Don’t you just love when business people take something that seems to lack any level of excitement and turn it into a psychological adventure? Take the simple task of buying a tube of toothpaste. No one buys toothpaste on a whim – just ask any marketer. No, the purchaser ventures on a complex journey, wading through a sea of mouthwashes, elaborate dental treatments, and whitening strips before even arriving at the decision that toothpaste is the product they need to clean those pearly whites. Once they have determined the product type, they then need to select between features like all natural, plaque-fighting, fluoride, baking soda, whitening, sensitive, mint, spearmint, peppermint, vanilla mint, cherry mint, a touch of mint, and the list goes on and on. At that point, they still haven’t even made it to checkout. Phew…that’s quite the mental excursion just for a tube of toothpaste. Now imagine the voyage one goes on to buy a big-ticket item. Actually though, the process might be drawn out a little longer and the considerations will differ, the method is the same – an excursion through the purchase funnel.
The ultimate purpose of the marketing industry is to influence buyers throughout this purchase journey, to guide them down the funnel and send them spiraling into the loving arms of sales teams. Navigating through someone else’s funnel can be tricky and often seems more like a continuously evolving labyrinth than a chute. In an era when every buyer’s journey is different – on different devices, at different stages, with overwhelming amounts of information overflowing inboxes and search results pages –buyers are more than 2/3 of the way through the funnel before they even reach out to a company. The majority, if not all, of their research is done online. This doesn’t mean businesses, marketers, and sales teams can’t reach them before the end of the funnel. In fact, while there may be more noise to cut through, digital consumerism provides unique opportunities to reach prospects at every phase of their search.
Another statistic states over 80% of online traffic will be comprised of video by 2019. Keeping this in mind, businesses would be putting themselves at a major disadvantage if they fail to at least weigh the costs and benefits of using video for every stage of the buyer’s journey. It will become critical to effectively utilize the rich medium to reach potential buyers, influence their decisions, and maintain loyalty and top-of-the-mind awareness – that is if you want to keep up with the competition. But who wants to simply keep up; this five-part post series will make you a front runner in the purchase funnel game.
At the top of the funnel, individuals are in the awareness phase. They might linger in this stage for quite some time without any intent on buying your offering or anything like it in the near future. Still, the potential that they may need it down the road makes it critical to reach them. It’s essential to instill top-of-the-mind awareness ahead of time in order to be in the running when they have a definite realization of a need and are ready to start considering options.
Video for the awareness phase should be purposed to pique the interest of the target market. Content ought to pinpoint pain points or key psychological triggers and highlight the offering’s unique ability to overcome such challenges. The ultimate goal at this phase is to create a level of awareness around the offering, to intrigue the individual so that when they have a realized need that can be fulfilled by the product or service, they are quick to recall yours.
It’s important to remember that individuals are continuously forming opinions and associations with brands, even if they don’t realize they are doing so. As a young child, they may see their grandmother use a particular brand of canned tomatoes in her famous spaghetti surprise and though it isn’t a conscious choice, they develop a fondness for that brand. It will likely be decades before that individual needs to purchase a can of tomatoes, but when they do, the probability of them reaching for grandmother’s brand will be high.
Now, for your sake, I hope your sales cycle is much faster than the previous example but it demonstrates the importance of generating interest and partiality long before an individual or business is ready to reach for their credit card. Keep in mind, they will be collecting a mental list of options that may satisfy their need long before they are ready to buy and only those they are able to recall will meet the prospect in the next phase of the funnel, the familiarity phase.
In the awareness phase, it’s crucial to engage your audience through useful video. Think content that provides answers to their questions but isn’t heavily branded. The following video types work well in sending your message in the awareness phase and increasing recall down the road.
- Online Promo and TV Spots
- Web Series
- Product Launch
- Digital Signage