You want people to buy your product or service. But there’s a problem. Asking for large commitments upfront (like people’s personal information or a meeting) can scare people off. So what can you do to build an audience of valuable prospects?

Think SMALL. I’m talking about asking for micro-commitments along the way.

The science of micro-commitments is really about biology. The brain is designed to treat any new opportunity as a potential threat, which can trigger the flight or fight response. But when change happens gradually, step by step, it can help us avoid feeling threatened or like we’re making a bad choice. When you break your sales funnel into smaller steps that are easier for a prospect to commit to then you’re decreasing threat and increasing buy-in.

Micro-commitments serve several key purposes:

  • Micro-commitments let you slowly ease yourself into a prospect’s life.
  • Micro-commitments create tangible next steps for the prospect to follow that pull them further into the funnel and increase the likelihood of a purchase. They let you collect “yeses.”
  • Micro-commitments let you test engagement. Engagement is the biggest qualifier.
  • Micro-commitments create value – with each investment of time or effort, the prospects are placing a slightly higher value on the process and the product or service and feeling more compelled to move towards an outcome.

We walk our prospects through a series of micro-commitments, small steps that are easy to commit to as a way to build trust and direct our prospects deeper into the sales funnel. We use them as a way to more easily connect with and build our audience while also providing value that makes them feel comfortable with the process.

Here are the micro-commitments we walk our prospects through.

Connect on LinkedIn (micro commitment #1)

The micro-commitments process starts on LinkedIn when you start building out a network of connections. Connection email + reframing article (2nd email – follow up). You’re not selling, you’re providing value. This is where we begin the relationship with many of our prospects. As we’re building our audience and reaching out to ask for connections, we’re asking for one small thing – for a prospect to connect with us on LinkedIn.

Share key insights (micro commitment #2)

Now that we’ve connected with a prospect, the next step is to provide value and build trust. We create great insight-driven content that shares insights and perspectives that are valuable to our audience and then share that content through posts on LinkedIn and our website. As part of our audience on LinkedIn, they see those posts and become more comfortable with trusting us as a thought leader.

Direct them to your website to read your content (micro commitment #3)

People don’t pick up the phone anymore, so the best way to connect with them is through your website. From posts on LinkedIn, our connections are invited to read our content, like & share it, comment on it, and visit our website to see more. They’re receiving insight value and we’re building emotional value as we build trust. Bringing them to the website is the next small level of commitment as we direct them there for even more key insights and perspectives on the problems they’re facing. It’s also a great way to measure engagement.

Ask for email signup/opt-in (micro commitment #4)

By the time we ask them to sign up for our emails, they’ve already made several micro-commitments and seen the value those create. They’re familiar with us and we’ve built a certain level of trust through being a thought leader and providing key insights. They’ve connected with us on LinkedIn, seen our posts, and visited our website to see more. Asking for their email is the next logical step in order to keep giving them value. But the way you ask for that information matters.

Send Nurturing Email Campaign

Nurturing campaigns are the first emails a prospect receives after signing up for email marketing. They’re designed to communicate your unique value proposition to every prospect and connection, keeping you top of mind and sharing your unique insight-driven perspective. That means clearly articulating your story:

WHY you do what you do, WHO you are, and then
HOW you do WHAT you do.

They are delivered over the course of the decision life cycle for your product or service – anywhere from 6-8 weeks to a year or more – in a series of 5-8 emails that introduce you, the business, explain what doing business with you is like, and also help walk prospects through other information they need to know when making a decision to work with your company.

Build Campaign

The nurturing campaigns are followed up by build email campaigns that keep you top of mind with information and insights that are valuable to your audience. Build campaigns can also be posted to your website, and shared with your connections on LinkedIn, helping drive your SEO strategy. We recommend sending out 2 per month.

Throughout the micro-commitments process, you want to make sure the action you are asking them to take is easy and not threatening. For instance, we only ask for an email address – not their name or any additional information. Now they’re part of your audience who you can communicate with whenever you want, and you’re one step closer to qualifying them as a prospect.

Each of these steps builds upon the ones before it and creates momentum, making it easier for the prospect to commit. This is a great way to improve your opt-in rate and your overall conversion rate.

Make sure you’re providing value & minimizing risk every step of the way.

At every small gateway, you need to demonstrate the value of taking the next small step (micro commitment). Make sure what you are asking for is low risk, reasonable, and makes sense. Demonstrate the value in a way your prospect can understand and they’ll take the next step. Prospects want to feel that you understand them and the problems they’re facing. If you can show the value in connecting with you, spending time with you, reading your articles, signing up for your email, they will agree to the next small step.

Value is broken down into three key areas.

  • Emotional Value –
    moving to the next step lowers stress, gives them peace of mind, reduces risk and unknows, and builds trust.
  • Insight Value –
    moving to the next step offers insight or promise of additional knowledge.
  • Tangible Value –
    moving to the next step provides a tangible result, something that is quantifiable and measurable – such as a physical product or takeaway – or measurable results, such as performance.

A strategy based on micro-commitments is one of the best ways to drive engagement, remain top of mind, and eventually close a sale. It’s an effective way of building trust as you direct prospects deeper into the funnel.

Learn more by listening to our B2B Word of Mouth Marketing podcasts.

All the best,

Bill Bice

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