Are you ready for some extremely fancy drawings??? I know you are!
I spend a fair amount of my time each day explaining how people discover new services or products. Many folks want their ideal clients to move in a straight line (I blame the 200+ year old concept of marketing funnels for this). Here's what we hope our marketing and sales process looks like:
And, yes, sometimes this does happen.
Most of the time it does not.
That's because we humans are complex creatures and our decisions are complex, with many factors at play. I illustrate the buyer journey—especially for pricey things—as an inverted pyramid with multiple exit and entry points, like this:
(See, it's art because I signed it!)
As you can see, discovery is intentionally the biggest part of this pyramid, and the arrows show you how people exit and enter throughout this journey.
Let's break this journey down into its parts.
Discover: How on earth are people going to find you?
Seems like a simple question, but it's actually kind of hard! There are many ways to facilitate discovery: networking, referrals, affiliates, ads, social media, search engine optimization, pixie dust and magic... You get the picture. None of these are better than the others, and a healthy company will leverage multiple methods for facilitating discovery of your brand. (This is why repurposing rocks.)
But discovery isn't an endpoint. Cool, someone found you—hopefully they're problem aware (they have a challenge or aspiration and they're searching for the right solution) and looking to learn.
👉 It may take multiple "discoveries" of your brand for them to connect.
Over the course of their searching for solutions to their problem, they may bounce in and out of your website, see you in the search engine results page, come across your ads, or even be told about you by a trusted member of their network.
Discovery, discovery, discovery. It will most likely take several discoveries before the next step happens. (Data says 5-7, but obviously there are massive variations in this.)
👉 Another important takeaway: You never want to stop the discovery engine—it's never "done," it just gets easier.
Connect: It's on you to make a connection once the discovery sticks.
When we talk about conversion, most clients immediately go to the "book a call" phase, and that sometimes does happen—and it's awesome when it does! However, we need to understand that our audience isn't always ready (for many, many reasons—some to do with us, some because we humans are all operating on different timelines).
I advocate for inviting people into your via a newsletter like this (NOT a "get in an aggressive sales sequence" newsletter); we want to inspire people to make that first connection with some sort of promise.
👉 Clients will often hear me say, practice radical generosity and the connection follows.
Again, depending on your industry and your solutions, how long people will stay in that connection phase (and ultimately exit or move onto the next stage) is highly variable. In my world, it's even more nuanced, as we classify my strategy sessions as part of the "connection" phase, unless they're repeats or previous clients.
Again, there are often exit and re-entry points here as well. It's not a straight line. Oftentimes, it's simply not the right time for someone to dig further, or they're not ready for what you're sharing. Just because that connection erodes now, doesn't mean that it's gone forever. Over and over we see people come back months or even years later.
👉 That's why connection and marketing is a long game.
Believe: Once folks are interested, inspire them to believe in your ideas and system.
Real talk? This is another one of those points people fail to capitalize on their own brilliance.
👉 You want people to believe in you.
Instead of immediately zooming straight to the "product" (this is what we call everyone's services/products/programs/course), once you have made a connection, inspire people to believe in your system. You've heard me talk about frameworks and models a lot recently, but this is the inflection point that really differentiates successful marketing journeys from those that have more friction.
There aren't any real shortcuts in marketing, but having a model that makes you stand facilitates people believing in your methods and approach. At this point you will have folks select themselves away because they're not ready/don't like your methods/prefer a better approach.
But, some of those people will believe in your methodology and your marketing movement and they will be the ones who put you and your product on their wist list or in their annual plans. I purposefully delineate this from the "trust" factor you often hear about.
👉 This is also why a small offer (such as a one-off strategy session, but this can also be a live workshop, a paid lead magnet, etc) can help prove that you're worth believing in.
My challenge to you is to detach that straight-line thinking from your marketing.
If you understand the entire process as a system that your audience moves in and out and back in again on their journey to believing you in you, it will make the long game of marketing more sustainable and less frustrating.
(I'd planned on making a video about this to accompany this newsletter but had a massive tech fail—hopefully I can still do that sometime, because it's way more fun to hear me talk about it, I promise!)
Also, I hope you enjoyed my original artwork. 😁
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