to people who book holidays and hotel. People want to know what their friends and connections think about places that they stayed at, and the experience that they had.
Check out this email that I received from Trip Advisor…
Trip Advisor recognise how valuable reviews are and how I want to see what my friends thought of the hotel that they stayed at. So Trip Advisor is well hooked into the facebook social graph, they understand that for their business, friends drive others towards booking trips and hotels, they are a catalyst to book a holiday, to go to Trinidad, which is where the line comes in “see what your friends are doing on TripAdvisor”.
So now, if I do want to go to Trinidad, I am going to check out what my friend Christian has to say about it, and make my decision on whether to stay at that same hotel largely by what he and others have said.
Now because Trip Advisor has provided this platform for me to read my friends reviews of the hotel, it is far easier to book the hotel from Trip Advisor than go to another website and do it, because it is all right there, and they have provided the value for me.
Smart Businesses Are Encouraging Reviews on Trip Advisor
A hotel I stayed at in South Africa has this poster in every one of their lifts, encouraging guests to give them a review on Trip Advisor. They are understanding the power of reviews and peer influence in driving them business.
People Get Recommendations Via Social Media
Social media is being used by your customers whether you like it or not, they are talking about products and services, and offering recommendations, so if you want to be discussed as an option by your customers, then you need to be a part of the discussion.
What you do, say, and represent matters now more than ever due to incredible transparency
Look what happened to The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper when he began to endorse Quaker cereal, some of the comments are quite damaging to his personal brand…
This just shows the power that social media can have, facebook in particular, so you need to keep mindful of what you are saying, doing and promoting in social media.
Because your customers behaviour is to search online for products and services, to do research and educate themselves on all the options, and to listen to others reviews, word of mouth and referrals, this all means that you MUST have a great and credible online presence, otherwise you are unlikely to feature as an option for your potential customers to purchase from you.
So How Do You Accommodate This New Buying Behaviour?
It is all about RaDaR marketing.
See my post on what RaDaR marketing is for more detail, or I will outline it below.
Reach – To get people to come to your website, you firstly need to reach them. The most common way that people are going to come to your website, as outlined earlier, is by natural search using a search engine, or by word of mouth referral.
Depth – This is where your customers are going to find out more about your product or service, they are wanting to learn how your product can help them, get the information, the education they are searching for in their research. Depending on which stage they are at in the buying cycle, they are going to want different types of information. We will go through this later, the buying cycle and what types of content suits which part of the buying cycle.
Relationship – In order for your customer to buy from you, they are going to have to trust that you can deliver what you promise, that you have and project the credibility, that you can remove the fear they have from making a bad purchasing decision, and that for repeat purchases and word of mouth referral into the future, that you maintain that relationship with them over an extended period of time.
In order to get this Reach, Depth and Relationship on your website to accommodate the new buying behaviour that your customers have, it all comes down to the content you have on your website.
Killer content that firstly attracts the customer through Reach, that then engages the customer and helps them with their research through Depth, and then to build that Relationship with them through continually helping them through helpful, informative, educational content.
Each stage in the buying process requires different content. It is called Content Mapping. Time for another post I think…
How much do you think buying behaviour has changed? How has your own buying behaviour changed?