Stop slapping me with fish...

During a recent catch up one of our team members likened an old marketing strategy to be a bit like slapping a customer in the face with a wet fish. What an analogy! After the nodding of heads and subtle chuckles we chatted about it at length.

Slapping someone with a wet fish does indeed conjure up comical images (hence our initial reaction), yet after doing a spot of research online to establish where this phrase originated from, I quickly discovered that it is in fact an illegal act, and I also learned which fish is best to use if you are going to do it. The internet eh, is there nothing you can’t find out on there?

Talking of the internet...

Today’s customers are savvy. If they’ve a device on their person, they can explore anything they like, anytime they want, anywhere they happen to be. All the knowledge, and all the reviews they are ever going to need is available.

I think the fish thing proves this point. I can’t wait to see what kind of targeted ads are going to appear on my phone now!

Know how your customers behave

This shouldn’t be too hard as let’s face it we are all customers. Every marketing professional, every creative, every member of our design agency in Chester – we’re all customers.

Ask yourself, what do you do when you decide that you want a certain product or service. That’s right, your first reaction is to head to your phone, watch or laptop and tap in exactly what you’re looking for into a search bar. Your intention at this stage is also to check out a brand’s capability and credibility. It’s more than likely that you’re going to satisfy your itch and uncover some brands, many you may not have even heard of before.

Now think about how you are influenced to buy a product, or take up a service, after your spot of digital investigation. You’ll probably dig a bit deeper, or maybe see more ads relevant to your recent search and be drawn to the brands that speak directly to you, make you feel special, and tell you that they understand your problem and have the solution for you.

That slap

Ok, let’s rewind a touch. Figuratively speaking, a customer may feel like they’ve been slapped around the face with a wet fish when they’ve been dealt a ‘you need this’ marketing approach.

This rather shouty strategy was always a tad hit and miss. I think that if any marketers still use this approach, they genuinely believe that the customer will see the campaign, take a deep intake of breath, and shout exclamations of positivity – things like ‘ooh that’s impressive’, ‘they sound amazing’ and, ‘I can’t wat to buy that’.

Hmmm, wishful thinking. I hate to break it to them, but their potential customers are probably already on the lookout.

How to get noticed without the wet fish slap

It doesn’t matter if it’s B2C or B2B, the principle is the same. The WAY you communicate, HOW you communicate, and WHERE you communicate is key. Great communication will make a campaign, poor communication will break it.

Showcasing your knowledge and insight through the right channels will empower potential customers to find you and discover for themselves how you can benefit them. This well thought out strategy will move them to a place of comfort – it will give the customer a feeling of control. Comfort and control are powerful emotions for a customer.

Even before the sales funnel is triggered, and before forensics tell you who’s been clicking on your website or your social media posts, what you communicate, and how, can supercharge curiosity and inspire. It can spark the start of a trusting relationship between potential customer and brand.

What you don’t want to do during the customer’s ‘investigative stage’ of the sales funnel is to throw a punch with that ruddy ‘salesy’ wet fish. Trust the process!

The psychology of the sales funnel

Toss guesswork aside. What you need to do is manage your potential customers and steer them through the funnel that you’ve prepared for them. This is the time to shift interest into positive action. This is all about nurturing.

Right at the start of the funnel you’ll need to capture their attention, and as they explore this newfound interest, make sure to give them what they want at exactly the right time. Draw them closer to you. Gain their trust. Get them to like you.

And then, right at the end of the funnel when they’ve established that they need you in their lives, slap ‘em with it – but in a gentle way!

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