How to turn browsers into buyers with Niki Hutchison


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Do you find you get loads of engagement on your social media, and people love your stuff, but they’re not hitting the ‘buy’ button?

It can be frustrating, and with a lack in customer confidence thanks to the state of the economy and upheaval in Government, small businesses are feeling the pinch.

This week on the podcast I’m chatting to my friend and marketing expert Niki Hutchison on the topic of converting browsers to buyers.

She’s sharing so many tips and strategies you can follow to turn those lurkers into lovers – people who rave about your thing and PAY YOU MONEY!

And we all need some of that right now don’t we!

Niki is a dog mum herself to Mini Golden Doodle Rosie so she has an understanding of what pet parents need herself and what compels them to buy.

Listen in on the player link below or continue reading this blog post for the key topics covered.

Hi Niki, can you tell us about your background?

“I’m a business marketing expert, working with entrepreneurial women to help them grow their online audiences.

“I love to work with creative business owners to really help them understand how to use marketing to get better results in their businesses.”

We’re chatting about how to turn browsers into buyers, so let’s start with why we need to do this!

“Yes, so let’s look at what a browser is. It’s basically a person who is looking quite casually, either through publications through websites or at goods for sale. 

“Like you might browse in a physical or an online shop. And a browser is also a person who will take up your time and attention without any return. 

“So as business owners, we want to turn as many of our browsers as possible into buyers so that we can actually make some money!

“If we spend all of our time chasing these browse, trying to convince them to buy, it’s not much fun, and it sucks up all of our time.

“That’s time where we could be doing something we enjoy, so what we want to do is make our life easier by encouraging them to buy more quickly, or more regularly.”

So please, please tell us how to do that!

“First, consider your motivation. Why are you doing this? Are you giving a portion to charity? 

“Are you doing this because you just absolutely adore animals and you want them to be looked after or pampered as much as possible? 

“What is your bigger mission that people can really get on board with it? Then you can then find like minded people who are going to admire and relate to that mission and really want to be a part of your business. 

“Then it’s about understanding your potential customer’s motivations because, none of your customers are going to wake up thinking, ‘I want to buy from Rachel today,’ unless we’ve done certain things. 

“So unless we’ve created that clear mission, unless we’ve created excitement, and unless we’ve created community. 

“Nowadays people really want to be part of something especially post pandemic, when so much of what we do is online. 

“Once you’ve managed to create a community around your brand and what you’re doing, then you switch from trying to sell to a cold target audience, to selling to warmer, more loyal fans. 

“That makes your job much easier and more rewarding. And added bonus loyal fans can’t help but spread the word as well.”

So you build the community first, share your mission, then what is the tipping point?

“One of the key ways you can do this is through testimonials and a video testimonial really does trump everything else. 

“A written testimonial is great too, with the person’s name ideally and a photo. Use great product photography, if you sell products, or great photographs of you, if you’re selling a service. 

“And it’s really important to have obviously well crafted, copy on any sales pages, social media, captions, and email content, and a consistent look and feel. 

“People can consume these in their own time, and at their own pace, rather than you coming across as desperate trying to persuade them to buy at a time that suits you.”

Storytelling when it comes to pets is so important too isn’t it?

“Yes, I’m sick to the back teeth of reading through what feels like the same sales page from a myriad of different businesses, because they’re all following this structure, this format. 

“There’s nothing personal here, nothing that’s going to take me from browsing all these different people’s sales pages to actually making the decision. 

“Actually, the best thing that you can do is really lean into your own personality, your own mission, and how you can communicate that to the type of customers that you want.”

How do you turn browsers into buyers if you have a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘must have?’

“I’m often quite envious of product based businesses as they have beautiful things to show off. 

“I don’t think it matters how many ‘dog mum’ slogan jumpers or collar sets you’ve got already. 

“Because we’re absolutely obsessed with our pets and buying things – what we’re looking for is an excuse. 

“How can you identify that tipping point where people go from ‘Oh, that’s a nice doggy jumper. But I’ve already got 10 of them at home,’ to ‘Oh, that’s a really nice, jumper I know I’ve got 10 at home, but one more can’t hurt.’

“That’s lovely product photography, showing not so much the features, but showing the kind of the outcomes, the benefits of buying. 

“I want to see other dogs, preferably dogs that look like mine looking super cute in that jumper because that is going to push all my buttons and get me to push that buy button as well.”

And pet parents want to shop small, they want to support small businesses not big corporates.

“Yes, during the pandemic I couldn’t have Rosie groomed and I mentioned this to the lady who runs our local pet shop. She dropped off some treats I’d bought and with them was a grooming kit and guide.

“I will always remember that. You don’t get that from a faceless High Street store. So what could you do to build community? 

“Maybe it’s a newsletter with a giveaway once a month? Or a competition? You need to get the conversation going. 

“It needs to be a two way street, rather than you just broadcasting your marketing messages. You need to try and draw people in and get them excited about your business.”

Any final tips for people who might be exhausted from the browsers and just want some buyers?

“Don’t expect people to come to you. It’s like that old expression, isn’t it, ‘Build it and they will come?’  They won’t!

“But don’t be scared to reach out to people. The best thing you can do is reach out and start conversations demonstrating your understanding. 

“If you’ve seen somebody who’s following you on Instagram, and you sell dog products, start conversation about their dog, in DMs, comments, voice notes.

“We all love an excuse to talk about our pets. The first step is to start those conversations without any expectation. You’ve nothing to lose and you never know where it might lead.”

Want to know more about Niki?

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If you enjoyed this post, you might like  Building a community and growing your pet business on Instagram with Helen Perry and Facebook groups tips for pet businesses with Sam Hill.


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