What is the buyer’s journey, and how does that affect you as a marketer? While it doesn’t always seem like it, the average buyer goes through a complex process that moves them from point A to point B. Understanding this journey can aid you in tailoring your marketing efforts to help the buyer make their way to purchasing your products and services.
This buyer’s journey has several steps. These steps are fairly consistent and predictable, however, the time frame will vary. Some people may go through these steps in a matter of hours while some may take months. Much depends on the situation. Even the impulse buy of a novelty item requires the process of a buyer’s journey.
Basic Steps in a Buyer’s Journey
Need And Awareness
The buyer realizes they have need for a product. They may or may not be aware of the solution but they are experiencing a need or desire, and they are now in the process of fulfilling it. This is not the time for a hard sell. You simply need to make them aware that you have a solution. You can do this by creating content, advertising, being active on social media, and making sure that your brand is consistent and visible.
Research And Comparison
The next step in the buyer’s journey is research and comparison. In many cases, they will turn to Google or another search engine to search for solutions to their problem. By now, the customer has visited your website at least once to research your business and determine if your product or service fits their needs. Your job is to give them the information they need to make an informed decision.
Your content should be solution-focused and, at this point, you should be gathering information about the prospect so you can continue engaging with them while they are researching and making a decision. Offering valuable content in exchange for email information is one way to do this.
While your prospect is evaluating your offering, they are also checking out the competition. They are looking at a variety of options and comparing products and services. Be sure that you stand out by offering a better customer experience or added value.
Making The Decision
It may be a matter of days, weeks, or months, but – at some point – the buyer will make the decision. They may choose you, which is the whole idea, of course. Even after making their decision or committing to an offer, the buyer’s journey isn’t over yet.
After The Purchase
How you proceed after you’ve made the sale and won the customer is just as important, if not more so, than anything else you’ve done so far. Your new customer may become not only a loyal customer but a raving fan who spreads the word about your business, products, and services. They may recommend you to friends or colleagues, or share your content on the blogs, websites, and social networks they visit on a regular basis.
This is the time to create content that is geared to current customers. This may be more in-depth instruction, product news and development, or support. Keeping in touch and being available builds trust and creates more business.
The buyer’s journey will vary, of course, depending on the type of business (B2B, B2C). Much will also depend on the type of product, the expense, and whether it’s a one-time purchase or a recurring order. The more you know about your target audience, the better you’ll be able to tailor your marketing practices to their journey.