Did you know that the most important tactic marketers use is social listening?
If you’ve been trying to figure out how to improve your marketing efforts, one of the most essential things to do is to start paying attention to the needs of your potential customers.
If you don’t understand the buyer’s journey stages, you will miss out on the opportunity to engage leads. Keep reading to help you understand what a successful buyer’s journey looks like.
Why It Is Important for Business Owners to Understand the Buyer's Journey
To be a skilled marketer, you need to know how to show up in the right place at the right time. You also need to create targeted content that resonates with your ideal customer.
First, you need to understand your target market, what they’re struggling with, and what motivates them. Knowing these things will make it easier for you to form an idea of what their buying journey will look like.
Those who know how to assemble a buyer’s journey will find that it’s easier to create valuable content for those who are a part of their target market.
People tend to develop trust in businesses that offer valuable content, and leads will be more likely to buy their products or services. These leads will also be more likely to recommend a business’s products to their friends.
Understanding the Different Kinds of Purchase Decisions
Before you start putting together your customer buying journey, you need to understand what kinds of people are most likely to want to buy your product.
For example, buying a new car involves many different stages. Potential buyers need to make several different decisions that include financial considerations and what kind of car they want.
Equally, a capital purchase, such as buying a piece of land to start a hotel, will usually require several different people to take part in the decision-making process. Often various departments will also need to get involved. Those who make the purchasing decision as entire committees, often take months to make purchases.
There are also many kinds of products and services that people buy without needing to spend more than a few minutes to make their final purchase decision. This could include things such as clothes, food, and entertainment.
Stages of the Buyer's Journey
A buyer’s journey has three stages:
- The Awareness Stage
- The Consideration Stage
- The Decision Stage
Here are the basic characteristics of each of these stages.
The Awareness Stage
The buyer’s journey does not begin until somebody becomes aware that they need to make a purchase decision. The buying process can also start when somebody becomes receptive to specific solutions and advice.
Those who find themselves in this stage might start using search engines such as Google. Their goal is to inform themselves about the problem they’re facing. They also want to find the right kinds of solutions.
Having the informational details on your webpage in a clear and helpful manner is essential. In addition, it is a great idea to do plenty of longtail keyword research.
The Main Goal
Your goal should be to make it easy for your business to be found when people are researching their problems and looking for potential solutions. If you can make it simple for a customer to find your business, it will become easier for you to start developing relationships with them.
Tips For Increasing Your Effectiveness
During this stage of the buyer’s journey, do your best to maintain an impartial and informative tone of voice. Your goal should be to let potential customers know they can trust you.
Don’t try to make sales at this time. It would be best if you also steered away from offering financial incentives to your potential clients.
Instead, it would help if you aimed to address their most fundamental challenges and confusion. You can do this by articulating the correct answers to their most burning questions.
Several kinds of relevant content work exceptionally well during this step of the buyer’s journey. Consider doing things such as writing long-form blog posts, whitepapers, and ebooks and creating in-depth podcast episodes.
The Consideration Stage
People entering the consideration stage have already done plenty of initial research. They have a good idea of their goals and have dedicated themselves to finding the right solution.
Even though potential customers are more ‘qualified’ than they were during the awareness stage, they are still not interested in making a purchase.
You should try your best to avoid using sales jargon during this stage. It is also not the right time to offer them incentives.
What To Expect
Potential customers in the consideration stage are probably in the process of weighing opportunities. They are also making price comparisons and comparing different brands. Their goal is to find out which brands they most strongly resonate with.
Tips For Increasing Your Effectiveness
To lead your customer prospects through a successful buyer’s journey, you must continue offering them valuable and relevant information. Doing this will make it more likely that your customer leads will build trust with your business.
Certain kinds of informative content work well during the consideration stage. For example, you should consider creating educational videos. It can also be helpful to create videos that explain product features and benefits.
If your business can offer people tools such as calculators and product finders, you should consider using them. You’ll also want to use landing pages to generate leads.
Lastly, people in the consideration stage love participating in live online events such as webinars and presentations. You can make these events more engaging by offering various case studies.
