Why Understanding The “Buyer’s Journey” Is THE Secret Sauce To Winning Customers
TL;DR: When you're running a business, it's important to understand how your customers think and what they need in order to make a purchase. This is called the "buyer's journey," and understanding it is key to success.
When you hear the term “Buyer’s Journey” for the first time, it may sound like the title of a book for shopaholics! You may never even think of picking it up. In this article, we hope to help you understand what it is all about!
The buyer’s journey is a term attached to a framework that has become absolutely crucial for businesses to understand if they want to be successful in marketing themselves.
Studies show that buyers complete 57% of their purchase journey evaluation before contacting a business’s sales team. This means they are researching the services and products you offer before ever even considering contacting you. 41% of consumers find the most engaging social media ads to be entertaining. That means you have to create both interesting and entertaining content. If you aren’t providing content that is relevant to the different stages of the buyer’s journey then your business is missing out on a hugely significant marketing opportunity.
Yes Guys… Ya Gotta Answer The Prospect’s Questions! 🙋👇
Think about it, while you have been waiting for the client to make an enquiry, potential leads are already on your competitor’s website that attracted their attention by providing the necessary answers to their questions! So how should you approach taking advantage of the scenario? The simple answer is – to create meaningful content that is relevant to the pain points of your buyer persona and provides answers to their questions!
Yes, it is as simple as creating content in various forms to attract, engage, and retain prospective customers. In this article, we focus on the different stages of the buyer’s journey, what each of these stages means, and the steps inbound marketers can take to use this information to bring in potential customers to the business!
A big part of understanding where your potential leads are and how to convince them to do business with you is by doing thorough research, and a massive part of this is identifying and creating your ‘Buyer Persona/s’. To do this successfully, you must understand intimately the steps a buyer takes to decide to purchase a product or service you are offering.
A ‘Buyer Persona’ is an estimated fictitious representation of your potential client. It is a detailed profile of your best client that helps you build a marketing and content strategy that is highly engaging for your buyer persona so that it teaches while nurturing them along to converting into a customer for you. Let’s first talk about what a buyer’s journey is!
What Is The ‘Buyer’s Journey’?
A buyer’s journey is the steps an individual takes towards making a purchase. It starts with identifying the problem, is followed by relentless research and ends when the buyer makes a purchasing decision.
This journey begins when anyone identifies a problem they are having. In marketing terms, this event is called a ‘Trigger’. It is a situation that nudges a buyer to realise that he has a pain point/problem and needs to solve it. Here your lead is in an unaware stage when they might not be sure about the existence of your business or anything in particular that you might have to offer.
The buyer’s journey has three phases. A buyer can be at any of these stages, and the content strategy you have should be different according to the phase the leads you are pursuing are at. From here onwards, we suggest ways to drive traffic to your website, attract the leads, engage them and turn them into retainer clients.
#1 – The Awareness Phase 😕
In the beginning, the client is in a state where they do not understand all the possible market options available to solve their problems. Here your business can find a pool of unqualified leads that can turn into possible future clients. When the leads start to educate themselves about the possible options and answers to their particular question/s, they enter the awareness stage.
They begin looking for any content and information available online to learn more about the pricing, availability, quality and purchase options concerning the solution that can ease their pain. This is a perfect opportunity for the placement of a content marketing strategy.
What Should Your Marketing Strategy Be?
You want to give information to those unaware of your brand and the services you offer. You can do that based on what kind of marketing approach you are taking. The most favoured way is to go through the number of paid ad clicks or organic searches that land on your website. No matter your approach, you can always use the tools like Google Adwords to view insights and engagements on the posts you’ve created.
This helps you understand the “ trigger” your niche client is experiencing. Then you can create content based on the said trigger to attract new leads. You can establish yourself to become the go-to guy for the services you offer simply by putting out content based on these findings. When looking for leads, you must refrain from advertising for your brand.
Your content should provide solutions to the buyer’s pain points without any pushy sales tactics and more from an educational aspect to cement yourself as a thought leader and authority in the space you talk about. Produce and promote creative content that answers precisely the questions your buyer is asking. Statistics show that 82% of buyers engage in long and extensive research before making a purchasing decision. This elongates the buyer’s journey and allows businesses to capture the attention of curious buyers!
The channels you can use:
- Blog posts
- Social Media Marketing
- Search Engine Marketing
You can add a call to action (CTA) at the end of your blog posts to grab the customers’ attention and encourage them to convert. With the right approach to social media and search engine marketing, you can determine if your leads are the right fit for you while letting them know if you are right for them!
Let’s take a quick example, suppose Annie is looking for a new closet, and you are a supplier of all household furniture and fixtures. Your content should be focused on helping Annie select a suitable furniture piece that will solve her problem, which is a lack of space to store her clothes properly!. Your blog article titles could be ‘5 Brilliant Closets That Fit Right Into Any Space!’, ‘Experience Luxury Living: Exquisite Closet Designs With Large Storage Capacity ’ or ‘How To Choose A Closet?- An Expert’s Guide To Finding The Right Match For You!’. You then choose to promote these articles on social media platforms.
Once Annie engages with the informational content on your website, her chances of making a purchase with you increase significantly.
#2 – The Consideration Stage 🧐
The buyer has now moved on to the stage where they now know and understand the solutions offered to remediate their pain points. They are aware of the market offerings and have narrowed down the possible companies they want to engage further with.
As you work to further nurture your leads into becoming possible customers, you must move on to a different approach at this stage.
The buyer is evaluating the options and comparing them with your competitors. The content offered now can focus on the core of the problem rather than the surface issues.
What Should Your Marketing Strategy Be?
