Today, the buyer’s journey is messy.
In fact, Google calls it “The Messy Middle” because rather than a linear progression down the sale’s funnel, it’s a back-and-forth, twisting-and-turning path from trigger to purchase.
Unexpectedly, this has made closing sales more complex and challenging than ever before. In fact, it now takes 27 touchpoints to complete a sale compared to 17 pre-pandemic.
The pandemic has ushered in a new era of digital transformation, where traditional sales approaches have been disrupted, and virtual interactions have become the norm. With more people working remotely and relying on digital channels, businesses have had to adapt their sales strategies accordingly. Prospects now have access to a wealth of information at their fingertips, empowering them to conduct thorough research and compare multiple options before making a purchasing decision.
As a result, sales professionals need to be proactive and present throughout the entire buyer’s journey. Businesses must engage with prospects at multiple stages, providing relevant and valuable information at each touchpoint. This extended engagement is necessary to build trust, address concerns, and differentiate themselves from the competition. Ultimately, companies that do a good job of fostering long-term engagements with their audience will become the “default choice” for their buyers.
At any given time, only 5% of your market is actually ready to convert—this is where sales should focus their efforts. On the other hand, 95% of your market is made up of people and businesses in the research and evaluation stage of the buyer’s journey. It’s during this stage that marketing should be making numerous touchpoints, bolstering credibility, answering questions, and creating frequency bias.
To navigate this new landscape successfully, businesses must adopt a closing mindset right from the initial contact with a prospect. They need to understand that every interaction matters and can potentially contribute to the eventual sale. Each touchpoint should be seen as an opportunity to gather insights, understand the prospect’s needs, and tailor the sales approach accordingly. By staying focused on closing the deal throughout the entire process, sales professionals can better guide prospects, address objections, and ultimately increase their chances of conversion.
The increased number of touchpoints necessitates effective organization and management of customer data. Sales teams must leverage customer relationship management (CRM) tools and other technologies to track and analyze interactions, preferences, and behaviors. This data-driven approach enables them to personalize their sales efforts, deliver targeted messaging, and provide relevant recommendations based on prospect interests and pain points.
It’s easy in this day and age to get overwhelmed by large competitors. If you’re coveting tier-one press hits, you aren’t alone. But the good news is that because your audience needs 27 touchpoints to convert, one major press hit won’t do it alone.
How is that good news?
It frees your marketing and PR team to focus on smaller, niche outlets they may overlook if you constantly focus solely on major media hits.
Stealing YouTube’s Playbook
YouTube and Netflix are two prominent players in the media industry, generating an impressive annual revenue of $30 billion each. While they both operate within the same realm, their approaches and strategies differ significantly, contributing to their unique positions in the market.
With its substantial budget, Netflix primarily focuses on acquiring and producing content that is deemed highly popular or “best-sellers.” They pursue marquis shows and films, targeting tier-one content that captures a wide audience and generates significant buzz. By investing heavily in blockbuster productions, Netflix aims to attract a large subscriber base and position itself as a go-to destination for high-quality, mainstream entertainment. This strategy involves betting on well-known intellectual properties, established franchises, and A-list talent to appeal to a broad demographic.
On the other hand, YouTube adopts an entirely different approach, capitalizing on the power of niches and embracing the long-tail strategy. Rather than concentrating solely on blockbuster content, YouTube positions itself as a platform that caters to an extensive range of interests and queries. With its vast library of user-generated content, YouTube has amassed an immense collection covering virtually every conceivable topic. The platform adopts a “say yes to every possible query” mentality, making it a hub for niche content creators and enthusiasts.
By providing a platform where individuals can create and share content about their passions and interests, YouTube has successfully built an excellent brand. It has become synonymous with diversity, inclusivity, and the democratization of content creation. Users can find an abundance of videos on specialized subjects, whether it’s tutorials, DIY projects, niche hobbies, educational content, or even obscure forms of entertainment. YouTube’s long-tail strategy has attracted a massive and engaged user base, fostering a sense of community and establishing itself as a reliable source of information, entertainment, and creativity.
While Netflix bets on high-budget productions and marquis content to appeal to a broad audience, YouTube’s strength lies in its ability to cater to individual tastes and interests. By embracing niches and the long-tail strategy, YouTube has created a platform where content creators and consumers can connect on a personal level, fostering a sense of authenticity and engagement. This approach has proven highly successful, with YouTube becoming a household name and a dominant force in the online video landscape.
For tech startups and B2Bs looking to achieve success, emulating YouTube’s playbook can prove advantageous. Rather than solely pursuing one-off, massive hits, adopting a long-tail strategy can yield more sustainable and robust results.
By saying “yes” to various avenues such as podcasts, newsletters, and trade publications, startups can diversify their presence and reach in the market. Rather than relying solely on big headlines or major media coverage, embracing multiple channels allows for a broader and more consistent share of voice. Share of voice refers to the visibility and prominence a brand or company has in its industry’s conversations and discussions.
Related Reading: The Long-Tail Approach to B2B PR and Marketing
For example, giving an interview on a niche podcast can provide an avenue to share industry insights, discuss trends, and engage with thought leaders and experts. This not only enhances the startup’s credibility but also enables them to connect with a niche audience that is interested in the specific topics covered in the podcast.
Investing time in getting features in newsletters that cater directly to a subset of your audience allows your brand to build grassroots interest where it matters most. By providing relevant and insightful content on a consistent basis, businesses can build trust and nurture relationships with smaller media outlets and their audience, establishing themselves as a reliable source of expertise and information.
Collaborating with trade publications or industry-specific platforms provides startups with the opportunity to reach a highly targeted audience. By contributing thought leadership articles, sharing success stories, or participating in industry events, startups can position themselves as key players and gain visibility among their peers and potential customers.
The long-tail strategy is focused on achieving a broader and more sustained impact by catering to specific interests and niches within the target market. While aiming for one-off, massive hits might yield short-term spikes in visibility, the long-tail approach offers the potential for steady growth and market penetration.
Want to learn how your company can steal YouTube’s playbook to convert prospects into loyal customers? Reach out. We’d love to help.