The one where I interview email marketing expert, Meera Kothand, about the buyer's journey.
Martine: Hello and welcome to episode 49 of the Creative Me podcast today, I'm bringing you a special guest. I have Meera Kothand with me and ... Well, I was going to introduce her, but actually, I'm going to let her introduce herself, cause she knows about her way more than I do. So, hello Meera welcome to the show.
Meera: Hi Martine, thank you so much for having me.
Martine: It's so lovely to have you here, I should point out that Meera is in Singapore, as I'm in Guernsey there is a considerable time difference between us. So it's quite late at night, where you are, isn't it?
Meera: That's right! It's actually 10 p.m.
Martine: Oh goodness me, goodness me! So, so, Meera who are you? And how do you help people?
Meera: Wow, what do I say? Well, I actually started off being a freelance writer, so by profession, I'm a traditional marketer, but I decided to take a break after I had my little one. And then I got my toes into freelance writing, and I wasn't really in marketing, which is what I'm in right now, but you know my heart is always wanting to write, and explore in different marketing things and strategies and so on.
So, I wanted to write for myself, rather than you know, write for a client and that is how I started blogging and my business picked up. I actually have been doing this for maybe a year, year and a half now? And yeah, I help simplify marketing and blogging strategy for bloggers and small business owners as well. And a big component of what I do is actually in marketing so, that's actually kind of where my strength lies in.
Martine: Brilliant, I like the idea of simplifying all of the marketing vocabulary and all of that stuff out there, because I think as a small business owner or, as you put it solopreneur. You can be completely overwhelmed by all the content out there on Pinterest, and places like that, and the vocabulary can get a bit confusing, so I like that you said you've simply all of that, for people who probably need the help with it being simplified.
That's a great thing to do, and in that vain, what we thought we might talk about today, is the buyer's journey because that in itself sounds a bit confusing for buyer's journey. And what, what does that mean exactly? And that what's we're going look at today, so, my first question to you really Meera is, what is the buyer's journey? And why do I need to know about it? As a small business owner, or a blogger.
Meera: Yeah actually, you know, I came across this whole term buyer's journey, when I was doing my own reading. And I actually wanted to find out whether there was any pattern into how and when my subscribers, were actually buying my courses and my eBooks. So, that is how you know I started eStore more and more, by the buyer's journey was you know a patent, there was a set number of days or sudden period of time. And, that's when I kind of realised there really wasn't much of a patent, into when and how they buy. I mean, I'll get into this a little more as we speak, but just to get a quick introduction to what a buyer's journey is, it's kind of like thought process that a buyer goes through before they purchase your product or service.
You know a coaching package of whatever that could be, so you know in marketing terms they kind of say that there are 3 different stages. A buyer would go from awareness to consideration to decision before the actual buyer product or service, so the awareness stage is when actually they have absolutely no clue. They don't know what problem your product or service solves, and they may not even know that they have a problem to solve in the first place. So, if you take my example I produce courses in eBooks for people who don't really know, how to go on the merchant's email list. So for someone like that, their awareness stage could be, you know do I- you know some of them could be, do I need an email list? Or, 'cause some others the awareness stage could be something like ...
Okay, I thought I just need to go on my list? What is this whole concept of nurturing your email list? So they may be clueless about that, so the concept of the awareness stage, the one between the business consideration stage, so we, this is where all right they are aware that they need, they have a problem that needs to be solved. And they start to kind of look for solutions to solve their problems, and they kind of get into grips of you know, these are similar symptoms that I have, and I need to deal with it so that I can solve the problem.
And the final decision stage is when they there is an alignment with the problem and the solution of the product that you have. And they say all right, I'm going to open my wallets and I'm going to purchase this eBook, or I'm going to purchase this course. And this is kind of like in a gist, what the buyer's journey is, so, how a buyer moves from one stage to the other, from awareness right up to the decision. So your content is the one that is going to move and kind of pull the buyer along, I mean subscribe the buyer, or whatever tell them what you want to use.
And you know, you do this content on your block post or your videos, a big part of it is email marketing as well. So this is how you move people around, and yeah like I was saying, when I was trying to find a pattern, you know how people buy, when people buy. It's not a linear process, because I think a lot of times when you read things as marketers kind of say that, yeah you know you go from a to b, or to c, but the thing is how people buy it's not a straight line, it's really like a big scribble. If just imagine like a piece of paper, yeah so, I think this is really important, especially for people who are selling online. In you know, any kind of online business that you have, as a small business owner.
