The buyer journey is one you really should join. By understanding the buyer journey, you better understand your customer, and what they want from you at each stage. You learn what presses a customer’s buttons, and by the same token, what persuades them to get off the ride before you want them to.
The buyer journey starts when a potential customer becomes aware that they need (or want) a product or service. At this point, they are open to ideas and possible solutions. In this era, it’s 99% certain they’ll turn to search engines to educate themselves which is why digital marketing now has such importance in the world of online commerce. The educational content on your website is absolutely essential here. There’s no argument about that. But for that content to resonate, you have to be “found” in the first place. That is why a digital marketing agency that specialises in such things as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is often the fuel that will drive that journey forward.
In the early stages of the buyer journey, it is vital to be informative and impartial. The purpose here is to educate and build brand trust with your potential customers. The awareness stage is not the time to go overboard with sales messaging or financial incentives. It is about addressing the problems or desires that have brought you to the buyer’s attention. You’re seen as a possible answer to their questions right now and so the content types that will perform well in the ‘awareness’ stage include:
- Blog posts
- Industry insights and related data pieces
Having captured their awareness and presented them with the material they need to find out more about you, the buyer enters the consideration stage. At this time, they’re armed with information from their initial research and have a clearer idea of what they want to achieve. But when it comes to the solution, they might not yet know what that looks like. In other words, they’re yet to be convinced you are the solution, and they’re not ready to buy. Sales jargon and incentives are still to be avoided here. Your short-term goal is to make the cut – that shortlist of suppliers and brands they are considering. You must stand out by continuing to add informational value, building trust and demonstrating your authority and expertise in your field.
With that in mind, content that will perform well include:
- Informative video or detailed product/service data sheets that focus on features and benefits.
- Webinars and podcasts (increasingly popular and now considered a valuable part of any modern marketing strategy)
- Resources such as calculators or product finders
- Expert guides and case studies
- Landing pages for lead generation
- Content offers
After this, we come to the decision stage. You’ve made the shortlist and put yourself in the running to enjoy the fruits of conversion. By now, your potential customer has chosen which solution is best suited to their needs or wants. They are now ready to select which supplier to use and this is where testimonials, reviews, attractive price points, and other incentives will influence their final decision. Now is the time to further highlight your features and benefits, as well as your Unique Selling Points, and offer an incentive suited to your target audience.
When you produce your content plan, an important aspect besides researching your customer profile and developing the buyer journey, is product or service ‘benchmarking’ against your nearest competitors. That means knowing who your competitors are, what messaging they are employing, and how they are positioning their products or services. When you know your competition as well as your potential customer, then you can take a more informed approach in positioning your offering. Being competitive is not always about price – it is often about value and experience as well. With this in mind, content types to use in the decision stage include:
- Competitor product comparisons
- Product demos and training videos
- Product reviews
- Detailed quotations or pricing plans
- Obligation-free trial of your products or services
- Customer testimonials and case studies
By understanding the buyer journey, step by step, you will stay in sync with what your client wants from you at each stage. Education, information, assurance and incentives – these are just a few things they expect during their journey, and by understanding the process, you’ll provide the right thing at the right time.