No doubt you’ve been told that you need to get your marketing timing right. A glib, almost meaningless, statement… I mean ‘right’ is so dependent on what you sell and to whom. So, rather than tell you that Tuesday at 2pm is your golden moment, here are three guiding principles for working out what’s right for your buyers.
The easy stuff when it comes to marketing timing is increasing the chance of showing up when someone is looking – for this I’ve devised Three S Timing. The tough stuff is making people want to spend time with you. For this you’ll need to find ways to earn the right to a person’s time. And, lastly, I’d encourage you to slow things down
Three S Timing
This is about showing up when your potential buyer is likely to notice you. These three key considerations are useful for planning your key awareness activities:
– Selectivity: a person’s attention is selective. When in a buying mood, they will suddenly notice something that has always been there. You need to structure your activities to show up often enough to increase the likelihood of being there in this moment. This means a baseline of awareness activity, a bit like a lighthouse.
– Seasonality: every market has seasonal shifts. Be it the school year, the financial year, weather patterns or some other regular rhythm, there will be times of increased awareness you can tap into.
– Scheduling: then there’s how they structure their time. Do they work 9-5 or at weekends? Are there days of the week, or times of day that are more effective than others? Work this out and schedule your activity accordingly.
Once you have their attention, you need to keep it…
Do you earn the right to time?
My clarion cry on this one is to stop thinking about how long it takes to explain what you do, to work out how to explain what you do and in how long your buyer wants to give you. Because, whilst everything above might help you get your initial message in front of them when they’re looking, it does very little to make people want to look for longer. Across a buying decision, someone might spend a great deal of time considering their purchase. The riskier the decision, the longer they might spend thinking about it.
But, they won’t do it all at once if you break this down, you will see that people start by devoting a little time, a few minutes scanning search results for example, then steadily increase the time they spend as they get closer to becoming a customer.
If you work out roughly what a reasonable time investment is for your buyers at each stage, you can then select marketing tools or techniques to suit. For example:
– Awareness: <5 seconds = one liners in social media
– Interest: <5 minutes = a blog post
– Evaluation: <30 minutes = a paper, guide, etc.
– Trial: 1 hour = web seminar or demo
– Adoption: 2 weeks = trial period
– Loyalty: Ongoing = customer newsletter and communications
Simply cutting up your existing materials into appropriate time chunks can have a powerful impact in terms of pulling people through their buying decision. It’s respectful of their time, and it gives them a sense of control.
Slow down to sell more
This stepped approach is often seen as slowing sales down, which can feel extremely frustrating to a salesperson of business owner looking for sales results, fast.
It’s worth remembering that if you rush someone into a decision they will often mitigate any potential risk by just saying no. Or, they’ll say yes, simply to reconsider later. This is why hard-sell rarely works twice. If your business wants ongoing relationships, positive work of mouth or repeat business from your customers, giving them time and space to actively choose to buy from you will build you a much better platform for long-term growth.That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be proactive in putting a compelling stepping-stone in front of them. But, you shouldn’t be pushing them onto it; it’s more effective if you’re offering a helping hand to steady their step as they choose to move forward.
By: Bryony Thomas