This is important because, in a way we have a launch, or when we are putting a new product out there, we could say all right I'm going to have 6 weeks, I'm going to prime my audience. And I'm going to take them from this stage to the end, and they are going to be ready to open their wallets at the end. Often times it doesn't quite work that way because there are two ways, two things that can happen in the very first place, some of them might not even be aware that they made a problem. That they have a problem that needs to be solved, so we need to go way back, you know for me I probably for some people, I might have to educate them on why you need to use an email in the first place.
These are like the really- people who are right in this kind of journey, and for- go ahead Martine.
Martine: Now I was just going to say that makes complete sense, I love how you're breaking it down into those very clear three sections. And I also like that you said that nobody follows one specific pattern, apart from those three sections really. Our life as business owners would be so much easier, if there was specific timing for everything, we can do things so much easier, couldn't we?
Meera: Yes, exactly.
Martine: But no, I was just going to say, I really like how you're breaking this down, it's very clear.
Meera: Yeah, and I mean the thing is, what I found is that some ... One person can go from awareness to decision all in one day. So I've had people who're subscribed to my list today, and then by tomorrow they've gotten, they've purchased two of my eBooks. And there are others, who purchased a year later, you know after a lot of nurturing a lot of content and stuff like that. So there isn't really much of, like a linear pattern it sends, and the thing is you should- you kind of have to come in and produce content for all of those different stages. Because the content is going to be different, from awareness stage, you know they need a certain a different set of elements, your block posts need to ... You know kind of, bring attention to problems in a sense.
And for people at the consideration stage, the content that they are going to write is going to be more, how to, and also you need to kind of inject a lot of interest into why you're going to need to solve a particular problem. So, your content is going to change, according to you know people that- for different stages, and so this is one thing that you need to keep in mind. And actually it's just a word of encouragement, just because maybe a launch doesn't do well, or you know you don't sell as many items or products, or whatever it is.
That isn't like a doomed revenue stream, it doesn't mean that you know, that you have to shut everything down. It probably means that you know, your subscribers probably need more time, so then maybe, at the beginning someone then maybe in the middle. But there are a lot of external triggers, that are also affecting the purchase decisions. You know, it's not just you, it's not just your content, you know they may have a lot of things to do with motivation, a lot of things to do with finance. So there's a lot of triggers that are from that end as well, so it, it's not solely dependent on you. That it makes sense the way it's coming out.
Martine: Yeah, that does make sense, and also I like how you are explaining that perhaps if a launch hasn't gone particularly well it might be that you aren't clear enough on what your buyer's journey actually is, as you're saying. They might not be far enough along, for that sale to actually happen.
Martine: Clearly in order to, have a successful business, a clear understanding of the type of journey your buyer takes to get to you is really important, right?
Meera: Yeah, exactly.
Martine: Excellent. So, I was going to say, how does the buyer's journey help me sell more products and services? But I really think you've made that quite clear.
Martine: Also, to me, it really links in with knowing, who your customer is, precisely as well. And I've done a blog post a while back, on working out your ideal customer avatar, so you know who they are. If you know who they are, you can then more clearly work out their journey. I think the two things go hand in hand, don't they?
Meera: Yeah, exactly.
Martine: Excellent, at the very beginning of the episode Meera, we mentioned that you were actually an email marketing expert, so could you go into a bit more detail, about how email fits into the buyer's journey?
Meera: Yeah, the thing is, I think for a lot of small business owners, solar-entrepreneurs, we kind of get the hang around, why we need an email list. I think over the last couple of years, there's been a lot of awareness, around why you need an email list. But I think the shift to what to do with that list- there has to be a shift towards understanding, that the other aspect. So I think that is where a lot of people are stuck, you know, they know they need to go, what they do with those people, that is where, that is the missing link in a sense, and that is so crucial to kind of having a complete understanding, of how your buyers work, how your subscribers work and where they are.
Because if you're just going to send out email content when you're going to have a product launch, and so on, you kind of miss out on a lot of nuances, and miss out on the interaction that is going to help you understand better. Where your subscribers are at, you know what exactly are the ping pongs that you can possibly be targeting on. In sales pages, or, in the way you position your products, so I think that is where email marketing comes in, and for me, I'm like a huge advocate of having like a welcome email series.
