Your time is precious. It is a highly guarded commodity we value as humans. Therefore, when people ask for our time whether in the form of a cold call, email or article on LinkedIn, we pause to consider whether it’s worth it. If the caller, sender or author is known to us we might agree faster, but it’s a constant challenge to get people to say yes.
So what do prospects really ask before they decide if you are worth it?
If we use our own experiences, I think you will agree that when you are getting to know someone, you generally ask…
- Who are you?
- Why should I invest my time getting to know you?
- What’s in it for me?
It would be great to think that as human beings we generally want to connect with people, share with and help them. But when your time is limited and the list of tasks you need to accomplish grows longer every minute, it stands to reason that we need to quickly assess if connecting with someone is time well spent.
If we apply this to sales, we can reverse engineer this buying process to understand the top three things we need to get right on a website and in our content marketing strategy.
Through extensive testing and research Marketing CoPilot conducted, we determined that prospects need three key pieces of information before they decide to buy anything. Buyers who participated in the 2015 Digital Marketing Survey identified these content must-haves:
1. Who are you?
Buyers want to know who they are buying from. They want to ensure that they’re dealing with a company they can trust, a company that knows what they’re doing and will deliver on their promises. They want to know how many years your company has been in business and/or how many years of and what kind of experience your team has, how many employees there are, where you are located and what geographical areas and/or industries you serve. Buyers want to make sure that your company can and will provide great customer support.
Now go and look at the About Us section on your website. Your Google Analytics will likely tell you that the About Us section is one of the most visited pages on your website, especially for new visitors. But it’s often the section that was written when the site was first launched and it has not been touched since. Many About Us sections are poorly constructed and badly written. But if this is one of the most visited pages on your website, why do so many companies get it wrong?
2. Why should I invest my time getting to know you?
Your Value Proposition answers the prospect’s question, “Why should I choose you?” so it’s essential that your website clearly articulates your Value Proposition in one succinct sentence. It’s also essential that the content throughout your website supports and reinforces your Value Proposition. By doing this, you let them know what makes your product or service a better value than that of your competitors.
Whether prospects consciously or unconsciously wonder about this, they do ask themselves, “Is it worth my time to try and understand this product or service? Is it actually better than the other alternatives out there?” A value proposition doesn’t focus on features or functionality. It focuses on the value the product provides to your customers and starts the sales conversation, which happens way before you actually get the customer on the phone or face-to-face. Why did your best customers buy from you and not your competitors? When in doubt, just ask. Next time someone on your team speaks with a customer have them ask this question.
3. What’s in it for me?
This is the most overlooked answer in most website content we review. Companies spend a lot of time explaining what they do but not why it matters to the prospect and what they’ll get out of it. The most basic question people ask is, what’s in it for me?
Sometimes letting prospective buyers hear what your current customers have to say about you and your products is the best way to answer this question. Testimonials help build your credibility and give potential buyers additional reassurance about investing their time. These testimonials can also provide prospects with additional ideas on how to use your products or services and what their post-purchase experience will be like. “ABC IT Services saved me hours updating my operating system. I actually got to my kid’s baseball tournament because I didn’t have to install the latest updates.” That’s what’s in it for your customer or prospect and hearing it that way from another customer is far better than, “We provide great service.”
If you haven’t already done so, ask customers if they would be willing to provide a short four sentence testimonial. You’ll be surprised at how many customers will be more than happy to do so. It doesn’t hurt to ask and having customers articulate what was in it for them is gold for your content strategy.
Let customers have the final say on your answers.
Customers hold a wealth of information. All feedback, good or bad, is extremely useful and it helps you articulate things in a way that will get other people to yes. How you position yourself (About Us), how you articulate why (Value Proposition) and create a customer-centric environment to share and express content (what’s in it for me?) are the most important things your company can answer and the most important things you should write about.
Take the time to get the answer to these questions right. Continually be testing on your website and through digital content to see if you are getting it right and if you are still struggling, download our newest guide.