We’re now at stage three in the sales funnel, which means we’re closing in on the halfway point of your leads’ journey to becoming one of your loyal customers.
At this time, we’ll be looking at evaluation: how people assess the quality of your brand and its offering, analyse the standard of your work, gauge how reliable your company is, and ultimately evaluate if they are making the right decision.
The evaluation stage is a tipping point for potential customers. If they don’t like what they find, they’ll make a swift exit from your sales funnel, and you may never see them again. However, if their evaluation results in a positive impression, they’ll be on the cusp of making a purchase.
So, it goes without saying that preparing your company to be evaluated is essential.
Without further ado, let’s jump into stage three — evaluation.
What are leads looking for?
In short, they’re looking for something to inspire their confidence in your business and your offering.
As people edge closer to making a purchase from your company, they search for reassurance that they’re making a wise decision. Some of them will have been burned before by cowboys or rogue traders; others will have heard of such treachery and are wary of falling foul themselves.
Now, when you’ve guided people through the first two stages of the sales funnel, you have a head start. Your expert insight and useful tips have sown the seed of trust. Now is the time to nurture that seed and help it blossom into a beautiful trust tulip.
Where will they be looking, and what can I do?
In search of the confidence-building material they need, people will likely look in two places: your website and review sites.
Let’s start with the latter.
It goes without saying that you have no control over review sites. If someone writes a negative review about your business, the best you can do is create an account for your company, respond to the review, try to make it right, and show that you care.
However, being active on several review sites is time consuming, especially for small teams. Instead, when you communicate with customers, encourage them to leave positive reviews and feedback. In transactional communications, such as confirmation emails, guiding the customer to a review site makes for a great CTA.
A waterfall of positive reviews will drown out negative comments, making them seem like outliers, and also have a positive impact on anyone evaluating your business.
Now, for your website. It’s important for your website’s static content to make a flawless first impression. Any visitor to your website should feel welcomed from the outset, be introduced to your offering, and given the time to proceed at their leisure. That means using warm, personable language and avoiding a pushy sales tone that can drive potential customers away.
It’s not just about the content on your home, about, and services pages, though. Sure, they will help, but there’s a lot more you can do.
What could be more convincing for a lead than an example of your previous work that is thoroughly analysed and documented from start to finish? Not much.
If a potential customer reads a study about one of your previous projects that delivered a similar end result to what they’re looking for, they could immediately move onto the next stage of the sales funnel, no questions asked.
The opinion of others is a powerful form of persuasion, and word of mouth can both sustain and destroy businesses.
When potential customers visit review sites, they’re looking for the opinion of others. By adding a testimonials page to your website, you provide a platform for reviews and social proof that you control. It’s a great place to showcase the views of your happy customers and convince others of your company’s reliability.
If your company has been delivering high-quality products or services for a while, you’re sure to have built up an attractive repertoire of previous projects. Showcasing them on a portfolio page through images and small descriptions is a consumable way to evidence the standard of work you deliver.
Proving your expertise can take many forms.
One of the most popular is a whitepaper. These documents are in-depth, authoritative reports on a particular topic that present a problem and provide the solution. Through the whitepaper, a senior member of your team will demonstrate their industry knowledge so that the report is not only valuable to the reader but also an advert for your expertise.
Content really matters
Content marketing is not just about blog posts and thought pieces; it’s about demonstrating your company’s expertise and the quality of your offering — sometimes explicitly, sometimes indirectly.
At the evaluation stage of the sales funnel, leads are looking for evidence that your product or service is right for them, and that they can trust your company to deliver.
Whether you find case studies best showcase the standard of your work or you have an endless collection of glowing testimonials, this reassuring social proof will go a long way to moving potential customers from the evaluation stage through to stage four — intent.
In our next blog post, we’ll examine the use of content in stage four of the sales funnel. But, until then, if you’d like our experienced writers to help you create content that convinces leads you and your offering are right for them, don’t hesitate to get in touch!