How can you sell SMSF to online consumers? - Showtime Digital

How can you sell SMSF to online consumers?

27 April 2017 Read 1463 times

‘Follow that consumer’

We’ve all seen the spy movie where the first scene takes you through a manic car chase and a flurry of gunfire and the lead actor seemingly dies before your very eyes. You’re asking yourself, ‘that can’t be it’. Then written across the screen is written ‘4 weeks earlier’ and you’re left wondering how on earth it got to this.

We’re going to do the same with Pete and Fiona during their Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) investigation. We’re going to follow their consumer journey from start to finish, right up to the point of making contact with a provider of SMSF. So let’s wind their lives back to ‘4 weeks earlier’, and walk with them on their journey and discover what ultimately motivates their purchase.

Pete and Fiona are the proud parents of three teenage children. Tonight they’re going to a friend’s 50th birthday party. They arrive in their ‘we’re doing ok for ourselves’ SUV and are greeted by Doug and Trish whom they know through the host. The party is going well and as is customary with these things people congregate to talk about how well their kids and their investment portfolios are doing.

Doug and Trish mention in passing they have just bought an investment property through their Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF). Knowing they have money in their own super fund Fiona takes a keen interest and probes Trish for more details.

Having piqued her interest, during their journey home Fiona asks Pete why they haven’t bought an investment property through their own Self-Managed Super Fund to which Pete replies that he’ll look into it.

Two weeks go by and nothing has been done. It’s not on Pete’s radar and Fiona is becoming increasingly irritated about the inaction. At dinner she mentions the subject again and Pete finally gets the hint he better start taking an interest in the matter and says, ‘yes, let’s look into it’.

Now if Fiona is like 43% of people looking into the subject she’ll use her Mobile to gain insights into SMSF. And like 27% of people in Fiona’s situation she’s going to ask questions related to the category first.

Download the SMSF Online Trends Report here

Fiona may type in questions like, ‘How much do I need to buy property through my Super fund’? ‘Can I use an SMSF property for my own purposes’? They may have also downloaded an eBook or viewed a couple of videos on the subject.
A few days later they both log into their Super accounts and discover they might have enough money to buy an investment property. They visit several websites and choose one they are happy to talk to about the opportunity and leave their details on the contact form.


Let’s examine the consumer journey so far

There are three components the consumer brings to the table.

  1. Pressure
  2. Need 
  3. Timeframe


What pressures do consumers have?

There are two types of pressures; internal or external. The weakest pressure to action comes from an internal pressure. The consumer may want the outcome but there are no negative or positive aspects from either action. 

The best pressure is always external. This may be where a government body or an authority is imposing pressure such as tax lodgement or a landlord eviction. 

In Pete and Fiona’s situation there’s spousal pressure. This is still seen as an external pressure because there are two individuals here and one is influencing the other. More specifically love and respect in a relationship is a strong emotional motivator.


What emotional needs motivate consumers?

All needs have their basis in emotion. Check out Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for more details. Going back to man’s earliest days there was nothing logical about rubbing two pieces of wood together to create fire but the need to stay warm, to fend of attackers and reduce fear within the tribe drove early man to make the connection between the two to gain emotional satisfaction.

In Peter and Fiona’s situation the need is to be socially validated. The fear of missing out is a strong motivator and played on heavily in social media. Fiona believes if Doug and Trish can buy an investment property through their SMSF they can to.


How important is a timeframe?

External pressure is a good barometer for defining a timeframe because it’s being imposed on the consumer. In contrast an internal timeframe can always be drawn out because people are generally lazy by nature.

For example there may be a personal desire to purchase an outfit online but until there are only 2 left in stock there’s no need to commit to the purchase hence the reason why ecommerce sites list the amount of items left in stock.

Unless Peter and Fiona tell others about their desire to purchase a property through their SMSF they lack the internal desire required to purchase. As a supplier you could impose a timeframe through a reduced rate, ‘save 30% by June 30’ but the hook would be the dollar saving and only until the last hour would the timeframe become important. 


How do you meet the consumer where they’re at?

You need to understand how your consumers think and feel. Very rarely do you have online categories where there’s an externally imposed pressure with a strong need and a short timeframe. Congratulations if you do but if your buyers traditionally lack one of the three elements you’re going to need to get inside their head.

The diagram below depicts Pete and Fiona’s situation. Remember as a couple there’s a strong external pressure (there are two individuals) and a need to socially validate themselves but they lack a defined timeframe.

Consumer pain points 01 

As a company in any industry you could focus on why you do it, how you do it or what you do. Most of your competitors will focus on the latter. So how could you position yourself to engage more consumers more of the time?

Consumer pain points 02 

he above diagram should be your approach to the market place. If all your competitors are running in the same direction go the other way, so give a big reason why, some of how you do it and only a little of what you do.


