Converting Customers Who are Considering Changing Brands (Part 1)

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One of the toughest challenges for marketers when choosing a content marketing strategy is converting customers from an existing brand to a new brand. Especially if the existing brand is a household or business tradition, you will have visitors to your website who will never buy from you. These people fall into the categories of window shoppers, competitors, and people researching a purchase. It is possible to minimize the number of these browsers by using a data-driven approach to traffic sourcing and specialized PPC techniques such as geotargeting. However, these methods will not completely resolve this challenge.

Why Don’t They Buy?

There are several reasons why people won’t switch brands that cannot be fixed by changing a price or storyboard. Improving your graphics in ads or perfecting the landing page and lead-generation form on your site is not enough to sway these prospects. This group of people includes comparison shoppers searching for specific features such as free shipping that you cannot supply. However, a large percentage are people who are prevented from buying from you due to cognitive biases.

According to Princeton University, “a cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situations. Implicit in the concept of a “pattern of deviation” is a standard of comparison; this may be the judgment of people outside those particular situations, or may be a set of independently verifiable facts.

For example, my mother still buys the same brand of detergent for her washing machine that her mother did. Even if she has to go without something else, she will pay more for that brand instead of trying something new. Your website visitors may have several cognitive biases that stop them from choosing your brand.

Considering Prospects’ Biases

In order to convert these prospects, you need to understand their biases. It helps to also understand how your company is perceived in the marketplace. It is likely that your prospects believe that you are deficient in a feature or benefit, even if this is completely untrue. As Terry Goodkind said, “Perception is everything!”

Whether you need to break out of a status-quo bias (preference for comfortable sameness), false-consensus bias (tendency to overestimate the extent to which their beliefs or opinions are typical of those of others), or in-group bias (refers to a pattern of favoring members of one’s in-group over out-group members), techniques such as buyer personas, testimonials and social-proof are powerful tools.

Changing Their Minds

Studies show that when information is presented in a larger format, human brains will translate it as more important. Presenting the information that you want to emphasize in this manner can help change inbred beliefs.

You can also look at your own and competitor’s advertising through the use of the Wayback Machine to compare and contrast methods of presenting the features that you are perceived as missing. (The wayback machine is an incredible tool.)

Part 2 will continue will discuss how to examine your competition’s customers.

Paula A is the owner of an online gallery, freelance writer specializing in marketing and business and is an avid promoter of Cleveland, Ohio.


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