There are many techniques and techniques in marketing to attract and retain customers. From the sales funnel to the AIDA model to creating a white paper. One popular technique is using Ben Hunt’s ladder.
In this article we will explain in simple words: what is Hunt’s ladder, which steps it consists of, what business needs.
What is the Ben Hunt ladder and why do you need it?
Ben Hunt’s ladder is a marketing theory known as the “Ladder of Recognition or Awareness.” It divides potential customers into groups based on their awareness of the problem and how to solve it. In the end, the problem should be solved through the purchase of your product.
Let’s go over the steps and examples in more detail.
Stages and Examples of the Hunt’s Ladder
Ben Hunt’s ladder is commonly divided into 5 stages:
- Absence of a problem or indifference.
- Comparison of methods of solving the problem.
- Choosing a company/vendor.
- Closing the deal.
Absence of a problem or indifference
At this stage, the person does not think there is a problem and certainly does not look for a solution.
Example: Masha has a cat. Masha feeds her cheap food, sausage, and leftovers from the table. She does not think about the quality of the cat’s food and how it affects the cat’s body.
At this stage, the potential customer becomes familiar with the problem and realizes that there is a problem and it needs to be addressed.
Example: you are a pet food manufacturer. The site of your online store has a blog + pages in social networks on behalf of the company. Masha comes across an article – “7 products that shorten the lives of domestic cats. So Masha understands that the quality of cat food directly affects the health and longevity of the pet. She begins to think about changing her cat’s diet.
This is how the potential client goes from not knowing the problem to being aware of it.
Comparison of methods of solving the problem
The person realizes there is a problem and wants to solve it. He starts looking for and comparing different options.
Example: Masha decided to learn more about proper cat nutrition and started reading other articles and watching videos. She understood that there are different types of food (economy, premium, holistic), began to understand what from natural products can be given to cats and what not, what vitamins and supplements there are. What kind of foods are available (for the sterilized, for the gastrointestinal tract, for the inactive, and so on).
Choosing a company/supplier
At this stage, the person already knows what they want and is looking for a company/store to buy from. Here it is important to be able to offer the most favorable conditions, so that the client does not end up going to a competitor. But Hunt’s ladder has a pleasant bonus – if the potential client has passed through all 3 stages of your content (for example, articles and videos), then he has already formed a loyal attitude towards the company. Getting the client to the deal is a matter of technique.
Important: if you are strongly inferior to your competitors, you have unprofitable prices, your staff is poor, there are problems with the site, there are problems with payment and delivery – there is a risk of losing a “hot client” and, in fact, voluntarily give him into the hands of your competitors.
Closing the deal
The final stage of Hunt’s ladder. The person who didn’t initially think there was a problem becomes your customer.
Conclusion: Hunt’s ladder echoes the sales funnel in stages. But if the funnel starts working from the first contact of the client with a particular company or product, the Hunt’s ladder works earlier, when the person is not going to buy anything yet.
How and Why Use Ben Hunt’s Ladder
Basically, businesses focus on attracting potential customers who are already aware of the problem and are looking for ways to solve it. That is, are in step 3 or 4 of Hunt’s ladder. All the attention and budget is spent on trying to stand out from the competition. To take the first positions in search, to cover more advertising platforms, to start more accurate targeting. This is especially the way beginners and small businesses operate.
Roughly speaking, if you sell fishing rods, then your entire business is focused on fishermen. But there are still people who have never fished, but may want to and end up becoming your loyal customers.
Hunt’s ladder helps you communicate with a potential customer before they even realize they need your product. You “hook him on the hook” with your content and smoothly lead him to a deal.
Now for more details on how to use it. Let’s break it down by stages:
1. Absence of a problem or indifference
The potential customer does not yet know that “he has a problem” or need. The task of the business is to attract his attention and tell him about the problem. This is achieved by increasing the reach of the material. Advertising and content marketing are used here. Emphasis is placed on headlines and visuals, if any. They should make people think about the problem and lure them to a resource that has more information on the topic.
Example of attention-grabbing headlines:
- 8 morning foods for brain productivity.
- Unseen generosity: countries that will pay you to move to them.
- The brain’s natural defense against age-related changes: 14 important foods and the 3 most dangerous factors.
- Tricky tricks that will allow you to achieve your goals.
- 7 habits that steal our youth.
- Concise and stylish: 6 secrets of fashion minimalism.
