During the days of his presidential reign, in which he guided America through its tumultuous civil war, Abraham Lincoln issued “In God We Trust” on the US’ nation’s coin to help guide the nation through much of its turbulent times. Later on, President Dwight Eisenhower would make it the official motto of the country.
Much has changed since then, and when it comes to the way we select our services and products, it’s not a slogan on a coin we look to but rather it’s in “reviews and online guides we trust”.
Today, we look at how to start that trust relationship through our early stage marketing with items like online selection guides.
Last time if you were with us – we introduced Microsoft Dynamics® CRM marketing automation nurture marketing as a concept.
Specifically we discussed:
- The general benefits and concept of nurture marketing
- How we might do an introductory email in a manner that would build credibility and trust
- Reviewed the “welcome email” as we called it “typically also part of what we call early stage nurture marketing”
Getting the CRM Nurture Marketing Stages Right
When it comes to nurture marketing, in general, we can in general classify three stages in a nurture marketing campaign.
- This first stage is defined primarily by being educational in nature. Creating awareness and building trust with the potential customer (more information from Marketo on early stage marketing).
- The second stage which we will explore more detail in the next article is more targeted in its approach as to what type of information it provides.
- The last “late stage” provides answers and credibility indicators as the potential customer enters the final decision making process and becomes ready to choose which product or vendor they want to go with.
For today’s purpose, early stage marketing in Microsoft Dynamics® CRM marketing automation primarily concerns itself with providing prospective clients with educational information around products without being biased in its approach.
It rides a very fine line – very fine.
Early stage nurture marketing reminds me of the fellow who crossed Niagara falls last year walking a tight rope – he had to perfectly balance his weight over a 550 meter walk to reach his goal and avoid plunging to the waters below (not quite true he did wear a harness but nonetheless).
With “educational content marketing” in the same way you have to perfectly balance demonstrating to the prospect how knowledgeable you are about the subject without breaking their trust in you as a trusted source of information to move them onto the next stage of the “sales process”. Any violation of that trust will send you plunging to the “waters” below.
Getting an Educational Content Offer Right
The question that we must answer is this for the first stage; if I were the customer and were looking for “blank solution” what types of materials would I use to educate myself on the product? How would I want to educate myself?
This is where it is vital to use customer logic instead of company logic. If I was the customer what type of information would I be looking for? And second of all, what type of medium would I look to digest it in?
The goal in providing educational content to your potential customer is to make yourself a source for this type of credible information (credible is key here), thereby enabling and creating a platform for a future trust relationship that promotes having clients return to you over and over again for answers to their questions.
An Example of a Good Content Offer in Your CRM Marketing Automation
How do we go about doing this?
Well a good content offer for an early stage nurture campaign could be a “selection guide”. Not a selection guide that’s been produced by you in “typical biased fashion”. But a selection guide that provides unbiased information on how to go about selecting the product that the individual is looking for.
One way you might do this is that you as an organization would be to sponsor another unbiased organizations to produce the selection guides on your behalf.
The selection guide may – or they may not endorse all aspects about your product. Endorsement isn’t the point.
The important thing is that the content you provide opens up the relationship with your potential customer and be affiliated with a trusted source of information. To do that you need to work as an advisor – not a salesperson.
Marketing and sales have long changed that way, neither are any longer in control of the sales process, rather they act as an enablers for people to make their choices and help individuals accelerate their choices (in that way you do end up influencing them as well).
To earn that trust in the early stages, you could hand out a Gartner report or Forrester report that defines where your product stands in the market.
You’re concerned that you might end up in a bad light in the report? Sorry to break it to you – your potential customer could find it on your own if they wanted to. You might as well be the source of this trusted information.
Alternatively, you can hire a third party organization or local independent consultant to write a cheat sheet that helps prospects on the selection process of the types of products you sell.
Ultimately, we are in the trust economy – where trust is the most expensive currency you can own. Vendors beware, break this trust to your detriment.
Sell to early and you’ve lost all power to influence the decision making process.
The most important thing at this early stage is this – you are now allowed to sell. You should not promote your products, talk about your products, hardly smell like your products and barely look like your products. Your brand has to evoke trust and you do that by moving away from your products.
A simple education of the sales process, a guide, or a white paper (a real white paper – not a finely disguised product brochure). Just make sure you stay away from selling your service or product.
People don’t want to be sold then want to be guided. They want their hand held – right to the end.
Your Microsoft Dynamics® CRM nurture marketing campaign can do this until they are ready to buy. But you have to do your marketing in a way that accommodates the way they want to choose, not the way you want to sell.
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