If, as a business owner, you’re wondering, “What is the buyer’s journey?”, you aren’t alone. As important as the journey that your buyers take to purchase your product is, it is commonly overlooked helpful marketing information. Even though your customers don’t want to be targeted, demoed, closed, etc, it’s still important for you to be familiar with the journey that your buyers take before they purchase your product, as this can improve your strategy for online lead generation. Here’s what we feel that you need to know to fully understand the question, “What is the buyer’s journey?”
Buyer’s Journey Three-Step Process
The buyer’s journey is comprised of three steps:
- Awareness Stage: The buyer realizes he or she has a problem.
- Consideration Stage: The buyer identifies the problem and starts researching solutions for his or her problem.
- Decision Stage: The buyer chooses his or her solution.
How To Define Your Company’s Buyer’s Journey
If you, as a business owner, don’t have a good understanding of how your potential buyers operate, you could be losing out on a ton of sales volume. Maybe interview some of your regular customers or conduct a survey to find out more about your clientele basis.
The Awareness Stage
When a buyer is in the awareness stage, they realize that there is a problem that they need to solve. Buyers are still unsure, at this point, of whether or not this new problem should be a priority. In order to fully grasp the awareness stage, here are some questions that we feel you should ask yourself in order to better tailor your website to buyers who are in this stage:
What Do Buyers Say About Their Challenges And Goals?
It’s important to see how your buyers tend to describe the challenges that they face as well as their goals, and the best way to do this is to ask them directly. Often, we feel that the best way to do this is by using a survey.
What Happens If Buyers Do Not Act?
It’s important to determine the likely scenarios for buyers who choose to not solve their problem right away. Products designed for the urgent problem -solutions are more likely to sell quickly. Here are some ways to determine what the consequences of inaction can be for buyers:
- We recommend reading stories online from people who did not solve the problem and incorporate that information into your content.
- Emphasize the seriousness of inaction, especially in cases where inaction can have serious consequences.
How Do Buyers Educate Themselves?
Knowing how your customers choose to educate themselves will allow you to develop a website that suits the needs of prospective customers. Here are some things to consider:
- Consider if your buyers choose to educate themselves by reading content from the company’s websites, itself, or if they tend to read more neutral sources. If your buyers tend to read more neutral sources, it’s especially important to differentiate your product from your competitors.
- Consider your target market demographic, who you’re marketing your product to, and this will help you to determine the level of knowledge that your customers are likely to have.
- Buyers will educate themselves differently with different sectors of the business world. For specific help with the healthcare industry, check out Healthcare Marketing Trends.
What Misconceptions Do Buyers Have About the Problem And How To Solve It?
If potential customers see your website as a credible source of information, they will be more likely to strongly consider your products and/or services. If the public, in general, tends to have misconceptions about the category of product that you sell, take some time to do some well-thought-out content. Start a blog and do some quality lead nurturing. This won’t immediately put dollars in your pocket, but it will help you exponentially in the long run.
What Makes a Buyer Decide If Solving The Problem Should Be Prioritized?
Knowing this will help you to more effectively discuss the problem and its importance on your website. We feel that it’s important to speak a bit about the urgency of the problem that customers have.
The Consideration Stage
When a buyer is in the considerations stage, not only have they defined their problem, but they have also decided that the problem at hand is worth tackling. They are currently deciding which approach will work best to remedy their current issue at hand. Here are some questions to ask in order to ensure that you successfully reach buyers who are in this stage:
What Kinds Of Solutions Do Buyers Look At?
It’s important to make sure that you offer a product that offers a clear-cut solution for your customer’s problem. To do this, keep these tips in mind:
- Buyers tend to gravitate towards solutions that are known to be easy to implement.
- Buyers also tend to purchase the solutions that are more likely to be long-lasting, making it important to emphasize the durability of your products.
What are Make or Break Advantages And Disadvantages?
Let’s face it: every solution to every problem is not going to be the best fit for every single potential customer. That’s why they’re called “potential”, because someone else’s product or service may be a better fit for them. The goal here is to use all the available data to put your product at the front of the line for the “most advantages”. To do this, you’ve got to be honest with yourself about your company’s advantages and disadvantages. Now isn’t the time to sell yourself, it’s the time to dig deep and truly look at your products or services with a neutral eye:
- Consider your competition’s advantages vs yours
- Look at completely different solutions available, even if they aren’t in your specific industry. Think outside the box, here.
- When you find a disadvantage to the “solution” or product you offer, see if there are ways to minimize the disadvantage, whether it be remaking the product or remarketing the product a different way. Sometimes, turning the disadvantage into an advantage can be an option.
The Decision Stage
During the decision stage, buyers will make the final decision as to whether or not they wish to purchase your product. Some questions to ask yourself, as a business owner are:
What Type Of Criteria Do Buyers Use To Make A Choice?
- Price ranges and budgets will typically be a factor in every market, for every solution
- Serious customers, especially those purchasing a product that typically has a long lifetime, will look at several review sites. With so much information so readily available, now more than ever, it is important to incentivize current customers to write positive reviews for your company.
Who Needs To Be Part Of The Decision Making Process?
