Marketing and sales can feel stilted and robotic, who else is with me?
We talk a lot about prospecting, demoing, closing... but that adds no value to the buyer. How do I know that? Because it adds zero value to me when I am trying to find the best products to solve my problems.
I don't care about your CRM, what pipeline you put me in, or what region I fall under. All I care about is solving my problem, and whether you provide adequate information to help me make a decision.
This is the buyer's journey.
People like to follow patterns of behavior, the buyer's journey is no different.
The buyer's journey is the active research process a buyer makes before making a purchase.
Think about the last time you made a purchase - big or small. What did you do? Did you take to Google? Look up reviews? Ask a friend? Compare different competitors? Chances are you did at least one, or all three of those things. That is the buyer's journey and understanding it can help you market your own business as well.
This journey can be divided into distinct phases or stages. While it can be tough to generalize someone’s thought process, buyers often think about their problems and solutions in identifiable ways. The stages are:
These steps may not progress from one step to the other. Sometimes buyers go back and forth between these stages. During each of these steps, there is an opportunity for your blog or business to interact with these buyers.
This article will focus on these different stages and the opportunities that they provide for your blog or business. Often, these steps provide the chances to improve your content marketing strategy.
The buyer's journey matters because the better you understand your prospects, the more effective your marketing will be to nurture them towards making a decision.
If you don't pay attention to the buyer's journey, or how to recognize where someone is in it, any piece of content you provide or outreach you do will generate mixed results and likely waste your time (and the buyer's!).
By understanding the buyer's journey you can provide your site visitors and prospects with exactly what they need when they need it. This builds up a good relationship with your leads, and is much more effective at helping them make a decision (and make that decision in your favor).
As said, there are three stages to the buyer's journey so let's break them down in-depth.
The awareness stage consists of the buyer realizing that they have a problem. They identify their challenges and the goals they want to achieve. They also prioritize the steps needed to achieve their goals.
It is important to realize that at this stage the buyer is unaware of your company and the fact that your company can help alleviate their problems.
At this stage, content marketers also need to create an awareness of their company. Think about your social media presence, your email marketing, and your SEO strategy.
Start by understanding the questions (or keywords) that your prospects use in this stage and create content around them. Through that, create an awareness of your product, service or company and how you can solve prospective buyers and their problems.
A fun example I've always enjoyed is how an extermination company might want to approach content creation. At the awareness stage people might be asking questions like 'what are signs of mice?', 'what do mice droppings look like?' or 'do animals create a scratching sound in the wall?'. This is a perfect opportunity to create awareness-level content to start the relationship with your business.
According to Pardot, the most popular resources buyers search for include educational material, customer reviews and testimonials.
At this stage of the buyer’s journey, buyers have defined their goal and are now committed to addressing it.
It's not quite decision time yet, but the buyer is actively looking for a solution once they've identified the problem. Using Google or other search methods, they selectively research what options are out there that can help resolve their needs.
During this stage content marketers should focus on proven results, and creating content that can help sway a buyer to you rather than a competitor. Typically this is called the Middle of the Funnel or MOFU.
What can you show your prospective buyers that shows business helps solves their needs? Providing social proof or more in-depth content that highlights your product alongside the solution is a great strategy here to help influence a decision. It's also a great time to showcase competitor comparisons that highlight where your company excels.
The final stage of the buyer’s journey is the decision stage.
Also called the Bottom of the Funnel or BOFU, this is when buyers are ready to make a decision on their purchase.
Now is the time to demonstrate expertise in your area and really show your business is the right one to solve this problem. Again, showcasing examples of your products and how they can assist in their problems is the ideal content to offer.
However, you must think about how you can prepare your buyers in preparation, implementation and customer support.
If a buyer decides to buy into your product, make sure your follow up is consistent. Making sure your product works as advertised and answering your customer’s questions can cultivate a sense of accountability and cooperation between you and your customers.
Finally, buyers can become important evangelists and spread the message about your company to others with similar problems.
The buyer’s journey is a long process that often moves back and forth along these stages. Your content market strategy can be tailored to address these different stages and nurture site visitors into leads, customers, and evangelists.
Think about how your company can address your customer’s needs with these tips today!
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