Consider how you approach making a purchase, especially if the product or service is new to you. Do you ask around to friends and family if anyone has experience with that product or service? If they do, do you get a general overview of it from them, or press for more details?
By now you’ve likely heard of the buyer’s journey, but what is it and why should you, a business owner, care? Isn’t everyone who contacts your business technically on a buyer’s journey? Not necessarily. Broken into three stages, the buyer’s journey requires a different approach for each stage. A customer in the awareness stage won’t seek out the same information as someone in the final decision stage. And though this may seem redundant, many people still think the buyer’s journey is a one-size-fits-all journey. Hint, it’s as individual as your customers.
The Different Stages of the Buyer
If you can visualize your audience, do you know what it would take to move them to the next stage in the journey?
Know Your Customers
Sure you know your customers, their names, where they live, what they usually purchase from your business, but do you know who your ideal customer is? It’s okay if you don’t, but taking a little time to determine who that person is could greatly benefit your company in the short and long term. Buyer personas are fictionalized and generalized representations of your ideal customer. Most personas are created using basic demographics, such as gender, age range, income range, and profession level. You can have more than one working persona for your business, as not everyone fits in the same box. Knowing who your audience is can help you determine content development and strategies for campaigns to promote that content.
Any content you produce should address the pain points your customers have, not your product or brand. Pain points are real or perceived problems.
The first stage of the buyer’s journey, the awareness stage occurs when someone realizes they have a problem or issue and may become aware of your business existing. People will visit your social media sites and interact with those platforms, along with browsing through your blog. Those visitors are actively showing an interest in key areas of your company, namely what you do. However, in this initial stage, they are seeking answers through resources, education, and insights.
But how do you understand consumers at this stage? Each stage will have an introspective portion to you, the business, that will help you better help the customer.
- When talking about their problem or issue, is the consumer using vague or abstract terms or are they specific?
- What have they done to educate themselves on the problem or issue?
- Are any common misconceptions coming into the picture for the consumer about the problem or issue?
- How is the consumer prioritizing the problem or issue?
The second stage, consideration, could be looked at as the stage when the ball really starts moving. The problem or issue has become clearly defined by the consumer, who in turn has committed to finding a solution. That solution has yet to be determined, but not without evaluating different approaches and methods. The first answer isn’t going to be the end all to this consumer. Click counts for your product or features pages, about us, or any page featuring a specific area of expertise by your company will increase during consideration.
If you can answer the following questions, you’ll likely be able to help the consumer during the consideration stage.
- What areas of solutions are being investigated?
- What is the consumer doing to educate themselves on the areas of solutions, and how are they perceiving the pros and cons of each?
- How is the consumer deciding what area is correct for their problem or issue?
If the decision stage was featured in a Hollywood blockbuster, it would likely feature dramatic lead-up music and a few camera cutbacks to add to the drama. But it really isn’t so dramatic. The consumer has decided on a solution to their problem or issue and could write a list of pros and cons. They have visited your pricing information, case studies, and contact us pages courtesy of your website. Essentially, they are showing they want to know exactly what it would take to become a new customer of yours.
And while they have made a final decision, there are many things for you to consider about how the consumer came to their decision.
- What criteria are they using to evaluate the current offerings?
- What do they like about what you offer compared to others, and do they have any concerns?
- Who needs to be involved in making the final decision? Are there differing perspectives on the decision?
- Does the consumer expect to try the offer before making a purchase?
- Along with making the purchase, will the consumer need to make plans for implementing the decision?
The Inbound Marketing Way
Would you like to have a self-sustaining, around-the-clock marketing strategy for your company? Who wouldn’t! As a HubSpot partner, Elevare can help you build that strategy through inbound marketing. Inbound marketing focuses on finding your ideal audience then speaking, metaphorically, directly to them through content which answers questions and concerns through each stage of the buyer’s journey. Whether through keeping your company blog up to date or utilizing the power of social media, Elevare creates custom inbound marketing strategies for companies of all sizes. Contact us and let’s get started.
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