The buyer’s journey is one of the foundational pillars of content marketing.
According to the Aberdeen Group, the average buyer’s expectations are extremely high, and they continue to rise by the day. This is so because, with so much information on the internet, today’s buyers are more empowered and informed than before. And they also want to make informed purchase decisions.
The Aberdeen report shows that 48% of potential customers will not do business with you if you cannot meet or engage them along the way.
Consequently, nearly half of your customer base will disappear soon after their first encounter with your product or service (without ever buying or coming back!).
Every smart marketer out there knows that understanding the buyer’s journey is inevitable when developing an effective digital marketing strategy. It is the only sure way to attract more prospects, avoid customer bounce back, and close more sales in the end.
In this article, we explore what the buyer’s journey is, why you need to understand it as a business owner, various stages of the journey, and how to nurture your buyers at every stage.
The Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey is the series of phases a buyer goes through before making a purchase decision.
It involves various stages of needs and decision-making that go through their minds before they finally decide to spend their money on your product or service.
As HubSpot puts it, “Buyers do not just wake up and decide to buy on a whim.” They go through stages of need, deliberation, and decision-making before finally buying.
For a marketer, if you know where your buyers begin, what they do next, and where they end up, then you can target every effort in between to convert them into buying and recurring customers.
This process makes up the whole concept of a buyer’s journey, which every marketer needs to understand to maximize their sales.
Why Should I Understand My Buyers’ Journey?
One of the most important things a marketer should spend time on is to get into the buyer’s mind and learn the pains and problems they experience along the journey to purchase.
You are probably wondering, “Why the heck do I need to get into my buyer’s minds? I mean, I have a good product! I can simply fix them into buying, right?
#Heads up! Epic fails alert!!
Understanding the steps, events, and problems involved in a buyer’s journey is critical for your business since it helps to:-
- Create a better buyer experience
- Develop better marketing strategies
- Drive more qualified traffic to your site
- Improve conversion rates, and
- Optimize your content marketing efforts
Alright, let us dive into these benefits, one by one, to get more of the gist.
- It Creates a Better Buyer Experience
Don’t you think understanding your prospects’ journey more would give them a better buyer experience than they would get from your clueless competitor?
When you, as a marketer, understand your buyers’ journey, you get to know their desires and can engage them more through the journey.
With better engagement at every stage, it becomes quite easy to identify and address their deepest needs.
The result? A better and more exciting buyers’ experience.
2. It Helps You Develop Better Marketing Strategies
The buyer’s journey is the most critical tool that guides a strong marketing strategy.
When a company knows what its buyers need and what they do at each stage, it becomes easy to develop a marketing framework that resonates with them.
As a business, understanding the buyer’s journey will help you know how people make purchase decisions and what to do to influence these stage-wise decisions (to your favor).
3. It Drives More Qualified Traffic to Your Website
Honestly, where else is there more noise and distraction today than the internet?
While scrolling through your website, just a simple pop-up ad is enough to drive me off your site for good.
So, how can you, a marketer, bypass this noise and capture the attention of your potential customers?
Well, the surest way is to map your buyer’s journey and their needs at every stage. When you understand your customers well, it becomes easier for you to cut through the internet noise and attract qualified traffic to your site in less time.
And what are the benefits of attracting qualified traffic?
4. It Improves Conversion Rates
Attracting more qualified traffic to your site helps to yield better conversion rates for your business.
Depending on the buyer stage, your business could experience better conversion rates in form of:-
- More website click-throughs
- More Email subscriptions
- More downloads
- More sign-ups,
- And yes, you guessed right! More purchases.
When you understand your buyer’s journey, your marketing will definitely make it easier for them to buy from you, to come back again, and even to refer other buyers to you.
Isn’t that a big win for your business?
5. It Helps You Optimize/Prioritize Your Content Marketing Efforts
As mentioned earlier, a buyer’s journey significantly influences your marketing strategies.
It helps your marketing team share relevant content that resonates with your customers based on where they are along the journey.
Failure to understand your buyers’ needs will create a disconnect between them and your business since you will be sharing irrelevant content with them.
When you know your buyer well, you also know which marketing tools to use at what stage depending on their specific needs.
