As a consumer, the sales funnel has a very particular path towards purchasing that I like to summarize into the four R’s: research, relationship, regular, representative.
Most articles summarize the end-user or purchaser in three stages: visitor, lead, and buyer. I take it a step further. Let’s start with the foundation:
I’m looking for a new furniture set – I know I need a sofa, a love seat, and maybe the chair. All I know as I start looking is the general color scheme I’m working with. It’s at this point that I begin my research into what describes a valuable couch (to start).
Is it easy to clean? Does it have wooden or plastic ends? Is the arm going to break if someone decides to use it as a seat? How many people can it fit comfortably? Is it deep set for people, like me, who have long legs? If my child runs into the back of it, will the material rip? What material is good throughout all seasons?
These questions can take hours to research, and therefore blogs are where I’m going to go. They might have testimonials regarding very specific couches that people have bought, but overall, I’m looking to understand what general qualities are necessary or good-to-have in my new couch.
As I read more and more, I find myself going back to one or two blogs in particular, because they’ve answered all my questions. It could take days/weeks/months to get to this point, but because I’ve found that one page so useful, I know that the business is one that I’ll want to contact – throughout my research, I’ve built a relationship with the business, even subconsciously.
It’s at this point that I call or visit the business, choose the couch I want based on the research I’ve done and specifically, the wealth of knowledge this business has given me. I ask some follow-up questions and then delve into a more refined search for what I want, knowing this business has my back. I then purchase the couch.
But I’m not just going to get the couch from this business – I need the love seat and chair, and now that I think about it, an area rug or center table would go great in my virtually empty living room. Done and done.
Now this is where companies lose their consumers more often than not, because they’re focused on making that one deal, and not looking to the future. You didn’t do all of that work just to get one person to come visit your shop a couple times. Especially in an industry where repeat buying is on a much slower frequency (I’ve filled my home and don’t need anything for another 5-10 years), your buyer needs to be a representative of your business when you’re not there to sell yourself.
That consumer has a wide network of friends and family and neighbors who will all need new furniture at some point. Don’t you want that customer to rave about you to all their contacts?
So your content does not stop at blogging for the researcher, targeted pages to leads or even the occasional promotion to a regular. You have to remind the regular that you’re here for them AND their networks. Your services page needs to show that you offer something no one else does!
Remember the 4 R’s when it comes to your website content, and you’ll be seeing the return in no time: Research, Relationship, Regular, Representative.