There are many crucial lessons to be harnessed by entrepreneurs following Google’s 2011 macro study of the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) – the point in the buying process where the consumer researches a product, often before the seller knows they exist. However, perhaps the most important of these lessons is that entrepreneurs need to be aware of the ZMOT and also equipped for it – regardless of whether they have a business to business or a business to consumer focused offering.
“If you’re available at the Zero Moment of Truth, your customers will find you at the very moment they’re thinking about buying, and also when they’re thinking about thinking about buying.” (ZMOT, 2011)
Below are my top tips that will help guarantee your product or service passes that crucial ZMOT test:
1. Focus on your optimisation. As the ZMOT is the point in the buying cycle where the consumer does their research, and with 88% of consumers now researching before they buy (ZMOT, 2011); it is important that as much relevant information relating to your product or service is available to help facilitate this process. These potential clients will be specifically looking for case studies, service brochures as well as client testimonials to help inform their decisions. Client testimonials are especially important, as potential clients will want reviews from your existing customers, as opposed to from you.
2. Concentrate on making the most of both your mobile and desktop versions of your website. The number of consumers researching a product online before purchase has risen significantly in recent years due to the continuing developments of the internet as well as mobile. It is therefore crucial for your discoverability that your website is adjusted for Search Engine Optimisation to enhance your discoverability. Googling your brand and reviews of this is a good way to put yourself in the client’s shoes and discover what they will see when researching your product or service.
3. Keep video content in mind – always! ZMOT sources like search engines can influence shopper’s decision making, but increasingly so is video content. In fact, YouTube is now only second to Google as the most popular search engine around (ZMOT, 2011). Your potential clients or customers are eyeing information that is presented to them in a visually attractive way, which draws them in. For business to business this can mean bringing in video versions of your business pitch, product tours and demonstrations as well as video testimonials and even now the increasingly popular ‘webinars’.
The learning of the Zero Moment of Truth principles should not need to panic you in terms of your company’s current marketing strategy, as after all, it is not headline news that consumers already research the products and services that they are potentially going to buy or use. However, it is essential that you are mindful of the types of information that potential customers need during this research stage as well as how easy this is for them to access. It’s all about the client experience and knowing the needs and requirements of your perfect client, as well making this as easy as possible for them.
For a coaching, consulting or advisory business the potential client will usually go through the buying process set out below:
1. The experiencing of a business ‘pain’ or having a business ‘need’ and seeking a fix for this.
2. Researching online as well as asking their network for recommendations.
3. The primary contact is made; and then dialogue takes place.
4. A next step proposal is made for testing your business in a way that has a low perceived risk for them but provides value, as well as creating an optimistic lasting impression. This then encourages them to enter the next stage alongside you and therefore as a result, spend more with you.
5. If the client’s expectations are reached or even exceeded then moving to the position of larger commitment and as a result, them engaging with your central business offering.
It is not often that an unknown potential customer or client will spend large sums of money with you, without first going through the research and discovery process to familiarise themselves with you. This process will help them build confidence and all-important trust with you; but the greater the price of your central offering, then the longer this will process may be.