The person has learned about the problem. Now you need to give him more information. Content marketing is also used here, but the material should be more detailed and expert. Crowd-marketing is also used – useful posts on forums and thematic communities with links to the site.
Example: you sell multicookers. The attention of potential customers has already been attracted by the article “How to learn to cook 5 times faster”, in which the reader got acquainted with multicookers and realized that he wants to have such a machine in the kitchen. Next, you need to give him more expert information. Articles like “What to pay attention to when choosing a multicooker”, “5 mistakes when choosing a multicooker”, “What functions are most important in a multicooker”, “Pros and cons of multicookers” will help.
3. Comparison of methods of solving the problem
The potential client understands what multicookers differ from each other and begins to select the right models for his needs. At this stage it is the functionality and price that matters to him.
Which will help to determine the choice:
Comparative Content. This is a review of models of multicookers, articles that compare different models, expert advice, tests. You can use selections and tops, such as “Top 5 multicookers.”
Detailed product cards. A typical mistake of owners of online stores – “blurred” description of the product, not reflecting its functionality. As well as the absence of the most important characteristics for the consumer. Instead the description is a work of fiction about how nice it is to have a multicooker in the kitchen and zero information about how this model is different from all the others. And what it can do at all. Another mistake is the same template description under different models.
Reviews under product cards. The choice of model is often influenced by reviews with other people’s experience with it. Not to be confused with company reviews. In this case the site of the store should provide an opportunity to leave a review under the product card. It is also possible to place goods on marketplaces where you can leave reviews on specific goods.
4. Choosing a company/supplier
The person has decided on the model of the multicooker, now he needs to decide where to buy it. Often the third and fourth steps overlap or interchange places. For example, the user entered the query “Buy Multicooker” and came to your site. And already on it began to choose the model on the characteristics and prices. So in the fourth stage is important to solve two problems:
- attract the user to the site (if the first 3 stages of the ladder of Hunt have not passed through your content);
- convince him to buy from you.
What tools and channels to use to attract:
– Run contextual and targeting ads.
– Choose the right keywords to attract your target audience from search engines.
– Ensure visibility of the company in the network: add the site to maps and directories, attract the audience from social networks and video hosting.
– Create a unique selling proposition that motivates customers to buy from you.
– Offer advantageous conditions to the client: a loyalty program, bonuses or one-time discount, convenient payment methods, optimal delivery methods, a simple checkout process.
– Prepare selling content.
– Take care in advance about the convenience and attractiveness of the site where the purchase will be made.
5. Conclusion of the transaction
The client has only to place and pay for the order.
The following conditions must be met for this stage:
Sound site usability. So the client doesn’t have to look for contacts or the cart button. If difficulties may arise during the ordering process – it is worth compiling step-by-step instructions or adding cues. It is also desirable to have an operative technical support service, such as a chat-bot or online consultant.
Absence of technical errors on the site. The client tries to pay for the order, but an error occurs at the stage of adding a bank card. He goes to a competitor with a working site.
Control over the availability of goods in stock and timely updates of their status. If the product is listed on the site or marketplace, as “in stock”, and then it turns out that it is not – the desire to reorder in this store disappears.
A clear system of order confirmation. For example, a letter to the post that the order is accepted and an SMS notification. It can also be a confirmation call from an employee. There is nothing more annoying for the client than to make an order, not receive any confirmation that it is accepted, and after a day to receive a call from the managers saying “Sorry, the product you ordered is out of stock, you can choose a similar one”.
A simple and clear method of ordering. If you have to do a lot of extra actions at the stage of making a purchase – the customer may change his/her mind in the middle of the process and leave. For example, if at first you have to wait for a call from the manager. Then a text message with the card details. Then you have to pay and send a scan of payment to the manager. Then he has to confirm that he got the money. Only after that the goods will be sent. No need to do it this way.
Several methods of payment and delivery. The customer should have a choice. If you have one method of payment and delivery, don’t expect people to adjust to you. It’s easier to find another store, even if the product will be a little more expensive.
The ideal Hunt’s ladder is when all 5 steps go through your resources. For example, a person comes across an article on your blog and it describes a problem (Stage 1). In the same blog, he gets more information on the topic (Stage 2). There he finds several ways of solving the problem (Stage 3). The question of who to buy from disappears by itself, because the person already trusts you (Stage 4). The client makes a purchase (5 stage).
Use this technique as an additional way to attract customers.