more information at http://www.danascranton.com/consistency
Consistency is a Simple but Powerful Means to Increase Trust and Engagement
In the mind of the prospect, customer or client, consistency creates trust at a basic level and sets the foundation for an ongoing relationship.
In the digital world, consistency, or the lack thereof, is one of the most noticeable and recognizable behaviors that can make or break the engagement process.
In the attention economy, and the attention scarcity associated therewith, inconsistency is grounds for deletion from your prospect's attention budget. In the context of Relationship Relevant Marketing, consistency will sustain engagement, whereas inconsistency will get you ejected from the experience funnel.
Consistency With Intent is the Key
Consistency Defined: Taking action and delivering content and experiences on an on-going and periodic basis with a focused, deliberate intent.
This definition is the key to understanding what "consistency" is in the context of the digital world and the psychology of engagement and buying decisions.
The "deliberate intent" is the essentially the value objective you have for the relationship. In other words, what value, change, and impact do you want to deliver to the prospect, customer or client? This is your intent.
Implementing Consistency in Your Content/Experience Plan
Implementing consistency into your content and experience plan is really very easy. The discipline of staying the course may be the difficult part! Note: you can download the adjacent INFOGRAPHIC by CLICKING on it.
Step 1: Content Plan. Create a detailed content/experience plan. Go into detail on how you will engage the client and lead them to the final decision. In this step, inject variety and surprise into the content plan. Go into great detail on the frequency of delivering the content, and the time of day if appropriate. Follow your Avatar definition in preparing this plan and strategy.
Step 2: End-Game Objective (EGO). Get real clear on what your EGO is. See your client not only taking the action you want, making that decision, but also receiving the value and life-changing impact you seek to deliver. Know exactly what it is you want them to experience! Note: the reason the EGO comes after the Content Plan is because, in the process of creating the Content Plan, you will invariably refine what the EGO really is.
Step 3: The Journey. Your content is, in fact, a kind of experience. So create a journey that you would want to take. Create a flow of content that engages the client in a journey from where they are to where the want to go. Create vivid word and graphic images that allow them to make the journey a reality in their mind.
Step 4: The Roadmap. Consistency requires that you deliver your content/experiences in a predictable and anticipated manner. It is important to be consistent so that your client looks forward to the experience of engaging with you. This roadmap is derived from your Content Plan and from knowing your EGO. The roadmap will have dates and times, if appropriate, for the delivery of your content/experiences. Now here is the real value of the roadmap: you seek to make a roadmap of engaging experiences and micro-decisions. Along the way on this journey to the EGO, you will create those engaging little moments of value, variety, and surprise. In doing so, you create a mental image journey for your client that leads them to the EGO.
Validation Sets the Foundation of Trust and Impact
Validation is the logical follow-on action after Familiarity. Why? Simple: Once you have successfully provided content and/or experiences that are familiar and relevant to the prospect, you have the beginnings of a relationship. Validation deepens the connection with the prospect and moves that relationship forward.
Validation is recognizing the prospect, customer or client as having value. In a sense, it's meeting them where they are and acknowledging their situation. You "validate" their importance and significance as a person. You make a connection with them at a fundamental level of need. In the process of authentic validation, you sow the seeds of trust.
Ultimately, you are driving the prospect to a decision. When they make that decision, whatever it may be, you want it to be a decision made with conviction. Only by making a decision to buy your product, join your cause or team, or engage in some meaningful and significant manner can they receive the value and realize the positive impact in their lives. But before you get there, you want to establish a relationship rooted in authenticity, sincerity, and empathy. Being human in a digital world takes deliberate effort and focused intent.
Implementing Validation in Your Content Strategy
Here are six steps to implementing validation in your content or experience strategy.
Step 1: Validate their reality. A clear Avatar definition is where you start. Your ideal prospect has values, beliefs, wants, needs, desires, and so forth. If you align with those, you validate their reality, You don't want to do it all at once. Create a flow of content that repeatedly validates their reality, and is so doing you will create a positive correlation with them.
Step 2: Validate their dream. Everyone has a dream of a life different than they are living. Even if they believe they are living the "dream life," they look beyond that life to more abundance in one or more areas of their life. There are common dreams, many of which are associated in one way or another with the 6 Basic Human Needs. Speak to the possibility and indeed inevitability of attaining that dream, because it leads to the next step!
Step 3: Reveal the process. The process is the series of decisions and actions the prospect must take in order to attain the dream. It is the change that must take place in order to move them from where they are now to where they want to be. Teaching, or revealing, the process in a deliberate, engaging, and congruent manner will create anticipation and engage their Reticular Activation System (RAS). They will begin to believe their dream is within their grasp.
Step 4: Affirm their confidence. This is where you move them from possibility to certainty, or at the very least near certainty. In this step, you create content or experiences that highlight the benefits of having the dream a reality in their life. You make the results as real as you can. You integrate "you" into this step as the facilitator who can help them attain their dream. Make sure and look beyond the benefits to the benefits of the benefits. For example, the benefit of losing weight may be you can fit into that dress or pair of pants, and this makes you feel good about yourself. The benefit of the benefit is the affirming reaction you get from others when they notice. The "benefit of the benefit" is very often more important and engaging than the benefit itself!
