“A good guiding principle is this: be there across all stages of the consumer journey, not just when someone is ready to buy. To accomplish this, consider four key moment types that represent the full range of user needs,” Think with Google said in its whitepaper.
Learning about micro-moments opens the door to new tactics for your brand that you didn’t know existed. We’ve gone a little deeper in explaining what these moments are, and how your brand can appear in these moments in a positive way. Read on to get inspired.
People search Google over 40,000 times per second. And when they do, they want an answer fast. How can you make your brand relevant here? Answer any potential question that could arise that your brand can answer effectively.
For example, let’s say you work for S’well Bottles. Think of questions your potential customers could be asking. Search Google with queries like ‘are S’well water bottles,’ and see what questions appear in autocomplete. This will give you a great starting point. Also, scroll to the bottom of the search engine results page after searching for your product to see relevant searches for more content ideas. These are some of many ‘I-want-to-know’ moments related to your brand, and the perfect opportunity for you to provide the necessary information to move your customer down the funnel. Write blog posts, promote user testimonials, or create FAQ landing pages that answer these questions and more.
Most importantly, talk directly to customers to see what questions they need answered that you might not have found on Google. Think about sending out surveys to customers or talk to your company’s sales or customer service teams. The employees that are in contact the most with customers are extremely valuable for this research.
Lastly, think outside your brand. You should be able to answer every question a potential customer has about your brand, but what about your industry? Think about searches like ‘best birthday presents for healthy friends,’ or ‘workout accessories,’ or ‘how much water should I drink everyday?’
The goal is to become a trusted source in your area of expertise to eventually build a relationship and drive sales. Start building out a content idea list based on the questions that arise in this research to make sure your brand is showing up in the “I-want-to-know” moments.
According to Google, “near me” searches have grown 2X in the past year. This is a big opportunity if you have a storefront or consumer-facing location. How can you make your business known when people are searching?
Use location signals to highlight your store location or inventory. Your store’s location should be clearly stated on your website and app, and you might even provide directions to take it a step further. Consider buying AdWords for your store’s location or popular products.
When searching lululemon on my phone, I’m served an ad that provides nearby locations with hyperlinked addresses and phone numbers. But like we said earlier, think outside your brand. Using AdWords to take advantage of “near me” searches can be great for people who are searching with less specific intent, like ‘yoga clothes near me’ rather than ‘lululemon.’ Play with AdWords and make your location and inventory known to make your brand relevant in “I-want-to-go” moments.
These are the “how-to” moments. An obvious example would be a company that makes chocolate chips providing chocolate chip cookie recipes on their site. And, though obvious, it works.
To provide an example from our agency, we produce content around the search phrase “when should I redo my website.” When users come to our site to view these blog posts and download whitepapers, it provides us with valuable lead intelligence in addition to giving us the ability to help out our potential customers.
The number one goal should be helping out whoever’s reading your content, but the lead intel is an added benefit. When we know who’s looking into redoing a website, we can segment them and provide more relevant content to continue nurturing them down the path to purchase.
Google suggests creating video content for these moments, as more than 100 million hours of “how-to” content have been watched in North America already this year. We recommend providing subtitles as many people don’t use audio when watching videos.
Recently, I searched for ‘how to remove Macbook battery.’ It resulted in many helpful videos, but none of them were branded. If a local tech repair shop created their own how-to videos, I’d likely come to terms with the fact that I shouldn’t be removing my battery myself, and take it to the shop so they could handle the repair.
Regardless of type, your brand should be prepared for these “I-want-to-do” moments with how-to content.
Boost your engagement with the Content Strategy Workbook.
The “I-want-to-buy” moments can happen anywhere, but these are your top-of-funnel users making purchase decisions. These moments can happen in store, at home, at work — anywhere. So it’s important that you consider location and time of search to provide the most relevant content for users.
Last week, I searched for “best moisturizing face mask” while I was at home. This search resulted in an ad for a mask from skincare company Glossier. I then searched for user reviews and shortly after purchased the product online. It was that simple.
An ad with the right keywords and some positive user reviews convinced me to purchase. Note that this ad is for a product and not a brand. In this case, the product ad was much more effective than an ad for the skincare brand would have been. People are constantly looking for help deciding what to buy. If your brand can help people make that decision, you should do everything in your power to make that happen. The opportunity you can’t afford to miss: when people are comparing products before making a purchase.
