“The buyer’s journey” is the path buyers goes through from the time they become aware of a new product or service to the time they make the purchase. It’s an easy enough concept to grasp because each and every one of us takes this journey. Sometimes, it’s a long voyage involving research, product testing and financial considerations, like when we buy a car. Sometimes, it’s a very short trip, like when we grab the package of peanut butter cups displayed by the checkout counter.
Whether it’s a long-considered purchase or an impulse buy, the buyer’s journey consists of three stages: Awareness, Consideration and Decision. Of course, you already know this. You just went through this as a customer when you bought those peanut butter cups. But from a marketing perspective, it’s important to breakdown and analyze the thought-process in order to create targeted content for each stage of the journey.
Here’s a breakdown of the three stages and what marketing materials you can use in each one to guide your potential buyers towards making a purchase:
This is when prospects first identify their need in front of them and is in the educational research stage. At this point, they are seeking information and likely searching the web for assistance (which raises a question about your SEO strategy, but that’s a blog for another day). What they are not looking for now is a sales pitch. Your marketing communications here should be fairly neutral and geared toward “helping and problem solving” rather than sales.
These content offers are effective ways to begin building a rapport:
- Informational Blogs or Articles
- Ebooks or White papers
- Analyst Reports
At this point, prospects become qualified leads who are beyond identifying a need and are now ready to address it. They have already found you and have expressed interest in learning more about your different methods of solving specific business challenges. While this is still an “informational messaging” phase, you can now offer resource materials to highlight the benefits of your services … still without giving the hard sell.
Examples of content appropriate for this stage include:
- Comparison Guides
Here, prospects are now ready to purchase. They have a strategy in place to address their needs but are still deciding on which vendor to go with. This is the “call to action” phase, a time to initiate conversations, to ensure that potential customers have all the resource materials they need in order to get a buy-in from key decision makers and ultimately decide on your product or service.
Appropriate executions during this stage include:
- Product or Solution Sheets
- Targeted Case Studies
- Product Demos or Free Trials
Understanding the buyer’s journey is vital for anyone with a product or service to sell. If you have any questions about how to market your business during these stages, follow your buyer personas and always listen to the buyer inside of you. When do you want general information? When do you want to take a deeper dive? When do you want to move from doing research to talking to a representative? In all phases, you want content that is a resource and offers valuable information rather than sales-y promises. Chances are excellent that your potential customers want the same exact thing.
Still have questions? Reach out to Brainstorm. We specialize in creating resourceful, informative content for all stages of the buyer’s journey, as well as revenue-boosting inbound marketing programs to help you nurture your prospects toward a sale.