To lead a person from a prospective customer to a faithful follower requires a plan. It's not enough to cheer potential customers on as they travel along the buyer's journey. A business needs a plan for each step along the way.
If you've ever bought anything before, then you are probably familiar with the buyer's journey. You may not know the terminology, but you understand the steps. For example, if you notice your living room furniture is beginning to wear out, you'll start thinking about buying a new set. You'll start researching for information about what types of furniture last the longest or holds up best with kids or pets. Or you may research what styles are trending at the moment. Chances are you'll research all angles trying to make the best decision. After you decide what type of furniture you want to purchase, you'll probably start actively looking around for the set that fits your criteria. Finally, you settle on a brand new couch and loveseat and make the buy. You've just followed the blueprint for the buyer's journey: Awareness, consideration, and Decision. Let's take a closer look at each individual step and how it fits into your business's marketing plan.
There are three main steps in the buyer's journey and how you position your business along each step will help determine your success.
During this step, potential customers are just becoming aware that they have a need or a problem. At this point, they may not be able to define just what they need or even what the problem is in some cases. For example, a retailer may feel the business is overwhelmed by "paperwork." The owner notices redundancies in some of the work, a lack of efficient workflow, and that time is wasted on manual tasks. All of this hinders office efficiency. Yet, he's not sure what is needed. The retailer is in the awareness stage.
When people are in this stage they may begin to read blogs about office efficiency, time savers, and office productivity. Whatever product or services your company offers you need to be mindful of the awareness stage. This is when you provide your audience with educational material. You're not selling your product right now, you're just giving information. You're being helpful. This is a very important stage because it's where you begin to build trust.
At this point in the journey, consumers have an idea of what products or services will help them solve their problem. They are actively pursuing more information about the specific product. In the case of the overwhelmed retailer, he would have probably learned that he could use CRM software to help with the workflow of the office. So, he'd be researching that and deciding which one would work best for his company. During this part of the journey, the customer benefits from things like e-books, whitepapers, webinars, and more detailed information. This helps the consumer come to a more thoughtful conclusion.
Finally, after the research is complete, the consumer is ready to make a decision about purchasing your product. Sometimes consumers are ready to take the plunge after they've gone through the other two steps. However, at this stage, it helps to give potential customers a free trial or offering to help them through this final step in the journey. It shows them that you are willing to let them try out the product before making a commitment. You can also provide them with sales demos, case studies, testimonials, or statistical sheets. Any information that will show them how well your product performs will be a win for the decision stage.
Preparing for each stage along the buyer's journey will ensure you make that critical connection with the consumer. In the end, you want the consumer to not only purchase your product but to be an enthusiastic advocate for your company. Supplying consumers with what they need along each step of the way will solidify your relationship with them and make loyal customers.
Are you ready to begin planning for the buyer's journey? Contact Adam Lowe Creative today for more information.