Take advantage of this opportunity by encouraging your users to leave product reviews on your website and making these reviews easily accessible on mobile. This is also an opportunity to reach out to influencers relevant to your industry who will review your products on their own site or YouTube.
Aside from ramping up your user reviews, make sure your brand is answering the questions your users are asking before making a purchase. This goes back to the ‘I-want-to-know’ moments, but with a higher purchase intent.
Your messaging should be relevant according to the time and location of a search. It should also be easy for a customer to purchase on your site. Any hiccups in the purchase process will likely deter customers. Being prepared for the “I-want-to-buy” moments will likely make or break a business transaction.
How to win in micro-moments
You probably noticed that all of the search examples we mentioned in this article are actionable. A user is asking a question because she wants to buy something, make something, or do something. That’s what differentiates mobile search and defines the opportunity for marketers to take advantage of these micro-moments. A user is looking to be influenced in some way, and that’s your opportunity to engage.
[Tweet “A user is looking to be influenced in some way, and that’s your opportunity to engage.”]
So how do we win in these moments? First, consider the user’s intent and context. Make sure you’re appearing where people are searching, and provide relevant and useful information that will direct their decision.
Finally, make it seamless to complete the sale on mobile and desktop. In short, the brands that are able to answer questions in a fast and useful way are likely to get the business if the purchase process is as simple as the research process.]]>
1. Put your content strategy first, branding second. If you’re still marketing from the standpoint of building brand awareness, stop. No one cares about you, your products, your tagline, or your brand—at least, not yet.
They care about the fact that they have a problem they must solve, and if they don’t, they might lose their job. If you can solve that problem, then they’ll talk to you.
Today’s marketing must focus on digitally replacing some of the sales conversations that sales people used to be able to get on their own. And so the idea of mass marketing is out. People don’t want to be sold to, and they won’t tolerate disruption (which is why Netflix, HBO and Amazon are quickly replacing cable subscriptions.)
Branding comes ONLY as a side benefit of a content strategy that focuses on thought leadership and creates experience. In other words, if your content is worth reading, they’ll watch out for your emails and blog posts, and may even reach out to you directly if they think you can solve their problem.
And when it happens that way, it’s awesome. I’ve seen numerous situations where someone has read a blog post, picked up the phone, and became a client that day.
But since they don’t all work quite that smoothly, you need to focus on lead intelligence, which brings us to:
2. Your conversions aren’t really providing lead intelligence.
People are coming to your website, reading your blogs, and downloading your white papers—but they’re not (and will never be) prospects. If that’s the case, the reason probably comes down to the fact that your conversion asset doesn’t provide any real lead intelligence.
Your gated assets are your most powerful opportunities to convert anonymous web traffic into audience—but it can’t just be any piece of content. Obviously, the more value it provides, the better the leads—but that’s still not enough.
Whatever it is, it must speak directly to the typical pain points a customer has (and that you can solve) so it triggers a sales conversation either now, or in the future. Remember, it’s not about volume, mass media marketing anymore—it’s about finding the individuals that are sitting at their desks, wondering how they are going to solve a problem. To start:
What are the things that keep your prospects up at night?
What are some of the typical business challenges they face and are trying to solve?
As they’re exploring solutions to those business problems, what are the things they’ll care about throughout their buying process? (For example, are they an early stage shopper, are they looking at vendors, or are they actually narrowing down their selection?)
And here’s the other problem—if the asset that lives on the other side of that gate is crap, the reader might feel tricked and never visit your site again.
One of the biggest signs that you’re producing crappy content is that:
3. Your content isn’t fully integrated with your sales process.
Speaking of typical pain points and buying triggers, if you’re not putting out regular content that speaks to these issues on a regular basis for readers to find, you’re missing opportunities. Usually, this happens when marketing still operates within the silo of branding and awareness rather than getting their content topics directly from sales.
Sales people are at the front lines of customer and prospect interactions. They know what causes people to look for solutions like theirs, and if marketing isn’t helping to identify more at every stage of the funnel, sales is left to do it on their own, and will most likely miss quota.
This won’t work if you’re just assigning blogs, articles and white papers as tactics to marketing. It requires an ongoing process of listening and developing content that meets the pains and objections of prospects on a regular basis.
