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Earning the right to time

Whilst the right timing is important to catch someone in a buying frame of mind, earning the right to take up a person’s time is critical. Especially if you want to build long-term customer relationships.

It’s no secret that effective timing is an essential ingredient of successful marketing. Spotting seasonality and maintaining frequency are, of course, key to getting noticed in the first place. But, that’s not where a focus on timing ends. To pull people through the buying decision, you need to understand how much time they want to give to the process. Then, ensure that you have the right tools and techniques of an appropriate duration, available when they want them.

Their pace = Your timing

Grabbing someone’s attention is a something that’s done in seconds. A person will either notice you, or they won’t. Then the moment has passed. As they then start to consider buying from you, they will gradually increase the time that they’re happy to devote to finding out about your products and services. Using emotional triggers at the Awareness stage will get intuitive and instinctive responses, which means they’re quick. As the logical brain kicks in the processes become far more conscious and considered, and take more time.

Facilitating a gradual increase in time investment through the process allows the buyer to move at their own pace. Some people may race through this process. Others may take a little longer. Allowing the buyer to do this gives them the sense of control. They feel invited into the decision, rather than bombarded. It also allows you to hit the right emotional and logical notes along the way.

The key to making this work is to make sure that one step leads to the next. Gradually earning the right to more of their time. You need to leave the buyer wanting a little more at each stage, and signposting where they can get it. The key word in that last sentence is ‘a little more’ don’t jump the gun. If someone has just read a blog post, it’s unlikely that they’re ready to buy, so emblazoning a massive shiny ‘buy now’ button isn’t quite right. Sign-posting a related service is. And, from that service page, sign-posting a case study detailing someone using that particular service is spot on.

Getting this ‘next step’ signposting right is often the Achilles heal in a marketing set-up. Take a look at your materials: is there always an option for the buyer to get that one step more, or are you asking them to leapfrog straight to calling you to arrange a meeting when they’ve just started on their journey?

This post is an adapted excerpt from Bryony’s forthcoming book, Watertight Marketing.

Bryony Thomas will be hosting next week’s online Masterclass – Which marketing, when? – an interactive 90-minute session that maps the different marketing content, tools and techniques against the way that business buyers make their purchasing decisions to enable you to build an integrated marketing strategy that supports the whole sales process.