Tactics: Talking to your potential clients online before your competitors do

April 12, 2013
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You have probably developed your online marketing strategy (which is probably also your website) with the idea of growing your business online, but pretty soon, you get a reality check. In fact in most cases your competition beats your business to the top of Google´s results. You are very aware of just how hard, not to mention how expensive, it can be to get visibility online – especially in highly competitive industries where larger companies have very deep pockets. Standing out online is increasingly difficult and staking your claim on the web has become (almost) mission impossible.
Almostis not quite impossible, right? What if you had the chance (and the formula) to talk to potential clients before your competitors do? What if, a little thinking out of the box could provide the solution for a problem nobody else saw, which in turn, gives you a huge advantage? The answer, though unsettling, has to do with a simple fire extinguisher example. But we´ll get to that later.
When most people surf the web looking for products or services, they go through a pretty simple process of elimination. In doing so, they are deciding what & whom they will eventually buy from. Consumers and Clients often make that choice based on what appears on the all-powerful Google. The modus operandi of a consumer choosing a company in the online world involves similar but different steps, in fact a closer comparison might be meeting a potential partner for a date.
First, you get to the bar (or the party, or whatever) and check out the scenery; scan who is there and single out potential prospects, and identify those who interested you the most at first sight. This is the DISCOVERY stage, which in online terms equals a potential consumer searching the Web and narrowing their choices based on search results. So from thousands of potentials, the list gets shortened to, say, a page of businesses that offer what that consumer needs.
Back in the bar, you know that you won’t have the chance to talk to everyone… so you pick based on looks and attitude. This would compare with clicking on a handful of websites based on the title and description that appeared on the search results. We call it SELLING THE CLICK.
So now it’s time to start a conversation. You have a handful of choices and you will, most likely, choose to approach the one that seems most appropriate judging by the looks, the signalsand maybe even a smile of encouragement. Well on the web this is like choosing which website to investigate first, based on its relevancy, design, loading speed & clear action path. Welcome to the RETENTION phase.
Now, you are in a conversation and your friends are waving from across the room. One of the options appeared to be more interesting than the rest, and you are hooked. That is the stage when a company manages to ENGAGE the customer. Communication now flows; stories are exchanged and you get to know more about each other… If the message is right, a relationship is formed based on trust, rapport and mutual attraction. At this stage it’s important to use all the tools at your disposal to get it right… for a company that means graphics, pictures, testimonials, awesome videos, split testing, and a clear call to action.
After that first encounter, provided everything went well, you might want to ask for a phone number. If you get it, you know you have CONVERTED this opportunity into a real potential.
Now it’s time to nurture this relationship. Emails, videos, blog articles and social media content are all tools that you should use until the prospect is ready to close the deal. In business terms, we are referring to a likely SELL. Relationship wise… you decide.
Enough with the metaphors already. Look at the whole process and you’ll notice that for the first 3 steps you were just working really hard to stand out among your competitors. They don’t need to be better, smarter or even have a better product, in matter of fact the first few steps are quite superficial – meaning that you might lose your prospect even though you have the best product or service to offer..
What if we could skip the first three stages, and move directly to engaging and converting? Wouldn’t this give you a huge head start over the rest?
If we take into account how people use the web we know that people usually go through two cycles. The research cycle, where they learn all about products and services and educate themselves; and the buying cycle, where they actually look for the best provider.
We also know that Google has 2 types of Keywords (KW): there are the transactional KW and the content KW. From the perspective of marketing, the first refer to a search that is most likely to end in a transaction. With Content Keywords, the searches are educational in nature. They indicate that the searchers are simply trying to educate themselves about something. The person is not ready to buy but may be close to starting the buying cycle. They are just using Google as a research tool.
Google is smart and always wants to provide its users with the best possible results so when it detects a transactional KW, the results it will return are shops, images and reviews, this is where most online shops compete on SEO and adwords. But when it detects a content KW the search engine will return videos, articles and blogs (usually in that order of importance).
So what companies need to do (and here goes the secret formula) is research to understand what people are looking for on Google (content KW), right before they are ready to buy. Once that information is clear, they have to create video content to answer those questions, and optimise it so people can find it based on the research they performed.
Now potential clients will find and watch your videos before they even search for your competitor, which gives you the chance to talk to them before anyone else. Here is where you can add value, position yourselves as experts, demonstrate products and services and educate them into making a good decision.
Now they know you, your brand, your products and they are more informed on how to pick the right supplier, you have even given them a link that goes right to your website. But here is the catch: You can NOT make those videos about you, they have to be 100% about answering their questions, adding value, and educating; which means that you can’t create a sales video or an ad otherwise you will fail.
And here, finally, is where we explain about the fire extinguishers. Open up a browser or a separate tab if you can, and search for fire extinguisherin Google, you should be directed to shops and manufacturers that sell that item. However, if you are simply doing some research, your search might change to how to choose a fire extinguisher”. Here you will probably get a video first, maybe even supplied by someone who sells fire extinguishers, but who is explaining how to use one, and in the long run recommending which one to buy.
So, next time you are thinking about how to get more traffic to your website, think about creating targeted content videos. This will certainly boost your online visibility and attract more traffic, leads, clients and opportunities for your business.
FOOTNOTE: Creativa specialises in strategies and new ways on helping clients to get visibility online with videos.

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Creativa provides complete video production and animation services for clients direct or for agencies nationwide, specialising in creating content that engages Aussie audiences. Working with local crews dotted around the country to capture live-action video footage, we manage all the coordination for you. Whatever type of video you need, we’ve got you covered.