If marketing is producing content this way, and sales isn’t using it to open doors, then that’s another problem, which leads to:
4. Sales and business development are not educated on how to use content to their advantage.
Vendors have far less control over the sales process than they used to. It’s a hard truth for the salesperson who always thought they were awesome at prospecting. They used to be the gatekeepers of information about the products and services from the company.
But now, the buyer has significantly more control. They buy when they’re good and ready, and prefer to do research on their own before engaging with a sales person. But when they do, it’s usually a higher level of engagement.
“Today’s buyers control their journey through the buying cycle much more than today’s vendors control the selling cycle,” Lori Wizdo from Forrester said. “In a recent survey, 74% of business buyers told us that they conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.”
That has also led to the expansion of marketing’s responsibility for the full life cycle of the consumer, and the complexity brought on by all of the different channels.
But one of the biggest mistakes that sales people make today is to simply reject marketing’s leads because they aren’t ready at that time to take a meeting. Building an engaged audience means that we’re nurturing prospects with relevant content over time, and when they’re ready, they’ll be receptive to your call.
The bottom line for sales people is that it’s not about the number of touches anymore. It’s about how you use the lead intelligence collected by marketing in various formats to prioritize your outreach that will lead to sales conversations based on known problems that you can solve.
5. You don’t have the right collection and analysis tools in place.
In the B2B world, if you’re just sending out emails and tracking open and click-through rates, you’re missing opportunities. For this whole thing to work, you need a marketing automation system combined with a Customer Relationship Management tool to track all digital behavior by that prospect over time.
For example, as a sales person, I want to pull up a lead record in the CRM and see everything that prospect has engaged with. This information arms me with several follow up ideas based on what they’ve clicked that might lead to a sales conversation. I also know what else in my content library I have at my disposal to send them and nurture them down a path to buying.
Here are some examples of what today’s B2B sales person wants to see for each lead record:
Web pages they’ve viewed, webinars they’ve attended, white papers they’ve downloaded, newsletter articles they’ve clicked on, etc. These things provide the sales person with an indication of what to talk about and provide insight.
Once a qualifying sales conversation has taken place, who is involved in the decision? What’s their buying process? What’s their timeframe?
How far down the sales cycle are they? Are they just starting to research or are they down to vendor selection?
Now that you have some insight into how sales and marketing should work together, it’s time to get to work on your content strategy. Marketing should work hand-in-hand with sales to produce highly relevant content to bring in the most qualified leads.
Learn how to create content to solve your B2B sales problem.
Steven Louie, so rest assured it’ll be worth your while to try them out. Enjoy!
What is is: An extension that helps develop websites with per pixel accuracy
What we use it for: We use PerfectPixel to place a semi-transparent image overlay on the top of developed HTML for a per pixel comparison Download it here
GetThemAll Video Downloader
What is is: Universal video and file downloader
What we use it for: To find all downloadable files on a web page and download multiple files at once Download it here
What is is: Font identifier
What we use it for: Hover over web fonts to discover the font type, size, weight, and line height Download it here
What is is: Google Chrome window resizer
What we use it for: Quickly view different window sizes to test user functionality Download it here
Full Page Screen Capture
What is is: Makes for easy full page screenshotting
What we use it for: Ever tried to scroll while taking a screenshot to capture the whole page? We use this app often to turn full web pages into images Download it here Did we miss anything? Tweet at us @Flightpathny to share your favorite Chrome extensions for designers.
Are you a content marketing master? Take the quiz to
1. High expectations Customer experience has been a hot topic for the past year, and it seems the more we focus on creating a positive customer experience, the more demanding customers become. Companies like Casper and SoulCycle are setting the bar high by putting their customers’ happiness first.
When Casper unexpectedly ran out of mattresses during their initial launch, they ordered air mattresses on Amazon for the customers whose mattresses were backordered. They even put some people in hotel rooms while they waited for their mattress to arrive. Though costly, this was a smart move because a.) it was the first move of many that’s declared Casper’s customer service over-the-top, and b.) they kept customers that they otherwise would have lost to a competitor (and mattress purchase lifecycles are typically six years or longer-making it worth the effort to beat out mattress competitors).
