In other words, you don’t really have a sales lead anymore. In fact, if that sales lead was generated online, your contact rate declines by 99 percent – meaning that you’ll reach just one in one hundred at the end of 30 minutes – when compared to responding within 5 minutes.*
One of the unintended consequences of the Internet is that it has trained us to expect instant details when we send the click that signals our interest. If we don’t get answers immediately, we move on to something else.
Are you expecting your customers to be more patient than you are?
You’ve been online for an hour and seen more than 150 page views. What are the odds that you remember what you saw on page 9? Chances are, you made your decision by the time you got to page view 21. Not only is page 9 ancient history, you’ve contemplated and resolved 7 unrelated topics of interest since then.
The web isn’t just changing how products and services are transacted; online connectivity is changing the customer’s attention span and decision horizon, even in categories where the purchase will NOT be made online.
According to Forrester Research, current trends indicate that Americans will spend 370 billion retail dollars online in 2017. That sounds like a lot until you realize that Americans are expected to spend $3.6 trillion on retail purchases that year.
“Oh, well,” you say, “10.3 percent of retail sales isn’t really a game-changer.”
But wait, we’re not done.
Forrester also tells us that an additional 60% of total retail sales will involve the Internet in 2017.
The categories that will be most influenced by Internet research…will be grocery, apparel and accessories, home improvement and consumer electronics, in particular through mobile activity like reading customer reviews while in the aisle.”
60 percent plus 10.3 percent equals 70.3 percent of total retail sales. Do I have your attention now?
Forrester goes on to say,
The categories that have the lowest online sales are also the ones that see the greatest levels of online research. In general, consumers in virtually all categories touch the web during some part of their purchase journey, but web sales (i.e., dollars spent online) tend to be strongest in categories where consumers don’t need to touch the products or have them immediately.”
The lower your percentage of sales online, the more important it is that you give your customers online answers to their questions.
I really hope you’re not saying to yourself, “Well, I’m just going to use my advertising to get prospective customers to indicate their interest, but I’m not going to answer their questions until we’re face-to-face.” Because if that’s your plan…
It would be rude for me to finish that sentence.
Your customer’s decision window is shrinking. If you’re in a business category that transacts little to none of its business online, it’s imperative that your website correctly anticipates and answers your customer’s unspoken questions. Don’t blather on about the things you wish they cared about – even if those are the things the customer really ought to care about – until you’ve first answered the question that’s on their mind.
You must use words in your mass media advertising and in your online copy that target your customer’s felt need.
Notice I did NOT say, “words that target their age group” or “target their income bracket,” or “target their educational attainment.”
When you speak to your customer’s felt need, you’re answering their question, scratching their itch, giving them confidence, making the sale.
Sadly, the most distorted view of any business is the perspective of the expert, the insider. When you’re on the inside, looking out, you see things very differently than the customer on the outside, looking in.
Surround yourself with brilliant minds who care about you, but who are not trapped inside your perspective. Resist the temptation to defend your old ways of thinking by saying to these friends, “But you don’t understand.”
Chances are, they understand perfectly.
Chances are, they’re giving you fabulous advice.
Roy H. Williams
HEY! Have you registered for the October 3rd Academy Reunion? Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. – Indy (Remember, when you register, you can bring a guest with you at no extra charge. And it’s going to be AWESOME. Trust me.)
The Online Community Blueprint was created to help small businesses master the art of creating and operating an online community. Katie Bapple and Joshua Paul are executives at Socious, whose software currently engages more than 1.3 million online community members. Listen in as they talk about the basics of building a successful online community. The answers are not what you’d expect. Put your ear to the door and hear the whole thing at MondayMorningRadio.com
* according to a study by Dr. James Oldroyd of MIT, executed by the Kellogg School of Management