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Don’t try to turn non-buyers into buyers (Do This Instead)

Focusing on non-buyers is not only wasteful in terms of money (marketing budget) but also time and resources. How many times have we seen businesses complain about the quality of their leads, or even worse, spend countless hours chasing the wrong leads? 

Trying to turn non-buyers into buyers is a sure way to burn through your marketing budget, and hinder any growth opportunities you may have. In essence, by trying to convert a non-buyer into a buyer, you are forcing a sales - never leads to a positive outcome.

Are You Targeting And Attracting Non-Buyers To Your Business?

Many companies are so busy with everyday emergencies that they don't take the time to review the fundamentals like "Are we targeting the right customers?" and "Is our marketing attracting non-buyers or buyers?"

Signs that you are targeting and attracting non-buyers

  • Your ideal customer is in your head
  • You use intuition and experience to drive marketing and sales 
  • Low conversion rate
  • Your ads only target basic parameters like demographics and location

Signs that you are targeting and attracting real buyers: 

  • Your ideal customers are documented in great detail (e.g. Personas)
  • You use analytics to find patterns (genuine buyers vs. non-buyers)
  • Your sales funnel covers all your digital channels (e.g. website, email, social media, advertising, etc.)
  • Your ads are very targeted (e.g. demographics, interests, life events, lifestyle, financial, and behavioral).

Your Conversion Rate Will Suffer (If You Target Non-Buyers)

Naturally, by trying to turn non-buyers into buyers, your conversion rate will suffer. And if we take into account that most businesses are struggling with a low conversion rate, the last thing you should do is consciously (or subconsciously) target non-buyers with generic messaging and campaigns.

Keep in mind that most of your buyers will have different objectives - may show interest in different products or services, so you should never paint them with the same brush. Even if they are all interested in the same product or service, they will be in different stages of the buyer decision process (e.g. need recognition vs. evaluation, or purchase vs. post-purchase)

Hint: If you don't segment your contacts or leads (e.g. email list) into different segments, then you are regularly trying to convert non-buyers into buyers. 

A Common Mistake Many Businesses Make

Numerous businesses make the mistake of trying to target as many customers as possible. Basically throwing a wide net to catch as many fish/leads as possible. These types of campaigns are wasteful and always return poor results - irrespective if they use traditional channels (Print, TV, Radio, etc.), or digital marketing channels (Email, Website, PPC, Social Media, etc.).

No matter how creative or well-planned your marketing campaign is, if your target audience is off the mark (e.g. targeting non-buyers), it will result in mediocre results. 

Why Do So Many Businesses Target Non-Buyers?

Most businesses don't target non-buyers intentionally, so why is this practice so prevalent? From our experience, the root cause is often "limited customer understanding". 

We frequently get presented with conflicting information concerning customers. For example, the information we receive from business leaders versus the information we see in the data (analytics). In essence, Executive's, Business Owner's, Sales Manager's, or Product Manager's description of a customer and their journey is very different from our data-driven findings.

Today, you cannot have a complete customer/buyer picture without a close examination of data (e.g. website analytics, social media analytics, PPC analytics, SEO analytics, etc.); therefore, if you are ignoring data and only using experience and intuition to identify buyers, odds are you are wasting your resources targeting non-buyers. 

How do you target real buyers?

Start With Personas

In most cases, starting with a buyer persona is a good start. If you are not familiar with personas, a persona is a customer/buyer archetype; often detailing ideal customer's professional and personal characteristics. 

For example, write down the ideal customer's bio, goals, role/title, personality, preferred channels, motivations, and so on. 

Related: Buyer Personas: What are they, and how they can help your business

How many personas should you create? A complex B2B business will require a persona for every role involved in the buying process. On the other hand, if you are a small B2C business, then you may only need 4-7 personas. 

Learn From Data (Your Leads And Customers Are Leaving You Valuable Hints)

Once you write down your personas, the next step is to carefully inspect your analytics to see if you are attracting real buyers or non-buyers. For example, closely monitor keywords they are using, which content they are consuming, which product or service line they are showing interest in, and so on. Many businesses only focus on visitor numbers - vanity metric that doesn't have a direct impact on your sales. 

Related: Vanity Metrics

Instead, focus on crucial metrics like "conversion rate"; more specifically, identify visitors with the highest conversion rate - what attributes and patterns are they exhibiting? These are your ideal buyers, so learn about them and target them accordingly.  

Use The Right Digital Marketing Channels

Assuming you identified your ideal buyers, the next step is to target them effectively. Which specific digital marketing channel you use will depend on your ideal buyer(s). For example, if your ideal buyer is a CFO, then channels like LinkedIn are crucial. However, if your perfect buyer is a stay at home mom, then Facebook and Instagram are typically better suited.  

The next step is to get into the details and plan your digital marketing channels; remember that each channel is different, so the objective, tone, messaging, and schedule will vary. For example, your email marketing campaign should feel very different from an Instagram campaign.

At a minimum, your messaging (including tone), frequency, timing, and call-to-actions (CTAs) should be different from one channel to another. 

Related:

Summary

As we mentioned in the article, trying to turn non-buyers into buyers is a great way to burn through your marketing budget, and waste everyone's time in the process. 

On the other hand, carefully identifying the right buyers, and then targeting them at the right time, and with the right message will make all the difference to your business. It will help you attract better quality leads and convert more leads into customers.