The Decision Stage
When qualified prospects enter the decision stage, it’s time to promote your products and services seriously. All your hard work is about to pay off at this point.
During this decision stage, your potential customer has figured out which solution category best suits their unique needs. They are on the brink of deciding which business they want to work with.
Tips For Increasing Your Effectiveness
At this time, it’s a great idea to present people with reviews and testimonials. You’ll also want to start offering them price points. In addition, you should identify other incentives to encourage people to buy your product or service.
During this decision stage, it’s also an ideal moment to shift your messaging. For example, it would be best if you started using more salient language.
Focus on highlighting your product’s unique features. You can also offer an incentive that will be attractive to members of your target audience.
Content Marketing Strategy
In terms of your overall content strategy, you should be trying to benchmark against your closest competitors. Besides investigating your customer profile, this is the most important thing to focus on right now.
You’ll also need to know your competitors as much as possible. Pay attention to their messaging and marketing and how they promote their products and services.
Paying attention to competitors messaging and marketing will help you make a highly informed approach, which means that you’ll be able to position your offering in a way that will resonate with your ideal buyers. Your potential customers will likely want to buy your products and services if you do this.
Keep in mind that there are many different ways to be competitive. Along with setting the right price, you’ll also need to offer lots of value and create a unique buying experience for your customer leads.
Educate Using Competitor Product Comparisons
In terms of educational content, make sure you use competitor product comparisons. It would help if you also were offering product demos and training videos.
If you have not yet started doing so, you should also make sure that you start offering product reviews. Then, people who find themselves in this decision stage will also be ready to see your product pricing plans.
Consider offering people free trials of your products and services if this is something you can do. And don’t forget to offer people the right kinds of incentives.
Buyer's Journey Example: Purchasing a Motorcycle
Let us introduce you to Stephen. Stephen is a potential prospect for a motorcycle brand. He is forty, divorced with two kids, and owns a large restaurant chain. In addition, he is passionate about hunting and loves social media.
His current minivan is not suited for the lifestyle of being single, and he wants to find a vehicle that will help him to find meaning in life now that he is no longer married.
During his buyer journey, he might start by doing lots of research on his favorite social media platforms.
Since he is so active online, chances are that he will do research about motorcycles by performing searches on several different digital devices.
His buying journey does not follow a linear format because he is so active online. He will probably transition into the consideration stage once he starts looking at motorcycle reviews on several websites.
A Buyer's Journey With a Non-Linear Structure
After reading several reviews, he may realize he’s interested in buying a cruiser instead of a road bike. If this is the case, he’ll return to the awareness stage by searching for a different kind of bike.
It is more common than it used to be for people to simultaneously be in the midst of several stages of their buyer’s journey.
This is why it is so crucial that your brand is there to offer suggestions for buying every possible type of motorcycle. You can do this by creating calls to action tailored to your potential clients’ specific needs.
You should also create content offers and make it easy for people to contact you with questions and concerns.
Lastly, identify what is most important for potential customers such as Stephen, who is considering purchasing a motorcycle. He will probably want to buy something classy, dependable, and loaded with unique features.
Mapping Out a Successful Buyer's Journey
Even though it is helpful to understand the basic stages of the buyer’s journey, you’ll still need to figure out how to find your ideal customers and let them know about your products and services.
To do this, there are various things that you are going to need to know. You can find these things out by doing the proper market research.
Create Buyer Personas
You’ll need to have an in-depth and accurate understanding of who your ideal customers are before you are ready to assemble a concise user journey.
The most effective way to do this is by creating a buyer persona. A buyer persona is an imagined individual that brand strategists create. The goal of doing this is to personify the information that you’ve gathered about your target audience.
It’s easy to make your job too complex by making many different buyer personas. So don’t create more than five buyer personas; no fewer than three is a good idea.
Understand What Your Buyer Personas' Biggest Obstacles Are
Since you are already a respected voice within your industry, you should have identified a list of problems your ideal customers might have during their buyer journey.