If a customer doesn’t enjoy her experience in a SoulCycle class, they’re given a free class credit to try it again. SoulCycle does this because a bad experience could keep a customer from returning, but a free class provides a second chance for a better experience, which raises the likelihood they’ll return. After all, retaining customers is cheaper than attracting new ones.
Aside from delighting existing customers and bringing in lots of new ones, companies like SoulCycle and Casper have set a standard for companies to go out of their way to see to their customers’ needs.
Focus on delighting your customers in 2017. Whether it’s developing an easy-to-navigate app or website, or hiring cheery customer service representatives, your customers will be expecting their experience to be seamless, so make it a priority for 2017.
2. Authentically mobile experiences
Do you have any apps on your phone that you’ve never accessed on a desktop? Think: Uber, Snapchat, Pokemon Go. These are authentically mobile experiences because they were designed with a mobile-first mindset. You can easily navigate the apps on your phone, no pinching and zooming necessary. There also aren’t too many options in these applications. A simple menu or settings screen is all that’s necessary to complement the app’s primary function.
If your business or service can’t be converted to a standalone mobile experience, there are still plenty of opportunities to prepare your company for the mobile-first world. Focus on making your customer journey as simple as possible on a mobile device. Responsive website design and large form fields are good places to start. Take some time to explore chatbots and mobile payments to see if either could be a fit for your business. As Google has begun testing its mobile-first index, mobile optimization should be at the top of your list this year.
3. Video everywhere
Video continues to dominate as the format of choice. Adults are spending an average of 1 hour and 15 minutes consuming video each day. Video has proven to be effective in email and on websites in driving conversions and increasing customer loyalty. Just seeing the word ‘video’ in email subject lines leads to an increased open rate of 19%, according to Hyperfine Media.
So what can you do to keep up with the trend? Explore new video formats like 360 video and livestreaming. Give Facebook Live or Periscope a try, and if Snapchat is a good fit for your brand, now’s the time to get on the platform.
Just making videos isn’t going to drive conversions and boost sales, though. Your content should be relevant and entertaining. We live in an era of “infotainment,” a response to consumer demands for better content over ads. Think: Tasty and GoPro. Consumers need to digest information but be entertained at the same time. Finding a balance of entertainment and information engages users, grows awareness, and develops trust.
The use of marketing automation software like HubSpot, Marketo, and Salesforce is continuing to grow. For those who aren’t familiar, marketing automation is a category of software that streamlines, automates, and measures marketing tasks and workflows so companies can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.
Ease of building landing pages, creating emails, social media distribution, and CRM integration allow for marketing and sales alignment and lead generation and segmentation. While there are important differences between marketing automation platforms, success is often primarily determined by strategy and process, content and lead flow, and lead quality.
Having enough content is often the most underestimated challenge for successful marketing automation. Original, high quality content is a must-have for consistent lead generation and nurturing. This content should be based on a solid understanding of your target personas so that messaging resonates with your audience. While content marketing can be low cost, it requires a large amount of pre-work (persona research) and maintenance.
For a step-by-step guide on creating a content strategy: Download our workbook
“How to Create a Purposeful Content Strategy.”
5. Data attribution
The consumer decision journey has been fractured into hundreds of tiny decision-making moments at every stage of the funnel. Many companies have worked to engage the customer in all category-relevant micro moments. But 2017 will emphasize the importance of measuring and attributing that data.
Consumers take a multi-device path to purchase, and with advancing technology, we’re able to see those touchpoints. Enhanced attribution analysis can enable us to truly understand our customers’ experience. This year, work on understanding the interplay between multiple channels and devices. In a strong modeling methodology, values are assigned to marketing touch points, helping you quantify your marketing returns. Improving your data attribution can inform your marketing mix.
“Is my website continually producing satisfactory results?”
If your answer to the question is “yes,” and you haven’t updated your site in 5 years, or just redesigned last month, your decision should be obvious. To put it plainly: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Most likely, your answer to the question is ‘no.’ Your sales could be declining or your leads could be lowering in quality. Maybe you’ve never gotten great results from your site. In which case, it’s probably time to redo it. Regardless, if your website isn’t yielding the results you want, you should make some changes.
This list of indicators can help you decide whether or not it’s time for an update, and help direct your focus to the parts of your site that need to be improved. If you’re suffering from any of the following, your site could use some improvements.
