Helpful and effective marketing content should eliminate confusion and build trust with customers and prospects. In this blog post, I will show you a very simple way that you can earn trust and increase the likelihood that people will do business with you.
(This is part five in a six-part series designed to help you win more leads and customers through your marketing).
Show Your Customers the Way
I have five kids which means that Legos and other toys are scattered on the floor. Inevitably, I will step on a Lego or some other dagger-like toy in the middle of the night when I’m walking barefoot through the house in the dark. At that point, any bit of sleepiness is gone and I’m wide awake trying not to say words I don’t want my kids to repeat.
Now take that idea and apply it to your website and marketing content. Your customers and prospects may be stumbling around on your website looking for what they need to do next and about to step on a Lego. So how do you turn on the light to show them where to go? By giving them a simple plan outlining what to do next. In doing so you make it easier for them to take the next step. You are earning their confidence and reducing the unknowns. And the more people trust you and the more barriers you remove, the more likely they are to become your customer.
Now, depending on what you sell, you might be thinking, “Steve, the next step is obvious — they should schedule a call (or whatever it might be for your business). Why do I need to spell it out for them?” Well, here’s the thing—it might be obvious, but by spelling it out you are proactively leading them and positioning yourself as a guide who is helping them move forward. When we are exceedingly clear about the steps involved with doing business with us, we are building trust.
Two Plans to Win More Customers
There are two primary types of plans that you can use on your website and in your marketing materials:
- A process plan outlines the three to four steps someone takes to become your customer. It can also be used to show what happens after someone becomes your customer.
- An agreement plan answers the most common objections that people have to doing business with you by telling them what you agree to do for them as a customer.
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Create Your Plans
The easiest plan is the pre-sale process plan that outlines how to do business with you. Here’s an example from our homepage:
This plan clearly lays out the process to become a customer. In a sense, we’re putting stones in a creek to help our customers get to the other side.
Keep your plan to three or four steps at the most. More than that and people start to disengage.
To create your process plan, outline the steps that someone would take to become your customer. The first step is often what you want them to do on your website and serves as your direct call-to-action (we’ll talk about this more in an upcoming blog post). It might be to “schedule a call,” “watch a demo,” or “sign up for a free trial.” What happens after they take that step? Are you getting in touch with them, sending them information? Be sure to give them an idea of what to expect. And then the final step is usually is presenting a proposal or kicking off the engagement. The important thing here is to limit it to four steps at the most. Once you go beyond that, people generally stop paying attention. The goal isn’t to establish every single detail but rather to provide an overview of the process while eliminating as many unknowns as possible.
An agreement plan is a great choice if you offer higher-priced, higher commitment products or services since the perceived risk will be higher. To get started, list out the most common buying objections you hear from customers and prospects. Next, rank the top three objections. And finally, write one to two sentences to answer each objection. Make sure you communicate in a way that provides reassurance without being defensive.
CarMax does a fantastic job of using an agreement plan on their homepage. Think about the concerns you have (or would have) about buying a used car. Now take a look at their agreement plan below. You’ll see that they acknowledge the most common objections in a way that builds trust and credibility while eliminating doubt and fear.
Where to Use Your Plan
The first place to put your process plan is your homepage. This helps people understand what steps are involved with doing business with you. You might have different process plans for different products and services in which case you will also want to add a process plan to specific product and service pages. Be sure to also include your process plan in sales letters, brochures, and sales decks.
We also recommend including your agreement plan on product and service pages, as well as in sales and marketing materials that you use throughout your sales process. However, in some cases, like CarMax, your homepage should also include an agreement plan.
If you would like to learn more about these types of plans and how to use them in more detail, grab a copy of Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. It is an outstanding book with a ton of practical information that helps you cut through the marketing noise and figure out what matters most when it comes to clarifying your message and winning more customers. (Sidenote: I am a StoryBrand Certified Guide — so if you have questions about StoryBrand, creating a plan, or marketing in general, I’d be happy to take some time and walk through more of this with you. You can get in touch with me here.)
By creating a simple plan and putting it where your customers and prospects can read it, you are reminding them that you are their guide and will show them their next step. When you eliminate unknowns and build trust you’re increasing the likelihood that they will do business with you. And that sounds like a great plan to me!