Identify what kinds of questions people might have and articulate the types of information they are likely to need to have to make a purchase. It’s possible to figure these things out using proper background research.
You can start by doing keyword research, which you can do by embracing the power of search. First, figure out what your ideal customers are searching for online, and then categorize these searches within the proper buyer’s journey stage.
Get Clear On The Most Pressing Questions and Concerns
Next, make use of your customer service and sales department. Since these people often engage with your brand’s existing customers, they will probably have a good idea of what questions people are asking.
Additionally, you can leverage free online tools such as Google’s “People also ask” section of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) or Answer The Public, where you can type in your keyword phrase and get insight into what people are asking most.
You can ensure that these questions are answered thoroughly by writing detailed and information-packed articles on your website.
Offer Customers Potential Solutions to Their Challenges
When you enter this stage of mapping out your buyer journey, you will need to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. Bring to mind all of the potential solutions that your customer leads might be considering.
Is it likely that they’ll try a particular DIY solution? Are there different kinds of services and products that they may need to choose from? Are your competitors charging significantly more or less than you are for similar products or services?
It would help if you took the time to consider each of these issues. Doing this will make it easier for you to offer targeted content that will deliver valuable answers to those in the middle of the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.
Pay Attention to What Businesses Are Offering Similar Solutions
You should always be tuned in to what kinds of marketing your competitors are doing. And you must pay attention to what types of content they share because this is easy to lose track of.
By observing how your competitors are marketing their products and services, it will become easier for you to know what kinds of questions your ideal customers are asking. You’ll also likely recognize what types of new content to start publishing.
Take time regularly to visit the websites of your competitors. While doing this, look at their content from the perspective of their ideal customers.
By doing this, you’ll probably see how their digital marketing campaigns differ from yours. Next, ask yourself what you can learn about what they are doing, and if there are types of content they are offering that you should also start offering.
Pay Attention to How Your Current Content Marketing Relates to a Buyer's Journey
Once you’ve created a list of questions, challenges, and content that is right for sharing during each stage of the buyer’s journey, it’s a good idea to identify the types of content you’ve already published that you can use.
For example, is there a blog post from a few years back that you can revise to answer one of your ideal customer’s burning questions perfectly? If so, you should plan to do this and take action as soon as possible.
It’s much easier and faster to republish old content than it is to create content from scratch.
Start Creating Compelling Content to Fill the Gaps
Even if you have plenty of past content that you can repurpose to help your customers on their buyer’s journey, chances are that there will be specific gaps that you’ll still need to fill.
This is why it is so essential to create new content constantly. And it is especially important if many months have passed since your business has created new content.
It’s a good idea to make a plan for publishing new content by identifying what your priorities are. For example, you might frame your plan around keywords people are searching for. You can also identify the top questions your sales team has grown tired of answering.
Important Things to Remember When Mapping Your Buyer Journey
Use The KISS Principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid)
The most important thing you can do when mapping out your buyer journey is not to make things too complicated. Even though it can feel overwhelming to understand buyer’s journeys, your business is still capable of addressing the questions that customers are asking.
It is not helpful to create copy that is technical and full of jargon. Try to make it clear and to the point, and of course, always write your copy to be helpful.
Help Prospects See What's Possible
You should also offer plenty of examples, case studies, and data. Of course, you will never get things right all the time. But if you offer clear facts to your customer prospects, they will be more likely to understand the value of your products and services.
Fail Forward And Adjust As Needed
Even if you make mistakes, remember that your buyer’s journey is a work in progress. You’re going to need to change it from time to time. It’s vital to do this when technologies advance and your industry changes.
Always Present Calls To Action
Lastly, make sure you create calls to action to accomplish your desired goals.
Understand the Buyer's Journey to Improve Your Marketing and Sales Process
If you’ve been trying to figure out what you need to know about the buyer’s journey, remember, first and foremost, to keep in mind the needs of your potential customers. We hope this guide was helpful in understanding the buyer’s journey and how it can impact your business.
If you are an entrepreneur ready to grow your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.