Seven Steps to Win Today’s Buyer

This post by Blackstone Content Correspondent Summer Suleiman originally appeared on

Did you know that there are 28 million small businesses in the U.S.? I was surprised when I learned that stat at a digital marketing seminar hosted by Google and YP (Yellow Pages) earlier this month. Younger millennials reading might not even remember the Yellow Pages.

The Idea VillageBut for those of us who have been around a little while, we remember when our parents used to flip through those bulky Yellow Pages delivered to our front doors to look up local businesses. (Ahh, the good old days.) And we’ve also been around long enough to see the evolution of marketing through the digital age.

Today, 43.6% of media consumption is digital, and 82% of consumers rely on a search engine to make a purchase, according to Ben Tyson, digital marketing specialist at Google. Tyson says that while users become more and more sophisticated, business owners have to shift their mental model to match that of their customers. According to Tyson, only 10% of our time is spent making phone calls on our smart phones. That means we’re using our phones for other reasons—like buying stuff!

Before the digital age, consumers made up their minds in 3-7 seconds, according to Proctor and Gamble. That time lapse is called the first moment of truth. And it’s considered the most important thing to win in marketing. The second moment of truth is the customer experiencing or buying your product. Now, most people decide what they want before they go into the store. Tyson says business owners have to affect the entire buying journey from research to purchase. He calls it winning the moments that matter in the zero moment of truth, which is the process in which people research products before buying them. At the seminar, Tyson outlined 7 steps on how to win at the zero moment of truth.

1. Put the right person in charge

You need to have someone who understands the marketing goals and the strategy you want to implement (including both internally and externally). Are you working with someone who really understands the digital marketing landscape?

2. Find your zero moments

How visible are you online? How can potential customers reach you online? What’s the first thing they see if they do an online search of your business?

3. Answer the questions being asked

What are the top ten questions that people ask when they come to your business? Dedicate a page that answers those questions, and run an ad words campaign that answers those questions. If you answer the questions that people are asking, that gives you instant credibility. You become a trusted source.

4. Optimize for the Zero Moment of Truth

Do you have a mobile friendly website design? If you don’t, get one today. It’s the easiest way to get ahead of your competition, and also the easiest way to fall behind.

5. Be Fast

The great thing about digital is that you can go fast. Engage with your customers and potential customers as quickly as possible.

6. Don’t forget video

Video works for engaging customers online. How can you implement video into your digital marketing plan?

7. Jump In!

Get in there, and just do it. What can you do today, right now to reach your customer base?

For more helpful insight on digital marketing, you can follow Ben Tyson on Twitter @bentyson13.