Are You Ignoring Your Potential Customers?
As business owners, we have a natural tendency to focus only on those customers who are most ready to buy: the prospect who was directly referred to you, the car shopper who walks onto your lot, the pre-qualified home buyer, or even the person who clicks the “Buy Now” button on your website.
It makes sense on the surface, right? People in the “decision-making” phase of the buying process present the path of least resistance to more money in your bank account, and it’s reasonable to treat them like the high-value prospects that they are.
However, with all of the attention you’re giving to the ready-to-buy crowd, you may be unintentionally ignoring, well, everyone else.
By now, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the concept of the “sales funnel.” Potential customers begin in the “awareness” phase at the top of the funnel and gradually work their way down to the “purchase” or “action” phase at the bottom. Naturally, most people drop out along the way, leaving you with far more people at the top of the funnel than the bottom. Yet, we still focus most of our attention on the small group of prospects in the bottom of the funnel.
When you look at it that way, doesn’t it seem foolish to ignore the top of the funnel? They may be weeks, months, or even years away from making a decision, but they are still potential customers. Your marketing and communications need to focus on educating and nurturing your audience.
To help get you started, here are four ways to engage with the top of your funnel
1.Publish Thought-Leadership Content
One of the main benefits of a content marketing plan is establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field. Now, “content” can take a variety of forms — whether it be blog posts, infographics, video, podcasts, etc. — and not all of them will fit your business or personality.
Once you find one or two that make the most sense, you can start showing off your expertise. If you publish enough high-quality content, potential customers will likely begin to take notice; then, when the time comes for them to make a purchase, you’re already on their list.
2. Engage on Social Media
Where does your target audience spend most of its time online? LinkedIn? Twitter? Facebook? Find out which medium is most popular with your audience and become an active member of that community.
This could be a weekly Twitter chat (using some sort of #hashtagchat), regular posts to your LinkedIn network, or comments in a Facebook group. At Expert Leverage, we’ve created a LinkedIn group for our current and potential customers to interact, while simultaneously growing our respective networks.
3. Build Your Email List
Even with new mediums emerging, and buying habits changing by the year, email remains an extremely viable way to communicate with your customers. You could send out a monthly or quarterly newsletter, offer a free drip course, or simply use email as a way to distribute your latest pieces of content.
If you’re not doing so already, consider investing some resources into building your list. Give away a PDF in exchange for an email, employ an exit-intent popup with a newsletter signup, or even go so far as to host a registration-required webinar
4. Good Old-Fashioned Networking
Now, stay with me here… there is still a real world out there beyond the Internet! I know; it’s easy to forget. Yet, many decision makers still like to meet people in person.
Look into the conferences, trade shows, and meetups most frequently attended by your target audience, and make plans to attend those which you can. Reconnect with old friends and colleagues over lunch. Just make sure you’re getting out there amongst the people — your next opportunity may be just one cup of coffee away!
There’s no question that your bottom-of-funnel prospects are extremely valuable. My point is certainly not to tell you to spend less time trying to close your hottest leads — by all means, continue making them a priority!
I simply want you to remember that your hottest prospects are not your ONLY prospects, and that your top-of-funnel leads need love, too!