Make sure and look beyond the benefits to the benefits of the benefits. For example, the benefit of losing weight may be you can fit into that dress or pair of pants, and this makes you feel good about yourself. The benefit of the benefit is the affirming reaction you get from others when they notice. The "benefit of the benefit" is very often more important and engaging than the benefit itself!
Step 5: The journey to the results. This is where you actually combine the prior 4 steps to create a journey to the future that is their life having reached their goals, attained their dreams, and achieved the result they sought. The journey affirms the process and makes it real to them. It shows that inevitability is merely the result of executing the process you recommend: inclusive, of course, of whatever product you are offering.
Step 6: Back from the future. They've arrived. They're successful. The dream is a reality, and they are living large and free! Now, paint that picture for them and then look back from where they are in this new reality to where they were: which is, in fact, their current reality. Contrast the two states and show how their decision to engage and implement the process has created a life of their dreams. This step seeks to validate your value and the value of your product as well as validating their decision process.
Familiarity an Essential and Influential Variable in Engagement and Buying Decisions
Familiarity is one of the nine (9) influential variables that drive engagement and buying decisions. It is the first of the variables you implement in your content and experiences.
Familiarity is one of the core elements of attraction. People are attracted to that with which they are familiar. In general, people will develop a "liking" for those things and people with whom they are familiar. In psychology, this is known as the "mere exposure" effect. Just the "mere" exposure to something or somebody new that has "familiar" features, characteristics, or traits, is enough to create engagement and preference.
Ever heard of Attraction Marketing? Well, guess what - Familiarity is a key part of that!
But that kind of "familiarity" isn't really the focus here. In order to be effective at reaching the mind of your prospects, customers or clients, you need to resonate with that which is famliar in their mind.
This may sound a bit heady and psycho-babble-like, but it is a critically important idea to grasp.
Familiarity has two regimes:
- The degree of familiarity your prospect, customer or client has in their mind with the content, and the perceived meaning, value, relevance, and importance of that content to them
- The level of familiarity you have achieved with them and the degree of relevance they attach to that level
The most important of the two regimes is the first one. The reason is because within the subconscious mind of your prospect there are multiple processes running in parallel. Some of those processes are looking for "familiar" information. It is just such information that correlates with the objectives of the subconscious mind and results in the "upload" of a thought that then becomes a relevant thought of conscious intent.
"Familiarity," in the context of the digital psychology of decision making, is the degree to which the mind correlates/associates external information with internal processes and assigns a degree of relevance to that information.
Once relevance has been established, the mind uploads a thought to drive engagement with the given information.
In other words, the message of your content resonates with a need in the mind of the customer, and that results in an action to engage with your content.
Two Types of Familiarity
There are essentially two types of familiarity you will be dealing with:
- The common type of familiarity where the prospect, customer, or client becomes "familiar" with you
- The familiarity the prospect, customer, or client has with the content or experiences you are delivering to them
Both of these are important, but what is essential to understand as an online entrepreneur is that the second type leads to the first type.
The reality is that a new prospect doesn't know you. So the "attraction" factor of familiarity you are working with is focused on how familiar are they with the content you are delivering. This is not to say that they have to know what you are talking about, no, not at all. They have to be familiar with how your content resonates with their needs, wants, desires, fears, passions, etc.
When you can establish a presence in their lives with type "2" above, then type "1" follows naturally.
Enter the 6 Basic Human Needs
Here's the deal: we are dealing with people, humans. We all have basic needs, and the "6 Basic Human Needs" are real in our lives. Not everyone has the same magnitude of needs, but all of these needs are present in our lives. As an entrepreneur, your mission is to fulfill one or more of those needs in your own special way.
When creating content, and in particular creating familiarity, understanding which of the 6 Basic Human Needs are fulfilled by your product is critical.
To be clear about the definition of "product:" A product is your goods, services, or leadership. Your content falls into one or all of those three categories. While you may have a tangible product or a coaching service to sell, everything you do when producing content is in fact a "product." Your prospect is "buying" your product when they open your e-mail or click on your link. So just keep this in mind.
The Two Gateways to the Mind of Your Customer
In the simplest sense, there are two gateways to the mind of your customer.
- Conscious Intent Gateway
- Subconscious Gateway
The familiarity variable exists in both gateways, but it is most prevalent and effective in the subconscious gateway.
Relationship Relevant Marketing Episode 7: 9 Influential Variables that Drive Engagement and Buying Decisions
9 Influential Variables That Drive Engagement and Buying Decisions
What makes a customer, client, or prospect click on your link? What interests them enough to read your content or watch your video? What are the influential variables that matter most? The 9 influential variables.
What interests them enough to read your content or watch your video? The 9 influential variables.
What are the influential variables that matter most? The 9 influential variables.
The answer, as you have undoubtedly surmised: The 9 influential variables in the list below!
