The Buyer’s Journey is increasingly becoming more complex, buyers want to be more informed than ever before. Today consumers rarely make impulsive purchasing decisions, they like to conduct research, explore different options and businesses to find the right one for them. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can make our jobs as marketers more challenging. In this short guide, we’ll explore the key stages of the Buyer’s Journey and discover how with Inbound Marketing you can guide your customers to making a purchase and bring success to your business.
What is the Buyer’s Journey?
Prior to a purchasing decision, users go through a journey. This journey is broken down into three key stages, Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. This is the crucial path a user takes leading to a purchase. Encompassing research and exploration, this journey enables users to gain all the information they need to feel satisfied and close on the sale of the product or service being offered.
You may be wondering why or how this is relevant to marketing. According to recent studies, 76% of UK consumers carry out research online before making a purchasing decision. This means, in your role as a marketer, it’s important for your business to be at the forefront of its online research.
The Three Stages of The Buyer’s Journey
With Inbound Marketing you’re looking to attract your prospect long before they are ready to make a purchasing decision, nurturing and guiding them until they are. Inbound offers a non-disruptive alternative to traditional outbound marketing techniques and works harmoniously with the Buyer’s Journey model. We all conduct this research process, whether it’s finding your next pair of trainers or seeking a restaurant for lunch.
Below we’ll explore each stage of the typical Buyer’s Journey with recommendations for key tactics that will guide your customers into the next stages. The tactics you use and the content you create will be completely dependent on your ideal customer or Buyer Persona. You’ll need to conduct research into the challenges and needs they have as well as the content that resonates with them.
In the first stage of the Buyer’s Journey, the prospect will likely be experiencing symptoms of a problem or challenge that they need to solve. Here, users will be researching online for a diagnosis, your goal is to help identify their problem or pain point.
It’s really important to note here, that in this stage of the journey, your prospect will not be receptive to brand or business messaging, going after the hard-sell here will jeopardise your opportunity. Inbound Marketing is fundamentally about providing valuable experiences and fine-tuning your content to align with each stage of the Buyer’s Journey is a great way to do this.
Key Tactics for Awareness
Top Tip: Consider adding in CTAs or Contact Forms where appropriate, this will enable you to utilise other communication pathways.
In this next stage, your buyer has identified and comprehends their problem. At this point, the buyer is ready to begin considering resolutions to overcome their challenge. They will be committed to researching and understanding all of the available approaches or methods. You’ll want to deepen the association between your business and your customer’s needs too, this will encourage them to consider you as a viable option in the decision stage.
It’s important to also recognise at this point your prospective customer will also be considering competitors. Still avoiding the hard-sell, you’ll need to start highlighting key differentiators about your business, particularly ones that can give you a one-up on those in your industry. The user experience is as crucial here as it was at the start, you need to strike the optimal balance between brand messaging and valuable content.
Key Tactics for Consideration
Product or Service Demos
Product Pricing Guides
The final stage of the journey, the purchasing decision. Your customer should feel satisfied that they have all the information they need and have evaluated all options, including comparing products or services. By this point, they are dedicated to finding a provider/business to administer the solution.
Narrowed down to a small selection, your buyer will be considering factors such as value for money and the best features of your offering. Testimonials and customer reviews are an integral tactic here, 86% of buyers will hesitate to do business with a company if it has negative reviews. Your prospects will want the reassurance that others have gained satisfaction from working with your business.
Key Tactics For Decision
Discounts or Offers
How Long is The Buyer’s Journey?
How long is a piece of string? Modern-day consumers are more complex than ever before and every individual’s buying journey varies significantly. The other variable at play is the product or service required. A more costly item is likely going to extend the buyer’s journey with more vigorous research being carried out compared to spontaneously picking up a £6 t-shirt from a retailer.
The B2B Buyer’s Journey
For larger-scale purchases in B2B markets, the journey will be longer. You’ll likely have more people of influence becoming involved in the decision-making purchase the closer they get to the decision stage. This can be for several different reasons but most commonly involves stakeholder consultation.
The B2C Buyer’s Journey
In B2C markets where purchases are considerably smaller and non-business related, the Buyer’s Journey is likely to be shorter. These purchases are like your everyday shops, from picking up some lunch or buying new gym wear. The buyer may still research their options to find the best bargain or highest quality choice but ultimately it’s normally down to the individual to make the final decision.
The Buyer’s Cycle & Marketing Flywheel
If you’ve successfully guided your buyers through to purchase that’s great, but your job as a marketer shouldn’t finish there. The Marketing Flywheel aims to promote business growth by generating a self-sustaining flow of prospects, leads, and delighted customers.
To do this effectively, start to consider ways in which you can convert your customers into brand advocates or promoters. A straightforward way to do this is by requesting a review or testimonial about their great experience with you. A positive review can spark inspiration amongst others and encourage users to explore your business too. You can learn more about the Marketing Flywheel here.
Inbound Marketing Agency
At Loop Digital, our inbound marketing strategies are crafted with your target market in mind. Using research we identify unique insights that help us create content that resonates with your audience and influences direct and meaningful action, guiding them through the Buyer’s Journey. For more information about our Inbound Solutions and how we can help you, get in touch with our team today.