Focus on the why

Have you ever read the ‘Why work with us’ pages on websites? This page has the 14 reasons why you should work with them and each has a bold tick alongside. But they feel they haven’t yet nailed it so they include a huge volume of copy beneath it to further push the point home. A word to the wise here, no one reads this and no one believes in what’s written because the company clearly doesn’t believe in themselves.

Often times, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you’ll find in the last paragraph, in the last two lines, the distillation of why consumers should do business with this company and it’s often a really good reason. 
If your website does this then get rid of the ‘Why work with us’ page and place this most excellent reason as the headline or H1 on your main page or landing page.
Your brand’s essence or what you stand for may be an internal vision and totally different to the reason people will want to engage you. To be able to fill in the blanks in the following sentence is an awesome first step to understanding your why.

(My company) is known for ……….because of our ………..

This is a first step to owning a piece of your category’s landscape and standing for something in the mind of the consumer.

And please, please please don’t say your company is known for ‘giving better service’ or ‘we take the time to understand our clients’. That’s just blah blah and carries no weight in the real world. Every average company with no vision thinks they do this.

Focusing on the why engages people at an emotional level


Focus a little on how you do it

You could focus on the ‘how’ but that’s about the features of your offering and the process you may take. While it’s probably something you’re very proud of you’re still selling the sausage.


Don’t focus on what you do

The ‘what’ is firmly embedded in the left and logical brain. Very few people get emotionally charged about knowing what you do because it creates no point of difference. The great point here is most of your competition focuses their attention on what they do. 

You could tell people about your Board of Directors and sure mum and dad, some shareholders and potential suppliers will be impressed but what's in it for the consumer?

Consumers care less about how great you think you are

If all your competitors are running in the same direction go the other way, so focus first on the why, then the how and only then on the what.


The offer

If you want to overcome all your short comings you can bridge the gap to the consumer by having a great offer.

Consumer pain points 03 

In the crudest sense of the term, ‘everyone has their price’.

For example, as a consumer, how excited would you be if you were offered a 10% discount? No really right.

What about 25%? How about 50%? It sounds ok for the retail sector but maybe not in the SMSF environment. What if your offer appealed to what’s most important to the consumer and in Pete and Fiona’s situation having an offer which eases their social pressure may work better.

Elevating their pain point around their Need could work but you only have a few seconds to engage people online so it’s best to focus on one specific aspect of their pain.

What if you simply used a minimiser in the headline copy to engage more consumers, could that work just as well? When you consider consumers have an online attention span of eight seconds so if people don’t get what’s in it for them immediately you’ve potentially lost them.

SMSF above the fold image 

The headline above has been created specifically for the Pete and Fiona’s of the world. It’s not so crass as to tell them they should keep up with the Jones’s (elevating their pressure) but because the category is highly informational we need to lower the action threshold by taking the complexity out of it and making their first step easy.

Delving deep into the headline the word ‘let’ is strategic in that it’s both a minimiser and it opens up the conversation whereas using a term like ‘Make the first step…’ may feel too aggressive. ‘Best’ is used to comfort the consumer and give them a sense of security. And no, the word ‘Best’ doesn’t refer to the product, it only refers to the first step.

There’s also an implied action within the headline of taking their ‘first step’. Here we’re placing into the mind of the consumer that it’s ok to move forward. And of course as mentioned on the second line it refers to Pete and Fiona’s desire to invest in property with their Super.

People generally search online at the peak of their interest. The strategic use of copy should be used to lower the consumer’s anxiety levels and by lowering their mental hurdles, consumers will feel more at ease to take the next step.


How does imagery motivate people?

Imagery is hugely important here as well. Often in the finance sectors we’re shown retired couples enjoying time on the beach. In a world obsessed with looking younger for longer no one wants to see how wrinkled they’ll look 20-30 years from now. If anything our testing from using such imagery shows us it’s a definite turn off.

In contrast the man in the above landing page appears to be mid-40, (the decision making age of people looking into SMSF) he may be self-employed architect and he looks assured with his resent decision on his own Super. He gives people confidence in their next step and that’s all people are buying, the next step.

Congratulations, you’ve emotionally engaged someone in a cluttered finance category where your competitors believe logic sells their products/services.


But what if they didn’t convert?

You’ve done most of the hard work already. All you have to do now is keep in touch and not make a pest of yourself. A lot of people won’t convert, but at least you’re front of mind and holding their hand.


In conclusion

To be relevant to your consumer focus on the following key takeaways

  • Follow the consumer journey
  • Engage consumers emotionally
  • Elevate consumer pressures, needs or timeframes
  • Understand their why
  • Understand why you’re different
  • Make it easier to on-board consumers with a great offer

If you’d like to know some other great tips on how to engage consumers download the eBook ‘Creating Landing Pages Which Convert’.

Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer is the Joint Founder and CEO of Showtime Digital. Steve has been in B2B sales since 1997 but influencing people and behavioural science has been a long-term passion.

The magic he brings to his clients is in knowing how to engage their audience. His goal is to help businesses understand the deeper reasons of why consumers convert online with them.