Marketing, at its core, connects the brand and the customer. We meet the customer, get to know them, ask questions, and nurture the relationship forward. Doesn’t that sound a lot like dating?
Our challenge is to develop the relationship forward, whether it’s through branding, content or any other part of the experience. The customer responses, at any touchpoint, determine where the customer is in our marketing funnel, where they are on their journey, and how we should approach them.
Replace “marketing” with “dating” and “customer” with “date”, and the analogy is clear as daylight. It’s actually a really useful way to approach marketing.
Want a solid relationship? You need your customers to be successful and become your raving fans – and for that to happen, you need to create exciting experiences and foster your relationships.
You don’t want to be pushy or clingy or irrelevant. If you are, you’ll lose them – your dropout rates will be huge and you’ll have to reevaluate your messaging or offering.
Just as in marketing, love has five goals: attract, convert, nurture, close, retain. And for the love of your dating life, or your marketing funnel, follow them closely:
You’ve just met. You have their attention. They grow familiar with your brand, but your intentions (or offering) aren’t just clear yet. It’s vital to share who you are and how you can help them solve their problems. It’s about them, not you.
What to do (and to avoid): Use their favorite formats! Talk to them through blogs, social media, FAQs, or video tutorials. This isn’t the time for your sales pitch (i.e. the marriage proposal). Have some empathy and practice active listening. Focus on their needs, educate them, and establish trust. Your goal is to attract attention, spark interest and most of all, please, be authentic. Isn’t that the foundation for any relationship?
Yes, we’re moving forward! Both parties are interested in developing the relationship. There’s a real sense of connection and meaning, and more personalized information is being exchanged. The more in-depth it is, the higher the chances of engagement.
What to do (and to avoid): Stick to the formats that worked for them in the past: blog, respond to social media or emails, or why not offer them a free trial (no commitments yet)? Let them determine if the value is there.
Get to know your prospects better. Avoid blanket approaches and personalize your messaging. You should already know what their pain points are, so offer exact solutions. And don’t leave them hanging; be timely with your responses if you’re serious about this.
We’re now beyond texting and phone conversations. You go to dinners, movies, concerts. Have you even Netflix and chilled already? OK, skip to the world of sales and marketing. At this point you’re doing demos, walkthroughs, offering e-guides, case studies, and giving them real thorough trials of whatever it is you’re selling. Show them your value; the Why and the How are paramount to this stage.
What to do (and to avoid): Yes, this may still seem more serious than it is, but the customer is truly evaluating if there’s a good match. Whatever doubts or objections there are, handle them quickly and effectively with a no-nonsense approach. They are interested but not yet 100% convinced. Find out what’s missing and fill the gap.
Looks like you may have this wrapped up. This is the final chance to prove you’re a match. The customer may be weighing the pros and cons, pricing and longevity of the relationship. But you know what? They are probably doing the same with a competitor too. Help them choose you! Ask questions like: What do we need in order to make this the best decision for your business? How do we compare to the competition? How can we go the extra mile?
What to do (and to avoid): Encourage them to talk and to open up. What are they missing? What are the obstacles to their decision? But don’t forget that this all has to be done tastefully, ensuring the best experiences for the customer. If you’ve been honest, responsive, and helpful from the beginning, you will be the go-to person for questions when it’s decision time.
It’s decision time! Be 100% confident in the service you provide, ensure you’ve shared all the key information they need, and create the best possible scenario for them to choose you without obstacles. You can already start thinking about the bright future ahead.
What to do (and to avoid): They know and trust you. Be persistent and confident, but not pushy, needy, or greedy. Remind them of your shared values, hint at the exciting future ahead, and highlight the benefits if needed – you got this!
And now just as you finally wanted to take a break, the customer journey continues far beyond the sale. Always have your customer’s success as your top priority. Don’t contact them only when they’re up for renewal or when a new product is launched. Maintain the trust you’ve built.
Have a customer nurturing strategy so you stay in regular contact. If you stay customer-focused, you’ll build brand advocates and let the good word spread further.
Always impress with top-level service. And remember, they aren’t just buying solutions, they are buying experiences. The better experience you create, the longer and happier the relationship will be.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.