In some cases, the problem affects multiple people, thus, making the decision for the solution, fall in the hands of multiple people. Sometimes, it’s a business owner purchasing a solution for his or her entire company. Sometimes, the investigator isn’t the buyer. There are a plethora of instances where you, as the business, aren’t dealing directly with the person purchasing the product or service. Some tricks to keep up your sleeve for these instances:
- Ensure that you’re familiar with the different occupations of the people who will be making the decision.
- Make sure that you tailor your page to business owners if your product typically sells to this sector. Be warned: this is significantly different than writing for the general public.
How Does Your Product Compare?
In 2019, the number of monopolies around is waning. Sorry to burst your bubble but, you will have competition and some people will think your competition’s product is better. It’s life. People have the option to choose what they, as the buyer think, is best. You want as many potential buyers to feel the same way you do about your product, so here are some things that we feel you should consider in order to get as many buyers “on your side” as possible:
- Look at the reviews of the competition, and make sure that you routinely keep tabs on how your reviews compare to these brands.
- If you notice that your reviews are lower than the reviews of your competition, it’s important to speak especially strongly about the advantages of your product and take steps to improve your brand’s reputation. After all, you only get one.
What are the Buyer’s Expectations?
Ever seen a product, a show, or anything, where you’ve thought to yourself, “well it’s good. Just not good, enough”? You don’t want to be this to your potential buyers. For this reason, you, as the business owner, should always be researching, always be pushing the limits, always adapting and growing your business. Just because you were the best yesterday, does not mean you’ll be the best tomorrow. These are some of the most important things that we feel you consider in order to ensure your business remains on top:
- If you’re in a market where the majority of your competition has a less than shiny reputation, use it. Incentivize customers to post reviews on your behalf. Post those reviews everywhere! you want to remind buyers that you are the person they can trust!
- When your product is more expensive than the competition, make sure that your quality is better. Moreover, make sure that the level of quality justifies the difference in price.
- If you’ve checked off both of the previous, you’ve got good reviews and your product is a tad steeper on the price scale, don’t get lazy. Make sure your product continues to meet buyer expectation. You can’t ride on the coattails of yesterday’s reputation. You’ll ride yourself straight into the mud.
Are Additional Preparations Necessary For Buyers?
Sometimes problems are so big, they require a series of steps or products in order to be fixed. If your “solution” or product isn’t a “one stop shop”, don’t market it as such. Furthermore, if there isn’t a specific need for your specific product alone, why are you selling it individually? On the flip side, if your product can act alone to solve a problem, but the buyer may not have the ability or knowledge of how to, then you are responsible for bridging this gap. Here’s what we recommend:
- Offer step-by-step instructions, either in pamphlet form, on your website, etc.
- Offer a customer service line that customers can call for information
- Make sure your buyers know the requirements for using your product before they buy it. You should feature a list on the packaging, if at all possible.
Applying the Buyer’s Journey To The Content
By keeping the buyer’s journey and the questions associated with each stage in mind, you’ll be able to write content more effectively. Here’s an example of how we would apply the content goals to the different buyer’s journey stages:
Customers are likely to seek out different options, and this means that you should make comparisons between your brand and other products. You want to be able to provide valuable information for every customer, during every stage, not just the final stage. Doing this, is often times, what sets one company apart from the others.
Defining Buyer Personas
When you’re writing content, how do you know exactly who you’re writing to? You speak to a doctor differently than you speak to a toddler, or at least, we would hope you do. When certain attributes come together to form a “type”, we call these demographics, and multiple demographics may be molded together to create buyer personas. While the options for demographic combinations are endless, we feel that it can be helpful to start with the few most basic needed for business:
- income influence
- age variables
- location or geographic region
- employment status
One of the best ways to collect this information is by market research surveys. Give your current customers an incentive, such as a coupon code, for filling out a brief survey. Another easy way, if possible, are warranty cards.
Understanding The Journey
Everyone takes a different path in life. The same can be said for the buyer’s journey. The importance of understanding the path that led your buyer to you still stands. Knowing why the buyer chose the path they did is also helpful when writing your marketing plan.
Mapping Content To The Buyer’s Journey
As marketers, we know that content marketing is meant to bridge the gap between awareness and conversions. Not all marketing efforts should be a “hard sell”. The key to your content marketing strategy is to keep the buyer’s journey in the back of your mind. You want to use this to provide the right information, to the right people, at the right time, every time. This, friend, is how you effectively market your business.
Early on, you want to state facts, give references, analyze data for the potential buyer to see. They don’t trust you. They’ve barely even heard of you.
Next, you’ll provide information about how products like yours, can affect the buyer in a positive way. You can provide pitfall analysis and comparisons of various solutions for the problem they are facing. This is not the time to hard sell. They are just warming up to you.
Finally, you can provide demonstrations of how your product will exceed the buyer’s expectation or how your product performs when compared to the competition. Provide case studies. Now is the time to give the “we look forward to working with you” schpeel we know you know, all too well.
When you market this way, every time a potential buyer presses forward in the buyer’s journey, there you are, with valuable information, to guide them to the next step. In the end, why would they choose any company but yours?
Digital Logic is a Shreveport-based digital marketing company that works with local businesses and national chains. Give us a call to see how we can help your business!