Eighty percent of success is just showing up. – Woody Allen
I’m actually not a huge Woody Allen fan. I don’t even know anyone who is, if I’m honest. Perhaps I grew up in the wrong generation or something. I think there’s a lot to be said for the maxim though, so I’ll take it! Particularly since, in an always-on, always connected-world – the concept of showing up is absolutely critical to the success of your on and increasingly your offline business.
In my last post I talked about how you need to be producing enough content to get your customer through the buying process, in terms of time. But there’s another way of thinking about this. Instead of focusing on how much time it takes your potential customer to make a buying decision, you can think about how many times they need to be touched instead.
What’s a touch?
In the real or physical world – a touch is self explanatory. It’s a hand on the shoulder or a tap on the knee required to momentarily capture someone’s attention so that you can say to them “hey – look over here!”
It’s only in the online space that things get a bit more complicated. What’s the equivalent of a hand on the shoulder, a tap or a pointy finger in Facebook or on Google? Touches can come in many forms. They could be a post, a status, a video, a picture, an advert, a long or short form article, a search result, a PPC, a tweet, a Pin…
The list goes on and on. But the concept remains the same. It’s a light (or heavier) touch intended to redirect someone’s attention to your product or service.
The rules of touching
It’s fairly straightforward really. But there’s a couple of other things that need to be taken into consideration. We need to think about trust a little bit, and also the context within which the touch takes place. Because touching without trust may cause offence. And likewise if the context isn’t right – touching might be considered inappropriate!
And this is where we come back to Woody Allen. No – not with the inappropriate touching… With the showing up maxim!
Build a relationship
Your prospective customer may not know who you are the first time you get their attention. You need to build up trust with them by being everywhere they are and by providing them with high quality content.
In the same way as you might woo a prospective partner, you’ll want to figure out who the friends of your prospect are, what they like, where they hang out and when – so that you (or rather, your content) can be seen at the same times, in the same places, being shared, liked or commented on by the same people.
When you achieve this, you develop social proof, which is just another way of saying your prospect thinks you are like them. That also means they will begin to trust you, your brand, your product or service as a result.
Be context aware
In parallel with trust, it’s important to take into account the circumstances or the route via which your prospect has arrived at your doorstep. This has always been an important factor, but there are some considerations peculiar to the online space. Primarily, the impact of mobile devices.
These days, when your potential customer is looking for a solution to their problem, it could be anywhere, anytime, and it could be from a multitude of applications or services. It wasn’t so long ago that even on a mobile device, a prospect would search via their browser – probably using Google. But now they can search within whatever application they’re using at the time: Facebook, Twitter, Maps or using a service specific to the brand of phone; Siri for example.
How does that affect your touching? Think about how your content will be displayed both on the device and also within the application. If your touch is via LinkedIn for example, it should have a different look and feel to a Facebook or a Twitter post.
Specifically, things like the image formatting will make a difference, and also the headline. As a rule of thumb, think clickbait for Facebook, more professional for LinkedIn.
Getting past first base
Ultimately what we’re looking to do is to steer the potential customer towards a buying decision. Depending on the business, that path is likely to take many forms. In the e-commerce space it might look like this for example:
- Customer needs a thing
- Customer thinks about potential options
- Customer does some research to narrow down choices
- Customer looks for recommendations and other online material relating to their problem
- Customer may visit a retail outlet to see and touch the thing
- Customer may buy the thing at the outlet or
- Customer may carry out further online research
- Customer buys thing while they’re online
You can see from that hypothetical journey that the customer is spending an awful lot of time online, reading and considering their options. That’s your opportunity to be there for them. Providing them with the information, the support, the touch that they need to guide them towards the right decision.
And that’s why it’s so important to keep showing up. It’s not just because if you don’t then your competitors will. It’s even more important than that. You have to keep showing up because if your prospect doesn’t trust you, or hasn’t become aware of your product or service in a context that makes sense to them – they won’t buy from you.
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