Join Viveka von Rosen for an in-depth discussion in this video Buying cycle of a social consumer, part of LinkedIn Advertising Fundamentals.
- Let's talk about the buying cycle of a social consumer. If you're advertising on LinkedIn, then your prospect will be a social consumer. This just means that they're going online to find and buy product and services. Although there are many different social buying cycles out there, generally, they follow something that looks like this. Your social prospect has a need, a want, or a desire. Once your social prospect feels that need, want, or desire, they begin to think about how they can solve the issue or satisfy their needs.
In most cases, this includes Googling something, and that's where AdWords come in pretty handy. They might research review sites like Yelp or Trip Advisor. They may talk to their networks on social media. They might talk to their friends or family, face to face. Or, on the upper end of the scale, they might pay for market research. From their research, which could be as simple as a Google search, or as complicated as engaging a think tank, they are offered solutions.
They then must choose from the offered solutions, which might include even more research, or calling a company and talking to a representative, or again, talking to people who have already purchased and used a product or service. With the power of social media, social proof is becoming a more and more trusted alternative to qualifying a product or service. Once they've committed to a product or service, then they need to purchase that product. Once purchased, usually, hopefully, they implement the product or the service.
Depending on the depth, the type, the process, or the price of the purchase, the client might also be measuring analytics and metrics and results. And if they're satisfied with the product or service, refer it to their connections. Cool, so how do LinkedIn ads come into play in this cycle? Nine times out of ten, and for the sake of today's lesson, let's just assume that our customer is looking for prospects. My definition of a prospect is, anyone in a company, business, industry, or organization in the digital space, social media, online, who you find or attract, that has a perceived need for your product or service, is aware of that need, and has the desire and ability to purchase your product or service.
A prospect can easily be a customer or consumer of a product or service, as well as a vendor looking for clients, or a CEO looking for employees. Let's look specifically at how this buying cycle works in with LinkedIn ads. First of all, a consumer might feel a need or a pain, and oftentimes, an individual or a business is not even aware of their need. One of the ways LinkedIn ads can come in handy is introducing, or bringing up the topic of a need, want, desire that the client doesn't even know they have.
For instance, I might not even be thinking about infographics, or that I need them, but then I read an article about the power of visuals, maybe even a sponsored post, and all of the sudden this text ad shows up. "Got Infographic?" No, no I don't, but I clearly need them. Now what? Sometimes in one ad, you can address both the point of pain, and offer the fix. Here's an example. Uri is the director of marketing over at Red30 design, and they've created a new app that easily matches the color-coding and fonts on your website, and allows you to import that data easily into third party apps to create stunning visuals at a fraction at the usual marketing costs.
Uri's network consists of clients who have paid him top dollar for his marketing expertise, so his existing network is not necessarily the audience for this app. He needs to find a new audience of solopreneurs who do not have the budget his existing client base has, but who would find his new app very useful. He could use LinkedIn ads to create a sense of need around creating nicely-branded images and logos for cheap. He could write an article on the impact of good graphics, and sponsor that post to his new target market.
He could also write a quick ad that reads something like this, "Do your Graphics suck? "Download our free app and free your creativity! "With a free trial!" And then he could link it right to a beta sign-up page. He could also send a well-crafted sales page via sponsored InMails, or expand upon a text ad with a big, gorgeous display. He could even create a sponsored group just for content marketing solopreneurs. Do you see how Uri can use all the different ad types on LinkedIn to create and address a point of pain? Let's look at some of the other steps in this cycle.
Now that Uri's customers see that such an app exists, they might be tempted to Google other solutions. Uri needs to nurture these new leads. He will probably want to create more text ads and sponsored content to stay in front of their face, and to continue to showcase the USPs, the Unique Selling Propositions of his app. You know, maybe it's the only one. Now, his clients are going to learn about the different options and research what's out there. Guess what? Uri's app has no competition.
In fact, that's how his ad reads, "We have NO Competition! "Need a free, branded infographic? "We are the one and only for you!" Notice the rose, what does that have to do with infographics? Well, he's playing on the popularity of The Bachelor, and how there's truly only one and only. That is how you can position your product to the person researching products and services like yours. Maybe it's the least expensive, maybe it's the easiest to use, maybe you've got the best customer service.
All of these unique selling propositions will differentiate your product from others, so Uri can use text ads and sponsored content, and display ads to continue to share all the features, options, and benefits of his app, effectively wiping away his competition. If Uri has the budget, he can even use the marketing solutions enterprise ads, display ads to move these leads into Lead Accelerator and sponsored InMail to help nurture those leads into buying customers.
By now, hopefully Uri's prospects have already clicked on and downloaded the app. It's time to make a choice. If they haven't, then Uri would be smart to use customer testimonials, and, say, sponsored content. And on his company page, as well as developing a great testimonial page on his website that text and display ads could point to. This will continue to nurture and assuage the fear or hesitations of his consumers. He might also move his prospects into a funnel.
Email funnel or Lead Accelerator, and share great graphic and infographic templates and tips to position himself as an expert with his prospects. He could even share interviews and articles displaying his product, and where his product has been spotlighted through sponsored content, text ads, display ads, and he could even create a sponsored group or send sponsored InMail to continue to nurture that relationship. It all depends on his budget. Once someone has downloaded his app, made the purchase, then it's time to upsell them into a premium app with more features.
Unfortunately, at this time, LinkedIn text ads and sponsored updates do not offer free targeting, but Lead Accelerator would let him continue to nurture the leads. Now, it's time for the client to implement the product or service. This a great place where you can also continue to nurture that relationship. Let's face it, sometimes apps, products, services break. One of the ways that you can implement the need is with a text ad like this.
"Need help with your app? "Our 24/7 US-based support staff are here for you! "Call", and a phone number. This is a great way that you can keep in front of, and keep your customers happy. And that way, when they're measuring the results, when they're looking at how the app is working, they're more likely to give you a positive review. Good customer service means that even if the app had issues, Uri's company could quickly fix them, resulting in higher referrals and happier customers.
Again, Uri could use sponsored InMails and Lead Accelerator to nurture the relationship with his customers. And then it's time for referrals. Of course, if someone likes the app, they're more likely to sell it with their friends, and then we're right back into the social selling cycle. Depending on the marketing solution that you choose from LinkedIn, LinkedIn ads can definitely address one or all of the steps in the social buying cycle.
- Understanding LinkedIn ad options
- Budgeting strategies for Sponsored Updates
- Targeting text ads
- Targeting new audiences
- PPC vs. PPM big strategies
- Enterprise marketing with Sponsored Groups, Sponsored InMail, and Lead Accelerator