Today, people will seldom buy anything without doing some online research. For example, I was recently looking to buy a new car. I had read all the blogs, reviews and researched the best finance available, so I was fully prepared to ‘haggle’ with the dealer. To my surprise, when I started to haggle the dealer agreed and gave me a reasonable price. I was flabbergasted that the whole process went smoothly.
When the deal was done and I was about to leave the dealership I asked: “why didn’t you haggle?” He replied: “Because I have learned that every customer that comes in here and is serious about buying, has done their research and already knows the best price, so it doesn’t make any sense to try and tell them different”.
Later that week, I started to think about the buying process for software products…
In many ways it is not so different. The buyer has many tools at their disposal to research and understand the pros and cons of any solution. Today’s buyer is more clued up than ever, as web based research will quickly give you information on:
- Product Features
- Company information
- Pricing and Support
All of this can be found after some basic research but does it help the user to work out if this product or solution is really for them?
Many software companies fail to provide content that meets the needs of the online user matched to their stage in the buying cycle and, as a result, limit the potential to engage and convert their audience to take action.
I would like to show you there are more questions a company needs to answer beyond pricing, features and company information to increase online software sales by being truly customer-focussed rather than product-focussed. If the only conversion mechanism is ‘Get Trial’ or ‘Sign Up’ then you will significantly limit your opportunity to attract users at different stages of the purchase journey.
What are the audience’s challenges?
A software company must address the challenges of their prospective user. They need to create confidence by showing knowledge in their domain. This type of content is used to inspire the user to take action making them aware of their challenges and issues that they didn’t know existed. They now have a need!
How can you help take away my pain?
Now that you have shown the potential user they have a need to resolve their challenge(s), they will be researching vendors to find a solution, browsing websites, talking to business peers, signing up for content and checking out reviews of products online. This is where the software company should provide content to solve the prospect’s issues while building trust by showing why and how they understand these challenges.
Are your customers satisfied?
Remember, software is not only an investment in a solution, it usually is also an investment in the people within your company, the best way to find out if your software and implementation methods are what they say they are is to show proof from your existing customers on your website, YouTube videos, quotes on a blog or even a LinkedIn recommendation.
Can I take a test drive?
Now, it may get to the point where the buyer’s decision is between you and a competitor. It is suitable to have a call to action on your website of a live demonstration on your prospect’s specific requirements, or a free trial. Similarly, to go back to the car buying analogy, if there were two dealerships that had similar cars I would take a test drive. Your prospects can test drive your system. What makes it powerful is they can see not only if your software meets their specific needs, but what service they would gain from choosing you over one of your competitors.
With 80% plus of users starting their search for products online it has never been more important to ensure that you are getting found online by your audience.
Increasingly, users search around the issues they are trying to resolve using ‘how to’ searches, and they look for the evidence of success in content like case studies and testimonial videos. Making this content available online makes a big difference when it comes to getting found by your audience through organic search. Similarly, it makes a big difference to the potential user’s decision making process when they find your content that addresses and solves their issues.
So, it is important to help prospective users by answering the questions they have at each stage of the buying cycle enabling their movement towards making an informed purchase decision when choosing a software product or solution, and the trust you build with these prospects by doing this will increase online sales for you.
To explore further engaging with prospects online, you can download this FREE guide to online lead generation:
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