1. It’s not helping you drive demand
Like we mentioned earlier, if your lead generation is low, it’s time to revamp your website. If this is the case, find the source of the problem. A ‘redesign’ just for the sake of it won’t help anyone. Is your homepage lacking clear CTAs? Does your homepage pass the 5-second test? If someone seeing your site for the first time can’t guess what your company does from glancing at the homepage for 5 seconds, prioritize clarifying your value proposition on your site’s homepage. You should also examine your user journeys. Odds are, that experience could be improved upon to help drive demand.
2. Your visitors are bouncing
If you get decent traffic, but all your visitors are bouncing, it’s possible that your site’s appearing in irrelevant search results. For example, if you’re running Google AdWords for ‘dress shoes’ but only sell children’s dress shoes, you’d bring in visitors that don’t belong on your site. Make it clear what people will be getting before they get to your page by utilizing titles and meta descriptions and optimizing on AdWords.
Also, make sure your website passes the 5-second test mentioned earlier. If people are brought to the website they’re intending to visit and they land on an easy-to-navigate site with clear CTAs, they’ll be more likely to stay a while.
3. Your users aren’t converting
This is similar to the above issue, but in this case you know you’re targeting the right audience. Your site visitors spend time on your site on multiple pages but then never convert. This probably means that you need to focus on your customer journey when redesigning your site. Your customers should be able to navigate their way around your site in their preferred medium, at their preferred time, on their preferred device. Focus on your user’s experience to bump up that conversion rate. Your objective is to help users find what they didn’t know they were looking for, which can be accomplished by creating enticing content and improving your user experience.
4. Your buyers aren’t finding you in the first place
If you aren’t appearing in searches or are having trouble bringing in your target audience, it’s time to do some search engine optimization and persona research. First, do you know your buyer personas? This is required research before redoing a website. You must learn who’s visiting your site and why, and what interests and inspires those people in order to build a site that properly serves them. If this is news to you, have no fear. We’ve created an effective and actionable workbook that goes through the whole process of researching and building your buyer personas. Complete the workbook
“How to Create a Purposeful Content Strategy” to build out your buyer personas. Now you know your target audience. But you’re still having trouble getting them on your site. This is where SEO comes in. Google’s latest update favors original, high-quality content. Make sure your company has a quality blog that offers relevant thought leadership and be sure to update it often. If you think you’re behind in more ways than just a lack of fresh content, it may be that you need to redo your website with current SEO trends in mind to improve your site’s ranking. Check out the comprehensive SEO checklist to see if your site is up to speed. Search engine optimization and persona research can massively improve the quality of the leads you’re attracting on your site. But these both must be done before designing your site. Think about SEO and persona research like blueprints for your website. SEO will help determine your site’s architecture, while your personas will be who you build your website around.
5. Your site is not optimized for a mobile device
With Google’s recent updates expanding mobile friendliness as a ranking signal, it’s clear that mobile is the direction we all should be headed. Even if you have a B2B site and few users are tracking from mobile devices, your SEO is still going to suffer without an update. The time has come to bite the bullet and optimize your site for mobile, no matter where your customers are coming from.
If you’re not using a Content Management System, it’s likely that your site isn’t updated with fresh content often, and there’s probably some outdated content on there too. When you redevelop your site, take a look at Umbraco or Drupal as CMS options. Because of Google’s tendency to favor sites that are updated often, switching to a CMS is necessary. Your site’s managers will be grateful for the ability to quickly and easily swap out content without needing to use code.
7. You aren’t using HTTPS
HTTPS used to only be used by e-commerce sites and other websites that handled secure information. Nowadays, however, it’s becoming increasingly important that every site use HTTPS for SEO, increased page speed, user perception, and security.
If you aren’t convinced your site should be using HTTPS, check out the 5 Reasons You Should be Using HTTPS.
While beginning to use HTTPS won’t require redoing your website, you will have to purchase an SSL certificate and set up 301 redirects, so it will require involving your tech team.
In short, it’s time to update your website if it isn’t accomplishing what you want it to accomplish.
And if it isn’t, pinpoint the problems and get down to the source of those problems. Your conversion rate might be lower than you’d like, so focus on improving the customer journey to solve that problem. Your redesign should revolve around fixing the problems you’re facing. With a clear direction and thorough research, the resources that go into redoing your site will be well worth it for your business.