Let’s go back to our example; our unqualified lead Annie is now a potential lead. Her pain point is buying a closet, but the core issue is the need for more storage space. Now you may be wondering how to come up with this data? We have discussed the quantitative means of gathering data (through social media and search engine analytics). The qualitative data that we need here is harder to procure.
To access these data, you can go back to the interactions between the website, social media sites and the potential lead. The key metrics can be the articles that Annie has read and the links she went through. If Annie focuses more on our blog post about the range of luxury closets we offer, then we can probably assume that she will spend a bit more money on getting the solution she is after.
If the article about closet space seemed to indulge her immensely, then you can safely guess that her core issue is the need for more storage area. Pushing your marketing strategy and making decisions based on this information can help you create further content that encourages Annie to choose your business as the solution provider for her with a new spacious luxury closet.
The focus now can be placed on the following three channels:
- Email marketing
- Remarketing and Retargeting
- Social media marketing
You can create landing pages with conversion forms to encourage the buyer to further engage with you online. Once you get the buyers to fill out their genuine credentials, you can begin your email marketing strategy. This is the step where you can really begin to nurture the potential lead towards becoming your client.
Once the buyer has landed on your website, a cookie usually tracks their preferences. This allows businesses to understand the buyer’s persona even further. We get a peek at the interests of the leads outside our business as the buyer surfs the internet, and you can also use this information to remarket your brand to the lead. You can advertise your brand to align the taste of the target leads by using personalised ads.
Finally, the buyer will analyse the companies and the purchase options available by going through the pricing, the availability, after-sale service and so on, depending on what sector your business is in. They can feel the need for a purchasing decision coming up, and thus the urgency to make comparisons for the said investments are high.
This is the best time to offer content that predicts an estimate. You can compare products for them in an informative video or give them access to a free tool that helps them check their investment return. The focus for marketers should be on building relationships while simultaneously evaluating whether the lead can fit the business.
Evaluating a ‘Good Fit’ for The Business – Why Is It Important?
Why is it important that you find the best fit for customers for your business? Why not serve every lead that comes to your doors? The simple answer is you will find yourself with a high churn rate: i.e. a high percentage of cancelled/unrenewed accounts. When a business has a churn rate higher than 10%, it indicates that your marketing department’s efforts and resources are having to gain new clients rather than retaining existing ones, and it is far more expensive to gain new clients than to keep your existing ones happy.
When a business fails to retain clients, the goodwill of the business starts to crash and burn. A successful marketing and sales process aims to get your clients to become evangelists for your business. Thus, creating an endless cycle of positive marketing through word of mouth and reviews by your existing, happy client base. For this, an analysis of a fit between the business and the client is crucial.
As the buyer moves to the next phase, the company must decide whether to start a working relationship with this lead. This evaluation process begins on both sides, and the decisions follow in the next stage.
#3 – The Decision Stage 😉
As the buyer reaches this stage, he/she has enough information to decide on a purchase. But whether they will choose your business or not is still something they are unsure about. Do not slack off on the marketing front in this phase. One thing to take away from this article is never to wait for the customer to make the first move.
You may think the ball is on the buyer’s court, but there are still some marketing strategies you should be pushing through with at this stage. One of the most significant issues in e-commerce is customers leaving or abandoning their cart without checking out and making the sales transaction. You can follow up with the buyer here in the form of a confirmation email to remind them to finish the transaction and even offer a further incentive to do so with a discount coupon or similar offers.
What Should Your Marketing Strategy Be?
Analyse your website and social media platforms to find your potential lead’s preferred means of contact. Use this information to promote information about after-sale services, current offers, live demos and coupons.
If the lead responds to email marketing, use it to send out free trials, demos, free shipping or a discount to get them excited. Another tip is to notify your clients about a chance to get free consulting services. Talking to the sales team can help clear any doubts and anxiety the buyer may be experiencing.
Deliver the marketing content to your lead’s preferred social media platforms to further the process by engaging with them where they are. Engage in direct contact and use live chat boxes to reply to the consumer’s queries. According to Obelro’s statistics, 54% of buyers choose social media for product research. Additionally, social media statistics published by First Site Guide show that over 53% of consumers follow brands on social media to learn more about the brand’s offers. In turn, 91% of the customers who follow a brand on social media visit the brand’s website or application. Marketers should not underestimate the reach of such platforms.
The focus can be on the following:
- Live Demos and trials
- Free consultation sessions
- Offers and discounts
- Loyalty programs
How Can This Phase Attract New Leads?
You can grab the attention of new leads still in their awareness phase with a good marketing scheme. As they research possible solutions, they come across the loyalty programs, after-sale services and offers you have for your existing client base. This impacts the buyers, who take a mental note of your business.
If done correctly, your content marketing will delight your existing clientele, retain them and make them the unofficial brand ambassadors for your business. Simultaneously, a successful marketing campaign will create brand awareness among prospects and lift your business in more ways than one!
Now our prospect Annie will hopefully turn into our client. Once she works with the sales and marketing team closely, she will evaluate the business even more. Her experience can be the testimonial that brings in more clients in the future. Thus following up with Annie and assisting her through her preferred contact channel is crucial.
Here is a summary of the points gone over around the importance of the buyer’s journey;
– Research thoroughly and create your Buyer Persona/s! (Get your free step by step guide below 👇👇)
– Establish a sales/marketing funnel for your business
– Ensure you understand the needs of your buyer before creating your kickass content strategy
– Know when not to over advertise your brand or be too ‘salesy’
– Never wait for the consumer to contact you; be proactive!
– Understand the buyers journey and push content and strategies accordingly
Avoid The Most Critical Mistake Businesses Make That Kills Marketing Success!
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