Ramming products down customers' throats - Big bad

Ever been jumped on by a shop assistant 'trying to help you'? Of course you have. And you probably remember the feeling it gave you.

It’s not that we don’t like shop assistants. Well, not all of them, anyway. It’s just that when we’re shopping, most of us like to do things our own way. Do our research, gather our thoughts. And when we’re ready, we’ll reveal our intentions.

Until then, shop assistants steer clear.

In many ways, the early pioneers of online marketing had it easy. Newsletters were a novelty and emails were exciting. Customers relished hearing about new offers. It was easy to build a readership and online marketers could get away with shouting their message and making wild and unsubstantiated claims around their products.

But times have changed. The world has changed.

Patience has decreased. Access to suppliers has increased. Customers have refined their ‘marketing defence systems’.

And the bottom line has always been that customers will not buy when pushed. They will only buy when they are ready. Which means our ‘in your face’ online salesman is probably doing himself more harm than good.

With marketing messages shouting how great he is, how great his company is and how great his widgets are, he expects his readers to be interested and engrossed. Without noticing that his self-promotion is actually fending prospects off. And with every phone call avoided or unsubscribe button hit goes a golden opportunity lost. An opportunity to learn why his prospect came to him in the first place. And why they left… an opportunity to gain priceless insights into how his customers would naturally buy from him. If only he’d just get out of the way.

In the words of Copyblogger 'Persuasion is not about coercion or manipulation. Persuasion is about understanding.'

Every clued up enterprise understands that ‘content is king’ in marketing and Velocity’s research found 90% of marketers plan to spend a lot more on content this year. Meaning your competitors plan to create more content, more quickly, more frequently and more regularly than before.

To rise above the mass of the content jungle will require the best of content. Google is becoming ever better at it’s quest of weeding out the fakers and pretenders.

As the fight for attention increases, the noise increases. And it becomes more difficult to be heard. The inevitable result is that cost per acquisition is set to increase for the masses.

However, the tide can be turned for the savvy marketer who focuses on the customer.

There’s an old saying in direct marketing circles … start with the prospect, not the product. And here lies the secret: Listen, watch, observe and apply.

With the advancement of web technologies and visitor analytics, there has never been so much access to crucial information what makes prospects tick and ‘approach the shop assistant’.

ROI and customer acquisition costs are now more directly measurable and can be adjusted and understood. And the online purchase cycle is no longer the black hole it used to be.

So, here’s the new opportunity. Use all the tools available in your arsenal to get to know your customer better. Get on top of the metrics and turn them into actionable insights to help you better understand and serve your prospects for greater conversions.

Find the right prospects, give them what they need and let them come to you with their buying questions.

If you have any questions around this, please get in touch. I’ll be at the counter.

Paul Clarke CANDDi

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