I recently adopted a dog from an owner who surrendered her. Since she's a puppy, she's still learning her manners, including where to pee. Most of the time now, at almost nine months old, she does her business in the backyard. But every now and then, she forgets and pees on the carpet.
Unfortunately, I now have to clean the carpet. Since I can't keep calling in a professional every time it needs to be cleaned, I either have to clean it with a homemade remedy or buy a spot carpet cleaner. I decided on the second option.
I turned to the internet, starting with Amazon's and Walmart's websites, to look at models, pricing and customer reviews. After deciding on a brand, I went to the brand's website to compare models to make my purchase choice. I then searched for the best price for the model I want.
Making a Buying Decision
There are a number of steps that a buyer takes before committing to a purchase. This is known as the buying decision process (or cost-benefit analysis). According to this Wikipedia entry, the steps are:
1. Problem/Need recognition
2. Information search
3. Evaluation of alternatives
4. Purchase decision
5. Post-purchase behavior
When I realized that my puppy still hasn't completely learned her potty manners, I recognized that I had a problem to solve—step 1. Then I moved onto step 2, which is the topic of this entry.
The World at Her Fingertips
Today's buyer has information available 24/7 within a few keystrokes. With an internet connection and a smartphone or computer, she'll do her homework to make buying decisions based on the information she finds under their fingertips.
As a marketer or sales leader, you have the ability to help that customer make the right buying decision—your product or service.
Why not shorten that process by providing a mix of educational materials that help the customer make her decision faster? Let's face it—she's either going to learn from you or from someone (or somewhere) else. So take control of the process.
Three Content Tools that Educate
Here are three content tools you can implement quickly and use to help shorten the decision process for your buyer:
Infographics—An infographic is a combination of text and graphics in one chart that helps you to visually represent data or other information. It is a quick and easy way to help the buyer navigate information and make a purchasing decision. There are a lot of tools available for creating infographics, including Piktochart and Canva.
Product/service comparison—These are perfect to put on your website to compare the features of your products or services either to your own multiple offerings or to your competitors'. Here's an example of the carpet cleaners I was reviewing once I determined which brand I was likely to buy. This tool helped me to identify which of these products was more likely to be most satisfactory to me.
Videos—"How-to" videos are a great way to showcase your product or service and can be relatively inexpensive to make. They enable your prospect or customer to envision herself in the role of using your product or service. Here's a great example, using a dog training technique from Rehab Dog Training, which has a collection of free training videos.
You're Not Done Yet
While educational content takes the buyer from early steps in the process, you can't rest on your laurels once she has made a purchase. My next post will discuss ways you can use content to engage and retain your customer.