Various marketing tools that will help your buyers move from one stage of the journey to another include:
- Blog articles
- Social media posts
- Product review videos
- Comparison guides
- Buyer guides
- Case studies
- Email copies
So, are you wondering which tools work best at which stage of the journey? Worry not. We’ll soon find out.
What Are the Stages Involved in A Buyers’ Journey?
The buyer’s journey takes place in three distinct stages:
- The Awareness Stage
- The Consideration Stage, and
- The Decision Stage.
- The Awareness Stage
The first stage of the buyer’s journey is the awareness stage.
Here, your prospective customer is trying to place a finger at a need they have or a problem they need to solve.
At this stage, they are all over the internet trying to define their problem and get closer to a solution.
Example: A woman searches “Why do I keep scratching myself?” is at the stage of trying to be aware of her problem. She also wants to know what other people are doing to solve the problem of itchy skin, which approaches work, and which ones do not.
2. The Consideration Stage
The second stage of the journey is the consideration stage.
At this stage, the customer has defined their problem and is trying to identify possible solutions.
They begin to research more as they compare and contrast different options available. They also weigh up the pros and cons of the available options.
Example (Same woman’s case): Aha! I keep scratching myself because my skin is extra dry, which makes it feel itchy! What are my options for relieving dry skin?
3. The Decision/Purchase Stage
The third stage of the buyer’s journey is the decision stage, otherwise known as the purchase stage.
This is the stage where the customer makes a choice either to purchase from your business or to look elsewhere. Here, the customer compares you directly to your competitors, and they often choose the product, service, or company most suited to solve their problem.
Some of the factors that influence the buyer’s decision at this stage include the price, quality, quantity, comfort, and availability.
Example (Same woman’s case): “I can purchase a skin moisturizing cream that will work best to keep my skin from itching. Where can I get one, and how much does it cost?”
From the reviews, brand A works well but seems to have some side effects. Brand B works best, but it is way beyond my budget. Brand C has no reported side effects, is less costly, and is locally available. The perfect option for me would be moisturizing cream brand C.”
Note: Regardless of the other determining factors, buyers are most likely to buy from a company that has built a relationship with them and nurtured them through the problem-solving journey (This is where lead nurturing comes in handy).
How Do I Nurture My Buyers at Every Stage to Maximize Sales?
- At the Awareness Stage
At this stage, a marketer should focus on helping the buyer identify their problem and bring them as close to a solution as possible.
Keep in mind that at this point, the buyer does not even know your business exists.
Therefore, focus on building brand awareness as you help them address their pain points. Avoid content that sounds like a sales pitch at this point. Rather, provide content that is educative and solution-focused.
The best content marketing tools that would work best to make your prospect move with you from the awareness stage to the consideration stage include:
· Blog articles
· Social media posts
· White Papers
2. At the Consideration Stage
At this stage, you should create marketing content that makes the buyer see how your product or service would help solve their problem.
Also, make them understand why your product or service would solve the problem better than your competitors.
Again, avoid being too sales-pitchy at this point, and focus on positioning yourself as an industry expert or the go-to person for the buyer’s problems.
The best marketing content to use at this point include:
- Blog articles
3. At the Decision Stage
Finally, the stage you’ve been waiting for! This is the point where you actually SELL your product or service to the buyer.
Let them know why they should choose you and not anybody else. Let them know why you deserve their business.
Hook them up by highlighting the best aspects that set your product or service from the competitors.
The best marketing tools to use at this point include;
· Product sales copies
· Product review videos
· Case studies
· Product comparison chart
· Live demo
· Social Proof/Testimonials
· Trial downloads
Understanding what marketing tool to use at which stage of the buyer’s journey is critical for converting as many prospects as possible to loyal buyers.
Understanding the buyer’s journey is an invaluable part of marketing that any business should never ignore.
As we have seen, effective marketing involves more than just knowing what your prospects want. Rather, it incorporates knowing what it takes to help them through the journey, to educate them, persuade them, and finally, to win their business.
For more successful marketing efforts, strive to walk together with your prospects from the awareness stage, through the consideration stage, and finally to the decision stage.
Walking the journey with them will create a loyal and trustful relationship that will make your buyers pay for your products and services, come back for more, and refer other buyers to your business.