Why We Don’t Want You To Buy Right Away
The Story of a Counterintuitive Marketing Strategy
Sometimes you don’t want a “quick sale”. Many industries are built around capitalizing on a sale as fast as possible and if anything can be done to acquire the sale faster it will be done. But what if that’s not the most profitable way to gain customers? What if you could prolong the sale to create a loyal customer who pay you more for longer? This is exactly what Rand Fishkin found out at Moz when they started analyzing lifetime customer value.
From the book which was a really inspiring read Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World:
Say you visited Moz for the very first time via a Google search for a phrase like “SEO tools,” then immediately signed up for a free trial of our software. Chances are good you’d be a Moz customer for less than four months versus the overall global average of about nine months. But if you visited Moz twelve times or more in a three-month span before signing up for that free trial, chances are you’d stick around for fourteen-plus months as a paying subscriber. –Rand Fishkin, Lost and Founder
What an interesting finding! That means content (drip) marketing was working for Moz. The better the articles, videos, and Whiteboard Friday’s Moz put out, the better odds people (like us at StratLab) would stay on the website consuming content. There’s an incentive to not try and sell right away on the Moz website, but instead to educate the consumer about what Moz is testing, learning and doing, in the search engine industry.
I’ve subscribed to Moz since I got into the online marketing industry around 9 years ago. We’ve been a paid subscriber to their software for about 8 years. I loved their content and learned a lot from them before we became a paid customer. And of all the outsourced partners we’ve had over the years, Moz has been the longest one.
It’s a smart practice to look back and ask yourself who were your best, most loyal customers, then find a way to get more of them. But don’t try and promote too fast. Slow growth seems like the smart way to grow.
Turns out, our best, most loyal customers tend to be those who’ve spent considerable time on our website, participating in our community, consuming our educational resources, and testing out our free tools. Thus, it’s actually in Moz’s interest not to promote our products or conversions too heavily or too fast, especially to new visitors. The classic funnel optimization promoted by many marketers has this peculiar idea that we must race to turn as many visitors as we can into paid customers and that any missed opportunity represents a flaw in our marketing process. Our metrics show just the opposite. If we want to have the best long-term impact on customer growth and retention, we need patience. –Rand Fishkin, Lost and Founder
Anyone trying to make a sale on the spot with you is probably someone you shouldn’t be buying from. It’s almost 2019, you shouldn’t be pressured into buying anything. Research before you sign up, look deep into your options, you should be able to find an awful lot about them on their website and social media accounts. The more you know about a company the better choice you’re going to make when you’re going to hire them.
Rand’s final advice on the topic of customer acquisition:
If you have any type of subscription or recurring revenue, make sure you measure LTV (Lifetime Value—the total revenue customers spend during their relationship with your firm) by referral source(s) and by the number of visits prior to conversion. If your stats look like Moz’s, you’ll probably want to adopt a similar, slow-burn conversion process. –Rand Fishkin, Lost and Founder
Understanding how your customers purchase what you’re selling and how you can optimize how to make it easier to convert for your best customers. In the case of Moz, the slower the conversion the better.