Buying a pricey pair of sunglasses at the mall was not on Marshall’s honey-do list, but a week after the purchase he couldn’t be more satisfied. They look great on him, he’s gotten compliments, and Marshall is telling everyone who will listen about this particular brand of shades.
Marshall’s simple buyer’s journey had a happy ending. Not all journeys end that way, but they should. The Buyer Legends process will guide you through planning buyer journeys like this one. In this third installment of the Buyer Legends recipes series, I want to explain one of the basic ingredients in every customer experience that ends happily. We call it persuasive momentum. If you are not planning persuasive momentum into your customer’s experience, you are leaving way too much to chance. And if you are anything like me, I like to keep chance as far away from my business as possible.
What is Persuasive Momentum?
In “Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?“, we defined persuasive momentum as “the progressive decision-making process that aligns the customers’ goals with our own business goals”. Whether intentional or not, your business is operating a persuasive system. Even earlier, in 2002, we defined a persuasive system like this:
Persuasive systems are complex. Their success depends on their ability to address the varying levels of need a user brings to the online experience. To be effective, a website must address these user needs at every point in the process.
While in the past we were often referring to websites, this applies to the entire customer experience which includes social media, traditional media, call centers, signage, product placement, packaging, customer service, sales collateral, direct mail, billboards, PPC, SEM, PR, websites, micro-sites, video, demos, sales training, employee training, and of course, one-on-one customer interaction. Each of these components (and some I likely missed) together form your persuasive system. The better you optimize your persuasive system the more efficient you will be at converting and reconverting customers. It is our experience that the companies that plan and optimize persuasive momentum usually convert 2-4 times better than their industry average.
Too often, we see marketers that are stuck on the sales/conversion funnel metaphor. They insist on believing that pouring more customers into the top of the funnel means more come out at the end. This is working too hard for too little return. Your sales/conversion funnel likely has some elements of persuasive momentum, but are they planned and designed to be optimized? It also has some leaks. Do you know what in your customer experience is working and isn’t working to move (or not move) customer forward toward your set conversion goal.
Micro-actions vs. Macro-actions
Because persuasive momentum is about enticing customers to take action, you must understand the two types of actions you want customers to take. Typically your conversion/sales goals are the macro-actions: capturing a lead, closing a sale, becoming a member. These are usually the actions that take up the most time and effort in terms of optimization and planning. Still, it is dangerous to ignore the micro-actions. Micro-actions are all the required smaller actions customers need to take to before they can take a macro-action. Micro-actions can be as simple as clicking a link, watching a video, reading content, clicking an ad, taking a note, and more. Without persuasive momentum, customers do not move forward in their buying journey.
The 3 elements of Persuasive Momentum
No matter if the action is micro or macro, there is a simple formula that will help you identify persuasive momentum or the lack thereof.
- Relevance. Are you relevant to my wants/needs/desires (search query)?
- Value. Do I know why you are the right solution for me? Have you explained your value proposition/offer well?
- Call to action. Is it obvious what I need to do next? Have you given me the confidence to take that action?
Ask these questions of every touchpoint, and you will quickly find if your touch points are missing one, two, or all three of these components. Longtime readers may recognize that this is what we also call The Conversion Trinity.
Example #1 – Retail
Now I want to expand and dissect the sunglass-purchase happy ending at the beginning of this article to show you where each action was propelled forward by this force called persuasive momentum.
Here is the reverse chronological outline of that customer experience, with comments pointing out how persuasive momentum was planned and built into the experience. You can assume the kiosk employee was trained on how to present sunglasses and assist customers in buying the right pair for them.
- Marshall likes the brand on Facebook and shares the page with a few friends he thinks would appreciate knowing about these shades.
- Over the week, his wife and 17 year old daughter and a few of his female co-workers told him they love his sunglasses.
- Marshall is wearing his new shades every chance he gets, even on a fairly overcast day.
- Marshall walks out of the mall, puts on his new shades, holding his head a little higher.
- Marshall runs his errands, anxious to get outside with his new shades.
- The kiosk associate thanks him, hands him his bag.
- Marshall uses Apple Pay to pony up for the sunglasses he selected, his preferred form of paying. (The presence of the pay terminal is the call to action, but offering Apple pay reduces friction in the buying process).
- The kiosk associate wraps his old sunglasses in the pristine new case, polishes the new shades carefully, packs up the cleaning cloth, and hand the new shades to Marshall.
- The kiosk associate asks him if he wants to wear them out of the store and offers to pack up his old sunglasses.
- Marshall announces he will take the sunglasses (notice how each micro-action was needed for Marshall to have the momentum to just go ahead and purchase the shades, our macro-conversion).
- Marshall still thinks the glasses may be little too pricey for his taste, but the no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee puts him over the edge, and he decides to pull the trigger.
- The kiosk associate tell him that he has a 14-day, no-questions-asked full refund or exchange warranty. (Again, the kiosk associate is presenting a new value).
