Rewind some twenty or so years, and the path to purchase looked a lot different to how it does these days. Today’s consumers have a sea of digital information available to them and are better informed than ever. Buyers today don’t typically impulse buy on a whim (unless it’s something cheap and readily-available, like a take-away coffee)!
Instead, they go through a process that generally involves some research and evaluation on their side before they come to a decision – also known as the buyer’s journey. In this blog, we look at what this is, its stages, and how you can tailor your digital marketing to nudge your customers along the path to conversion.
What is the buyer’s journey?
The digital buyer’s journey can be typically broken down into these four main stages:
1) Awareness stage
This is the stage at which the buyer becomes aware that they have a problem and need to find a solution to it. They may not have defined exactly what their problem is, but will be looking for information and resources to help them do so.
2) Consideration stage
This is the stage at which the buyer starts looking into the various possibilities they have to solve their problem. They will know what their problem is and will be motivated to research and understand possible solutions to it.
3) Decision stage
At this stage, the buyer is seriously considering their options and evaluating different providers to help them choose the right one. Here, the buyer is looking to whittle their options down and reach a final decision.
4) Loyalty stage
Having successfully purchased from you, happy customers will often become your next champion. Reviews on Facebook, tagging you on Instagram, or generating their own user-generated content (UGC) such as ‘unboxing videos’, are all ways that loyal customers can help influence future customers post-purchase.
How to tailor your digital marketing to the buyer’s journey
To understand how to tailor your digital marketing to the buyer journey, you first need to understand and map the buyer journey for your typical customer. What you’re looking to establish here is the time customers spend at each stage and the questions they have. You can then address this with appropriate marketing materials or activities.
Getting to know your customers is crucial to your success with this. Providing the right information at the right stage will help you fend off objections, dispel any worries or doubts, and give them confidence in choosing your business over a competitor!
What does my business need to do at each stage of the buyer journey?
- Awareness stage
The main thing you want to be at this stage is visible! If a buyer can’t find you, you have no chance of them progressing to the other stages in the journey. Your SEO strategy and social media activity are important here as both of these can help new customers find you! You may also want to consider paid strategies (Google AdWords or Facebook Adverts) to ensure you’re going to be found for key search terms, or by your typical customer base.
- Consideration stage
Here, the customer wants to see that your business is credible and can help them. Content like blog posts, how-to guides, explainer videos and eBooks are helpful. Make sure you’ve carried out some competitor analysis. Does your website and digital presence stand out (for the right reasons) when compared to others your customers will be considering?
- Decision stage
Your customer will be looking for evidence that they can trust you and that you can deliver on your promises at this stage. Content such as case studies, testimonials and social proof (e.g. online reviews) is vital. Make sure your ‘Google My Business’ and Facebook reviews are looking their best, and think of other ways to instill trust through your website (awards, certifications, members etc). Don’t forget to ensure you’re easily contactable – don’t hide behind an online form, instead ensure your phone number, email address, and postal address are all prominently displayed. This will encourage potential customers to contact you with any questions or concerns.
- Loyalty stage
Don’t just hope customers ‘might’ review you, be proactive and ask them! Remind them to tag you in on Twitter or Instagram, or incentivise them with a repeat purchase discount for doing so. Share and repost any customer UGC and thank them for showing you some love! You’ll build better relationships with existing customers, while showing future ones how friendly and customer-focussed you are.
So, there you have it! A whistle-stop tour of the buyer’s journey. With an estimated 80% of a customer’s journey being online, it’s certainly something that digital marketers need to consider in their strategy and content.