We often think of people as buyers in pipeline stages or funnels. As if their journey is somehow linear, they understand their problem, and can cut a straight line to the solution.
But it’s much messier than that. They just know the symptoms and, vaguely, the treatment options available.
And so they will most likely pick a wrong or suboptimal solution.
If you are sufficiently expert for a market, you have a lot of experience, you know the beats, what they think they want, and what that signals about their underlying problems.
You do this naturally on a sales call. Or in conversation with a list member. In the moment, you can identify the problem and easily draw the line between where they are and where to go.
You just don’t do it in aggregate for those who need it most, the ones not ready to contact you until they are ready to contact you, the ones close to contacting someone else that will happily take their money to solve the wrong problem.
For the vast majority of those who end up not subscribing or contacting you, you miss the value of first engaging, addressing, challenging if necessary, educating the prospect, ridding them of their assumptions, helping them efficiently.
You would rather wait around for someone to ask for directions than to draw a map.
The outcome of choosing to do that with your website isn’t just more clarity on your market, it is a tide that raises all ships:
- traffic – users and search engines get stronger signals re what subject matter you’re talking about as well as stronger signals that you are in fact an expert on an array of related topics
- conversions – lead quality increases with more accurate search traffic, users are nudged toward your most impactful content, and they can actually find your paid solutions when they are in-market
- site and list engagement – allowing users to self-select where to go is the easiest way to segment and personalize without doing weird invasive data things or “dynamically changing text” on a page because someone clicked a button in a popup, it’s old school but it works
- what to write about next – content audit + mapping user journeys effectively means you find all the gaping holes in your expertise as cultivated by thinking by writing
- positioning – you are forced to think about this because with your ultimate goal of changing the way a market thinks, you first have to meet them where they are
Draw from your very valid experience.
Make decisions with and care enough about your own data to enrich it to points of insight.
Map those conversations you want to have with different groups by meeting them where they are – early.
Is that really so much to ask?