When your prospect is seeing content flash by like lights on a highway at 160 MPH (257 KPH), your chances of engagement are going to depend on two things: their intent at that moment in time, and their subconscious mind and all the stuff that's happening at that level of consciousness!
Below is a list of 9 influential variables that individually or collectively influence decisions your customers, clients, and prospects are making.
These variables are primarily operating in the background of their subconscious mind. They are used to formulate the split-second decisions your prospect makes when they see your content or offer.
- Familiarity: Is your content/experience resonating with them? Is it familiar in the context of addressing their needs, wants, desires, and aspirations in life? Does it align with their values and beliefs? Can they identify with you? In other words, is the message familiar to them in some meaningful way such that they can see the benefit (see “Visualization” below)?
- Validation: Are you validating their value as a person? Does your content make them feel important? Do you speak to them as a person, does it ring with empathy? Are you validating their existence? Are you letting them know that they matter?
- Consistency: Has your message, content, and experience flow set a tone of consistency? Are you giving them a reason to believe you are real in the way you behave? Can they expect an ongoing stream of relevant value from you?
- Mitigation of Pain: Does your product or solution mitigate their fear of pain or loss? Do you give them hope? Have you created content that paints the picture of pain leaving their life? Does your experience-flow move them toward the joy of gain?
- Visualization: Is your content giving the customer a graphic image in their mind of having solved their problem? Can they see themselves happier and more successful having used your product? Can they see themselves using your product, sharing your content, looking forward to your experiences?
- Loss Aversion: Are you creating a message of urgency? Are you showing them that solving their problem now is far preferable to suffering any longer? Are you creating the reasonable expectation that what you have to offer, in whatever form, will help them?
- Call to Action: Have you told them what you want them to do? Have you given them the sequence of actions to take to solve their problem? Have you told them how to recognize the results or benefits of your product? Have you told them what to do when they get the results?
- Affirmation: Did you affirm the correctness of their decision by praising them for taking action? Did you reassure them they made the right decision? Are you training them to “like” making ongoing decisions to consume your content, experiences, and/or products?
- KLT: Know, Like, Trust. Although this variable is at the end of the list, it is by no means the least important. All of the prior variables contribute to KLT. If you can address all of those variables in your content and experiences, then you will have developed a level of KLT that gives you the edge over the competition and keeps you engaged with your customer.
Digital psychology of decisions is an important topic to understand for one simple reason: your customers, clients, and/or prospects are making decisions each and every minute as to whether you will be allowed to stay in their world.
There are some critical influential variables that play to the subconscious programming of your target market. These variables are important because many decisions in the digital world are made rapidly (within just a few seconds), and are based almost entirely on subconscious programming.
Another critical consideration is consistency. You've got to stay in front of your customer, get them to make a series of micro-decisions, and train them to look forward to your content and experiences. If you can't get your share of their attention budget, someone else will!
In the digital world, relationships are made very quickly. These relationships, however, are not all that strong. They are at best functional: but functional is a good place to start. From a functional relationship we can build loyalty and dedication.
Inside the experience funnel is where you create the experience flow that leads to the End Game Objective (EGO). That "experience flow" is a process designed to develop rapport, relationship, and trust. It is about becoming part of the sphere of existence that the target market lives on a day to day basis.
The experience flow consists of content created around the three degrees of relevance:
- First order relevance: Your product (goods, services, leadership, ...) is directly relevant to that which they value the most, solves their most pressing problem, etc., and your content reflects this.
- Second order relevance: The mechanism of your product that delivers the desired result is described in form, fit, function, etc., but not directly associated with your product. Rather, it is described in a manner that creates the expectation of value. This content is valuable in accessing their belief system.
- Third order relevance: There is no connection at all between the content and your product. This is lifestyle stuff. The intent is simply to relate on a human level, human to human, and leave the marketing and sales elements out of the dialog.
The digital era has produced a significant change in human behavior. The study of that behavioral change is the focus of the science of digital sociology. As entrepreneurs and online business people, it is important to understand that the six basic human needs are alive and well in the digital world.
Digital psychology in this context is defined as understanding behavior activation. In other words, what must you do to activate a desired behavior in the digital environment?
Once you've gotten into the "Experience Funnel," you need to figure out how to stay there. You do this by recognizing that there are three categories of relevance, and then you weave a story together that connects those categories in an ongoing dialog of life and value.
In addition, you must realize that the average person with a smartphone (the fastest growing segment of the E commerce segment) engages with their smartphone 150 times each day for approximately 70 seconds an engagement. That statistic speaks volumes to how you should structure your marketing messages.
It's just not about selling any longer. Digital relationships of relevance are the key now.
What is relevant to your prospects is simple that which they value most, or that which is on the top of the minds most often. In order to get through the top of the experience funnel, you will need to content that is relevant to them. In today's attention economy, people only pay attention to content that is: a. essential; b. beneficial; c. useful. If you don't fit into one of those three categories, you'll not get into their world.
There are three different orders of relevance, and it's your job to weave a plan that incorporates all three orders of relevance.
Your objective is to create an on-going relationship build on experiences and engagements that are valuable and relevant to your prospect, customer, audience, etc.