In 2011 Google announced a major shift to the customer journey with the introduction of the Zero Moment Of Truth (ZMOT). This is the moment when the consumer makes a decision to buy a product or service based on online research, reviews, and social media. In 2015, mobile search queries overtook desktop search queries. Which means that the customer journey has gone mobile, making the ZMOT more important than ever.
What is the ZMOT?
The ZMOT occurs when a user carries out research for a product or service to inform their purchasing decision. The ZMOT can happen very quickly – from a quick Google search query, from a scan of product reviews, or from watching an informative video.
Capitalising on the ZMOT is vital for any business that wishes to attract new customers. Your brand needs to meet both their rational and emotional needs.
You may have read this blog post where we discussed the ZMOT, and the fact that the customer journey is no longer a linear process.
Google also developed the idea of Micro Moments. These are the small moments during the customer journey that help to shape the consumers’ decision-making.
Again, thanks to mobile, users can complete search queries at any time and in any place. Micro Moments offer a great opportunity for your business to effectively engage with your potential customer, regardless of when or where the enquiry is made.
Google described Micro Moments as “the new battleground for brands.” These moments improve brand awareness and dictate the perception of your company:
How Can a B2B Business Win the Zero Moment Of Truth?
Google says that any business, whether you’re B2C or B2B, needs to think about the ZMOT:
- B2B businesses need to focus on creating content that answers questions that your customers are asking before they convert. Talk to your sales and customer service teams to find out the types of questions your customers ask throughout the sales process.
- People do business with people, so give your customers the opportunity to get to know who you are.
- Your website’s copy needs to focus on what the customer would like to know, and how your products or services can benefit them.
- Case studies and testimonials provide a solid source of trust to users.
OK, So What Actions Can I Take to Win the ZMOT?
SEO – First, your content has to rank in the Google Search results. For you content to be seen by users during those micro moments and ZMOT, your content needs to be optimised for the phrases they’re actively searching for. If your pages aren’t ranking highly, then you’re likely to miss out on the ZMOT.
Mobile Site – Your site might be mobile friendly on a technical level, but it may not be user friendly. When looking at your mobile site, are users able to quickly navigate? Can they get to relevant information quickly without extensive scrolling? Scrutinise your mobile site and put yourself in your customers’ shoes. The John Lewis website is mobile friendly, but navigating on a mobile device is a nightmare:
Social – If your social strategy is to simply talk at your followers, it’s time to change your approach. Put the customer first – engage with others in conversation, listen to their thoughts, and help them to solve their problems.
Reviews – Product/service reviews and testimonial are crucial to building trust with new customers. Before you buy anything, whether it’s a toothbrush or a new car, you’re likely to read as many reviews as you can. Reviews matter more than ever. They’re essential to winning the ZMOT. If you don’t currently have any reviews, or if all your existing reviews are negative or mediocre, it’s time to ask yourself why your customers aren’t recommending your products or services.
What your customers say about you is more important than what you are saying. Your customers’ emotional needs need to be met before they make a purchase. They need to be happy that they are making a good decision. This can only be reinforced by other people in their position recommending your business.
Your Users Come First – If you take the time to understand your customers’ personae, you can make predictions of what your target customers are interested in, and what they want to know. They probably don’t care that last year you recycled 60% of your business waste. They just want information that will help them to enrich their lives. They don’t want to waste time wading through your content, which is why easy to read copy with clear headings and bullet points works wonders.
Be There When it Matters – Write content that answers your customers’ questions. They’re busy people, so your content needs to be clear and concise enough to allow the user to glance at the page and find what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds.
Be Helpful – Make your customers’ lives easier by sharing genuinely useful knowledge. Write blog posts that focus on their questions and their search queries. Below, What Car’s segment from their company car tax calculator page ranks first to help users find an answer fast. This can only help What Car to win the ZMOT:
Create Videos – This is a particularly useful strategy for B2B businesses. As well as providing an excellent opportunity for you to share useful information, people simply like to see other people using products and services. How to videos and top tips can highlight your products’ benefits, and can also help you to rank highly in Google.
Below, I conducted a search for ‘Industrial Pipe Installation’. You’ll see that the video ranks higher than Wikipedia, which means that Google sees the video as more useful for the user than the Wikipedia page:
Make Effective Changes Today – It’s Time to Make the Most of These Moments!
There are lots of ways you can start making an impact today – from reviewing your social interactions, to getting an idea of what your competitors are doing through Googling phrases and queries that you want to rank for.
By focusing on the ZMOT, you’re tailoring the buying cycle to meet the specific needs of your target customers. When all of the stages of the journey come together, you can gain a considerable advantage over your competitors.
If you want to find out more on what Google has to say about ZMOT, read their full guide here.