The Buyers Journey starts here
Every buyer goes through three distinct stages as they progress from being a prospect to a customer. It doesn’t matter what your product or service is, the concept of the buyers journey can be applied to your solution and it should be an intimate part of your marketing plan.
In this article we’ll look at the buyers journey and how you should be modify your communication to your buyers at each stage of the process.
The three buyer stages are:
Step 1: Awareness
At the awareness stage the buyer becomes aware of a need. For example, if your buyers’ pants develop a hole in them, this would be the start of the buyers awareness that it’s time to buy a new pair of pants. The location of the hole will change the urgency and time frame for getting a replacement. Alternatively, the buyer may desire to have a second pair of pants in a different color, in which case their need is different, although the outcome will be the same.
At the awareness stage, you need to understand both the need and the urgency of your buyer. To be effective you must create marketing messages that connect their need to your solution. This is why this step is called the awareness step. The buyer become aware that they have a need, and they become aware that you have a solution to that need.
Marketing Tip: Brand awareness marketing should help a buyer connect a their need to your brand. Think of it as a shotgun approach to get general exposure for your solution. Ideally you want the customer to quickly find your solution once they identify their need.
Step 2: Consideration
At the consideration stage the buyer is actively gathering information about all of the possible solutions and evaluating the fit of each possible option. At this stage the buyer is shopping around for different solutions. If shopping for a new pair of pants, the buyer may go to the mall and visit all of the different stores, or the buyer may search online.
At the consideration stage, you must separate your solution from any competitive offerings and make it stand apart. Your buyer must already be aware of your solution (the awareness step), so that they are considering it as a possible solution to their problem. Any communication to the buyer during this phase should highlight why your solution is the best solution against any of the alternatives.
Marketing Tip: At the consideration stage, you are educating the buyer about your solution. At this stage, you want to knock down any barriers that might exist in getting the buyer to the decision stage (where they purchase your solution). If the solution is an emotional purchase, they you need to address any emotional roadblocks. If the solution is a technical purchase, then you need to address all of the relevant product/solution data that helps the buyer make an informed choice and “checks all the boxes” for their technical requirements.
Step 3: Decision
The decision is the point at which the buyer decides to part with their cash in exchange for the goods. But it’s not that simple. Many factors can complicate the decision, most important is the cost of the goods and the urgency of the need. The best ammunition to help the buyer through the decision process is a testimonial from a current customer. Amazon perfected this idea with product recommendations. You should use customer testimonials to help the buyer understand that they are making the right choice, and that others have already been satisfied by their decisions.
At the decision stage, you make an offer to the buyer. If your offer fits what the buyer is willing to pay, then deal can be made. The key here is that communication with the buyer will be about the value of the solution and helping them to make the choice of your offer. Therefore you need to know when the buyer has arrived at this point in the process and modify your communication appropriately.
Marketing Tip: Price is always a difficult aspect of the decision process, but ultimately the price of the solution will be a deciding factor. If the need is urgent and you have an effective solution, you can likely make a deal at a higher price. How you communicate the value of the offer to your buyer effectively will determine if they make the purchase choice.
It’s critical to understand the three basic stages of the buyers journey, and to know when your buyer is transitioning through each of the stages. You will want to communicate differently to the buyer at each of these stages in order to progress them as quickly through the stage as possible and get to a purchase decision.
A well designed landing page or sales funnel can cover all three stages in a single webpage for a solution offered online. This process can take the buyer from the step of awareness all the way through a purchase decision (a “call to action”) at the bottom of the landing page. See our recent article on Designing effective landing pages.
Help your prospects through the buyers journey with FIRE Business Platform, where you get everything you need to market, sell and support your business in a single, integrated solution.