- Marshall asks to see them, tries them on, and decides the brown tint is better, but mentions to the kiosk associate that he loves them but faintly protests they are a little too expensive.
- The kiosk associate also tells him that particular style is available with brown tint, which is best for driving (kiosk associate is presenting a new value).
- “Hard to find” appeals to Marshall’s need to be one step ahead of everyone, not to mention that the glasses match his personal style.
- The kiosk associate notices the style that Marshall has fixated on and explains that the brand is taking off in the U.K., and are hard to find (the associate is now presenting a new value in Marshall’s buying journey).
- Marshall checks the price but doubles back. The price is more than he has ever spent on just sunglasses (Marshall is losing persuasive momentum).
- Marshall spends time trying on a handful of different pairs, but keeps coming back to one particular style, he thinks it frames his face very well. They are not too big and not too flashy. (The selection offers Marshall more relevance, and he is taking a micro-action with every pair of shades he tries on).
- The kiosk associate is helping another customer, but the booth itself has plenty of mirrors, with sunglasses displayed and arranged neatly, a fun sign invites customers to try on, and even take a selfie to share on social media for a modest discount. (the sign is a call to action, but specifically a micro-action).
- Marshall notices a new sunglass kiosk. He has been itching for a new pair, thinking he would wait until spring, but the styles look interesting so he stops to browse. (new sunglasses are relevant to Marshall, #1 of the conversion trinity).
- Marshall is shopping at the mall, picking up some tools at Sears, and a book for his daughter at Barnes & Noble.
Example #2 – B2B Lead Generation
This is a totally different company with a completely different customer. You might recognize this reverse chronology outline from my last article. Here I added comments to point out the elements of persuasive momentum.
- Mark is excited to start scouting locations and using IdealSpot.com.
- Mark fills out a form that asks for his name, email and password. He clicks Join and creates an IdealSpot account.
- Marks sees that his privacy will be protected (reduces buying friction).
- He clicks on the Get Started button. It explains the cost, that he is setting up an account, and that account will allow him to enter potential locations and request reports as needed. This is a call to action for the macro-action. Notice how many ways Mark was introduced to the value of IdealSpot and how it propelled him forward through the buying journey.
- Mark is sold and wants to try IdealSpot. Still believing the pricing is too good to be true, Mark reads a section on the pricing page that explains how big data and learning algorithms dramatically reduce the cost of research allowing ideal spot to offer high value analysis and rock bottom prices. This page solidifies Mark’s belief that IdealSpot has even greater value to him.
- Mark wants to get a sense of their track record, so he goes to the Success Stories page and reads a handful of stories from IdealSpot clients who are having early success. He realizes that IdealSpot is a startup, and their long-term track record is not as established as it could be, but the low price point introductory price of $197 removes this barrier in his mind. (Mark gets more value here and this continues his persuasive momentum).
- Mark reads about the algorithm, how the data is loaded for each location, and how the the clientele used to predict success are chosen based on competitors’ and his type of business. He sees this is similar, even superior, to the methods used by much more expensive location research alternatives. (This page provides more value and increases persuasive momentum).
- Mark clicks through to the the IdealSpot “How Does it Work” page. (The promise of an answer behind the How Does it Work is another call to action for a micro-action).
- He reads about how big data is able to spot success patterns. It explains that most location analyses “hit the wall” when people become involved (and consultants like Buxton), and spend time and money collecting piles of data, but then have no way to relate it to the success or failure of their business. This is where big data and learning algorithms inject science into the process by mining through the data to pick out patterns of success or failure and the key factors driving those patterns. The algorithms act without human bias. They start from scratch and construct a model that is unique for each business based purely on results. (Mark is starting to understand IdealSpot’s value to him).
- Mark clicks on a link to a re-targeted blog post while he is on LinkedIn, the subject line “How Science and Big Data Are Changing the Ways Businesses Choose New Locations. (Call to action for a micro-action).
- Mark, who is familiar with similar services and has spend tens of thousands on this type of research, had looked into IdealSpot. He went to the website, but didn’t get past the first page. His concern was that it would be just a whole bunch of computer-collated data with very little holistic insight into his needs as a business. In other words, it sounds too automated to be of real-world use. (This service is relevant to Mark).
The reverse chronology outline is the step in the process that allows you to address customer needs and plan persuasive momentum, while the pre-mortem will help you identify the relevant needs of the customer, as well ways to address the value of your product/service offerings.
Persuasive momentum is not an abstract concept, it needs to be planned concretely so that it can be implemented and optimized. Persuasive momentum lets you align the customers’ goals with your own goals. That is the only way both customer and company get to have the happy endings that you both desire.
We encourage you to try this for yourself, but if you need help , please let us know.
P.S. This is the third in a series of Buyer Legends Recipe Posts, please sign up to our newsletter for updates.