Learning the Buyer’s Journey for Better Marketing

You might have heard this a lot and in different ways. Other common phrases include customer buying cycle, customer lifecycle, and customer buying process.

You want to know how people end up making a purchase.
Then, you satisfy their needs by making valuable content based on where they are in the buying process.

So let’s continue our journey of conducting relevant market research.

 

Why do I need to know the Buyer’s Journey?

Just like why you should do research before you dive into your marketing plan: 1) you will find relevant data, and 2) you will know how satisfy your customer’s needs.

People make educated buys. The internet is available at their fingertips – their smartphones. Because of that, people come 57% prepared to make a purchase before you even get a chance to say hello. Do I need to reiterate that Sprint lost 1.3 million customers because they ranked the worst in customer service compared to other wireless providers? No? Good.

Make content that makes them happy. If you don’t get through the noise and add value to the customer’s decision-making process, your conversion rate will be atrocious.

 

The 5.5 stages of the Buyer’s Journey

Let’s get on with the 5.5 stages of the decision-making process.

 

1          Awareness | Visibility

This isn’t about being aware of your company. It’s about your customer discovering a problem. Their problem. It might be a need, challenge, frustration, or obstacle that makes their life harder. Sometimes they don’t even know they have a problem.

Your Job: Plant fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) into their minds. Then, make it urgent!

Example Content Title: “Can Someone Hack into My New Samsung Galaxy?”

Types of Content:

  • Analyst reports
  • eGuides & eBooks
  • Editorial and authoritative content
  • Educational articles
  • Press releases
  • Expert advice
Primary Channels:

  • Digital advertising
  • Search engine marketing
  • Inbound marketing
  • Company blog
  • PPC
  • SEO
Common Terms at this stage:

  • Issue
  • Troubleshoot
  • Resolve
  • Risks
  • Upgrade
  • Improve
  • Optimize

2          Investigation | Attraction

The customer stumbles across your website, educating themselves about the problem they have. Their next step is finding the solutions and investigating their options to solve the dilemma. Luckily for them, you’re already trying to solve it.

Your Job: Give them the answer(s) to their issue. Solve their problem.

Example Content Title: “9 Ways to Protect Your Cell Phone from Hackers”

Types of Content:

  • How-to Guides
  • Tutorials
  • Whitepapers
  • Data-driven research reports
Primary Channels:

  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Graphs
  • Forums and online communities
Common Terms at this stage:

  • Solution
  • Answer
  • Relief
  • Conclude
  • Propose

3          Evaluation | Interest

Now that they know how to solve their problem, customers will start evaluating and exploring their options for services and products. Which software, applications, or online anything will meet their needs?

Your Job: Provide them the best options to address their problem.

Example Content Title: “Types of Software to Protect Your Phone from Hackers”

Types of Content:

  • Webinars
  • Research papers
  • Case studies
  • Reviews
  • Web solution pages
Primary Channels:

  • Keyword-tailored landing pages
  • Internal blogs
  • Contact form
  • Newsletters
Common Terms at this stage:

  • Provider
  • Supplier
  • Tool
  • Service
  • Software

3.5       Decision | Relationship

I call this 3.5 and not 4 because it extends off the “evaluation” step. Customers still haven’t fully witnessed the benefits of your service or product. They make the decision based on research, which they continue to do until they decide to buy (and even after). A personal human interaction is a great way to build trust, answer questions, and move them to the next important phase.

Your Job: Give them the top choices (along with why). Remove doubt that your company’s solution will address their urgent needs.

Example Content Title: “Top 5 Cell Phone Hacker Prevention Apps”

Types of Content:

  • Testimonials
  • Comparison charts
  • Customer reviews
  • Demos & Trials
  • FAQ
Primary Channels:

  • Trade shows
  • Branding
  • Phone calls
  • Email marketing
  • Marketing automation
Common Terms at this stage:

  • Compare
  • Versus
  • Pros & Cons
  • Benchmarks
  • Review

4          Commitment

They’ve made the final purchase and are walking away. No! Keep them committed to your company. It doesn’t have to be through repurchasing (although that’s good), but also as brand evangelists. Free advertising, and the strongest kind.

Your Job: Make the customers still feel like you care, even after they make a purchase.

Example Content Title: “Why We Love Our Customers”

Types of Content:

  • Loyalty programs
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Newsletters
  • Discounts
  • Shout-outs
  • Ongoing support
Primary Channels:

  • Marketing automation
  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Online communities
  • Forums
Common Terms at this stage:

  • Delight
  • Support
  • Happiness
  • Promotion
  • Celebration
  • Loyalty

5          Growth

You think it’s over but it’s not. The buyer’s journey isn’t a beginning to an end; it’s a cycle. It starts again and again once the customer is committed. It comes from them using the product, buying complementary services, or – most importantly – renewing the service.

Your Job: Keep them happy, and if they aren’t, fix it.

Example Content Title: “Let Us Know How to Be Better”

Types of Content:

  • Promotions
  • Technical updates
  • Upgrades
  • Product knowledge
Primary Channels:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Marketing automation
  • Web marketing
Common Terms at this stage:

  • Renewal
  • Re-subscribe
  • Retention
  • Loyalty

 

Notice anything similar? The 5.5 steps are actually the 6 steps to Engagement Marketing. It’s so important to know the Buyer’s Journey that we revolve the principles around this idea.

How does the Buyer’s Journey help with marketing?

  • Targeted content. You won’t have to worry about attracting the wrong people if you know exactly what your ideal customers want. Give them content that is valuable and relevant to them.
  • SEO and Page Rank. Google has an intuitive algorithm that infers user interests, meaning they look at how you benefit your users. If you do it too, you can only guess what happens to your SEO and page rank. Hint: only good things.
  • Customer delight. There is never bad about making your customers happy. If you solve their problems, they’ll come back wanting more, which will increase their lead score and push them up to being a sales qualified lead.
  • Thought Leadership. Nowadays, companies with more authority give back to the community through something called thought leadership. The more you output valuable content and involvement, the more respected and trusted you become.
  • Branding. By staying consistent with the content and help you give to your customers, the better your brand will illuminate to others. Branding shows professionalism and trustworthiness, which will only help your case.

 

Research and knowledge are the foundations of the best type of engagement marketing. You’ve got your Buyer Persona and Market Research under your belt. Now your Buyer’s Journey covered, too. Let’s put it to an applicable scenario: getting in front of these ideal customers through digital advertising.

 


 

 

This is a blog series outlining the details of the 6 principles of Engagement Marketing: VAIRCG.