Every client I’ve worked with often tells me “if we just build awareness”, they will come. No they won’t. Awareness is just the first stage in the process. Prospective clients may learn about your company through a news story or if you invest in advertising or the start of word of mouth when you tell all your friends. But being aware, doesn’t make them ready to buy. Publicity campaigns can get you started.
The next step is getting the client interested. They need to actually check your company out. They seek out more information. Maybe they read your website, pick up a brochure or read an article about your company. Still haven’t bought anything yet.Developing quality marketing communications materials from websites to brochures that offer value propositions and content marketing in your social media and community relations starts that interest.
What the client does next is determine whether or not what you offer fills a need or want. They check you out. This is when word-of-mouth really kicks in. They ask their “early adopter” friends if they know about your service or product. They look for referrals. This is really tough for businesses just off the ground. When you’ve been around for 10 years, someone’s got a notion about your service. Your word-of-mouth and customer relations strategies influence the positive or create vacuums for the negative to fill.
Now they might try it out. This preliminary step might be taking a sample, downloading a demo, signing up for tips. Conducting events to make those introductions whether an open house or a wowza-polooza works if you have the time and energy. Other options are attending trade shows or going on a speaker’s circuit.
If all of this comes together in alignment, then and only then will they adopt–buy your product, take your training, etc. Then you start your customer relations efforts all over again.
At any given point the prospect could walk away. Aware doesn’t mean interest. I’m aware of the local music scene. Never go–not a fan of live performance because it impacts beats for dancing. Rarely will I go, unless someone I know wants me to go with them. But I’m aware of all the venues and the genre options available in my local scene. You offer dancing music with no smokey venue and easy access to water, I’ll go to your musical gig.