So, you know you can have all this content your blog, but you obviously need to convert the traffic into your email list. But, rather than just stopping at welcome email- I love to have like a welcome email series, so this is something that, I write about on my blog and my email as well. So your welcome email series kind of like, rolls out the red carpet for your subscribers, so you build trust and nurture them within that short span, of you know maybe 8-10 emails? If you have a welcome email series, so what I like to do is, in this welcome email series, when someone is going through that, I don't send them any
Kind of, other messaging, I don't send them service, I make sure to exclude these people from any of my sales emails, or launches. Because I want them to kind of be focused on the message of the welcome email series, so, you know your welcome email series dependent on the goal of the email sequence. It could be to introduce them to your brand, to your values, the kind of business that you run. These are the things that you can include in your welcome email series, and so let's say at the end of the welcome email series, you know, you could depend on the goal, you could pitch a charity call or a service package, or an eBook.
You know whatever that goal is, even if they're not ready for that purchase, you have established lots of good will with you know, the group of people, which is the subscribers. So, you know, you're kind of fresh in their mind, and if you're going to continuously send them content, weekly or twice a month, something like that. When they're ready to make that purchase, you're going to be first in line, so that is how I see interacting with really, really, huge compliment of this of this entire thing.
Martine: I can definitely see how that fits in particularly when your buyer is right at the start of the journey, because through your emails, you can educate them along the lines of you know, how your product, or if they don't know they got a problem yet, or what the problem is. And then how your product or service can help them, so email in some respect is going to be far more direct, than any other form of content. Such as the blog post, or the video wasn't something like that.
Because with email you're landing directly in their inbox, which is why email marketing so effective. So yeah, I can see how that really fits into the buyer's journey. The other thing that you made me think about when you were explaining how you used email, is that it's really important to have an email provided, that allows you to tag and segment your subscribers. Now, I don't know what you use, but I use Convertkit, and they are fantastic.
Meera: I do.
Martine: Yes- absolutely amazing, so in thinking of using tags, or segments or things like that, you can actually split up your subscribers, if subscribers in line with where they're in the journey to a certain extent. Would you agree with that?
Meera: Yeah exactly, I mean what I do with convert kit is, once someone enters a welcome email series, I kind of add an in sequence tag. So, I know that whenever I'm going to send any sales emails, or when I'm going through launches, I make sure to exclude people who are, you know having that tag. And once they complete the sequence, I remove their tags, and this is one way. Another way that I, mention in segmenting that I've done with convert kit is, at the end of the welcome email series, I kind of let them- ask them to tell me where they are in their journeys.
So I've got 4 or 5 different options, and once they click on that, it's going to tag them, so I don't know where exactly my audience is shifting. Or whether they've shifted, or what it is, so as I get more and more people into the welcome email series, I get subscribers name tagged as well. So I, at a glance I can kind of tell where my audience is, where the majority of my audience are. So yeah this is, you know, you need to have a provider that allows doing all of it, and like you mention the Convertkit is excellent at this.
Martine: I have to say, I've been with the Convertkit for well over a year now, and it really has revolutionised my approach to email marketing. I'm not by any stretch of the imagination, using it to its fullest extent. I love some of those top tips you've given about, you know, tagging and then removing a tag once someone has come out of a sequence, and then giving people the option to kind of tell you where they are in the journey. Or what area, of your business they might be, intentionally interested in.
It's all very easy to set up with convert kit, through that automation processes, and their link triggers and things like that. So, yeah fantastic tips there Meera, really appreciate that brilliant so we know what the buyer's journey is. We could see how closely it relates to knowing your ideal customer avatar, we know that knowing the buyer's journey and where your customer is in that process, can really help you sell more products and services. And we know if email fits into everything, Meera that's a whole lot of knowledge in a very short place of time.
What haven't we talked about, regards to the buyer's journey? What have I forgotten to ask you?
Meera: I think we've covered everything.
Martine: That's certainly amazing, thank you. I really only have one more question I've like to ask you if that's okay with you? And Meera that is where can people find you online?
Meera: Yeah, I mean, you guys can find me at meerakothand.com.
Meera: So yeah, you can find me there and, for those of you who are interested in email marketing, I have a free email course. You know if you go through, they kind of give you like, a brief overview of everything and the pieces that you need to pick up, you know, tighten your own inner marketing strategy.
Martine: That's amazing Meera, I will make sure that your website is linked to on the show notes, and the show notes will be available at martineellis.com/49. So thank you so much Meera, it’s been a real pleasure to have you.
Meera: Thank you, it was such a wonderful conversation.
In the episode, I mentioned that it's important to know who your ideal customer avatar is. You can download a free worksheet to help you devise your ideal customer avatar below: