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Understanding the Buyer's Journey

Understanding the Buyer's Journey

The Importance of Understanding the "Buyer's Journey" in the Digital Marketing Strategy of Your Company

Buyers generally start with something they need and eventually make a purchase decision that aligns with or solves that need. No matter what they think about purchasing, they invariably go through numerous buying stages during their buying journey, and their concerns differ in importance as they advance through each stage.

When your marketing grows with understanding and aligning with the buyers as they advance on their journey, it drives an effective strategy because you provide the information they are searching for. With a precise understanding of the buyer's journey, a company may connect with its customers.

Customers today want to know they are making the best purchase and will take the time to research all of their possibilities before committing. Understanding the journey will give you insight into how to meet their needs and, as a result, how to transform them into sales.

What is the Buyer's Journey?

When buyers make a purchase decision, it is not random. Although sentiment definitely plays a part in every decision to buy, people typically follow a rational pattern of behavior as they research, assess, and select solutions to better their lives or the company's performance. This pattern is often referred to as the buyer's journey.

Buyers start by recognizing that they have a problem, then gradually move through the process of considering products and settling on a product or service that fits their needs. As buyers move through the journey, they will want to enlighten themselves and make solid buying decisions. Because of this, they will need various types of information from the companies they're considering.

A company that provides that information and connects effectively with the buyers can help guide them through the different stages. In contrast, a company that ignores the buyer's journey may struggle to bring consumers into its sales funnel and ultimately lose them to competitors.

The Stages of the Buyer's Journey

When you target a buyer, you must consider where they sit in the buyer's journey. Understanding the context and the elements needed to move them down the funnel is critical for a successful digital marketing strategy. The buyer's journey comprises three distinct stages: awareness, consideration, and decision.

The Awareness Stage

At the awareness stage, buyers know they have a problem that needs solving. Forover 72% of buyers, recognizing a need leads to internet research. They are running to google and asking questions that will help them better understand their problem.

At this stage, buyers are responsive to content that will better enlighten them. They are examining general information such as educational materials to better nail their pain point, customer reviews, and testimonials. As they conduct their research, they will begin to prioritize their criteria and narrow the types of companies that suit them.

Marketing Strategy in the 'awareness' stage:

Here, you want to inform buyers unaware of your brand and the services you offer. So, the goals in this stage will be to:

  • Reach new visitors
  • Segment new visitors, e.g., by point of origin/ how they got to you, other demographic information, etc.
  • Improve the company's branding initiatives.

Also, during this stage, you want to create informative content that will enlighten and help them better understand their need. You can do this in the form of:

  • Long-form blog articles
  • Social media/ Search engine marketing
  • eBooks
  • Introduction Videos
  • Infographics

The key metrics to track from the strategy:

  • Number of new (direct) visitors
  • % of new visitors vs. overall visitors
  • Retargeting lists

The Consideration Stage

At this stage, buyers have enlightened themselves on their problems and are now starting to assess the different solutions to address their needs. They will again return to their internet research, dive deeper into a company's offerings, and compare each vendor's solutions thoroughly.

Marketing Strategy in the consideration stage:

During this stage, you want to create content that will help buyers consider the different solutions available to them. You can do this in the form of:

  • Landing pages for lead generation
  • Email/ Social media marketing
  • Remarketing and Retargeting
  • Product feature videos
  • Content offers
  • Webinars and podcasts
  • Blog articles

The key metrics to track from the strategy:

  • New leads generated
  • Returning direct visitors
  • Banner (CTA) click %

The Decision Stage

Once buyers have reached this stage, they have conducted enough research, assessed the different solutions to their problem, and are finally ready to make a final selection about the solution that best meets their needs.

At this stage, buyers are evaluating brands. They want to know more about your company and why they should choose you over a competitor. Buyers moving to the decision stage are ready to choose a specific product or service.

Marketing Strategy in the decision stage:

In this stage, you want to publish content that enlightens people about your expertise and past successes. This content will help to build confidence that you are the right company to fix their need. You can do this in the form of the following:

  • Product live demos and training videos
  • Product reviews, client reviews, and testimonies
  • "About" or "Our Story" website pages and social media content
  • Free consultation sessions
  • Offers and discounts
  • Loyalty programs
  • Product promotions or free product trials
  • Videos of brands you've worked with

The key metrics to track from the strategy:

  • Revenue per visit
  • Days to conversion
  • Cumulative conversion rate for funnels
  • Type of unit/service sold

The Importance of Understanding The "Buyer's Journey"

Effective marketing is about being in the right place, with the right content, at the right time for your target buyers. To be capable of doing that, you need to start with knowing the kinds of questions your buyers will ask (during each stage) when searching for a solution to the problem you hope to address.

The buyer's place in the journey will influence the media you choose to communicate with them. The idea is to reveal insights and use them in your digital marketing strategy to move through the stages of the funnel.

Today's buyers prefer to research and make the decision to purchase remotely. A study by Gartner stipulates that with time, by 2025, over 80% of the buying process will happen online and without any direct human interaction.

With this, by publishing valuable but curated content, your buyers can readily find it online early in the buying process. At each stage, you're able to nurture customers toward making a decision, and if done right, you can deliver to them precisely what they need according to their particular stage.

The buyer's journey provides a way to know the challenges and what drives them and piece together what their specific buyer journey might look like. Buyers that are exploring potential solutions will want much different information than someone ready to make a purchase.

So at each stage of the journey, they are looking for different metrics. Ignoring a stage of the buyer's journey can quickly leave you struggling as they fall out of your sales funnel and turn to your competitors for their needs. The better you understand the journey, the more steps you can take to provide precisely the information when they need it most.

You will have a competitive advantage in connecting with your customers from the very beginning. Instead of going out to find them, they'll find you naturally while searching for information. You also demonstrate yourself as a brand they can trust while building credibility during the buying process. This has an excellent influence on modern-day buyers.

Using the Buyer's Journey in The Digital Marketing Strategy of Your Company

It's critical to consider the buyer's journey and its stages when developing a marketing strategy. The buyer's journey is so crucial that Google modified how their search was provided to people and became intently focused. They understand where you might be when you're looking to make a purchase and provide you with information best suited to that stage.

When your company understands your buyer's journey, you can meet customers where they are. You'll be able to dodge the oversights that trigger off customers and nurture their buying decision at every stage. For example, toappeal to customersin the awareness stage, you can increase your company's visibility with SEO. You can also provide content on your website that informs rather than sells. Nurturing a lead according to the buyer's journey gives you the highest potential of converting them.

Many companies key their marketing actions at the bottom of the sales funnel and attempt to reach customers at the point they are ready to purchase. However, many options exist to win a customer's trust before the decision stage. After all, 96% of website visitors aren't even in that stage yet.

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